Life

Houseplant symbolism: 9 beautifully symbolic indoor plants, and their meanings

Attract love, luck and happiness with these air-purifying indoor plants. 

We are, as you’ve probably noticed by now, big fans of the ongoing houseplant trend. Whether you’re all about those big statement plants that look fantastic on Instagram, growing fruit and veg indoors, or the multitude of health benefits that come hand-in-hand with looking after plants at home, there’s a lot to be said for wearing that ‘crazy plant lady’ badge with pride.

But, when it comes to choosing which plants to decorate our homes with, we often find ourselves spoiled for choice – and we can’t take them all home. Not always, anyway. So, in a bid to help you out, we’ve decided to take a look at the symbolism and meanings behind some of our favourite indoor plants.

With a little help from Patch’s plant doctor, Meg, we’ve compiled a list of plants said to attract love, wealth, health and happiness, which should make it easier than ever to select a meaningful gift for a special occasion. Even if, y’know, it’s a gift for you and the special occasion is something a simple as making it to the weekend.

Enjoy.

You may also like

How to grow fruit and vegetables indoors, for those of us who don’t have a garden

For health…

Snake plant

Snake plants
Snake plants pull toxins from the air during the day then release oxygen at night.

Snake plants are seriously low-key: they don’t need much water, they thrive in pretty much any light conditions, and their leaves require minimal dusting. For minimal effort, though, you can expect maximum impact: these health-boosting plants pull toxins from the air during the day then release oxygen at night, making them perfect for bedrooms.

You may also like

Indoor plants: 7 statement houseplants to give your living space a new lease of life

For luck…

Bamboo

Suffice to say, they call them ‘lucky bamboo’ for a reason. Be sure to take note of the number of stalks on your bamboo plant, though, as it changes the meaning significantly. Think two for love, three for a long and happy life, five for wealth, seven for health, eight for growth, nine for luck, and 10 for perfection.

If you find one with 21 stalks, be sure to pick it up: this is the luckiest of all and is said to imbue its owner with an overall powerful blessing.

Aloe

Aloe vera
Aloe plants are said to symbolise luck.

Aloe plants are super-easy to grow and packed full of health benefits (some suggest keeping them in the kitchen for burns). However, they’re also said to bring good fortune – which is why, in South Africa, they hang aloe vera above the entrances of homes for luck.

For love…

Lavender

A scientific study, carried out by Kagoshima University in Japan, recently proved what we’ve long suspected: that lavender has stress-relieving qualities, and that actually smelling lavender triggers relaxing effects within our bodies. If you need an even better reason to stick one in your bedroom, though, how about the fact that it’s a symbol of consistency, devotion and love, too?

For happiness…

Boston fern

Boston Fern
Boston ferns are said to symbolise happiness, and we can see why.

Boston ferns aren’t necessarily right for beginners, as they need a little more work than some houseplants. In fact, the rule is to never let a Boston fern dry out. Ever. Instead, you need to keep the soil moist and humidity level high (maybe stick yours in the bathroom, eh?). 

All this TLC, though, is worth it in the end. Not only does this plant purify the air by removing toxins, but caring for a living thing is proven to boost our moods, too. Why? Because it gives us a purpose and feels incredibly rewarding – especially when we get to see that living thing bloom and thrive. 

No wonder the tricksy little Boston fern, with all its needs, represents happiness, eh?

For wealth…

Chinese money plant

The Chinese money plant is famously easy to look after: only water it when the soil is dry to the touch, give it a feed once a month in warmer seasons, and pop it in a sunny spot with lots of light. You might want to make that sunny spot your feng shui money area (typically, this is your home office where you manage finances and other work), though, as this pretty plant is said to bring good fortune, money and abundance to its owner. 

Rubber plant 

Rubber plants
A rubber plant’s big broad leaves are said to symbolise wealth

Rubber plants are ideal for busy Londoners and notoriously bad plant owners: they only need a very light watering (check the pot once a week and if the top two inches of soil are dry, it’s time for a drink). 

Better still, though? Well, according to Patch, the big broad leaves of this houseplant are said to symbolise wealth. Win!

For remembrance…

Rosemary

The easiest way to grow rosemary indoors is to grow the plant in containers, but they will need a lot of sun, so keep them by a window. And don’t water them too much (they’re more likely to die from overwatering than underwatering), either: instead, stick them in a terracotta pot to keep the soil dry between drinks. 

Once you’ve got all this done, you can enjoy this beautifully-fragranced plant in all its glory, using its leaves when cooking to add a little extra flavour to roasts and stews. And, if you’re seeking a way to commemorate someone you’ve lost, look to this woody herb, too. 

As Ophelia tells us in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember.”

For sympathy…

Peace lily

Peace lily
Peace lilies are the ideal gift for someone who’s grieving.

Peace lilies prefer indirect light, like to be kept moist (you’ll need a mister for this one) and repay all your care and attention by purifying the air around them. They are also, though, an ideal gift for someone who is grieving, as their fresh flowers are said to represent healing. And some also believe that these plants serve as a reminder of peace in their owner’s life, too.

Sign up to our daily email for a curated edit of the latest news and must-read features from Stylist, so you’ll never miss out on the conversation again.

If you’re less into symbolism and more about big statements, check out our round-up of bold houseplants now. And, if you’re in the market for a new indoor plant, be sure to check out Patch Plants: not only are they really, really honest about the needs and difficulty ratings of certain houseplants, they have also identified which rooms in the house each is best suited to, too.

Images: Getty/Patch Plants

Topics

Share this article

Recommended by Kayleigh Dray

Life

How to grow fruit and veg indoors, for those of us who don’t have gardens

If you think your allotment dreams are over because you don’t have any outdoor space, think again.

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
Life

10 Instagram-worthy houseplants that’ll green-up your life (and feed)

Because we all need a few leafy friends.

Posted by
Lauren Geall
Published
Life

Getting green fingers: how to keep your favourite houseplants alive

(and Instagram ready)

Posted by
Alice Vincent
Published
Life

9 incredibly beautiful Instagram accounts to follow if you love houseplants

Bring a bit of foliage to your feed with these beautiful accounts.

Posted by
Lauren Geall
Published
Life

7 statement houseplants to give your living space a new lease of life

In 2020, houseplants are going supersized.

Posted by
Lauren Geall
Published