The 10 houseplants that have become integral to modern interior design –Ian Drummond shares his favourites

We speak to At Home with Plants author Ian Drummond.

We caught up with award-winning interior landscape designer and RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal-winner Ian Drummond on his top 10 houseplants.

Ian Drummond is the Creative Director at Indoor Garden Design, an industry leader who are celebrating their 45th anniversary this year, is more than passionate about finding new and exciting ways to use plants in a home, work or event space. Ian also develops show stopping displays for world renowned events such as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Specialising in creative projects, Ian has created indoor gardens for the BAFTAs, London Fashion Week and Elton John just to name a few. Ian is also the author of houseplant manual 'At Home with Plants', which is now available in seven languages and has proven to be a popular addition to novices and experts alike.

Luxury home ideas

As if catering for a celebrity clientele wasn't enough, Ianalso launched In-Tray, a home and office delivery service for houseplants.

Launched as part of Indoor Garden Design’s 45th anniversary celebrations, In-Tray has been created as a way to help the people of London (and eventually the whole UK) to green-up their personal living and working spaces with tropical plants, along with all the care tips and expert advice needed to keep them happy and healthy.


There are many plants that Ian swears by when creating a scheme for any space as their biophilic properties are always beneficial to the people using it. Here are his top 10 that you shouldn’t be without:


Aloes are a great addition to the workplace as they are virtually indestructible providing you have plenty of natural day light in the room, so they are ideal for forgetful waterers. The architectural, silver grey foliage makes a real statement on your desk and will have your colleagues green with envy.

See:RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2020: Create your own green oasis with the best indoor plants


Alike most retro houseplants, the humble Spider Plant has made a humungous comeback due to their scientifically proven, air purifying properties. Their ability to remove 95% of benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and nitrates from the air in the room is a must have benefit in our ‘sealed’ office environments where air quality can be of low quality. Also, Spider Plants produce a mass of plantlets which make great gifts for your friends and jealous workmates.

Instagram houseplant trend


With over 70 species of Sansevieria available on the market, you’ll be sure to find a variety that suits your tastes. All act as great natural filters in your home or workplace whilst being a doddle to look after. Requiring infrequent watering and tolerant of lower light levels if you have a dark corner that needs brightening up with some greenery.

Instagram houseplant trend


Another plant worthy of its NASA endorsed air purifying qualities; the fresh, if not a little dramatic Spathiphyllum or Peace Lily is a beautiful flowering plant readily available in a variety of sizes. With crisp white bracts above deep green foliage, this houseplant essential lets you know exactly when it needs watering by drooping its leaves and perking up again an hour after you’ve given it a drink – much like ourselves on a Friday afternoon.

(Image credit: In-tray)

See:How to plant a fragrant garden – five plants for year-long aromatic pleasure


One of my favourite flowering houseplant species is the Vanda Orchid for its richly hued blooms and silvery trailing root systems. Predominantly grown for the cut flower market, they are now increasingly becoming available to buy as whole plants. As the Vanda doesn’t require soil in which to grow, you can save on desk space and hang them from a shelf or the ceiling for an impressive tropical display. Their epiphytic nature means that wild Vandas survive on the moisture in the air; so in our less humid workspaces a quick spritz every few days with a spray bottle will ensure the roots don’t dry out.


A Calathea is such a beautiful choice of foliage plant and they come with such a wide variety of leaf shapes, colour and pattern. Best of all, they provide entertainment by moving their leaves throughout the course of a day to capture as much light as possible. Visually they will boost your mood and really create a lush, jungle feel in your space – a benefit to mental wellbeing you have to agree.


From the Mulberry genus of over 750 species; the Ficus family is one of the most popular indoor plants to date. With a vast array of leaf size, shade and variegation, you’ll be sure to find one to suit your home office area. The most common and suitable for your desktop is the Ficus benjamina, more commonly known as the weeping fig. With small green leaves and a woody stem, they can be grown in a variety of shrub or tree shapes. An easy to care for choice, providing they are regularly watered and kept out of cold draughts.

Healthy plants

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

What are the top 10 houseplants on Instagram? See:These are the world's most Instagrammed houseplants


Why not add a pop of intense colour to your home working space in the form of a blooming Gerbera? Orange, yellow, pink or purple; this happy little houseplant will be sure to brighten the mood on your desk. With over 600 varieties to choose from and the most classic of flower shapes, the Gerbera has strong leaves which come with the added benefit of being air purifiers. As the symbol of innocence, this beautiful plant will really be working hard whilst you attempt to do the same.

top ten houseplants

(Image credit: Simon Whitmore)


This desktop staple comes in a wide variety of forms and is a great choice for both the novice and expert houseplant grower. Practically indestructible, they can survive long periods of neglect as they store water in their thick, fleshy leaves. As they mature, their trunk thickens and the plant can take on a miniature tree like form – perfect for structure and interest on your desk.

top ten houseplants

(Image credit: Amateur Gardening)


Commonly known as the easiest indoor plant to look after and seen everywhere from shops to offices and hotels, the Dracaena marginata or Dragon tree is an architectural plant for the minimal space. An ideal choice if you go away for prolonged periods or are simply a forgetful waterer.The narrow leaves of this plant are also proven to purify the air around them, therefore increasing air quality in your room.

top ten houseplants

(Image credit: Mark Grimwade)

See:Health benefits of houseplants: Why you need greenery while working from home

top ten houseplants