Not only is bringing the outside in with plants a refreshing way to rejuvenate any space and detoxify the air – your plant choices might just be the conversation starter for that history buff guest or that inspirational piece of green cultures past to introduce into your domain. Indoor plants have been used for longer than you may think and some of them have quirky stories to tell!
The popular dracaena, which comes from the Romanised form of the Ancient Greek word for “female dragon”, become commonplace during the Victorian era. Known for their hardiness in mid to low-light conditions and verdant, pointed leaves, dracaena need to be kept moist, and are best potted in well-draining soil.
With over 40 varieties of palm trees and plants, the versatile palm has been a favourite of house plant lovers for centuries. Evidence of growing palms as indoor plants goes as far back as 500 BC China and is also mentioned in William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, as they were popular in England at the time. Palms grow best in smaller pots and do well in a variety of temperature conditions. They are a beautiful plant, with many kinds of foliage shapes and sizes found throughout the species.
Another plant popularised in Victorian times is the beautiful English Ivy. It found its way into many homes due to its easy to care for nature and beautiful, flowing vines. It is a climbing plant that does well with a vertical stake to climb up, or in hanging basket so the leaves can cascade down around the pot.
The cultivation of indoor citrus trees is thought to have originated in ancient China, commonly in the homes of wealthy aristocrats and royalty. Indoor citrus trees were seen as a status symbol and were grown inside for their delicious smell, and to help them survive the cold winter months. Indoor lemon and orange have since grown out of popularity as other house plants have taken the limelight, but citrus trees do remarkably well in pots indoors, with many common citrus species having dwarf varietals for those with limited space.
Growing indoor plants has been a way for people to beautify their homes and help their mental health for millennia, with many historical plants still just as popular today as they were two hundred years ago.