Green Shoots: How To Bring Greenery Into Your Home

FRANCIS BRENNAN shares his top tips on how to look after HOUSE PLANTS, and recommends the easiest ones to care for …

The final touch to any room, as far as I’m concerned, is greenery. I find that they really add something to the home – a sense of calm, a feeling that the home is truly lived in. Having said that, while I have a lovely garden in my home in Kerry, I am not at home enough to really look after house plants. Even the easiest house plant needs a bit of care, so if you don’t have much time or are not a natural gardener, opt for the easiest of easy-care plants.

Aloe plants are very sturdy and they look good, and they also help to clean the air of chemicals emitted by certain plants and household cleaners. Tip: they do need lots of sunlight.

Spider plants – remember them? These green-and-yellow-striped household plants thrive in cool conditions – ideal for Ireland then! – and are hard to kill. They also do a great job of cleaning the air of things like carbon monoxide.

Senseveria, or as we know it, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, is known for its long pointy green leaves, fringed with yellow – and, because they suck in carbon monoxide during the day and let oxygen out at night (the reverse of other plants), they are great to have in bedrooms. They will also manage well in gloom and without too much water.

Golden Pothos or Devil’s Ivy – great for hanging baskets, this greenish-yellow foliage is happy even in dim light – but be careful around pets and children – it’s toxic!

Ficus – this pretty tree is lovely in a living room, but it’s not the easiest of plants to maintain. I had one once, and the leaves all fell off! However if you are prepared to be careful and not to expose it to extremes of hot and cold it might just be the plant for you.

Chinese Evergreen – it is a really easy houseplant, with dark-and-light oval leaves. It thrives in dim light, so will work in just about anywhere in the house. The only thing it doesn’t like is dry air, so mist the leaves with a water spray every now and again to avoid brown tips on the leaves.

The Peace Lily – another easy-care plant with a really pretty white flower. It topped NASA’s list for removing airborne pollutants in a room – and it’s lovely to look at.

Check in next week for the fifth part in this weekly series from Francis Brennan …

Excerpted from Francis Brennan’s Book of Household Management, €16.99, published by Gill Books, out now.

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