With approximately 21,000 plant species originating in South Africa, it’s no secret that South Africa is blessed with an abundant floral kingdom. In fact, there are 6 recognised Floral Kingdoms in the world and one of them can be found in the Cape – the Cape Floristic Region. So high is South Africa’s plant diversity, that there are more plant species in the Table Mountain National Park, than exist in the whole of the United Kingdom!
In recent years, global home décor has been heavily inspired by the 1970s, with bold, bright colours, patterned fabrics and indoor plants. Lots of indoor plants. Even the 2017 Pantone colour of the year reflects this international trend: Greenery. Macramé plant hangers and terrariums are once again. The revival of the indoor plants is part of a wider trend of humans wanting to be closer to nature.
People are taking note of indoor plants’ ability to filter and freshen the air. They also come with the “wonderful aesthetics of having something green and alive in your living space” – Sally Cook, Menne Nursery
Our modern urban lives often come with more social and environmental stress - noise and air pollution, hectic lifestyles and less downtime. Humans are yearning to get more in touch with nature. Indoor plants bring nature to people – house plants make a home feel more relaxed and more ‘lived in’.
So why do South African Plant feature so highly on Indoor Plant Blogger Feeds and Top 10 Lists? We think this has to do with the care-free nature of many of South Africa’s Plants. Given the diverse and varying climatic conditions in South Africa, plants in this floral kingdom have grown to be resilient and tenacious, making them fuss-free indoor plants. This, coupled with their unique aesthetic, means that novice and expert plant owners are likely to have shapely and healthy plants.
We’ve scanned the Top 10’s, and extracted the List of South African Indoor Plants that are trending globally. Let’s take a look…
1. Mother in Law Tongue (Sansevieria)
Sansevieria is spread out across Africa, from West Africa to Madagascar, and some of the 70 varieties can be found in Southern Africa too. This trendy evergreen plant is also commonly known as the Snake Plant or Viper’s Bowstring Hemp.
Snake Plants are really easy house plants! They are tolerant of low light levels and irregular watering, two of the many reasons that these shapely plants are so sought after by house plant lovers around the world.
It is a bold plant, with stiff dark green leaves, some banded in a light yellow-green and others sporting variegated speckles or bands of green.
2. Wild Banana (Strelitzia Nicolai)
This is an essential Urban Jungle plant! The Giant White Bird of Paradise comes from the evergreen coastal thickets and forests of eastern South Africa. The Strelitzia Nicolai grows slowly but can reach heights of 2 metres or more, which can make for an impressive display. With patience, it might produce stunning white blooms.
Coming from sunny South Africa, the Wild Banana requires very bright light. It can even be placed in direct sunlight if the move is done gradually to allow to leaves to slowly adapt.
3. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia)
The Zamioculcas is a tropical perennial plant native to south-eastern Africa, from the southern Kenya to north eastern South Africa. The ZZ Plant is known by many names, including Zanzibar Gem, Zuzu Plant, Emerald Palm and the Eternity Plant. Zami’s haven’t always been popular, commercial propagation of the species only began in 1996 by Dutch nurseries. Their efforts have ensured that the species has become a favourite indoor plant around the world.
This evergreen plant has air purifying qualities – it is able to remove volatile organic compounds from the air.
ZZ Plants can handle low light, has low water requirements and is very tolerant of occasional neglect – all of which makes for a great, easy-care indoor plant!
4. String of Beads (Senecio Rowleyanus)
This creeping succulent vine is also known as String of Pearls and is native to the drier regions of south-western Africa. This quirky looking plant with its bright green ‘beads’ makes a striking addition to the home.
It looks fabulous when grown in a hanging planter with its ‘strings of pearls’ trailing out over the edges.
As with most succulents, the String of Beads requires little care and its water storing abilities allow it to be watered infrequently. Be careful not to overwater the String of Beads as that may increase the chance of root rot.
5. Zebra Plant (Haworthia)
The Haworthia is a large genus of small succulents native to southern Africa. Their popularity is derived from the white zebra-like stripes that adorn their leaves and their easy-care character. The Haworthia goes by many names, including Zebra Plant, Zebra Cactus, Star Window Plant and Pearl Plant.
These South African indoor friendly plants look especially striking in unusual containers with interesting soil mixes and are great desktop plants.
The Zebra Plant likes plenty of sun or bright light, such as windowsills with bright sun exposure. But they will be equally happy in indirect bright light conditions.
6. Aloe Vera
The Aloe family is found all over Africa with many species indigenous to South Africa. Most Aloes are drought tolerant, which makes them a great waterwise plant.
The Aloe Vera’s understated elegance and characteristic fleshy cool-green leaves are perfect if you are looking for a plant with muted colours and a subtle presence.
Aloes are low maintenance plants that require little care. Water the Aloe thoroughly in summer but allow them to dry very well between watering.
It’s easy to see why these trendy indoor plants are loved all over the world. From the bold, larger-than-life Wild Banana to the small striped Zebra plant, each plant has its own personality and charm.
Most of these popular indoor plants are waterwise, and in light of the Cape’s current water shortage, they make for water responsible indoor plants.
Contact us if you need us to source any of these (or other) plants for you
Do you know some trending plants that we missed? Pop them in the comment section – we’d love to hear your thoughts!