By Beth Doherty
Twitter:@bethdmedia / @new_valleynews
Instagram: @bethdohertymedia / @newvalleynews

Jenny Cowan is a local florist working with flowers and plants for most of her life.

Jenny studied at art college in Bournemouth, after travelling she achieved a floristry qualification and became a florist at Ted Martins, Tisbury, and more recently, a freelance florist for Acanthus, Shaftesbury. Since, Jenny has continued her freelance career supplying plants for Moe & Co. Wilton.

Jenny gave New Valley News her top tips on how to style a home with house plants and keep them alive. Looking after house plants comes down to time and knowledge.

“Classic succulents and cacti are easy to look after – string of hearts, string of pearls, aloe vera. If you are looking for something a bit larger, aspidistra plants and monstera are quite easy to look after,” Jenny said.

“It depends on where they are going, because certain plants prefer sunny or shady spots. Variegated plants are fashionable, but if they don’t get enough sunlight, they lose their variegation.

“Choice of plant depends on how you want to style a room, a statement plant for a corner, or a little group of plants on the edge of a shelf or in a window. Or you can go for something like a terrarium, low maintenance but still looks quite impressive too,” she advised.

To Jenny, there is no such thing as too many plants, they can be placed in corners, hung from the ceiling, or gathered on shelves.

“Look at the corners of your rooms, perhaps put a nice big plant in a corner rather than a piece of furniture. If space is an issue, a hanging plant is always lovely. There are all sorts of ways you can add plants into a room. If restricted for space, having a few hanging plants is a good way of giving that feeling of a jungle without taking precious space from the floor or desk.

“Anywhere you can find to have a little bit of green just changes the whole feel of a room. Having plants that drape on shelves, and mixing with a few at different heights can have a lovely effect and it breaks up the hard line of the shelf.”

Jenny recommends Devil’s Ivy, string of hearts, and string of pearls, which all grow really quickly. It doesn’t take long before a cascading plant comes down. Matching pots with plants and decor is a balancing act: for a general rule, an extravagant plant goes with a simple pot and vice versa.

“Make sure you have a nice pot that ties into the rest of your decor, or alternatively, go for a funky pot that gives a bit of interest to your arrangement. Go for either the plant or the pot to make a statement. In terms of shelves, a bookcase or a corner shelf in the kitchen, with a nice plant gives a different feel to your room.”

When choosing plants, look at where the plants grow naturally and match that habitat with your room. “A kitchen and a bathroom are a bit more humid, often a bit warmer, so something like a Callisia or a Devil’s Ivy: ferns like that moist environment so they work really well.

“Air plants feed off the atmosphere rather than the soil, so they also like to be in a hot steamy room,” she added.

As a table centerpiece, Jenny recommends oxalis, with “a beautiful pink/purple colour and a delicate pink flower. Peace Lillies also look great in the middle of a table and are really good at purifying the air.”