Call us now on

0800 201 4811

Return of the Spider Plant

Mark Gale

Mark Gale

Author

Lifestyle

Remember when trailing greenery hung from macramé pot holders in every bay window in the country? Well, the good news is house plants are back in vogue. Here’s how to make the most of them

Remember those glossy cheese plants and prolific spider plants of the 1970s? No stylish home was complete without them. Now, after decades of fresh flowers and streamlined minimalism, house plants are back in fashion. Millennials and hipsters can’t get enough of them. Fiddle-leaf fig trees are trending on Instagram, and there’s even an indoor plant shop in Brighton called Spiderplant.

It’s a welcome return. Adding greenery is an easy way to personalise your home. There are other bonuses, too. The health benefits of indoor plants are well established, both physical, improving air quality to help breathing, and psychological, reducing stress and improving moods. Research has even shown people are quicker at computer tasks in rooms with plants. 

And if you’ve recently moved house and no longer have a garden, bringing the outside in with a beautiful new palm or a spectacular fern will give your green fingers something to nurture.

Growing house plants also gives you the chance to make a style statement with contemporary containers. In the 1970s, your spider plants would have nestled in a macramé holder hanging from the ceiling (yes, macramé is back, too), but now your plants could look fantastic in sleek aluminium or zinc pots or industrial-chic concrete containers.

‘House plants look good clustered together in the corner of a room or next to a fireplace,’ says gardening author Stephanie Donaldson, whose blog, The Enduring Gardener, has a keen following. ‘Choose plants with leaves of different shapes and sizes, combining one large plant with two or three smaller ones. They’ll create their own humid micro-climate and keep each other healthy.’

Alice Sharville, owner of Spiderplant, recommends a large floor-standing plant to give a room the wow factor. ‘You can make a big impact by spending £50 on a mature cheese plant or philodendron. Mature plants are also easier to look after as they’re well established.’

One plant species that’s had a massive resurgence is the cactus. ‘Cacti are all over social media,’ says Alice. ‘To make your home individual, choose a statement Euphorbia ingens – the cowboy cactus – or one of the blue cacti, which are popular now. They’ll look great with smaller cacti.’

Their popularity is partly due to their easy-going nature. Cacti need little care, so appeal to people who go away a lot. They need watering only once a week in summer and hardly at all in winter. They like light but need to dry out in between watering. And since they release oxygen at night, they’re ideal for a bedroom.       

Most house plants need plenty of light to thrive, so McCarthy & Stone apartments with large windows or balconies suit them well. Remember that the direction your windows face can affect how happy your plants will be. South-facing windows can mean too much direct sunlight in summer, which can scorch those shiny leaves. ‘For a south-facing window, choose a cactus, yucca or bird of paradise, which don’t mind the heat,’ says Alice. ‘East- and west-facing windows should be fine for most plants, and north-facing, too, if there’s good light.’

Plants vary in their need for water. If in doubt, under-water rather than over-water. Wilting through a lack of water is reversible; root rot caused by waterlogging may not be.     

Hanging and trailing plants are also in vogue. ‘If you don’t want to take up floor space, these are a great way to bring greenery into your home,’ says Alice. ‘Place them in corners, near windows or on shelving units.’

Good plants for trailing include the spider plant; rhipsalis, which has pencil-thin stems like green hair; heart-leaf philodendron; and Ceropegia woodii, with heart-shaped leaves that grow in a string like a natural necklace.

Finally, let’s not forget the dual pleasures of growing plants on a sunny kitchen windowsill to spice up your cooking. ‘Chilli plants are so easy to grow from seed,’ says Stephanie. And the bright red peppers against the dark green leaves is a sight to savour.  

Need more inspiration?

Check out these Instagram pages:

Which to choose? 

Spider plants are among the easiest, and fastest, indoor plants to grow. Their long, curved ‘spider leg’ leaves make them ideal hanging plants and they don’t need much light, so you can put them almost anywhere.  

Ferns have had a major comeback in 2017. The Boston fern is one of the easiest to grow, and its graceful arching fronds look good in a hanging container. The delicate maidenhair fern is pretty but craves humidity, so is best in bathrooms or on kitchen windowsills.

Mother-in-law’s tongue is a vigorous and very low-maintenance succulent with erect, sword-like leaves. 

Monstera obliqua is an unusual relative of the cheese plant, with heart-shaped leaves dotted with oval holes. It’s fast-growing and works as a hanging plant, or you can grow it up a pole.

Air plants (Tillandsia) are small plants with curving, tendril-like leaves that don’t have conventional roots but produce a small root system to anchor themselves onto rocks and trees. They absorb water and nutrients directly from the air. They look attractive and unusual hanging in wire baskets.

Banana trees have architectural leaves, and the smaller versions can make striking house plants. They like warmth, light and water, but don’t expect any fruit – just enjoy them for their dramatic good looks.

Image credits: Gap Photos, Getty, iStock

Like this article? Subscribe to receive updates...
Subscribe to receive notifications when we post new articles to our online magazine.
By subscribing to these updates you’re agreeing to receive email updates when new articles are published to the McCarthy & Stone online magazine.
We’ll never send you spam or sell your details. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Related Articles

Lifestyle

Sheffield – The Steel Centre of the World

Famed for its industry and innovation, the green, modern cityscape now replaces the smoking chimneys from the industrial revolution. There’s a friendly, independent and alternative spirit that can be hard to find in other cities alongside a thriving cultural scene. ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Top 11 British Hidden Gems

Where are the best locations in the UK to visit... that you've probably not heard of? We've ranked the best hidden gems around Britain, that are easy to access, and offer a great weekend away with the family. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Do Pets Make You Happier?

Whether you're a pet owner or have a pet free home, animals of all kinds have been proven to improve the happiness of their human counterparts. To find out more McCarthy & Stone conducted a survey to see how pets enrich their owners lives. Here are the results! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Let’s Dance 

It’s sociable and fun, and it’s good for your health and your brain – time to put on your dancing shoes  ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Thought Behind Your Home

Prospective homeowners will be delighted to know all aspects of their new living space – including the communal areas – have been considered during the design process, helping to make their lives more comfortable and a little easier  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Making your memories last forever

It’s never been easier to keep your most precious memories alive. From personalised photo albums and keepsakes to specially commissioned biographies and films, there are many ways to create a very special legacy – and have a lot of fun while you’re doing it. Here are a few ideas to inspire you  ...Read more

Lifestyle

5 Recipes For A Royal Wedding

We look into the perfect recipes to pair with a royal wedding. We've picked out the most delicious, as well as the quintessentially British for the special occasion! ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Best Golf Courses in the UK

Now is a great opportunity to get out on the fairway and get practising. We've looked into some of the best golf courses in the UK, including golf courses in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to get you ready and eager to tee off this spring and summer. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Small is Beautiful - Balcony Gardening

Creating a beautiful outdoor space on a balcony can bring a lot of pleasure to you and your visitors for minimum effort. Balcony gardening offers the joy of plants but without the work that usually goes with a garden – you shouldn’t have to do much weeding for a start, you won’t get slugs, and there’s no lawn to worry about! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Advice For Low Maintenance Gardening

Let’s be honest, we’d all love a gorgeous garden that would blossom with just the wave of a weed-wand. But I can’t be the only one who finds that a few minutes pottering turns into hours of pruning, trimming and raking at times.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Great British Outdoor Experiences the Whole Family Can Enjoy

Finding an activity that the whole family can enjoy together can sometimes feel like a tall order, especially amongst the hectic schedules of our day to day lives. However, spending time together in the great outdoors is the perfect way to leave behind those digital distractions and create some precious family memories that will last a lifetime. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Inspirational Retirement Stories

You may wonder just how you will spend your retirement or worry that you will not find enough activities to fill your time. This can be far from the truth, these active retirees share their inspirational retirement stories  ...Read more

Lifestyle

How Do You Want To Live Your Life?

Enjoying a fulfilling retirement isn’t just about where you live. How you live plays an equally important role when it comes to getting the most out of what ought to be an extremely rewarding time of life.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Dating for over 50s: how to find love in later life

Love in later life can seem daunting. If you’ve been married for some years and are recently divorced or widowed, looking for love is a whole lot different today than it was back when you were young. But that’s no reason to be put off – you’re never too old to fall in love! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Behind the Scenes

There’s a vast team working all year round at McCarthy & Stone to make sure that every homeowner in every development receives the best of the best. Here we talk to three of them… ...Read more

Lifestyle

How we help every step of the way

McCarthy & Stone knows that communication is key when it comes to making a decision as big as moving into a retirement development, which is why it has staff ready to talk through the process, says Rachel Halliwell ...Read more

Lifestyle

Inspirational Generation

Are you member of the Inspirational Generation? We want to hear your stories. Enter our competition and tell us why - you could be in with the chance of winning £2,000! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Starting a new chapter in your life

Many people feel apprehensive about selling their family home, says Rachel Halliwell. Yet McCarthy & Stone managers see the worry and weight being lifted from the shoulders of homeowners once they move in. It’s like being on a permanent luxury holiday, said one ...Read more

Lifestyle

What we don't miss about being younger

The study by leading retirement housebuilder, McCarthy and Stone, reveals sitting exams, enduring the daily commute and the stress of running a family, are among some of the things the older generation DO NOT miss about being younger. ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Teams Behind the Scenes

McCarthy & Stone has a vast team working round the clock to make sure that every homeowner in every development receives the best of the best. Here, we talk to three of the key players...

...Read more

Lifestyle

Behind the scenes: Interior design

A lot of work and careful planning goes into creating the beautiful interiors of a McCarthy & Stone development. Interior designer Hannah Gernon explains how she arrives at the finished results ...Read more

Lifestyle

Childhood memories at Waverley House

Mary Kent lived at the first McCarthy & Stone Development to be built, Waverley House in New Milton. Here, her granddaughter Tania Harland shares wonderful childhood memories of spending time there, which inspired her to work for McCarthy & Stone when a job opportunity came up 10 years ago. ...Read more

Lifestyle

5 gardening tools for the elderly

Whether you've been a gardening enthusiast for years or only recently discovered the joys of green fingers, getting your hands dirty in the garden can become more difficult in later life. We look at tools that can make this hobby easier. ...Read more

Lifestyle

GrandFest

Come to GrandFest and join us throughout June and July for a celebration of heritage skills in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service. ...Read more

Lifestyle

A Date To Remember: 1977

It was a year of social unrest, high inflation, patriotism and punk rock. It was also the year that John McCarthy and Bill Stone built their first retirement apartments. As McCarthy & Stone celebrates its 40th anniversary, we take a look back at the highs and lows of 1977. ...Read more

Lifestyle

40 Years On...

Celebrate 40 years of retirement living solutions with McCarthy & Stone. Discover how we are commemorating this special event here! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Finding Love In Later Life

They'd both lost their partners 9 years ago and moved to a McCarthy & Stone development, but little did Ann and Robin know they were about to start something very special...

...Read more

Lifestyle

Frontline Extra

We are excited about the next few months! Mother’s Day, the feel good movie of the year could well be perfect for your mom this Mother's Day! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Finding love

Meeting someone new in later life, for companionship and love, can seem impossible, but these couples show that it can happen! ...Read more