Plantopedia: The Joy of Houseplants



In this new covid world, it’s important to ensure our home environment is a harmonious place of peace and creativity.

Having plants around us indoors can really assist in adding life and tranquility to a room.

But what plants work best for us?

New book Plantopedia, The Definitive Guide to Houseplants, by Laura Camilleri and Sophia Kaplan, may be the guide you’re after. Laura and Sophia are the co-founders of Sydney-based indoor plant and botanical ware delivery service, Leaf Supply and have written two previous books, Leaf Supply and Indoor Jungle.

With info about keeping happy, healthy houseplants in any space, Plantopedia features more than 150 plant profiles for all levels of indoor gardeners, from budding novices to green thumbs and beyond.



Below are two special plants, as described in the book.



Purple Shamrock (Oxalis triangularis)

 The delightfully different Oxalis triangularis has deep purple or burgundy butterfly-wing or clover-shaped leaves, often with a lighter purple leaf centre. The leaves move delicately with the rhythm of the day and close like an umbrella at night. Only adding to their charm, they produce petite, pale purple to white bell-shaped flowers that sit gently above the foliage line. 

Native to Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina and Paraguay, at full tilt this plant can reach heights and widths of 50 cm (20 in). It’s a relatively low-maintenance beauty, but keep in mind that it can enter a dormant period if neglected or if temperatures get too high or low. If this happens, don’t fret as this is a natural occurrence (some will go dormant every winter), and it doesn’t mean your plant will die, but is instead entering a brief period of rest. Cut back the dead leaves, slow down on watering, so you don’t drown the tubers that aren’t using a tonne of energy, and keep out of overly bright light. Once you see new leaves begin to form, you can return it to its regular spot and watering schedule. 

The pretty leaves of the O. triangularis can be used to decorate salads; just don’t eat them in huge quantities or their acidity will upset your stomach. They are, however, toxic to pets when consumed in large enough quantities. 



Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia argyreia

As with most Peperomia, it’s definitely all about the foliage with this pretty plant. The thick succulent ovate leaves are distinctly marked with silver patterns just like those of a watermelon rind, with deep red petioles to match. Unsurprisingly, this is one of the most popular species of Peperomia out there.

 Native to South America, this beauty generally doesn’t reach heights of more than 20 cm (8 in), but its leaves can sometimes grow as big as the palm of your hand. This semi-succulent foliage means that it doesn’t like to be overwatered, and it can be particularly prone to root rot if its home is continuously moist. Be sure to only water once the first 5 cm (2 in) of potting mix has dried out, and a little less in winter when light and ambient temperatures drop.

The watermelon peperomia is definitely opposed to the cold, so it’s best kept coddled among other plants and away from draughts and air-conditioning units. Its blooms are relatively insignificant and some growers cut off the small spiky inflorescence in order to encourage leaf growth, for which the plants are generally favoured. Either way, be sure to cut off the flowers once they are spent, along any dead leaves that appear.

Watermelon peperomia like bright, indirect light (no harsh afternoon rays, please) and will benefit from a monthly half-strength liquid fertiliser in spring and summer.




Details about book…