Peperomia have lovely fleshy, round leaves that may be green or coloured.
Peperomia have lovely fleshy, round leaves that may be green or coloured. iStock

Choose the indoor plants that will work for you

If you love having plants in your home or your office then you will be very pleased to know that the range of plants on offer for that purpose this season is better than it has ever been.

The old favourites like fiddle leaf figs, giant strelitzia, maiden hair ferns, dracaena and monstera have been joined by scores of others, just as lovely, and just as easy to care for. We are absolutely dazzled by choice. In the shadehouse at the nursery, I counted more than 70 different varieties of plants that can all live inside. And then there are the seasonal beauties, like hydrangeas, that can have a holiday for a few weeks inside before returning to the garden.

If you're pretty new to the indoor plant game then I'd suggest you start with some of the tried and true families like philodendrons. There are so many different varieties, all with really interesting foliage shapes and colours. Some climb, some trail, some clump, but all are easy to grow and will live happily in a pot inside.

Peperomia is another family worth looking at. These have lovely fleshy, round leaves which may be green or coloured, usually in shades of cream, pink or red. They tend to stay quite small, sometimes with a slightly clumpy or trailing habit.

Some of the less familiar plants are proving themselves to be good choices, too. One that has caught my eye is clusia rosea Princess, which grows like a little shrub, with firm, dark green leaves. It's sometimes called the Autograph Tree, because you can write on the leaves with your fingernail and the writing will remain until the leaf is shed.

So what makes a good indoor plant? Usually, they are plants that will grow happily in low-light conditions. This is usually because they form part of the understorey of a forest or jungle.

The other thing I look for in an indoor plant is growth rate - I don't like using plants that will outgrow the pot or the space too quickly. Moderate growth is good, so I can see progress, but I don't want to be repotting too often.

Most indoor plants are easy to care for. Do everything, including watering and fertilising, in moderation. And resist the urge to move them about too much. Plants adapt to certain conditions, and, if you change the conditions, especially the light level, too often, this can cause leaf drop. Find the position that suits the plant, and leave it.

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