Fabulous Five

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Moth orchid  (Phalaenopsis)

This tropical beauty is Europe’s number one most popular houseplant. Phalaenopsis make excellent gifts, as lovely as a bouquet of flowers and so much longer lasting. They may look like they might be tricky to look after but Moth Orchids are easier to grow than you might think. The flowers will last for many months and can be induced to re-bloom within 6-8 months by simply cutting the spent flower spike just above the first strong bud (approximately 20cm above the pot) when flowering has finished.

Care Tips

  1. Grow indoors in a high light area but not in direct sunlight.
  2. Water weekly in summer, fortnightly in winter.
  3. Add fertiliser to water and pour until it just comes out the bottom of the pot.
  4. Do not allow your Orchid to stand in water.
  5. Use fertilisers at slightly lower rates than on the packet unless it is a specialty orchid feed.

ZZ plant (Zamioculcas)

Zamioculcas thrives on neglect. This striking tropical plant from Africa is the forgetful houseplant owners’ best friend as it only needs watering around once a month. With striking architectural foliage forms a spiral of glossy green fronds 60-90cm tall.  ZZ plants will remove contaminants from the air. They are generally tolerant of low light, drought and resist insect attacks.

Care Tips

  1. Prefers partial or filtered sunlight.
  2. Allow to completely dry out between waterings (once a month, less in the winter).
  3. Do not use leaf shiners as ZZ plants don’t like chemicals. A damp cloth is best.
  4. Choose a pot and mix which will be free draining. Do not over water!
  5. ZZ plants quite like to be root bound so don’t rush to re-pot them too soon.

Flamingo flower (Anthurium)

Another easy-care houseplant, Anthuriums come in a range of lovely festive colours, primarily red and white, but you will also find shades of salmon and coral and even a dark plum shade. With a little care and attention Anthuriums will reward you with flowers all year round. Cluster different varieties for an urban oasis of exotic greenery.

Care Tips

  1. Anthuriums enjoy light but need to be kept away from direct sunlight.
  2. Water weekly but allow to dry out slightly between waterings.
  3. Feed with specialised plant fertilisers at the recommended rates and frequency.
  4. Sponge the leaves with water and a damp cloth to remove dust.

Rubber plant (Ficus elastica)

Beautiful and easy care, the stately Rubber plants is a real feature indoors, and with the right conditions, will grow into a small tree. The leaves radiate from upright slender trunks, making them a designers go-to houseplant. There are a number of different Ficus to choose from, including the fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata), Ficus ‘Ruby' with variegated leaves flushed deep pink, and Ficus ‘Tineke’, similar to ‘Ruby’ but with subtler pink veining.

Care Tips

  1. Light requirement varies with the amount of variegation. More variegated types prefer a lighter position, although not direct sunlight.
  2. Maintain a slightly damp soil media and adjust to light conditions: more light means more water is needed.
  3. Feed monthly with a houseplant fertiliser to maintain best looks.

Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)

Peace lilies are graceful indoor companions, reputedly improving the air quality in the room as well as the aesthetics. With minimal care, these lovely plants will last many years and make an elegant gift, especially when presented in a beautiful decorative pot. Flowers are white, spear-shaped and mildly scented.

Care Tips

  1. Peace lilies like a well-lit, warm and draught free spot.
  2. Low light conditions will lessen flowering performance.
  3. Keep drier in winter and feed with a specialty plant food.
  4. Sponge leaves with water and a damp cloth to maintain appearance.

For more gorgeous house plants visit Gellerts.co.nz

Holiday houseplant tips

Before you go away on holiday take some simple steps to protect your plants from heat and water stress.

  • Thoroughly soak plants about a week before you leave. Submerge the pots in a sink filled with water until the bubbles stop rising.
  • Move all houseplants to a cool south facing room where they receive only indirect light.
  • The day before you go, water the plants thoroughly again.
  • If security allows, leave a window open for ventilation.
  • Water storage granules help both indoor and outdoor container plants survive summer. Poke holes a few centimetres deep in the mix and drop three or four granules into each hole. Cover them with potting mix, then water. Ideally, this should be done a few weeks before you go away.


Look for these products, tips and advice at a Go Gardening Store near you.

Feature article from Gellerts. For further information and more inspirational decorating ideas, visit www.gellerts.co.nz



Moth orchid

ZZ plant

Flamingo flower

Rubber plant

Peace lily