Urban Botanics: An Indoor Plant Guide for Modern Gardeners


Have trouble keeping house plants alive? Struggling to find your green fingers? Fear not! You can still have a beautiful plant-filled home with this stunning guide to indoor plants.

Whether you are looking to cultivate an entire indoor garden, or simply wish to know more about your single cactus, you can be sure to find the right information for you amongst the seventy-five plants in this stylish guide. And the best bit? All the plants are easy to maintain so even the most timid of gardeners can enjoy turning their hand to this green-fingered pastime.

Learn how to care for succulents, cacti, flowering and foliage plants even with a full-time job, with this unique gardening guide that is made to fit alongside our modern-day schedules. With endless inspiration to brighten up your home,desk or office, this beautiful book of plants from across the world is a must for lovers of art and design, as well as plants.

Aeonium volkerii – Tree Houseleek – Canary Islands

This houseleek forms a compact branching plant with light green, fleshy leaves that have distinctive, bright red margins. The leaves form fleshy rosettes of four to five layers.

Unlike most succulent plants, A. volkerii does not enjoy the dry desert conditions that you would expect, favouring more shady and moist conditions. During the summer months if the atmosphere is too hot and dry you may notice the leaves shrivelling, an indication that the plant is need of water. Although preferring a lightly shaded spot, some exposure to sunlight will enhance the colour of the plant, increasing the red tones on the edges of the leaves.

During the winter months this aeonium should only be watered when the soil has completely dried out. Never allow the plant to stand in water at any time of year, as it is very prone to root rot.

Repot every two years in the growing season, which is late winter or early springtime.

Haworthia margaritifera – Pearl Plant – South Africa

These small succulents are often compared to aloes, with the white tubercles covering the backs of the leaves giving a pearly appearance. Usually very small and very slow growing, haworthia is perfect as a low-maintenance plant. The pearl plant will usually flower during summer, a few weeks after the longest day of the year. However, the flowers are rather dull and insignificant, and the plants are grown for their attractive leaves. Thriving in indirect sunlight, these small and dainty plants look great grouped together with other succulents and rarely outgrow their containers so repotting is infrequently required.

Pearl plants will survive on watering once a month but will thrive if you water once every two weeks in the growing season. However, overwatering can cause root rot and can be highly detrimental. Allow the surface of the compost to dry out between waterings, and water much more sparingly in the winter months.

Cryptocereus anthonyanus – Fishbone Cactus – Mexico

An ornamental trailing cactus that comes into its own when potted in a hanging basket or left to meander off a shelf, there really is nothing else quite like the fishbone cactus. It is an epiphytic plant, and grows hanging from trees in its natural conditions. Pot the fishbone cactus in a gritty, free-draining mixture. Unlike most cacti it will thrive with summer humidity and can be grown in semi shade or full sun. Extra sun in the early spring will promote flowering.

Throughout the summer months make sure that the potting mixture is kept just damp at all times, but do not allow the pot to sit in a tray of water as this can easily bring on root rot. Through the winter months, do not allow the temperature to drop too much and keep watering to a minimum.

The fishbone cactus enjoys a small pot and should be repotted only when it has completely outgrown its current container. The pale pink, short-lived flowers will only appear on mature and root-bound plants.

Ceropegia woodii – String of Hearts – South Africa

A tube forming trailing plant with dainty dark green and lilac heart shaped leaves that cascade in pairs down the stems, the Woodii is a popular houseplant which is easy to grow and looks highly impressive in a small hanging pot or basket. Each stem can reach up to 1.2 m/4 ft long, and during the summer months you may witness the long, thin, tube like white and purple flowers emerging from the leaf nodes.

Needing at least 3 to 4 hours of direct sunlight every day in order to enhance the leaf colour, the String of Hearts will thrive hanging near a window; happy in normal room temperatures just make sure that the Ceropegia is not near a cool draught.

During the active growth and flowering season water sparingly, the Ceropegia is a succulent plant so its stores water in its leaves, during this time it will only need enough to ensure that the potting mixture is slightly damp. During the winter rest period, decrease water even more, only watering to prevent the leaves from shriveling.

Can be easily propagated at any time during its growth period, you will notice towards the ends of the stems new growth will appear, these can be easily cut off and set in a sandy potting mixture to root.

Monstera deliciosa – Swiss Cheese Plant – Southern Mexico

The unusual leaf structure of these aptly named plants is definitely part of their great appeal as house plants. The leaves are large, reaching lengths of 45 cm/18 in or more. They start off undivided in young plants, becoming cut and perforated as they develop (these type of leaves are known as fenestrate leaves). These giant plants – they can grow up to 6 m/20 ft – can become unruly and they require support in the home. A moss pole is a popular method of support; Swiss cheese plants produce aerial roots and these can be pushed into the moss, or guided back into the compost, to help hold the plant steady. Keep out of direct sun but in good, bright light, and mist the leaves occasionally if the air is dry.

Flowering is rare in the home but may occur on mature, well-grown plants. Flowers are like a white arum lily, with a central spadix or cone, which very slowly matures to an edible fruit. Monstera has many uses across the world; in Mexico they use the aerial roots for ropes and to weave baskets, and the leaf is pulped and drunk to relieve arthritis.

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