With indoor greenery so popular on social media, plant pics are a sure-fire way to get your ‘like’ count soaring. So, what are the best ways to grow and care for an on-trend, "insta-worthy" indoor plant that looks great and photographs well?
Plants that photograph well include those with interesting leaf shapes, silhouettes and colour patterns – such as variegations. Set off your plant’s natural beauty by giving it a good setting, such as arranged against a bare wall, cascading from a shelf or placed in an eye-catching container.
Caring for your photogenic plants
You might have the most gorgeous arrangement of plants in your home, but the plant variety can’t do it all. The gardener has to look after the plant so that its leaves remain healthy and not blemished or damaged. It's vital to make sure the plant is growing well, so that it looks robust and healthy at all times. This means using a good-quality indoor plant mix that drains well and doesn’t stay overly wet and soggy. Over-wet potting mix can lead to die back and leaf damage. Make sure the pot has good drainage holes in its base to avoid any build up of water around the plant roots. Even better, keep your plant in a plain plastic pot with drainage holes that slips snugly in and out of your decorative planter, and take it outside to water and drain.
Leaves that have been badly damaged or that are infected with disease can be carefully removed from the plant. A diluted dose of indoor plant fertiliser can help encourage new, problem-free growth.
Check that watering is appropriate so that your plant is not too wet or too dry. The frequency of watering for many plant varieties often varies depending on the time of the year – for example when it is hot, the plant may need more water but as the weather cools, cut back on watering. Don't forget, though, that all plants are different and you need to consider the water needs of each individual variety you have.
Light is the other important factor in the health of the plant. Most leafy indoor plants need a well-lit spot out of direct sunlight. Although they do need air circulation, indoor plants do not like to be placed in a draught or near a heater or air-conditioner. Most indoor plants love humidity, too, and will appreciate having their foliage misted with water once a week!
Regularly inspect plants to check for any sign of pests or diseases especially on the leaves, stems and trunk. Where possible, remove the insect that’s causing damage or treat the plant (take it outdoors to do this) with an organic pesticide registered for the problem that you’ve spotted such as scale, aphid or mealy bug. Also keep foliage clean and photo-ready by regularly wiping it down with a soft, damp cloth or gently washing leaves to remove dust or grime.
Plants also need to be in proportion to their container. If a plant is becoming unstable, frequently drying out or looking stressed, it may need to be re-potted into a slightly larger container with fresh potting mix.
Insta-worthy indoor plant choices
There’s always a new plant to hunt for your indoor plant collection. Here are some suggestions for indoor foliage plants that have the wow factor that you’ll want to share.
All calatheas have decorative leaves with interesting patterns – often striped and often with dark colours on the back of the leaf giving the plant a multi-coloured effect. ‘White Fusion’ is eye-catching and unusual, as it has bold white striped leaf markings with a pink-tinged colour to the underside of the leaf. It is best grown out of direct sunlight but in a bright spot.
These plants have interesting leaf shapes and colours, including green and red with many named varieties. ‘Birkin’ is an unusual variety to look out for with dark green heart-shaped leaves patterned in white. The patterning develops as the leaf ages, giving variation across the plant depending on the age of the leaves. Keep this one out of direct sun.
Dragon’s tail (Epipremnum pinnatum)
This plant has long, glossy, green, deeply-divided leaves. A natural climber, it can grow up to 2m high indoors and much higher outdoors in a warm climate. Allow the potting mix to dry out between waterings.
This is a succulent-like trailing plant that looks like coral and has a cascading growth habit. The stems are usually green, leafless and form lots of small, twiggy branches. At times the plant may be smothered in greenish-white starry flowers. This is a plant to keep dry between waterings and to grow in a well-drained potting mix. Keep it in a bright spot – which is important to encourage flowering – but out of direct sun, which can burn the stem and also lead to disfiguring fungal problems.
Peperomia polybotrya ‘Raindrop’
This popular plant has small, raindrop-shaped, shiny green leaves on long stalks. Keep this compact plant out of direct light (which could burn the leaves) and water when dry.
This eye-catching plant has variegated leaves in shades of dark, light and bright green (camouflage-like patterning which gives this variety its name). Grow it in bright light but not in direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves. Keep the leaves free of dust. Water when dry and allow the mix to drain.
Also known as elephant ears, alocasias have large, decorative leaves which range from bright greens to dark hues that can verge on black or purple. Some have fine, contrasting patterns along their leaf midrib and leaf veins. Give these clumping plants plenty of room and keep the colourful leaves clean and away from draughts.
For an instant jungle effect in your living room, grow a monstera. These dark green plants have large, plate-sized leaves patterned with holes (giving it a common name of Swiss cheese plant). They are natural climbers, so benefit from some support to enable them to grow vertically. Outdoors they grow in trees, clinging to trunks and branches, but indoors are best with bright light and occasional watering. The large leaves need to be kept free of dust. 'Thai Constellation' is a variegated variety with white-speckled leaves.
Want insta-worthy indoor plant inspo? Follow us on Instagram @flowerpowergardencentres. Don't forget to tag us in your plant pics - we'd love to see them in their new homes!