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.
It is also the place for herbs – parsley, chives, basil etc and even for miniature fruits such as miniature tomatoes.
The windowsill in front of the sink is a good environment in many ways – you cannot help but keep an eye on the plants when working at the sink, water is readily to hand and so is the equipment for feeding, polishing and removing dead foliage and flowers. In addition this part of the kitchen generally has the moistest air and the light is usually good. Still, there are points to watch. Splashing foliage with hot soapy water can be troublesome and an untidy jungle can spoil the view and make the kitchen rather dark.
Natural gas is not a danger to plants but kitchens can be an undesirable residence for some plants with a delicate constitution. Draughts occur as a result of the opening and closing of outside doors and there are hot spots around cookers, toasters, refrigerators etc. The best plan is to choose colorful workaday plants rather than expensive temperamental ones. Good examples include Begonia, Impatients, Scindapsus, Zebrina, Hypoestes, Pelargonium and garden bulbs. Although the plants may not be unusual the pot holders can be – teapots, terracotta jars, brass kettles etc.
The kitchen is a busy place and plants must be kept out of the way – they must never block free passage between one work area and another. The bold specimen plants such as a weeping fig is fine, but only if you really do have the floor space. Space on work surfaces is usually (but not always) too limited to devote to plants. It is generally better to put pots on shelves or in wall containers. Hanging baskets are attractive, but they must be out of the line of traffic. Big or small, there is always room for at least one house plant in any kitchen.