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Seeds of success

If there’s one item that’s hot in home styling right now, it’s the humble plant. But many of us have had a rude awakening when we’ve realised caring for our new green house guests isn’t as simple as we imagined. Water it when you remember and you’re done, right? If only it were that simple.

When it comes to other home trends, such as gold tapware, it’s as easy as choosing your style, getting a plumber to install, and simply enjoying your bathroom’s chic new look. But never fear: you can still have the freshest house trend going around, with minimal fuss, if you choose the right plant.

When it comes to popularity, the eye-catching, large leaves of Fiddle-leaf fig are hard to beat. It’s one of the top-selling plants in Australia, but this fancy plant is notoriously fickle. In truth, it prefers a tropical climate outdoors, but can adapt to life indoors in indirect light, with care taken to ensure the potting mix dries out after each watering. A liquid fertiliser should be applied every month during spring and summer. If the leaves are yellow, you are probably guilty of over-watering.

If you are keen on foliage that is more easy going, it’s hard to go past the Peace Lily. The glossy-leafed plant doesn’t mind if you’re a bit forgetful. In fact, it prefers its soil to be given a chance to dry out. It’s at its happiest in bright, indirect light, but can also grow in low light. Featuring elegant white flowers, it benefits from the occasional wipe down to remove dust. It’ll pay you back the favour by cleaning your air – NASA lists it as one of the best air-purifying plants on Earth. Just be aware that rug rats or pets should never take a bite – it’s poisonous.

Another sturdy option is Devil’s Ivy. Don’t let the ominous name scare you off – this laidback plant features lovely heart-shaped leaves in colours that range from green to mottled cream and yellow, and it grows almost anywhere.

From hanging baskets, to the tricky upside-down pot, to a simple cutting in water, or a pot, it’s a fast grower that doesn’t require regular fertilising and only craves a drink once a week in the warmer months.

But are these options still too hands-on? Do you wish there was a good-looking plant that thrived on neglect? Such a specimen does actually exist. Called the Zanzibar Gem, it has thick, dark green, shiny leaves. It is cheerful in very low light (never direct sun), and only needs a little water once a month in summer. In winter, you can almost forget about it, with a drink every two months. Primed for drought conditions, it’ll just keep on growing.

Whether you are content with a little or a lot of care for your house plants, there is something out there to suit even the most brown-thumbed person. With a little thought, anyone can go green.

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