Hands up if you’ve bought into the indoor-plant trend, only to watch on as your poor green friend wilts and browns in undiagnosed distress.

Too much water? Not enough? More sun? Beethoven? What do you need? Charlie Lawler of plant paradise Loose Leaf in Collingwood says we shouldn’t feel bad, nurturing plants is like rearing children: it’s all about experimentation and everyone makes mistakes. But having longer showers might help.

Charlie Lawler’s Fern Survival Tips:

“Over-watering is definitely the most common cause of houseplant death. Unfortunately though, quite often the signs of underwatering and overwatering are very similar. I’d recommend you gauge it from the soil instead, letting the top level of soil dry out between waterings.

“Getting a plant is a learning process and there are always periods of experimentation, but a lot depends on where you’re planning to put your fern. They do well in the bathroom because of the humidity from the shower. So you can have a shower and care for your fern at the same time. We have five or six plants in our bathroom – it’s nice and jungly.

“Air conditioning and heating both reduce humidity, so especially during winter you shouldn’t put a fern right near the heating unit. In summer, plants don’t like direct sunlight, but in winter you can move them next to the window for more natural light.

“Some good ferns are the Lemon Button, which needs medium-to-bright conditions, the Fish Bone, which does particularly well in winter, and the Macho. I don’t know why it’s called that, but maybe as far as ferns go, it is pretty macho. Maiden Hair ferns are very popular, but people tend to have trouble getting them to drink. Try encouraging them by sitting them in a tray with one– two centimetres of water.

“They say four plants per room does a nice job of cleaning the air, but I don’t think you can go too far. It’s just a bit more care that you have to give.”

Loose Leaf
31 Sackville Street, Collingwood
(03) 9994 6865

looseleafstore.com.au