Indoor plants are a vital feature of the well-furnished hall. It is here that guests gain their first impression of the inside of your home. Beautiful leaves and flowers are an immediate indication of a well-tended house. If your hall is large, well-lit and heated in winter then you are indeed fortunate and should make the most of the opportunity. Don’t scatter a few pots about – go for the bold and the unusual.
A plant display in the bathroom is much more likely to be seen in a magazine than in the home, but with a little thought plants can always be used here to add a touch of interest or even luxury.
It is strange that so few bathrooms contain house plants. A warm bathroom with a large frosted-glass window is perhaps the best room in the house for the beautiful varieties which have come to us from humid habitats. In addition few other locations in the house need the softness and greenness of plants to reduce the hardness of their surfaces.
The kitchen is second only to the living room as the most popular place for indoor plants – more than half have at least one pot or plant trough. This popularity is not really surprising as there are several factors which make the kitchen a good place for many foliage plants and flowers. Some members of the family may spend much of the day here and the moist environment is beneficial for most plants. In addition the somewhat clinical appearance of white or pastel units, steel sinks etc can be softened and enlivened by the presence of colorful plants.
By far the most popular spot for kitchen plants is the windowsill. There is usually a hotch-potch of types – African Violets next to recently-rooted cuttings, pots of cacti next to bulbs in bowls, sickly plants taken from other rooms next to primulas and ivies.
Two sorts of Azalea are widely available as flowering pot plants. The Indian azalea (Rhododendron simsii) is by far the most popular one – the less usual type is the Japanese Azalea (Rhododendron obtusum). Both are dwarf shrubs which grow about 1-1½ ft high.
Countless Indian Azaleas are bought every year at Christmas time to provide decoration during the holiday season and into The New Year. When buying a plant pick one with a few open flowers and a mass of buds. Without correct care the flowers wilt and the leaves drop in a week or two. The secret of keeping a plant in bloom for many weeks and capable of coming back into flower the following year is to keep it wet (not just moist), distinctly cool and brightly lit. Remove faded flowers promptly.
The Plant Window – The most successful of all terraria is the plant window. It is essentially a window with an external pane or panes of glass (doubled-glazed to provide winter insulation) and an internal fully-glazed door which can be opened to get to the space within. At the base of this space is a tray filled with gravel in which the pots are housed and then hidden with damp peat.
Plant windows are a feature of many homes in Germany, Scandinavia, Holland and parts of the U.S – but are a rarity in UK houses. This type of display is generally built at the time of house construction – it is a difficult task to construct one on to an existing building.