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.

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