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Add colour and life to south-facing rooms.

In this series of articles on indoor plants, we will throw some ‘light’ on which plants to use in which lighting conditions.

Indoor plants bring colour and life to your home. You can refresh any room with a touch of green. At the very least, indoor plants create a more friendly environment to live in. At their best, they can create a spectacular display, with the added benefit of the health giving properties inherent in our potted friends; by way of their moisture-giving and detoxifying natures. However, aspiring indoor gardeners are often faced with plants that simply won’t thrive. The trick is to know which lighting conditions your plants prefer. Follow simple care instructions, and you could find yourself having green thumbs!

Bathrooms, kitchen and other rooms on the south side of your home naturally have less available light than sunny north-facing rooms. This makes them ideal for plants that originate in forests or under canopies.

Upright plants
Dracaena massangeana (corn plant). Available from 70cm high, can grow to 2m. Keep the soil barely moist. This architectural plant deserves to be featured in modern, minimalist homes. Reduce watering in winter.

Palms
Chamaedorea (love palm). Howea forsteriana (kentia palm). Keep the growing medium barely moist. Repot as your palm grows, as it the Kentia can reach a height of 2m and the love palm 1m, with good care.

Feature plants
Zamioculcas zamiifolia. This unusual indigenous plant with shiny, rich green leaves will suit a contemporary décor. Let soil dry between watering.
Dracaena compacta. Compact, shiny green foliage in a neat plant. Water moderately.
Aspidistra (cast-iron plant). This reliable plant is enjoying a revival in popularity. It can withstand more neglect than most other plants. Water it moderately in summer, less in winter.

Trailing plants
Philodendron scandens (sweetheart creeper). This attractive climber has glossy heart shaped leaves. Can grow up to 2m if trained up a moss pole, or spread to 30cm if not trained. Water freely in summer, less in winter.

Plants with colour
Spathiphyllum (peace lily). This deep green plant produces beautiful arum-like white flowers throughout summer. Planted en-masse, a faint spearmint fragrance becomes noticeable. Keep moist. Water freely in hot conditions. Likes to be misted.
Phalaenopsis (butterfly orchid). The elegant butterfly orchid is often featured in homes in décor magazines. The arching stems of flowers can last up to three months on the plant. The butterfly orchid thrives in a cool spot like the bathroom. Water moderately except in winter, when the plant should be barely kept moist.

Variegated plants
Aglaonema (Chinese evergreen)
There are many varieties, all prized for their beautiful variegated leaves. These plants are slow growers, enjoy soil that is barely moist, and are not particularly fussy about fertilizer.

For more information, contact your local nursery.