We all like to kid ourselves that we painstakingly prepare the most Instagram-able meals to eat in our perfectly curated and spotlessly clean apartments… The truth is though we live in crummy little over-priced flats and live, for the most part, off microwave ready meals or takeaway orders that arrive via the latest ethically-questionable phone app.
Because who has time, right? We work so hard, we play so hard - who has the time it takes to make one’s own stock or rearrange their paperback books by spine colour? We thought we’d help you out with one aspect of your Perfect London Life that can bring real joy to your home environment without needless exertion. Below are five plants that are either more straightforward to care for than their reputations would have you believe, or just plain straight forward. Get these flourishing and before you know it you’ll be racking up likes that don’t leave you with the nagging guilt surely experienced by all social media fraudsters…
These plants don’t rely on flowers to catch the eye, the distinctive patterning of their leaves bring a vibe way less obnoxious than all the petals in the world. They’re often referred to as Peacock Plants, Zebra Plants or Rattlesnake Plants for the way their markings mimic those from the animal kingdom.
The Calathea requires straightforward care, though it has to be regular as long periods without attention are gonna leave you with a distinctly sorry looking pile of leaves… Make sure you keep it out of direct sunlight to avoid it losing its markings, give it a spray with the ol’ mist-er whenever you can and water regularly with small amounts so that it is always moist without being overly wet.
These South American beauties bloom with distinctively shaped flowers in shades of red, orange and yellows. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to tell you which aquatic creature they’re supposedly said to resemble…
People often assume tropical climates mean high levels of heat, but actually your Goldfish plant will be fine in a well-lit room of regular-ish room temperature (between 18-24 degrees). Make sure they’re planted in a light, coarse medium that doesn’t hold water for overly long periods and remember to give them a quick misting on your way out of the door each morning.
These distinctive, fleshy succulents are said to be symbols of good luck, and can flourish under the care of even the least-green-fingered out there. Plant them in cactus soil mixed with a touch of organic matter and place them somewhere they’re likely to get around four hours of direct sunlight a day (though you can get varieties that are fine with indirect light). Keep them moist with regular watering during the summer months when they are growing and reduce during the winter. Jade plants do have a habit of getting dusty but all you need to do is give them a quick wipe down with a damp cloth.
String Of Pearls Plant
These delicate yet eye-catching succulents are actually vigorous growers and make for a great hanging basket plant. Average to dry room humidity is fine for these, and make sure you never let the soil get soggy. Give them a cool rest in winter with cut back watering and you might be lucky enough to bear witness to some flowering in the spring - small clusters of white petal-trumpets with colourful stamen can potentially burst forth from the trails of ‘pearls’.
Dramatic Dracaena can grow up to six feet in height, bursting forth with long, strappy leaves. Its undemanding nature in return for a pretty impressive visual pay-off ensure its place on any list that dares to include compounds such as ‘easy-care’ and ‘eye-catchers’…
Like the Goldfish plant, it needs a light home of between about 18 and 24 degrees - too light though and you’ll start to see brown tips on the leaves. Not enough light and they’ll turn pale so adjust accordingly if you begin to experience either. Don’t leave them swimming in water ever - water when dry but remove any excess that drains through the bottom of the pot. As with the Jade plant, you can remove any dust with a damp cloth. This helps free up the pores in the leaves and can also help avoid spider mites.