Confessions of a houseplant virgin

Yesterday I bought my FIRST EVER houseplants. Here they are: three string of hearts and an ivy, having a drink in the kitchen before finding homes in amongst the clutter of our house.

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Ivy and string of hearts having a drink

My husband’s first words (which I had already second-guessed) were:

“Let’s see how long they take to die.”

And it’s a fair comment.

I have had plants bought for me in the past. And I killed them all.

A bonsai received in 1994 (lasted 3 weeks) proved way too needy. And somehow I even managed to kill a small cactus (lasted 2 months) in 1999.

Neglect, ignorance, and the self-defeatist belief that I’m not very green-fingered can be blamed for their demise. And for the fact that I now leave anything plant-related to my husband or my dad.

So what’s different this time?

Well, I have been well and truly inspired by the younger generation (god I sound old. But I am 40).

If you don’t already know, there’s a green army of indoor-gardening (mostly) Millennials who are filling their homes with incredible houseplants and sharing their beautiful photos on Instagram. Photos like these…

I dare you to check out @tribeandus or @stringandbloom and come out unmoved.

And it is a ‘movement’. It’s being talked about (sneered at in some cases) in the broadsheets. The Telegraph and The Washington Post, for instance, have been chatting about the trend.

And IKEA have jumped on board, collaborating with Ian Drummond on the At Home With Plants installation at this year’s RHS Chelsea (they won a silver).



IKEA/Indoor Garden Design’s silver-medal winning installation


OK, OK. I’ve just written about this for work, so I’m currently ‘in the zone’, having spent a couple of days in plant-porn heaven.

And I am well aware that I’m not a Millennial.

Nor am I a hipster.

I don’t live in a minimalist house, much as I wish I did.

And I’m not particularly good at interior design.

Plus there’s the hormone problem. Any taste I might think I have spontaneously does one at day 14 of my cycle. This is problematic as I also have an overwhelming urge to spend a lot of money on this day.

But I’m safe – it’s day 21.

My home isn’t kid-free or Insta-worthy. It’s a cluttered, unfinished, real, cosy, family home.


I’ve been reading about how plants purify the air in our homes.

How they can help us get a better night’s sleep.

I instinctively know that living with plants will make me feel happier.

And I’m not scared of them anymore.

I have learned that some varieties – string of hearts, ivy, string of beads – are really easy to keep. And I’m starting with these.

But most of all, I’m excited.

Yes, excited.

About houseplants.


String of hearts on the bookshelf – yes, I tidied up for this one

I think this is going to be my new ‘thing’.

So here’s to learning how to get green fingers.

To not killing these little beauties.

And to creating a greener, cleaner, prettier home for my gang and me.


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