The biggest indoor plant trend of 2020

Bianca Soldani

Plants; they’ve infiltrated just about every Australian home over the past few years, but we have a real problem with keeping them alive.

According to a new report commissioned by Plant Life Balance, Aussies have killed around 72 million plant babies in the past year.

But there is hope, plant-fluencers and industry experts are predicting that the biggest indoor plant trend for 2020 will be geared towards keeping our little green friends alive, with people gravitating towards low maintenance plants.

Where in previous years it’s been the Instagrammable species that have enjoyed a boom in popularity, the report - which spoke to 20 members of the nursery industry - predicts that we’ll soon be focusing our purchases on more hardy varieties that are better suited to low light conditions and neglect.

Low-maintenance indoor plants

Melbourne-based plant fanatic Jason Chongue, whose 400 house plants have been featured on both Better Homes and Gardens and Gardening Australia, recommends the indestructible dragon tree.

“They’re an incredible succulent that ranges from a few feet tall to a few metres,” he said, which means it can be a good option for people looking for a really large plant to fill a room.

Another good option is the humble rubber tree, which is super easy to care for and has dark, glossy leaves that always look amazing.

(Clockwise left to right) Philodendrons, pileas, rubber plants, dragon trees and peace lilies are all low-maintenance options. Photo: Instagram/craigmilran, leaf_supply, ivymuse_melb, helga5649, jungle_collective

In terms of climbers, philodendrons come in a range of different shapes and sizes and devil’s ivy is notoriously hard to kill.

Aloe vera and pileas are other forgiving species, and peace lilies are easy ones to keep alive in low-light conditions, and will clearly tell you when they want a drink as their leaves start to drooping.

How to keep them alive

As always, it’s important to choose a plant that will thrive in the conditions you have at home, rather than try to force a particularly trendy specimen that needs high light and regular misting for example, into a dark and dry corner of your home. 

Light levels are the most important thing to take into consideration when choosing a new baby, along with water requirements, and Jason recommends grouping plants with similar needs together.

“When clustering plants, make sure to stick to plants that require similar lighting levels,” he said.

Indoor plants have become an obsession for many Australians. Photo: Instagram/ivymuse_melb

“If you’re styling with plants that require different watering schedules, coordinate pot colours to help keep track of those that share similar requirements or simply invest in a self-watering pot - especially if you’re pressed for time.”

If you’re regularly away from home or have a busy lifestyle that hinders your ability to water regularly, take that into consideration when selecting a plant.

What are we doing wrong?

According to the report, over 40 percent of Aussies struggle to know when to water their plants, with one in five suspecting that they haven’t given their babies enough water, while 14 percent believe they’re overwatering.

Watering requirements change with the seasons, and a plant that needs a drink once in week in summer, may get by with just one or two waterings a month in winter.

An easy way to work out whether your plants need a drink is to dig your finger into the first few centimetres of the soil and see whether it’s still damp.

Some plants prefer to dry out between waterings, while others prefer to remain a little moist, but you’ll never know if it’s time to water them unless you get in there and check the soil moisture.

It’s also a good idea to get familiar with how the leaves of your plants look and feel when they’re nice and well watered, that way, if you see them drooping or feel that they’ve gone limp, it’s a good indication that it’s thirsty.

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