Hilton Carter’s guide to creating your own lush oasis

Living with over 200 houseplants might mean greenery guru Hilton Carter has a lot of watering to do. But he says they look great and boost his wellbeing, too. Here’s his guide to creating your own lush oasis

Filling my office with foliage helps me be more productive. If you don’t have a room with an abundance of light, decorate with faux plants, natural materials and earthy paint tones to bring the mood-boosting effects of the outdoors inside.

Blurring the line between interior and exterior has always been a thing. As humans we have lived among plants and nature since the dawn of time. As we’ve moved indoors, we’ve found ways to weave those outdoor, natural elements into our living spaces to stay connected.

Plants ‘speak’ with their leaves – when my peace lily starts to droop it’s letting me know it would love a drink right away.

This way of living is called biophilic design; it’s about finding ways to connect with the natural world by introducing greenery indoors. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we still want to be at one with nature. That’s why some people who work in offices without much natural light will have a beach scene as their screen saver, or a faux plant on the side of their desk. These small reminders of the outdoor world trigger something in the brain that makes us calmer and more productive.

Hang them up! Ferns, such as this kangaroo foot variety, look great cascading down from their pot, showing off their personality. Just remember to turn once a month for balanced growth.

If you’re someone, like myself, who enjoys styling plants in your home, or feels excited about moving into new spaces because they have large windows, you are already seeing life through the lens of biophilic design and practising its ethos. I’ve been on a mission over the past nine years to find myself more connected, more at one with nature, and my home and workspaces reflect that.

Plants give you wellbeing, you give them water… just not too much! To make them thrive give them a drink when the top 5cm of soil is dry. With this Xanady variety of Philodendron you are better off under-watering it.

For me, it’s about choosing plants that will thrive in the light provided and still showcase my individuality and style. While I’m a lover of plants, I’m just as much a fan of interiors and style, and my aim has always been to bring all these elements together.

Biophilic design is integral to the future, so ideas that help merge indoors and outdoors are vital. Therein lies the beauty of bringing the outdoors in. Whether it’s alive or faux, if it looks as if it has come from the natural environment, it can help our minds, our hearts and, of course, our lives.

This is an edited extract from Wild Creations: Inspiring Projects to Create Plus Plant Care Tips & Styling Ideas for Your Own Wild Interior by Hilton Carter (CICO Books, £20). To order a copy for £17 until 4 September, go to mailshop.co.uk/books


…follow plant expert Michaela Shoebridge’s easy-to-achieve tips

Lush up your lounge The key to styling a room with plants is to accentuate its main features. Does it have shelving? Is open plan? Does it have a contemporary feel? Then make the most of the space using a variety of species with different heights, colours and textures.

Cultivate a cosy reading corner Houseplants are the perfect way to dress a nook, especially if you have plenty of shelving. Feather-like species such as the golden serpent fern are ideal for adding texture to a space, or you could try trailing varieties such as devil’s ivy to create a waterfall effect.

Nurture a wild wall Plants don’t have to be limited to your desk. They can also bring life to walls using shelving at different heights. Try teaming a trailing wax plant with a watermelon plant to make the area look modern and inviting.

Michaela works with houseplant website foli8.co.uk; follow her at @mishkashoe


Then why not check out these plant subscriptions

If you’re plant obsessed and looking for a carefully curated selection of unusual varieties, try leafenvy.co.uk, £35 a month.

For plants picked by specialists for their rarity and good looks, and to learn about how indoor greenery supports your wellbeing, go to bloomboxclub.com, £39 a month.

Want to build up a collection of diverse plants that are interesting but not too tricky to care for? Then canopy plants.co.uk is for you. From £15 a month.

Love the idea of plants but don’t know which ones will thrive in your space? Then lazyflora.com is your hassle-free go-to. £33 a month.

Looking for houseplant varieties that you may not find at your local garden centre? Try beardsanddaisies.co.uk, £24.99 a month.