“At all Hallow’s Tide, may God keep you safe,
From goblin and pooka and black-hearted stranger,
From harm of the water and hurt of the fire,
From thorns of the bramble, from all other danger,
From Will O’ The Wisp haunting the mire;
From stumbles and tumbles and tricksters to vex you,
May God in His merry, this week protect you”.
In other words, beware things that go bump in the night. Muahahahahaha. Ahem.
Still, t’is the season to trick or treat, carve a lantern, stockpile on sweetie treats, bob for an apple and go to a party in a hot sweaty polyester outfit only to find someone’s already there rocking your character so much better than you. If it weren't for lockdown. Still...
Halloween is in fact a three-day observance of “All hallowtide”, a remembrance of the dead; Saints (the aforementioned ‘Hallows’), martyrs and all our faithful departed. So, being a little indoor plant obsessed as we are, it turned our minds to all our fallen flora friends who over the years have paid the ultimate price for being stubbornly intolerant of our dark corners, rooms with little light and general dinginess.
Natural light in our homes is all too often a luxury, especially for those of us living in cities and built up areas, but that doesn’t mean your home shouldn’t benefit from the wellness that a flash of inside greenery will bring you. So, here we present to you a few plants that aren’t afraid of the dark.
Latin show off: “Nephrolepis exaltata”
After dark identity: “Sword Fern”
In their natural habitat Boston Ferns thrive in shady, humid spots. Being at one with the dinge has made them a beautiful staple of green-loving homes since the Victorian era. Note the humidity angle – as much as they’re happy in the shade, they love a damp environment. Water weekly to ensure the soil is moist and mist the leaves in between with a water spray. You may even choose to pop one in the bathroom for its ideal home. Try to resist too much touchy feely with the leaves, the fern is an introvert and you might find them browning a little after contact. Just let it flourish in an otherwise dark spot and give it nothing much more than a frequent drink.
Badassery: “Emerald Palm”
The ZZ plant is a bit of a superstar. It’s tall, tons of impact, sculptural in its stance, bright glossy leaves (which you can sheen a little every so often for added wow) which reflect light where it finds it, brightening up dark spots in your home. It’s also a supercharged purifier, proven to remove some nasty toxins from the air. ZZ is a bit of a badass too. It’s fine in very low light and stores nutrients for a long time, meaning you don’t have to panic over watering it too often. It doesn’t really care what soil it’s in, so long as there’s an occasional feed. It’s super resistant to disease, insects, responds well to pruning… in fact, such a tough cookie needs a warning label – keep it away from nibbly pets or the wandering hands of children as it’s a little toxic to them. And it’s best if you wash your hands too after touching it. That’s just a good general rule.
Actually: “Chlorophytum comosum”
Cooler: “Spider Ivy”
So why not? There’s a reason so many of us have them – they’re practically indestructible. In the right spot and the right pot, these little plants provide a subtle but adequate impact. If you don’t have three feet for the ZZ, then the Spider is a shapely little space filler. It’s especially room-changing cascading from a shelf or higher spot and, if you’re lucky, the long stem flowers will curiously protrude out creating a real eye catching display. It’s not needy, either. Low light and little watering (in fact, pretty much teetotal).
Mother in Law’s tongue (Sanseveria)
AKA: “Vipers Bow String”
And in case that wasn’t cool enough: “Snake plant”
Named after an Italian Prince (Raimondo di Sangro, from San Severo) even its Latin name – “Dracaena trifasciata” – sounds like something Daenerys would whisper to a dragon moments before it ALL goes down. The snake theme is a well-earned one – each long leaf looks like a twisty, aggressive viper, with horns and spikes to reaffirm its rock metal edge. But in truth, this plant is a softie. It soaks up moisture making it ideal for a humid spot and converts poisonous substances in your environment into oxygen. It will even change colour to its setting – the more light it gets, the brighter its leaves turn, and vice versa. It’s the anti-hero, the bad girl turned good, really good, and she’s on our side.
So if you suffer from a dark spot or shadowy vibe go invest in a few of these special plants that will love the environment nonetheless and create a whole new visual and dynamic for your living space.
No tricks. Just treats.