Best Indoor Plants NZ - Which Plants Grow Well in New Zealand?
A good friend and fellow house plant lover reminded me that there "is no such thing as an indoor plant". He's right. Plants aren't designed for growing indoors. Their natural habitat is not a living room or bathroom. The plants that become popular as house plants are those that are used to warm, tropical conditions and low light (and they look good!). This means they are suitable for growing indoors.
With this in mind, it is possible to grow almost any house plant indoors in New Zealand, if you create the right conditions. However, if you are after an easy job growing or keeping your house plant alive, consider the natural state of your house and which plants will do well is important.
Before we get into which plants are best suited for your home, here's a very brief history of the origin of house plants.
The natural habitat of house plants
Most house plants are evergreen species, which means they keep their leaves all year round, adapted to survive in a tropical climate. They grow naturally in tropical rainforests when the length of the day is constantly around twelve hours and precipitation is consistent throughout the year.
The variation in the needs of different house plants is because different species have developed to grow at different altitudes and in different lighting conditions.
Plants that, in their natural environment, grow close to the ground require less light. Plants that are climbers or epiphytically growing species - meaning they grow on another plant and depend on it for support but not food - require more light.
When it comes to their needs, not all house plants are equal. This is why it is important to understand the needs of the house plant you are considering, including how much light, humidity and the level of watering they require.
With this in mind, let's now turn our focus to helping you work out which is the best indoor plant for you, considering your home.
The best indoor plants for New Zealand homes
The types of plants that you can maintain will depend on where in the country you are in general, and more specifically the conditions of your house and the spot you intend to put the house plant.
Because most house plants like warm, humid environments, they will grow better in the upper North Island, from Auckland upward. This is particularly true during summer as Auckland is characterised by characterized by warm, humid summers.
The winters can be more challenging. Unlike tropical climates which are warm and light all year round, New Zealand's winters get cold. This can be hard on house plants.
There are some easy actions that you can take to keep your house plant happy during winter, such as putting them in a spot that gets a high level of indirect sunlight and watering them less. Other actions that take more effort, but will help your house plant in good condition, includes keeping the room warm, regular misting and other humidity creating techniques, such as using pebble trays.
However, if you want an easy low maintenance option, you are best to choose a house plant that will be resilient to New Zealand winters.
Here are our top picks for the easiest plants to keep alive in a New Zealand Winter:
The peace lily can survive in low sunlight and is not as sensitive to humidity as other plants. In winter they only need to be watered every 7-10 days. You can tell when a peace lily needs water because the leaves will droop. They will quickly perk up with watering.
The Dumb Cane is a hardy house plant and one of the easier to grow. It will keep growing through winter. Although it will do best in higher indirect sunlight. it does not need much sunlight to survive.
Note, that the dumbcane is toxic, causing swelling of the throat and skin irritation, and more. So you must be cautious when you are pruning it. It's might not be the right plant for you if you have children or pets at risk of eating the plant.
This is an easy to care for house plant that is popular because of its stunning leaves.
Calatheas will grow well in low light environments but grow better in medium to bright light. They don't need much water during winter, around once per week. Do not overwater so as to make the soil too moist - it should not sit in soggy soil.
Humidity can be an issue. If your Calathea Medallion's leaves begin to curl up or turn brown, mist them with warm water on a regular basis or use a pebble tray.
The house plants mentioned above are the easiest species of house plant that we currently have in stock. They don't require much effort to keep alive. If you are attentive and prepared to put a little time and effort into caring for your house plants, especially during the winter, you should be able to keep any of the house plants we have in stock alive throughout a New Zealand winter. It will mean putting them in the right spot in the house and ensuring temperature and humidity levels are managed.
You'll find care instructions on the product pages of each of our plants and additional information in our blogs.
Happy house plant caring!