7 All-Year-Round Plants That Will Liven Up Any Maltese Home
by Chiara Micallef
Growing plants in Malta is not always as straightforward as we would like it to be. From high levels of humidity to year-round sunshine, plant parenting can quickly become a relatively tricky affair.
In this article, we have listed down seven charming and easy-to-find plants, along with basic care tips to keep them happy and thriving. We have focused mainly on indoor plants, but some of the plants on this list can also be kept outdoors.
Here are seven charming plants that will liven up your home.
1. Chinese Evergreen
These beauties are relatively easy to grow. The Chinese evergreen tolerates most living conditions and does well in varying shades of light, temperature and humidity levels. This means that they can tolerate the occasional drought.
Caring for this plant does not require much effort, as it enjoys moderate watering. You must allow the soil to dry out before watering it, as overwatering may lead to root rot and eventual death. You should fertilise your Chinese evergreen twice a year, using a water-soluble fertiliser made specifically for house plants.
If your Chinese evergreen becomes too large, you could give it a quick trim and save cuttings to propagate new plantlets. Some varieties of the Chinese evergreen may produce flowers in spring called calla lilies. You can cut these blooms and use them to decorate your indoor space.
Yuccas are a staple in many Maltese households. They love hanging around in sunny spots and do not need much watering. These lovely plants need sporadic watering in winter, and regular watering during the summer season.
Plant growth for Yuccas is relatively slow, however, they can still grow into a fairly large plant if well cared for. They can last for years and are pretty high on the hardiness scale.
Your yucca might surprise you with a cream-coloured or pinkish flower in mid-summer to early fall.
These plants grow in sand-like and well-drained soil profile, so you will need to get a coarse horticultural-grade sand mix to promote water drainage.
If there was a plant that could talk, this looker would be it.
Philodendrons quite literally show you what they need – or what is causing them harm. These super adaptable plants are a total godsend for any plant-loving novice.
Philodendrons thrive in bright indoor spots. Do not place this plant in direct sunlight, however, as the sun's rays will definitely damage its leaves – which will turn yellow if the plant is getting too much sunlight. If, on the other hand, it is not getting enough light, this plant will have leggy stems with several inches between each leaf.
Always allow the soil to dry out between waterings – and be mindful of what the leaves look like. If your philodendron has droopy leaves, it is getting too much, or not enough water. Stick your finger up to your first knuckle (about an inch) into the soil to check the moisture level.
Otherwise known as the Swiss cheese plant, the monstera is a true delight for anyone. This tropical shrub is famous for its naturally occurring leaf holes – hence its name. These dreamboats can be watered just once every two weeks or so, depending on how much sunlight they are exposed to. They also enjoy humid conditions, making them an ideal houseplant for Maltese homes.
We do not recommend this plant to anyone who has cats or dogs, as the foliage can be poisonous if consumed by your four-legged buddies.
5. English Ivy
These charming perennials can spread out horizontally or turn into aerial-rooted climbers. The English ivy is considered an invasive species in many countries, but this beautifully-foliaged head-turner is an extremely pleasant addition to any home. You could plant your ivy in baskets, where its lush foliage will hang down, creating a delightful effect.
Do not plant your ivy close to walls or trees, as due to its aggressive nature, it can cause damage to stonework or other plants.
The English ivy does well in partial to full shade, as it enjoys indirect sunlight, so do not leave it in dark corners of your home or direct sunlight. Its soil needs to be loose and well-drained, and never overly wet.
This plant is toxic to dogs, cats and even humans when ingested.
If you're hopeless around plants, the haworthia is the ideal choice for you. These pearly charmers are technically succulents – meaning that they love dry conditions. The haworthia thrives in indirect sunlight and dry conditions. They are mainly kept as decorative plants due to their ease of growth and miniature stature.
For a happy haworthia, use a cactus mix or a super fast-draining potting soil mixed with pumice or gravel. You can water this plant sporadically in summer, and once per month in winter. Indoor haworthias can grow up to 2 inches, however, in their native Southern African climate, these plants can grow up to 20 inches.
7. Prayer Plant
This curious plant is not just a highly decorative and striking specimen. It gets its name for a very peculiar reason – the prayer plant's leaves open up during the day and fold upwards and snuggle against its stalk at night. Even though these plants are evergreen, they are not the easiest of species to grow.
They enjoy bright and indirect sunlight, coupled with rich and extremely well-draining soil. If cared for correctly, these stunners can grow up to 12 inches tall.
Prayer plants love warmth and moisture, however, you need to be extremely careful to never let water sit directly on their leaves. This will cause fungal infections, yellowing leaves and eventually, death. This plant needs to be fertilised every couple of weeks from spring through fall with an all-purpose fertiliser.
Prayer plants are at times, susceptible to mites, mealybugs, aphids and other pests.
Check out this article on low-maintenance plants or read about these cool air purifying plants for your home.
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