The Best Indoor Plants You’ll Ever Grow To Spruce Up Your Home
From the fabulous frilly to desktop companions, these easy care plants will bring your interiors to life
From the fabulous frilly to desktop companions, these easy care plants will bring your interiors to life
We want plants, we love plants – but which plants will love us back? Here are the top 15 plants that will live happily in your home with the minimal amount of care. Some new wave, some old school, but all worth the effort.
Let’s start with the big guy of indoor plants, the big leafed Monstera. The easiest and least demanding of house plants that will give you the biggest bang for your buck. If you enjoy watching a slow reveal, buy a baby one, and watch as the leaves unfurl, eventually growing as big as 30cm. Bright light is good, but not vital. Water when dry – how easy is that?
A long loved and robust fern that is coming back into vogue. Either in a stand, or hanging in a basket the ‘sword’ fern does require good watering (so hanging one high might be a pain in the neck), and thrives with a dose of liquid fertiliser, and the occasional spritz of water. They love light, but don’t let them get sunburnt. A super happy one can grow over a metre wide.
For absolute drama folks are looking to the black velvet plant – which looks especially stunning in a grey pot. It’s all about the leaves, so position in indirect light – but don’t miss out on a spotlight at night. New leaves start out green, and turn ‘black’ as they slowly mature, in direct contrast to white veins. A showpiece plant that can be a bit moody.
Here is a vintage look that is coming back to us. The architectural shape of the stiff and fleshy variegated leaves offer a real statement to any décor. Plus, they are as tough as old boots and can be positioned in any indoor light situation and while they might occasionally sprout a small white flower or two, the metre long leaves are the star attraction.
For a true mid-century look, you can’t go past a rubber tree, once the décor partner of starburst wall clocks and Parker lounge sets. Position it near a sunny window, and let it dry out between waterings. Pruning will lead to a bushier plant – and off cuts often survive as new plants relatively easily.
For some reason these plants are always highly priced, when in fact they grow easily from cuttings. Go figure. However, these plants are vines that are born to run, and with little help will do just that, showing off shiny, heart shaped leaves on fleshy stems. The brighter the position, the more verdant the growth – but they can take a little shade. Prune for a bushy response, or even train up a wall trellis.
With all this leafy talk, it’s nice to look at the virginal white petals of the verdant Peace Lily.
These guys will live for years, despite casual care. No fan of direct sun, but happy to be in a bright spot, they let you know if they’re very thirsty by wilting at the speed of light. Can live for years, and enjoy being repotted – and may be split into two plants (or more) if you’re brave.
Those chubby little succulent leaves are just the ticket for a hardy indoor plant. They do grow relatively fast, especially when happy. The weak spot is root rot – so do not show your love by overwatering. They are sun loving, and the more the better, and fit happily into a small container – they look 100 per cent better in a contemporary pot with white gravel as mulch. Fun fact: broken off leaves will grow a whole new plant if laid in moist soil.
Fabulous muted blue/green fronds in irregular shapes makes this new indoor plant a very cool customer. It’s a goody for the bathroom as it tolerates lowish light and looks divine against white tile. Interestingly it’s an epiphyte and naturally grows on trees in the forest, so a standard potting mix won’t cut it. If you’re repotting, try an orchid mix.
Is it possible to be sick of a plant? This one has been the poster child for contemporary design for a decade – it’s a good-looking plant when treated well. So many were bought for instant effect and then abandoned like a cold chai latte, they have a bad rep. When thriving you can’t beat their deep green, big, glossy leaves. Fiddles play well with others – so if you can afford it, get a few together so they ‘self humidify’ . Position in lots of bright light, but out of drafts.
If a plant could be described as a babbling brook, this would be it. Masses of dainty leaflets, cute curly fronds, dense foliage – ideal. Kept away from drafts, out of direct sun, but well humidified (a spritz a day keeps the brown leaves away), they can grow to be, frankly, enormous. And like any true beauty, they look good dressed in any sort of pot. Good news is, if you think you killed it – just cut it back to the ground and put it in the shade – voila! It will come back.
Of all the indoor plants that give a huge performance, you really can’t top the Cyclamen when she’s in bud and bloom. Surrounded by pretty variegated leaves, the sturdy spires pop up in Autumn and winter with masses of flowers. They don’t like being in a hot room, and prefer being watered by drawing water from a shallow tray. They don’t last forever, but they give it heaps while they’re here.
Yes, the fragrant and tasty basil can thrive on a sunny window sill, and you get to show off by snipping the odd leaf and adding it to your focaccia – or if things are going really well, your own pesto. It grows like mad, and needs to be kept moist but after that, she’ll just keep on giving.
Odd, sure, but moss is a green miracle and quite mesmeric. You can find moss (or similar) at aquarium shops, then add gravel and stones and soil in a terrarium sort of container – but the lid does not have to be perfect, and huzzah! Your own Zen world. Once it gets going, it really is a matter of spraying with water and offering it a couple of hours of morning light. Very cool.
So many to choose from! Dramatic, exquisite, statuesque – orchids are truly stunning if you are up for the challenge. Yes, this is supposed to be about really easy plants, but SOME people think an established orchid is just that. Again, light but not sun, proper orchid fertiliser, don’t spritz the blooms, but do take the time to learn all about them It’s worth it.
This will depend on what you value but for their beautiful flowers and trailing habit, it’s hard to go past the orchid family. Whether it’s the robust cymbidium varieties, the delicate moth or the stunning Sydney rock orchid, these stunning plants make a gorgeous display – and last a whole lot longer than cut flowers.
Since NASA published a study in 1989 on the effectiveness of indoor plants as air purifiers, there’s been discussion about which plants work best. Sadly, their ability to remove toxins has been overstated, but there are still plants that will benefit to your indoor air quality such the hardy Peace Lily, the Spider Plant, Mother-in-law’s Tongue and Devil’s Ivy.
This will depend on many factors, including how much time you spend at home, whether you have pets and how experienced you are at gardening but tough species such as Devil’s Ivy, Peace Lily, Rubber Plant and Monstera is a good place to start.
All plants require some maintenance but more die from over watering than they do from too little care. Go for Peace Lilies, Spider Plants, Jade Plants and cacti for easy care, low maintenance plants.
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Passwords aren’t enough to fend off hackers; these dongles are the best defense
Strong passwords are very important, but they’re not enough to protect you from cybercriminals.
Passwords can be leaked or guessed. The key to online security is protecting your account with a strong secondary measure, typically a single-use code. This is referred to as “two-factor authentication,” or 2FA, as the nerds know it.
I’ve written about all the different types of 2FA, such as getting those codes sent via text message or generated in an authenticator app. Having any kind of second factor is better than none at all, but physical security keys—little dongles that you plug into a USB port or tap on your phone during account logins—offer the highest level of protection.
Security keys have been around for over a decade, but now they’re in the spotlight: Apple recently introduced support for them as an optional, added protection for Apple ID accounts. Last month, Twitter removed text-message-based authentication as an option for nonpaying users, recommending instead an authenticator app or security key.
Some people are hesitant to use security keys because carrying around a physical object seems burdensome and they come with a $30-and-up added cost. Plus, what happens if they get lost?
I’ve used security keys since 2016 and think they are actually easier to manage than codes—especially with accounts that don’t require frequent logins. They’re not only convenient, but they can’t be copied or faked by hackers, so they’re safer, too.
Here’s how to weigh the benefits and common concerns of adding one or two of these to your keychain.
Many internet services support the use of security keys, and you can use the same security key to unlock accounts on many different services. I recommend two from industry leader Yubico:
Other options include Google’s Titan security keys ($30 and up). In addition to working with laptops and tablets with USB ports, these keys are compatible with smartphones that have NFC wireless. Most smartphones these days have that, since it’s the technology behind wireless payments such as Apple Pay.
Adam Marrè, chief information security officer at cybersecurity firm Arctic Wolf, recommends that your chosen key is certified by the FIDO Alliance, which governs the standards of these devices.
To add a key, look in the security settings of your major accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.). During setup, it will prompt you to insert the key into your laptop or tablet’s port or hold the key close to your phone for wireless contact.
Apple requires you to add two security keys to your Apple ID account, in case you lose one.
Typically, when you log in, you just go to the app or website where you’ve set up a key, enter your username and password as usual, then once again insert the key into the device or hold it close. (Some keys have a metal tab you have to press to activate.) At that point, the service should let you right in.
Getting those two-factor login codes via text message is convenient, but if you are someone criminals are targeting, you could be the victim of SIM swapping. That’s where thieves convince carriers to port your number to a new phone in their possession, and they use it along with your stolen password to hack your accounts.
Even if they don’t go to all that trouble, criminals might try to trick you to hand them your codes, by calling you or spoofing a website you typically visit. At that point they can use the code for about 60 seconds to try to break in, said Ryan Noon, chief executive at security firm Material Security.
Security keys protect you in two ways: First, there’s no code to steal, and second, they use a security protocol to verify the website’s domain during login, so they won’t work on fake sites.
You can also add an authenticator app such as Authy to your most important accounts, to use only as a backup. But once you add these secure methods, you should consider removing the text-message code option.
In the rare case that someone snoops your passcode then steals your iPhone, beware: The perpetrator could still make Apple ID account changes using only the passcode, and even remove security keys from your account.
The most important rule of security keys is to buy an extra one (or two).
“Think of your security key as you would a house or car key,” said Derek Hanson, Yubico’s vice president of solutions architecture. “It’s always recommended that you have a spare.”
If you lose a security key, remove it from your accounts immediately. You should have already registered your spare or an authenticator app as a backup to use in the meantime.
Start with your most valuable accounts: Google, Apple, Microsoft, your password manager, your social–media accounts and your government accounts.
When it comes to financial institutions, many banks don’t offer security-key protection as an option, though most leading crypto exchanges do.
Security professionals and tech companies widely agree that passkeys are the future. They’re a new type of software option that combines the high security of a physical key with the convenience of biometrics such as your face or fingerprints. Passkeys are supported across the Android, iOS, Mac and Windows platforms, and some of your favourite sites already let you use them.
You can create a passkey on Facebook in security settings by following the app’s instructions under the security-key option. Dropbox has a similar passkey setup. Once you’re done, you’ll use your face or fingerprint as a second factor, instead of a code or key.
Eventually, physical security keys could be what we keep safe in strong boxes, as backups for our biometric-enabled passkeys. Even then, you’re probably going to want to have spares.
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