Mad About … House Plants

I have always loved houseplants. I carted a rather large ficus around several houses, waiting patiently while it shed its leaves in protest at each move and willing it to become green again.

indoor plants from
indoor plants from

Sadly after about ten years it finally gave up the ghost and had to be retired to the compost at the bottom of the garden. It has never been replaced. Until now. Well, that’s a slight exaggeration. I haven’t replaced it yet but I am about to. Come September, come the gigantic house plant in the kitchen. I’ll show you when I’ve got it.

white office green plants from remodelista
image from remodelista

House plants have had a bad rap for a while now and I still have no idea what happened to make them so unpopular. After all, they are green, literally, are supposed to absorb carbon dioxide and negate the effect of us living in such proximity to our computers.

big-tree-home-houseplant from

Finally, though, I think they are beginning to be rehabiliitated. I wrote recently about the joys of using black paint in the home and pointed out how many of the schemes were definitely enhanced with the addition of a large leafy plant.

image from
image from

A conversation on twitter sealed the deal and this week, we are unapologetically Mad About … House Plants.

black kitchen house plants
image from

Now here’s the thing. If you’re going for plants then they have to make a statement. It’s no good sticking a droopy spider or a dusty cheese plant on the mantelpiece or in a corner and hoping for the best.

image via
image via

That way lies studentville. No, if you going to do it you’ve got to do it big. Either buy a tree and stick it in a pot, or at least group lots of smaller plants together. Like this below:

hanging green plants from pinterest
hanging green plants from pinterest

If your plants aren’t that big, keep them in one place where they can make a statement and not just whisper in corners. And buy some of those shiny leaf wipe things and clean the leaves. Dusty plants look dreadful.

image from
image from

You do know that I don’t manage to necessarily practice what I preach don’t you. But yes, do as I say, not as I do. At least that way your plants will look amazing.

living herb wall in kitchen
living herb wall in kitchen via pinterest

One day I will get round to creating a living herb wall in my kitchen.

For more indoor plant inspiration visit my Pinterest board











Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Can you recommend any shops (London/Herts areas) or websites that sell very tall, big houseplants – I’m looking for something like a silver birch to go in a high ceilinged modern room. Ive searched online to no avail.

    1. That sounds amazing – can you have a silver birch indoors? I’m also looking for a shop that sells large house plants – when I find it I’ll let you know… in the meantime if anyone else is reading and knows the answer then stick it right here.

      1. Thanks very much for your reply. Yes, I don’t think silver birch would fare well indoors – everything that looks good indoors seems to hate it! (tall elegant olives for example – had to plant them in garden to revive and figs which have such great shape and leaves obviously shed in winter!). My mum has beautiful lemon trees with long arched branches dripping with fruit, but mine produce lots of sticky residue on the floor (to be licked up with glee by dog).
        I see lots of perfect indoor plants in mags such as Living Etc, but no pointers as to where to buy them.
        We are going to Clifton Nurseries at weekend to have another look there – for something soft but architectural, but definitely do not want any palms or Ikea type plants! Fingers crossed!

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