As we shift out of hibernation in 2021, we find that garden centres are beginning to open their doors, public gardens are blooming and the greengrocers are abundant with juicy produce. With all of this action happening around us, it’s easy to become inspired to spruce up your own indoor garden with beautiful houseplants! But where to start? Having been very lucky to continue working during the pandemic, I’ve been able to collect some fantastic insider info regarding houseplant trends for the year ahead. Read on to find out what they are, and feed your inspiration!
Not your average houseplants
I’ve recently bought my own house, and I’ve been filling it with some more unusual and quirky houseplants to find out what could be the next big viable trend! Houseplants in general have been a booming trend for quite a few years now, but we’ve seen lots of the same plants circulating on social media – how about something new?
My favourite houseplant and flower sources thejoyofplants.co.uk and funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk, have identified a collection of houseplants derived from the latest Horticulture Sector Trend, Crazy Illusions. This is ‘an extravagant trend that is not afraid of combining bright colours, metallic materials, circles, curves and playful objects’.
Let’s take a closer look at the plants in the collection…
Bromeliads are fun rainbow plants, with varieties of all sorts of shapes and colours. They originate from tropical America, but despite this, they’re incredibly adaptable as houseplants!
Almost 4,000 species exist in the wild – many more than the handful of bromeliads you may have seen as houseplants in shops! The Aztecs used bromeliads for food, protection and ceremonies, and the family actually includes the humble pineapple! The first species was brought to Europe in 1776 to great excitement!
The 19th century brought many new bromeliad hybrids, which means that we have a great selection to choose from today.
The bromeliad is an exceptionally long-flowering houseplant, and since it’s epiphytic in the wild (it grows on the surface of another plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water or from debris accumulating around it), it likes to be watered via the central crown. Tree frogs often like in the small watery lakes that this creates, but hopefully that won’t happen in your home!
Bromeliads pair really well with orchids, as they have similar growing requirements.
Polka dot plants
Hypoestes and Fittonia make a wonderful combo, with one plant that likes things wet and one that likes it dry!
These mosaic plants are fun, easy to grow and great for kids. Use them as an under-planting to bromeliads if you like!
The traditional polka dot plant. This likes to dry out between waterings, as it comes from Madagascar. Place you Hypoestes in half light or full light to get the best out of its colours. I first grew this plant as a kid, so it brings back lots of memories for me!
Sometimes called the nerve plant. This likes its environment to be a little bit more moist, so it’s perfect for growing in terrariums and shady spots. They originate in the tropical rain forests of South America – no surprise there, as we know they like it wet! Fittonia Plants occasionally “faint”, but they’re not being dramatic and they will bounce back once they get a bit more water!
Create a playful vibe for any room of the home!
A plant fit for a king! Also known as the Philippine Orchid, Medinilla is stylish and indulgent, even the name magnifica means magnificent! The king of Belgium used to grow it in the royal conservatories, and the bloom made its way onto a Belgian franc note.
The Medinilla is the ideal plant for drama on a side or coffee table. It needs a pedestal (literally), as the flowers hang down like crown jewels.
It has a real magazine cover vibe going on and provides instant tropical vibes for your home – are tropical plants the new staycation? The plant has an RHS AGM, which means it is tried and tested widely and much acclaimed.
Medinilla enjoys bright indirect light, so that’s somewhere like a shelf or side table, away from the window, but still well lit. Keep it well watered, but let the soil dry out slightly between waterings.
A stunning impulse purchase plant with a great legacy!
The Philodendron is a talking point plant for your home, with voluminous leaves that help it to thrive in low light levels. There’s a huge range to choose from, with the metallic variety (Silver Sword) being particularly popular right now!
This plant comes from a family of almost 500 species, many of which are still undiscovered in the wild! The name derives from Greek ‘Philo’ for ‘love’, and ‘dendron’ meaning ‘tree’.
It’s the largest leaved houseplant you can get! You’ll be an Instagram houseplant junkie before you know it. These plants are sooo collectible too!
The Philodendron is the best plant for a “jungalow” vibe indoors!
The Rhipsalis is such an on-trend cactus. But forget all you know about cacti; these are forest loving species and can cope with low light levels.
This is the perfect plant for a shelf or hanging macrame pot, allowing the mistletoe-like foliage to trail. The plant may even reward you with a surprise flower from time to time!
The only cactus that originated from the old world, Rhipsalis has its roots (pun intended) in the Caribbean and Central America. Carefree and easy going, these plants just quietly do their thing in your home!
I personally think that flowering houseplants are the next big thing – they’ve been in the shade for far too long!
The waxy blooms of Callas are long lasting and come in a range of colours. In fact, I think they’re available in every colour of the rainbow. Add to that their epic spotted foliage, and you have one awesome plant! Keep an eye out for the unique black flowered type, too…
Calla are well distributed around the world and grow on every continent, except Antarctica. The Victorian flower code (a secret language of flowers used to express one’s feelings to another person) saw calla as delivering an… ahem… overtly sexual message!
This plant loves a sunny spot indoors, and enjoys being moist. Grow as a houseplant or outside on the summer patio, or even pond-side.
Style it with the bromeliads for a colour explosion!
Most people plant one plant per pot. So far, so ordinary, and maybe even rather lonely. Combining several plants in a single planter is a fresh approach, also known as ‘companion planting’.
With companion planting, you can make the most of plants that grow well together – let your imagination run wild.
How to do companion planting
First of all, learn which plants do well together, since different plants placed together in a pot must enjoy the same growing conditions. Combining a cactus with a fern, for example, won’t work.
Once you’ve chosen your plants, find an attractive container they can all flourish in together, and get potting. Use a good quality houseplant compost, mix in some water retaining crystals, and you’re good to go! Feed during the growing season for an extra boost, and beauty!
What’s your favourite houseplant trend from this list? Let me know in the comments section below!
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook – and writes a plant-focused Substack called Grow This, Not That.