Growing festive cheer with The Joy of Plants

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Christmas Cymbidium

Earlier this month, we caught up with Chanel de Kock from The Joy of Plants to learn more about growing houseplants and which houseplants can bring some extra festive cheer to the home over the Christmas period. Check out the great interview below and get your home ready for Christmas!

Our interview with The Joy of Plants

1. What are some of the easiest houseplants to grow and take care of for those of who us who aren’t gifted gardeners?

Besides the obvious sturdy plants like cacti and succulents that have been very popular this year, there are many plants to up your foliage score in the home without much talent at all! Some of our easy-care favourites are the Peace Lily, Ficus Ginseng, Ficus lyrata, Monstera, Yucca and a very popular primeval looking Zamiocolcus. The key is to make sure they are not placed in direct sunlight, but in a light spot, and to make sure you water them once every 1 – 2 weeks depending on their needs. Don’t be scared to experiment with plants and to try them, and the best advice is to buy a plant that will be suitable for the spot you will be placing it in terms of the amount of light it will receive and humidity. Ferns, for example, will not be happy in a spot near a heater.

Christmas Planter

2. Where in the house can houseplants make the most difference to a room? Are there any rooms you wouldn’t put houseplants in?

The living room really is the best place to create a homely feel, and surprisingly, the bathroom is also a great environment for humid-loving plants like ferns and orchids. There has certainly been some contradicting studies on whether it’s a good idea or not to keep plants in the bedroom , but we can recommended it. Plants will help purify the air since the use of cosmetics such as aerosols can bring nasty particles into the room. Scented plants can also contribute to relaxing effects that may induce a better night’s sleep. More here: http://www.thejoyofplants.co.uk/these-plants-will-help-you-have-better-night’s-sleep

Christmas Earrings

3. Do you have any advice for someone who is just thinking of getting into using plants in home décor, but doesn’t know where to start?

We believe that plants are a great way to make a statement and bring your own style to light in your home. The key is to have some fun as well, and you can use different vessels in different sizes and heights to create a beautiful display. A fun tip is also to plant your plants in something that makes a statement that you wouldn’t generally find a plant in, like woven baskets, tea cups, spray-painted upcycled jars, or even a living wall made from wood pallets. There are two important things to remember: when grouping plants together, make sure they enjoy the same conditions, especially if you’ve planted them in the same vessel – cacti and ferns need different soil, light and humidity conditions, and make sure your plant has the right draining conditions as some plants do not like their roots to stand in water, so always check that you have the right draining in place for them.

Festive Tables

4. A recent article on your blog details houseplants that can help you get a better night’s sleep. Which plants are they, and how do they help?

Peace lilies are great air purifiers. In fact, most plants with large leaves are great air purifiers, so you can add Monstera and Calathea to the list too. Some scented plants will also add to the ambiance and help you to relax. Lavender is known for it’s calming properties, and white fragrant plants like Jasmine and Stephanotis will bring with them uplifting properties and they’re a joy to smell when you walk into your room and to wake up to.

5. Are there any other houseplants that provide positive health benefits?

We believe that all plants bring a wealth of health benefits with them. By bringing plants indoors, you let nature in and this gives us a way to connect with the natural world. It brings with it a calming effect and makes one’s home more homely and a great place to unwind and relax. There is also the fact that caring and nurturing your plants brings a sense of mindfulness and relaxation with it. Caring for something and watching it thrive is a very positive and rewarding experience. Of course, there are also the NASA studies that have proved that the air-purifying qualities some plants bring with them are beneficial to your health.

Christmas DIY Kit

6. Are there any houseplants that you should avoid having in reach of pets or children?

Poisonous plants should be avoided if you have pets or small children who may be inquisitive and have exploring minds. The best advice is to keep these plants out of reach or to avoid them altogether. The top 10 to avoid are:

  • Philodendron
  • Pothos
  • Arrowhead
  • Lily
  • Peace Lily
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Oleander
  • Caladium
  • Mother-in-law’s Tongue
  • Ivy

Poison aside, plants with thorns, like cacti, can have other hazardous consequences, so the best tip to protect your children, pets, and your plant (of course) is to keep them in a safe height.

7. As we are coming up to the Christmas season, what are some of the best houseplants to bring in to maximise the festive spirit?

Apart from the obvious Christmas themed plants like Poinsettias and Amaryllis, there are many plants that will bring festive cheer that will outlast the season. So for the Christmas rebel in you, we always suggest breaking the mould a bit and try a Christmas with a twist. The minimalist Scandi trend is still very popular, so decorating a Yucca plant with fairy lights will make a cheerful statement, or for a festive table with a difference, our Christmas inspiration theme page offers great ideas to give your party table cosy touch. Moss and little plants arranged on the table will have a great create impact on your table decoration. And for the keen DIY’er, our of our previous issues of The Green Gallery has the perfect tip to bring foliage to your festivities: https://www.thegreengallery.com/en/issue-2/the-gathering

Yacca for Christmas decorated with fairy lights

8. Can you use any festive houseplants in recipes over the Christmas period?

Since Spruce is always around in abundance over the festive season, we found a super recipe for Spruce Jam! A surprisingly delicious accompaniment on the cheeseboard and a great idea if you like to make your own homemade gifts.

View more great interviews

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Green Gardens is a gardening blog dedicated to providing useful information to our readers, including advice, tips, how-to's and more to help your garden become everything you want it to.

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