Posted 15th Jan 2018
It's Blue Monday (15th Monday), officially the most depressing day of the year
First occurring over a decade ago, the official formula highlighted factors including weather conditions, debt, the end of Christmas, failed New Year's resolutions and low motivation levels, culminating in Blue Monday.
With getaways and exotic holidays not possible, there are a few mood-boosting solutions you can try to beat the blues and fill the Christmas tree void - enter houseplants!
Houseplants have amazing benefits for a natural healthy boost. It's been found they reduce cold related illnesses by over 30 per cent, while also increasing humidity levels and decreasing the dust.
The average person in Britain spends over 90 per cent of their time indoors, with houseplants acting as a breath of fresh air for inside spaces.
Graeme Shaw, Horticultural Champion at Dobbies Edinburgh store offers the lowdown on houseplants and their care.
Whether you're after a bright and bold or architecturally sculpted plant, there will be a houseplant to suit you and your interiors.
Apart from looking good, houseplants offer proven health benefits, including reducing stress and absorbing indoor pollutants. They're also not too difficult to grow - simply pick a suitable plant for each room and follow the following simple guidelines.
The right amount of water
One of the most important things to remember is that house plants are living things - all they need is a little TLC at least once a week. Watering will be essential.
Ideally, your houseplants should be planted in a pot which has drainage holes to prevent overwatering. These can be disguised by putting the pot into another container, or by using a saucer. You should water the compost with some plants, while others will benefit from a fine spray of water - this is known as misting - on a daily basis. The care label will tell you which is the right method.
To test if water is needed, push your finger into the compost. If it feels moist but isn't wet, the plant is fine. If it's dry, be sure to water the plant at the kitchen sink and leave it to drain before putting it back.
However, avoid overwatering. If the compost feels very wet, and the plants have yellowing leaves or are wilting, this could be the cause.
In this situation, remove the plant from its pot and check the roots. If they're rotting, it will be necessary to discard the plant. If not, simply remove the damaged leaves, repot the plant in new compost and avoid watering it again until the soil on top has dried. Even then, you should only add a little water at a time.
Cleaning and feeding
Houseplants will need the occasional clean too - just wipe the leaves with a damp cloth. This doesn't only keep them looking good - removing the dust makes sure they're in good health. Take off any yellowing foliage, and then trim the damaged leaves of larger plants with sharp scissors.
Like outdoor container plants, houseplants need repotting and feeding in spring as keep them healthy. Some of these, such as orchids, have special feeds to encourage fruits and flowers instead of foliage.
The right place
The most important thing is the positioning. All plants need a certain level of natural light to help them thrive - you should aim to mirror the plant's natural growing environment. Flowering houseplants will need good light to bring on blooms, but too much will encourage flowers to fade quickly. Insufficient light results in stunted growth or long, thin and weak growth. Generally, succulents and cacti will love a sunny, south facing room, while most other plants will prosper if they're in a well-lit position and are out of direct sun.
Houseplant will not prosper in areas with fluctuating temperature and draughts. Avoid this by placing them by radiators or open fires - a steady temperature between 18-23C will suit most. An easier option will be cacti, which offers sculptural impact for minimal effort. They're also very much in vogue.
Choosing the right variety for each spot is vital for success - check the plant labels before you buy.