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A guide to houseplants with Rooted in Scotland

Houseplants for your new home

Houseplants have risen in popularity over the last few years thanks to interiors trends and studies into the benefits of having them in our living spaces.

But where to start? As many plant owners will know, it’s difficult to keep houseplants thriving in your new home – so what’s the trick?

We spoke to Fiona McDonald, owner of local plant shop Rooted in Scotland, for a guide to houseplants.

“Not only do houseplants make us happier, they also help to purify our air. They also brighten up our homes and bring life to our spaces.

“However, if our plants are not thriving, it doesn’t make us feel so happy. One of the key things for keeping plants happy is giving them the right light.”

houseplants in your new home
Photograph: @rootedinscotland

Tropical plants

Usually larger leafed plants, tropical plants grow under the canopy of the forest so in their natural environment, they get bright, dappled light. They’ll grow well in a position of good light but out of strong, direct sun.

South-facing windows

If you’ve got south-facing windows, it’s best to place cacti and succulents within that area as the light can be too strong for leafier, tropical plants, and may scorch their leaves. A statement plant that can tolerate a south-facing spot is a Bird of Paradise plant (Strelitzia Nicolai).

Rubber plants (Ficus recurvata), Fiddle-leaf figs (Ficus lyrata), Dracaena and the Ponytail Palm, (Beuacarnea recurvata) also enjoy good light but they are best set slightly back from a south-facing window, perhaps on a table or shelving.

Lounge plants

A wonderful statement plant for a new home lounge is a palm. If you have pets at home, palms are non-toxic to pets so you can have peace of mind with them in your living space. They like a position of reasonable light but out of strong, direct south-facing light.

You might be nervous about investing in a larger, statement plant as they are more expensive but they are well-established plants so are usually quite easy to care for.

Other plants to adorn shelves in your lounge are trailing plants such as Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum), the sweetheart vine (Philodendron scandens), Hoya (Wax Flower Plant) and tropical forest succulents such as Epiphyllum and Lepismium bolivianum.

Plants in the bromeliad family are also fabulous additions bringing a pop of jungle colour and being easy to care for. The ivy is a popular plant but as it grows outdoors, it can often struggle in our homes as they tend to be too warm for it, so it’s best avoided unless you have a cooler spot.

Bedroom plants

Plants are known for being beneficial to our wellbeing – not only by bringing the outdoors in, but also for the physical benefits they can bring.

The Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sanseveria) is often called the bedroom plant as it releases oxygen into the air as you sleep. It is a desert plant but can cope with less bright situations and is super easy so is a great beginner plant. Another great bedroom plant is the Peace Lily (Spathipyllum).

Even when its flowers die back, it still looks good with its green foliage and is a great plant for letting you know when to check if they need watering, as it droops its leaves very dramatically but with a bit of water, they soon perk up.

Photograph: @rootedinscotland

Fiona adds: “I use the Peace Lily as an indicator plant – when I see its leaves drooping, I know it is time to check all my plants to see if they need water.”

Bathroom plants

Bathrooms are very often north-facing with small or no windows. All plants need light to survive, so it is best to avoid rooms with no windows.

Succulents and cacti are desert plants so need good light, so avoid keeping these in the bathroom as they aren’t fond of the humidity.

However, most tropical plants enjoy humidity so as long as you have them close to the window, you can keep most jungle plants in this space.

You may have seen recent trends about keeping eucalyptus in the bathroom, hanging it on to your shower. The steam releases the essential oils of the plant, which can help clear your sinuses and make you feel rejuvenated.

These are cuttings of the plant that are hung in the shower so will last up to around three weeks. It’s important to note that the oils from eucalyptus are poisonous to dogs, so keep out of reach of your furry friends.

Plants for beginners

If you’re just starting out on your plant ownership journey in your new home, consider getting plants like Snake Plants and Devil’s Ivy. Bringing a pop of jungle colour to your home – even better if you’re going with a deep green or neutral tones for your interiors – and do well in most places (although keep out of strong, south-facing light).

Another ideal plant for beginners is the iconic Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa) but be warned, it can grow to a monster size!

swiss cheese plant monstera deliciosa
Photograph: @rootedinscotland

Houseplant Care Instructions

So, you’ve got the plants- what next?

The most common mistake that beginners make is watering their plants too often and putting them in pots without drainage holes.

Always keep your plants in pots with drainage holes so that excess water drains away. Once you’ve found the right light situation for your plant, then only water when the top 1-2cm feels dry.

Water your plants in the morning so that they have a full day of light to trigger them to use the water. Give them a thorough water until all the soil is wet and water drains out of the drainage holes, and then don’t water again until the top soil starts to feel dry.

For more specific plant care instructions, see below:

Indoor Plant Care

Tropical Plants (usually the larger, leafy plants)

Light:  A bright spot out of direct sunlight.

Water: When the top soil starts to feel dry.  Plants use less water in winter as there is less light so they are not growing as actively as in summer so you may not have to water them as frequently as in summer. 

Water well but making sure that excess water drains away and don’t leave plants sitting in water.  Watering best done in the morning. They enjoy a misting too.

Temperature:  If you feel comfortable, then they should be comfortable too.

Feed:  Feed in the growth months from Spring to Autumn carefully following instructions.

Repotting:  Best done in Spring using houseplant soil if roots are growing out of drainage holes and into just a slightly bigger pot. Some pots like to be potbound – google has the answers.

Desert Plants: Cacti & Succulents (usually plants with fat, juicy stems and/or leaves and waxy leaves)

Light: South facing good for most – the brightest spot you can give them.

Water: When the soil is bone dry. They are semi-dormant in winter so water seldom – just a little to stop roots from drying out.  Water in the morning.  Water well but making sure that excess water drains away and don’t leave plants sitting in water.

Temperature: They can cope with lower temperatures as long as they are kept dry.

Feed:  Feed in the growth months from Spring to Autumn carefully following instructions.

Repotting:  Best done in Spring using cactus soil and in a slightly bigger pot. Cacti are usually slower growing than succulents so won’t need repotting as frequently.

A good habit is to keep an eye out for pests when watering as can be treated if caught early and rotate plants to ensure even growth.

Share your plant successes!

Thanks to Fiona at Rooted in Scotland for her very helpful guide to houseplants. We’d love to see some photos of your indoor jungles and hear of your tips – please share them with us over on the Grandhome Facebook page.

You can find Rooted in Scotland at:


Instagram: @rootedinscotland


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