Gardening

The most stylish houseplants

HOUSE-PLANTS

Areca Palm at Lillian Mogitia's house in Nairobi. PHOTO | POOL

Summary

  • Houseplants have enjoyed popularity during the Covid-19 season as many Kenyans find extra time to creatively redecorate their homes.
  • Indoor plants with exaggerated leaf sizes or fascinating colours add elegance to your house, and they are cheap.

Houseplants have enjoyed popularity during the Covid-19 season as many Kenyans find extra time to creatively redecorate their homes.

Indoor plants with exaggerated leaf sizes or fascinating colours add elegance to your house, and they are cheap.

But which ones are more stylish? Let’s forget about the succulent plants, for now, especially mother-in-law’s tongue.

Here are the most-outstanding houseplants that can stand in as a work of art.

Areca Palm

Owned by Lilian Mogiti, the Director of Tendai Plants and Designs.

“The Areca palm is a very elegant palm tree that gives off a tropical feel, making it popular amongst plant lovers and interior designers. Its foliage exudes exotic vibes, and it commands attention with its lush and beautiful leaves that brighten up indoor spaces.

It is also known as the golden palm, butterfly palm or yellow palm, the Areca palm is a stunning indoor houseplant native to Madagascar and a member of Arecaceae family. It can grow as high as 30 feet outdoors and tends to average six to eight feet in interior locations.

I have grown thousands of plants but this is considered one of the most efficient air purifying plants since it absorbs toxins from the air.

Furthermore, the Areca palm toxic-free thus harmless to children and pets hence perfect as a houseplant. When growing it indoors, place it under bright indirect sunlight.

The leaves turn yellowish-green when in direct sunlight. Plant in well-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes. Root rot is its biggest killer but this can be avoided by watering properly and not keeping the soil soggy. Allow the top of the soil to dry out between watering and water it less often during the cold season.”

Fiddle Leaf Fig

Owned by Katy Barnes, Creative Director of Kuzi Trading

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A Fiddle Fig Tree at Katy Barnesa's house in Nairobi. PHOTO | POOL

“The ‘must-have’ plant for the last few years has been the Ficus lyrata or fiddle leaf fig, and with a good reason. Its large leaves mean little leaf drop to clear up, and with some good light and a regular watering schedule, they are pretty easy to look after. Just wipe their leaves with a damp cloth every so often to help them photosynthesise.

Placed in one of our large Upole fiberglass pots, the tree really makes a statement in any house as it does in mine. Anyone walking in knows that I’m a plant person!

I’d recommend the Fiddle Leaf if you have a nice bright window in your living room or a good-sized atrium or entry to your house. You can prune the Ficus to give it a shape that suits your style, either single-stemmed for narrow spaces or encourage multiple stems so the tree gives a real ‘outdoors inside’ feel. Some people panic when they get a large plant as it often drops a couple of leaves in its new environment, but that’s normal. I always tell people it takes time to learn how to keep plants properly. Don’t give up though— my journey only started five years ago and now I have about 100 plants in my home.”

Monstera Deliciosa

Owned by Barbara Makanga, Owner of Urban Plants

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Monstera Deliciosa at Barbara Makanga's house in Nairobi. PHOTO | POOL

“One of the most amazing plants you can have indoors at your home or office space is the Monstera Deliciosa. Monsteras have natural dramatic holes on the leaves, that make them  look like cheese, hence its nickname “Swiss Cheese Plant” or “Split leaf Philodendron.” With its large, tropical leaves, it continues to be one of the stars posted on social media feeds and featuring in interior designers’ rooms. The holes give it an extra stylish vibe making it a favourite for many homes. This sizeable floor plant makes a statement in your home, filling up those empty, dull corners thus serving a decorative purpose. Aside from its beauty, it’s a living air purifier. Luckily, you don’t have to be a plant pro to keep a Monstera alive. It’s easy-going and perfect for newbies and experienced plant parents alike. 

Place your Monstera in bright indirect sun and water it about once a week. Your Monstera plant may develop aerial roots. Add support with a moss stick to keep it upright. A point of caution to those with pets; Monstera plant contains calcium oxalate crystals which when ingested is toxic to cats and dogs. 

I have about 22 plants. The oldest is about one and a half years old. I got the most recent (two cactus), on Monday. 

Chinese Evergreen

Owned by June Wambui – Owner, Planters Kenya

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“Are you a fan of houseplants with fabulous foliage? Then the Chinese Evergreen plant is for you. As its name suggests, this plant’s leaves are evergreen, blossoms with pretty white flowers, and can grow to about three feet tall, making it a stunner in any room. It also works well as a tabletop plant. Its foliage comes in different varieties of silver bay, emerald beauty, maria, golden bay, and silver queen.

I have about 15 plants and I’ve been planting them from 2018.

I recommend Chinese Evergreen because it’s low maintenance thus perfect for new plant owners. It’s also said to bring good luck to the home that it’s placed in. Moreover, it’s a heartwarming gift for someone you love. Practically speaking, it emits oxygen which assists in increasing productivity and enriching health in both living and working spaces. The Chinese Evergreen plant houseplant thrives best in filtered light to partial shade but never under direct sunlight. Since it tends to be root bound because it grows so fast hence it’s advisable to have it in a big pot to give it enough space for growth. Water it when the soil is dry (use your thumb or a stick to check the soil). Prune the plant for propagation and prune off the occasional lower yellow leaf to keep the plant healthy.