Any house or office space is instantly buoyed by the introduction of a plant or two. Now that we’re ploughing into the winter months, it’s time to take a look at the plant varieties that will best add a touch of colour (and in some cases flavour) to any interior.
Many dismiss the cactus as an ugly, somewhat belligerent looking houseplant which usually sits on the windowsill collecting dust for time immemorial. But that would be to forget that these unique plants can be things of beauty too (not to mention extremely low maintenance). This time of year, the Schlumbergera (AKA the Christmas or Thanksgiving Cactus) will do wonders for any desk, what with its pretty flowers that emerge in whites, pinks, yellows, oranges, reds or purples. Buy a mixture and create a mini rainbow garden.
Not only do houseplants brighten up the room, but some can be of great practical value too. Take the chili plant, for example. Not only do the burning yellows, oranges and reds of the chillies glow like fairy lights amongst the green foliage, but you can pluck a handful off to slice over salads, perk up marinades, or pickle to go with cold meats and cheeses. This is a pot plant that will warm up your winter in more way than one!
For those who like to stick with traditional pretty petals, the flavour of the next few months is the amaryllis. This flowering South African bulb does so indoors, which is why the species is so prevalent in garden centres and flower shops at the moment. Either buy your own bulbs or get them as stems which, when placed in water, sprout into life as if by magic. Though some amaryllis blossom into a divine pinky-purple, the red “Christmas” variety is hard to beat right now.
Jewel orchid and helleborus niger
There are a number of varieties of the jewel orchid, but a handful of them – including the Ludisia discolour – shoot up into incredible spikes of white flowers that look like a sprightlier take on the snowdrop. Natural whiteness like this is infinitely better than taking to a bunch of dried up shrubbery with the spray paint! Helleborus niger – more commonly known as the Christmas Rose – is another wonderful way to introduce natural white into your indoor environment. Buy them already-flowering from the garden centre, and watch them work their charm from now, right through until spring.