Plant Parenting: a guide to the Urban Jungle

It’s been said that, ‘plant ladies are the new cat ladies’ and the rise in Green Fingers can only be a good thing. Having created ever-expanding concrete caves for ourselves, we are now learning that not only is the rapidly reducing amount of foliage bad for our environment, but it also negatively impacts our mental health, according to recent research.

Using the visual example below, it’s not hard to see why – in which of the these rooms would you rather spend the majority of your day 🌱?

Even the corporate world is slowly catching on. If you have the option to use co-working offices, spaces like Uncommon put a special emphasis on creating green environments that enhance productivity, focus and wellbeing. I hot desk in one of their branches whenever I can and it is a stimulating and progressive change of scene. (They also allow dogs 👏🏻).

Bringing mother nature from the office to the home can be challenging. Not all of us urbanites live in spacious, airy, sunny spaces made for cultivating life, let alone plant-lings. Enlisting the resources of one of my favourite sites for first time plant parents – Patch Plants, here are some tips for weeding out the industrial species, the ones that can turn even the darkest, dampest, driest corners ever-green.

Windowless Rooms

There are 2 types of Aglaonema that are particularly good for basement rooms and railroad apartments. The cutlass Aglaonema and Silver Bay Aglaonema can even adapt to fluorescent lighting from light bulbs. Of course, they would fare a lot better in sunlight but if you’re clutching at straws and simply need something that won’t die, they are worth a shot. If this fails, you could always invest in a grow light such as these from SODA.

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The Hot, dry Radiator Room

Succulent plants are good at surviving artificial changes in temperature. These include the Hedgehog Aloe, Ponytail Palm, Sansevieria and a spiky succulent. The thinner the leaf, the more apt they are at losing moisture and drying out so look for lush, thick leaves.

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The Steamy, humid Bathroom

Bathe in the jungle with a Pinstripe or Rattlesnake plant. Ferns are also good at pulling humidity out of the air, ensuring their survival and a slightly less muggy bathroom.  The Macho Fern in particular instantly gives any room a tropical upgrade. The only catch is that during the winter, you may have to mist these plants throughout the colder, drier months.

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Edible Herbs for a Greasy Kitchen

Ever picked up a pot of fresh herbs over the packeted-version from the supermarket, only to find them all dead within a week? Herbs are surprisingly tricky, needing a lot of sunlight, soil and water – but not too much. Some of the easier versions include French Lavender and Thyme.

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The virtually Indestructable

Having tackled the tips above, if you’re still struggling to keep something / anything alive and breathing then you need the Cockroach of all plants – The Snake Plant. They can handle droughts, cold winters, dark corners and neglect by actually wanting to dry out in-between waterings. They also oxygenate at night, which is perfect for improving room air quality while you sleep.

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You can find more ‘(almost) un-killable plant’ recommendations here – personally my favourite section of the Patch Plants site. Happy hunting!

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