Top 5 Houseplants & Their Rarer Counterparts To Start Your Collection
A few months ago, my partner and I stood in line as a bouncer at the door waited for people to leave so more could enter. We weren’t clubbing, we were waiting to spend $500 on a Thai Constellation. I stood outside afterwards, holding onto it with a death grip as my partner rummaged through the rest of the stock. A flamboyant guy walked past and, with maximum pretension, sniffed at the overpriced plant and offered his unwanted opinion on it not being his type. Mate, I know, if it was your type you would have been in a tent on the street the night before.
But this is what New Zealand’s plant community has come to. It’s an intoxicating experience for the newbie who has only just begun building their Pinterest boards with home decor oozing with overpriced Monstera.
When picking what works in your home, you should try to make sure you buy plants that YOU like, and not plants that Instagram likes. Just because it’s expensive now doesn’t mean it looks any good, or will be even worth anything at all after the large nurseries flood the market next season. Also remember that variegated varieties can be more difficult to take care of than their standard counterparts, so if you have trouble keeping a cactus alive then maybe think twice before spending your home loan deposit on something that’s going to die in a week because you’ve been overwatering it.
With all that on the table, let’s look at some beautiful plants that will bring your home to life, and will clearly tell you when they need some TLC. We’ve also got a few suggestions for if and when you do want to get into the more exotic varieties.
1. Heartleaf Philodendron
This cutie is easy to take care of. When it’s thirsty, it’ll start curling its leaves to let you know it needs some attention. Trim to suit the space you want it to occupy. If you wanted a cooler version, you can also get the Philodendron Brazil, which is part of the same family.
2. Monstera Deliciosa
Just like the heartleaf, the Deliciosa curls when it starts to get thirsty. It’s easy to take care of and has tolerance for low light areas of the home, if areas with full light are hard to come by.
This is the standard version of the variegated Monstera Thai Constellation I mentioned at the top of the article. Same care as the green variety. Word of warning, don’t let the aerial roots that grow from the stem grow into your walls or carpet, they dig themselves in. The Deliciosa wants to become a permanent part of your home.
3. Snake Plant
Formally known as Sansevieria, but now classified as a dracaena, the Snake plant is easy to grow, looks very architectural, and requires little water. This beauty prefers bright light but can survive in low light. But do you want your plants to survive or thrive? When you’re sick of the green variety, upgrade with other varieties, like the Moonlight or the harder-to-find Bantel’s Sensation.
Take care of the Anthurium’s beautiful green foliage and you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous flowers. Easy to care for, and when it’s thirsty, its leaves will droop dramatically to let you know it’s parched.
When you get bored of the common varieties, there are the harder to find Velvet Anthuriums to collect, like Anthurium Crystallinum and Anthurium Clarinervium. You won’t be able to stop touching their velvety leaves.
5. Chain of Hearts (Ceropegia Woodii)
If you want to really wow visitors, a Chain of Hearts can pull this off by cascading down the side of a bookshelf all the way to the floor. It needs bright light and goes all leggy if you leave it in low light. To check if it needs water, touch some established leaves; if it’s soft, then it needs watering. One mistake people make is only leaving one string growing. Easily propagate more by looping and popping the growing ends back into the soil to grow roots. Once it’s rooted, chop the loop you’ve formed and presto, you’ve doubled the size of your plant. Once you’re ready for a fancier version, keep your eyes out for the harder to find variegated Chain of Hearts that grows pinker the more sun they get.
Photography by Becky Buttermint.
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