Jungle formula: easy-going houseplants | Gardening advice

T.During his week, I came across a copy of a half-century-old book on houseplants in a charity shop and was amazed at how cyclical gardening trends are often. , Brass Mister, and (rather randomly) carved up avocados proudly displayed. Throw in a cabinet of upcycled paperclip legs and a sarcastic beard and you have a gallery of millennial images everywhere. But there is one group of his classic houseplants from the 1970s that have yet to make such a big comeback, even though they are arguably the most suitable for 21st-century homes. .

This family of small, furry-leafed plants from the world’s moist rainforests are not only beautiful but also easy to care for. It does not need to spend a lot of energy, and because it grows in cool, dark rooms, it does not require energy-intensive supplemental heating or lighting. but it has many other relatives who make impressive specimens of shelving and hanging baskets in small apartments with limited space. It reminds me of a distant forest.

La vie en rose: Pink Episcia cupreata flowers are blooming. Photo: Noo Uma/Getty Images

I may be biased because I grew up with this little guy in the jungles of Southeast Asia, but aeschynanthus roncaulis It’s true beauty. It grows epiphytically, festooning large trees with large garlands of dark green leaves, marbling with pale veins and purple undersides. In summer and fall, perfectly complementary yellow-green flowers pollinated by sun birds round out the entire display. Growing from cuttings is so easy that if you have a friend who has cuttings, you can get them without paying a dime.

On the other side of the world, from the Atlantic forests of Brazil, codonante classicifoliaCascades of tiny emerald green leaves are adorned with tiny white flowers year-round to create a truly elegant effect. Lasts for months and adds to the colorful display.

finally, episia cupreatais native to Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil and creates a tapestry of soft, foliage with intricate metallic patterns in silver and copper hues on forest floors. There’s a reason the Victorians called it the “carpet plant”. Unlike the previous two, which are hanging epiphytes whose leaves hang in rapunzel-like clusters, these ground-dwellers form neat rosettes, but with long runners, much like strawberry plants. The flowers are usually bright red, but pink and white forms are available, all of which are incredibly easy to grow from seeds, leaf cuttings, and stolons. Give any of these bright, indirect lights to a pot of free-draining potting mix to mimic a woodland home and you’ll appreciate for years with a stunning display of hanging baskets.

Follow James on Twitter @Botanygeek

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