Former BBC Gardeners' World presenter says houseplants need nurturing, not discarding

Gardeners need to look after houseplants and not just use them as decor and then throw them away, says gardening TV presenter and writer Alys Fowler.

Houseplants have been the big trend in gardening this year, as millennials seek to fill their flats with greenery that they can easily nurture and display online through social media sites. The old image of dusty, dying indoor plants sitting in the corner of a room is gone, reinvented as a trend that has seen a quadrupling of sales online and at retailers, including unlikely stockists such as fashion outlet Urban Outfitters.
Fowler has written Plant Love (published by Kyle Cathie) as a guide to the benefits of houseplants which gives advice about how to care for everything from succulents to cheeseplants, airplants to carnivorous plants and bromeliads to mother in law's tongue.
Indoor plants have been seen as indoor decor that aren't meant to last, but Fowler says: "I don’t think anyone is selling them as throwaway, it’s just that the public aren’t very good at re-potting and there’s a knowledge gap. Many people don’t realise that their tiny house plant wants to be a tree, so they die because they are pot bound and that’s suggests they are a bit disposable. I think orchids really suffer from that, but I think most people buy houseplants expecting them to last. I think the labels need to be a lot better though. Most of them only give the bare minimum of information."
Fowler omits the UK's bestselling houseplants - the ubiquitous orchid and the Christmas favourite poinsettia - in her book "because those really are seen as disposable plants and the emphasis of this book is about learn to love your houseplants, not throw them away. Plus, realistically if you want to teach people about orchids you’d have to dedicate half the book to the subject. Poinsettias are a seasonal and I believe the market that will buy this book won't really be into them in the first place." 
For the future, Fowler says she hopes to see more elegant pots becoming available for gardeners to buy: "I think the market for plants is doing well and there’s a healthy amount of choice around plants, but elegant, simple pots seem to be very much lacking still. That all the stuff that goes around houseplants,  attractive small watering cans, nice hooks for hanging plants, nice hanging baskets for indoors for that matter too. No one really wants to hang their great looking plants in a naff plastic pot." 
She's also keen for peat-free houseplant compost to become more widely available and says there could be an opportunity for growers who have heated glasshouses to grow more houseplants in the UK.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Choosing the right plant, correct planting procedure and best aftercare are the three basic rules for sucessful tree planting, Sally Drury explains.

Tree planting - what are the benefits of planting trees?

Tree planting - what are the benefits of planting trees?

Mitigating climate change, providing windbreaks and reducing the risk of soil erosion are some of the best reasons for planting trees, says Sally Drury.

Tree and shrubs - nursery market

Tree and shrubs - nursery market

Growers are more optimistic now that garden designers and landscape architects are seeking more mature trees and shrubs, writes Sally Drury.


Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Viewing top-quality plants, both growing and on sale, always gives me pleasure.

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Welcome to this bumper 72-page July edition of Horticulture Week magazine, packed with exclusive analysis, insight and expert advice on the biggest issues impacting all sectors of the UK horticulture industry right now.

Edwards: Will a weak pound and tariffs on imported stock be good for UK nursery production?

Edwards: Will a weak pound and tariffs on imported stock be good for UK nursery production?

At the time of writing - a few days after the general election - sterling has weakened and we still have no idea of what Brexit means.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production
 

Read Tim Edwards

Ornamentals ranking

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Tough retail pricing policies and Brexit opportunities drive the top 30 growth strategies.

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world
 

Read more Peter Seabrook articles