Lifestyle

Easy care plants for great display

Gardening columnist Chelsea van Rijn.
Gardening columnist Chelsea van Rijn. Contributed

OH MY Goodness, it's Christmas. How did that happen?

I'm sure it was only yesterday that I vacuumed up the last of last year's tinsel.

Unlike many of you I am completely unorganised at Christmas and usually spend the whole month running around like a headless chicken.

I then go into a mad cleaning rush the week before because no matter how much I clean up the house it always looks messy - hard to believe with three kids - and we always have unexpected visitors.

Being a planty person the last thing I want my visitors to see is empty pots on my patio or inside or worse still, a plant that was accidentally forgotten about and due to life getting in the way of cleaning, is still sitting next to the back door waiting to be thrown out.

So what plants do I use to plant up my house or shady patio during the silly season? Answer: Phalaenopsis and anthuriums.

Phalaenopsis are commonly known as the moth orchid. They are one of the most popular orchids with more than 60 species and hundreds of artificial hybrids.

I find them extremely easy to look after and they put on a great flower show for at least a month, sometimes two. If I'm lucky I can usually get a second flush of flowering if I trim the flower stem in the right place.

They look stunning inside and coupled with the right pot can make a feature in any room, even the bathroom. When they are finished flowering I put them outside under a shady tree.

Anthuriums are a great full shade or indoor plant. They have beautiful luscious green foliage and have incandescent flowers that are usually shades of reds and pinks.

You can sometimes get purple and white and most recently a black, but rarely are these colours available. I find many people commonly refer to them as the "red peace lily" as they have a similar flower.

The best thing about anthuriums is they flower all year and profusely flower during the warmer months.

They can be used in pots or in the ground. If growing in a pot I find they don't like to be potted into a larger pot continuously. They quite like their roots to fill the pot.

During the silly season I like to be the only one that needs a drink. I don't want to be worrying about my plants all the time. I find anthuriums and phalaenopsis don't need a lot to drink and they don't like to sit in a saucer full of water.

To keep them continually looking good and putting on a great display I also give them a good soak in a bucket once a week with my liquid fertiliser Triple Boost. After the silly season I fertilise with Organic Link to help them remain at their best.

Even if you don't usually have your house planted up, the silly season is a great excuse to shout yourself something beautiful for the home.

Remember that because anthuriums and phalaenopsis are such beautiful yet easy to care for plants they make the best present for people who have everything or for the host of Christmas parties you'll be attending.

Topics:  chelsea van rijn, gardening, opinion


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