Over the past couple of years, collecting houseplants has been a growing trend. And recently, because of the lockdowns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, this hobby bloomed in many homes. Many have said that they are finding comfort through this hobby and that the plants help alleviate their anxiety and stress during the pandemic and beyond.

PLANTDEMICMany plant enthusiasts say that surrounding their homes with greenery brightens their space and helps improve their mood and they find a sense of fulfillment and joy at having a hobby they can watch flourish before their eyes. Plus, it’s environment-friendly!

Indeed, people are now gearing towards the indoor planting craze which some have already called a Plantdemic’ — a portmanteau of ‘plant’ and ‘pandemic’.

And to help you pursue this hobby (or help you start if you haven’t yet), every week, Marhaba will share some of our favourite indoor plants that will make your home feel like a cozy and lush oasis.


PLANTDEMICCommon Name:  Poinsettia
Botanical Name: Euphorbia pulcherrima
Family: Euphorbiaceae

Poinsettia plants are often associated with Christmas. First, their red and green colour complement the festive colour schemes at this time of year. Poinsettias only flower if given certain light conditions and these are arguably more straight forward to provide as the year draws to a close.

Light: Most houseplants including the Poinsettia enjoy the weak winter sunshine. Darker areas are also okay temporarily but no longer than a few days.

Water: One of the top ways to kill a Poinsettia is by overwatering it. It doesn’t need as much water as you think and in winter the majority of houseplants need very little anyway. Wait until the top of the soil dries out before thoroughly watering again.

Humidity: Regular misting is really helpful and can keep the flowering display around for longer. Very dry areas should be avoided unless you can mist daily.

Temperature: Your plant will accept low temperatures although even exposure to a mild frost will kill it. Average consistent warmth is best when in flower, no higher than 22°C (71°F) and make sure you keep it well away from hot fires and heaters.

Fertiliser: If you’re only planning to keep your Poinsettia over Christmas or until early the following year, feeding can be skipped completely. If you plan to keep it alive for longer you should feed a few times during summer with a general fertiliser.


PLANTDEMIC

Common Name: Chinese Evergreens
Family: Araceae

Aglaonema are decorative foliage houseplants that thrive easily in most homes and workplaces. Tolerant of low light conditions and sporadic care they’re perfect plants for the beginner but remain equally attractive to experienced hands.

Light: These are perfect plants for your low, medium, or bright light locations in your homes. They’ll give a splash of greenery and thrive in spots that other houseplants will struggle with. They won’t survive in no light conditions though so don’t even think about trying it in windowless rooms!

Water: These plants like their soil to be just damp/moist. No sodden soil or allowing it to fully dry out.

Humidity: Although these are tough plants, given the choice they would prefer high humidity, but will still cope reasonably well with low humidity conditions. They won’t do well if the air in your home or workplace is very dry though.

Temperature: True to its tropical origins, these plants love it warm. In fact, they crave it. Avoid cold rooms at all costs, they want to be snug and cozy all year round.

Fertiliser: Growing and active plants will enjoy a feed every few weeks using a normal houseplant fertiliser.


PLANTDEMIC

Common Name: Molded Wax, Agave Echeveria
Botanical Name: Echeveria agavoides
Family: Crassulaceae

Echeverias have become very trendy modern indoor houseplants. Although native to semi-desert areas of Central America, Mexico and northwestern South America, they still do remarkably well as indoor plants. Like many other small succulents, it’s common to find them being grown in unusual and visually arty pots and containers. They are easy to care for, they are not high maintenance so they make excellent plants for beginners. They are also inexpensive and make great presents

The species and varieties of Echeverias are absolutely massive! The leaves come in many different colors from more plain greens to some really showy colorings. These leaves grow to form a rosette shape that hardly changes during its whole life.

Light: Window ledges are a perfect location for your Echeveria, but if going for one which has a southern exposure try and give it some shielding and if you notice any damage move it immediately. Almost all Echeveria plants love bright light with some sunlight. They struggle in low light conditions and equally with constant direct intense sunlight, especially if your watering skills aren’t up to scratch.

Water: Many succulents are adapted outdoors and used to heavy downpours and then a fairly long period before the next one. Echeverias like good deep through watering occasionally then a wait until they dry out, either mostly or completely. They aren’t cacti though, so they shouldn’t be deprived of water for excessive periods.

Humidity: Keep in mind that echeverias are not tropical plants. Their greatest weakness indoors is the lack of good regular ventilation mixed with very humid conditions. Such places will quickly increase the possibility of your plant rotting. Try to choose a location which has some natural airflow, so near a window. But be careful about trying to grow it in constantly steamy locations like a bathroom or kitchen.

Temperature: This plant adores warmth. They’ll easily cope with the hottest rooms in your home. On the other hand they can literally fall apart and turn to mush overnight if exposed to frosts or near sub-zero temperatures. To be absolutely safe, do not let the temperature ever go below 5°C (41°F).

Fertiliser: A normal liquid houseplant fertiliser that’s been diluted by half every month or every other month is OK. If you’re feeling fancy, a specially formulated Cactus / Succulent feed is the ideal choice.


PLANTDEMIC

Common Name: Lucky Bamboo
Botanical Name: Dracaena sanderiana, Dracaena braunii
Family: Asparagaceae

This is a Lucky Bamboo. As to why it was called as such, there is no well-known reason. Although they grow easily in water and the canes have a similar appearance to a real bamboo, it actually is not a bamboo and may or may not actually be lucky!

But this plant surely has fans, with its canes bending easily in different fashionable, sometimes unusual designs. You’ll often find them in unique pots and display stands. All of this together creates an eye-catching plant which is the selling point and that is what makes a Lucky Bamboo plant attractive and an idea gift or house guest.

As for the luck element, well you’ll have to buy one and test that claim for yourself!

Light: They dislike harsh sunlight and no light locations. Good growth will come from light shade. If there is too much or not enough light the leaves suffer.

Water: If growing Lucky Bamboo in water, then the roots should be submerged at all times and you will need to change the water every couple of weeks to prevent it going stagnate. Try to use either bottled mineral water, a home water filter or freshly collected rain water when possible and feasible to do so. Tap water is sometimes fluoridated (to prevent human tooth decay) and chlorinated (to purify it for use as drinking water) and this can cause damage to the plants.

If you’re growing it in soil, you should water as you would other Dracaena related plants. Which is to aim for moist conditions during the growing season and reduce the amount given in Winter.

Humidity: Average home humidity is fine for your plant.

Temperature: Good growth will result from temperatures between 16°C – 24°C (60°F – 75°F) Don’t try and grow your plant at temperatures lower than 10°C (50°F)

Fertiliser: There is no need to feed Lucky Bamboo if it’s growing in water. If you later decide to transfer it to a normal compost mix (or that’s how you are growing it anyway),feed a few times a year at normal strength.


PLANTDEMIC

Common Name: Rubber plant
Botanical Name: Ficus elastica
Family: Moraceae

The Rubber Plant could be the ideal houseplant for you if you want a tough but easy-going indoor plant that can reach staggering heights within just a few years. The shiny glossy leaves look great in most homes and although young plants start off small they will fill the space in an empty corner quickly.  But if you don’t want to grow a really tall tree-like plant indoors, the Rubber Plant’s size can be restricted to an extent with regular pruning. Although, keep in mind that these houseplants are determined to grow upwards and won’t stay small forever. Important: Mildly poisonous if ingested.

Light: Give your Rubber Plant a well-lit spot with some indirect sun if possible. The all-green types will take some shade and poorly lit spaces, but too much for too long and the plant will become lanky and spindly.

Water: The Rubber Plant loves a good soaking when growing, but dislike constantly damp roots. The best way to treat it is to water it really well once the soil surface and top inch has dried out, then wait until it dries out in the same way before watering again.

Temperature: The Rubber Plant will be quite happy to grow in a broad range of temperatures between 10-29°C (50-85°F). If you go hotter, the leaves will lose some of their turgid appearance. You can go as low as 4°C (39°F) in the winter if you have to, but your watering must be spot on. Overwatering the plant at this temperature will kill it quickly.

Humidity: You can mist the leaves from time to time when the air is very dry, but humidity levels are not something you should really worry about.

Fertiliser: To produce those massive leaves, the Rubber Plant needs feeding. Little and often is best, a weak balanced feed every couple of watering’s during Spring and Summer. If your plant is not producing new leaves, don’t feed at all.


PLANTDEMICCommon Name: Alocasia, Giant Taro, Kris Plant, Elephant Ear, African mask plant
Botanical Name: Alocasia macrorrhizos
Family: Araceae

This unusual looking houseplant will produce flowers on occasion, but it’s not brought for this reason. When it comes to an Alocasia purchase, it’s all about the unusual and unique alien-looking leaves. The impressive and stunning leaves are arrowhead or shield-shaped with large protruding white veins running through them which contrasts strongly with the rest of the dark green leaf. Alocasia can be quite difficult to keep alive as it will not accept substandard care or incorrect conditions for very long. Important: Poisonous if ingested.

Light: You must avoid both direct harsh sunlight and very dark and gloomy spots for your plant. Locations that fall between these two extremes are required.

Water: When in active growth, the compost must be kept moist at all times. That’s moist, not dry or soggy. This plant dislikes dryness at the roots, but too much water will cause the roots to rot. The tip is to water little but often. If you can, make an effort to use tepid rain water but it’s not essential.

Temperature: It needs a warm spot. No lower than 16°C (61°F) all year round. Occasional dips below this will be tolerated but longer periods will cause problems and encourage dormancy.

Humidity: Another reason for this plant failing spectacularly in a home environment is because of very dry air. It’s a tropical plant and needs reasonable, or high humidity.

Fertiliser: A weak all purpose feed once a month is more than sufficient. Don’t bother in winter unless the plant is still actively growing, i.e. new leaves are appearing. Definitely do not feed if your Alocasia enters a die back type of dormancy.


Common Name:  ZZ Plants, Zanzibar Gem, ZZ Plant, Zuzu Plant, Aroid Palm, Eternity Plant, Emerald Palm

Botanical Name: Zamioculcus Zamiifolia, Zamioculcus Zamiifolia ‘Zenzi’

Family: Araceae

This shiny and slick easy-care plant has a unique, eye-catching form and a gorgeous, dense cluster of glossy zig-zag leaves. Hence, the name ZZ. It is drought tolerant, can handle dry air, and will be happy in low-light conditions, a perfect gift for your busy but plant-loving friend. Important: Poisonous if ingested.

Light: The Zamioculcus prefers low to bright indirect light, but the brighter the indirect light, the better.
Water: Only water when the soil is completely dry. This plant will go without water for long periods of time. Don’t overwater!
Temperature: This plant is very adaptable, and will survive in temperatures from 12-29 °C (55-85 °F)
Humidity: Zamioculus is adaptable to most household humidity levels. Ideal levels are above 50%
Fertiliser: Fertilise twice during the growing season with a ½-strength diluted complete fertilizer, once in the spring and once again in the summer as these plants do not like to be fertilized often.

PLANTDEMIC

Common Name:  Golden Pothos, Money Plant, Devil’s Ivy, Devil’s Vine, Silver Vine, Taro Vine, Silver Pothos
Botanical Name:  Epipremnum Aureum, Scindapsus pictus
Family: Araceae

If you are a beginner who loves beautiful plants, but are afraid of commitment, this lush, leafy tropical evergreen is perfect for you. They also help clean the air. These indoor vines both have an unbelievable resilience and ability to grow where many houseplants cannot, like in darker corners of your home or office. They can be trained to climb up trellises and poles or can be left to dangle over the edges of tables, shelves and countertops.

Light: Pothos prefer medium to bright indirect sunlight, but can live in lower light conditions. However, the leaves will be smaller and the vines will become leggy if the light is not bright enough.

Water: Water the soil thoroughly after the soil is almost completely dry. When the leaves start wilting, it is the best time to water it. Water more often in the growing season and reduce the frequency during the winter months.

Temperature: Most average household temperatures ranges will be adequate for these indoor plants. However, if they remain in temperatures under 12°C (55°F), this will stunt their growth. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can be fatal to these tropical indoor plants.

Humidity: As with most tropical indoor plants, Pothos will benefit from higher humidity, but will do fine in average household air.

Fertiliser: This genus of plants highly benefits from regular fertilising. Use a weak solution of a complete liquid fertilizer every two weeks throughout the growing season. Do not fertilise during the winter months. Sometimes your indoor plants will grow all year long. If this is the case, fertilize them during this time with a ¼-strength diluted liquid fertilizer, or top dress the soil with worm castings or rich compost.


PLANTDEMIC

Common Name: Ceriman, Swiss Cheese Plant, Monstera, Mexican Breadfruit, Delicious Monster
Botanical name: Monstera Deliciosa
Family: Araceae

You may have seen this beauty somewhere. With its leaves making it through the fashion and design world, Monstera Deliciosa is one of the most sought after plants out there. It is surprisingly easy to care as it prefers to be left alone and it can grow even taller than humans!

As it grows, you can use stakes to support the large leaves. Keep them clean to allow photosynthesis to work its magic! If the Monstera deliciosa gets enough indirect light, it will produce fenestrations (natural holes and openings in the leaves) after the first five or six leaves have appeared. Important: Poisonous if ingested.

Light: These indoor plants can handle low light, but if you want them to grow faster and produce larger leaves, provide medium to bright indirect light. Pro-tip: Rotate your Monstera to promote a full, balanced indoor plant. Always check the leaves during your care sessions for pests and diseases.

Water: Monstera love a good soaking after the soil has almost completely dried out. Water more often during the warmer months while they are growing, and reduce watering during the winter months, letting the soil almost completely dry out between watering.

Temperature: The Monstera will grow in most household temperatures, but a temperature between 18-29°C (65-85°F) is ideal. They can survive in temperatures as low as 10°C (50°F), but the cold temperature will stop growth.

Humidity: All species in the Monstera genus benefit from higher humidity levels. The best way to increase humidity is to add a humidifier to your room. Trays filled with pebbles and water can help increase the humidity immediately around your plants, or try grouping your indoor plants closer together.

Fertiliser: This houseplant likes to be fertilised during their active growing season, so be sure to use either ¼-diluted fish emulsion with iron or ¼-diluted complete liquid fertilizer twice a month.


PLANTDEMICCommon Name: Snake plant, Mother in Laws Tongue, Saint George’s sword, Viper’s Bowstring Hemp
Botanical Name: Sansevieria trifasciata, Sansevieria cylindrica
Family: Asparagaceae

Sansevieria are considered the best air purifying plants out there because they clean formaldehyde from the air and release oxygen at night. These guys are perfect bedroom companions!

Just like Monstera, Sansevieria are also easy to care. As a succulent, the water requirement is low. They can live in the shade or bright light, they do not require much food, and humidity is never an issue. They also like to be root bound, so you do not need to repot them often. In fact, if you want to limit your Sanseviera’s growth, simply refrain from repotting altogether. Important: Poisonous if ingested.

Light: These plants will tolerate low to bright indirect light, but if you want flowering and faster growth, place them in bright indirect light.

Water: Water this plant only when the soil is completely dry. Heavy, wet soil is the Sensevieria’s biggest enemy, so use a well-draining soil when you repot

Temperature: This plant is incredibly adaptable to most temperatures. The ideal range is between 15-29°C (60-85°F). They can tolerate cooler and warmer temperature fluctuations.

Humidity: The Sansevieria can handle a wide range of humidity levels, but average household humidity is ideal for this indoor plant.

Fertiliser: Fertilise once a month during the growing season with ½-strength complete liquid fertiliser, or simply use a slow release fertilizer in the spring.

Source: planterina.com, ourhouseplants.com


Where to buy plants in Qatar:

PLANTDEMICThe Garden Centre

Google Map Location: Get it here

https://www.instagram.com/thegardencentrewll/
https://www.facebook.com/TheGardenCentreW.L.L


PLANTDEMICOrbee Al Thumama

Google Map Location: Get it here

https://www.instagram.com/orbeeplantsandflowerswll/
https://www.facebook.com/orbee123 


PLANTDEMIC

Al Istiqama Nursery

Google Map Location: Get it here

https://www.facebook.com/alistiqamanursery


Author: Weslee Dizon

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