There are a wide range of houseplants available in shops or can be grown in your own gardens

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Houseplants are one of the quickest and least expensive way of brings life and interest to a room. A splash of green instantly revives a rather tired scheme, and flowering plants provide a lively range of colors. There are few design rules about where to put plants and flowers look good almost anywhere, as long as they are not in the way of everyday activities. You should treat large floor-level plants as focal points, making full use of your lighting to show them off to best effect.

Some houseplants need less light than others, but normal artificial lighting is no substitute for the natural daylight that all plants need. Medium-sized plants can be placed on furniture, but there are alternatives, hanging baskets, wall-hung planters, stands or window shelves. Small plants, such as African violets need placing with care. They usually look and grow best grouped in a box or on a stand. Make sure you match a plant to its growing conditions.

Houseplants and flower help bring the garden indoor and add a human touch to your decorative scheme. The delicate structure of leaves and flowers also helps to soften hard outlines of modern furniture. With care, and frequent dead heading, they will last a lot longer than cut flowers, as long as they get sufficient sunlight at some time during the day. Choose plants with a variety of shapes and colors and try to include some trailing plants to break up horizontal lines.

Houseplants bring a fresh, lively look to a bathroom and ferns, ivies, bromeliads and epiphytes thrive in low light levels. Maidenhair ferns are delicate and are unsuitable for draughty windows. You can also buy plastic hanging baskets with drip trays attached. Cacti and succulents need plenty of direct sunlight; ferns and palms survive in the shade. To avoid drips, stand plants in saucers or on shallow, gravet-filled plastic trays and keep permanently moist.

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