Lucky Bamboo Botanical name: Dracaena sanderiana An almost foolproof plant, this is not a bamboo but a dracaena that thrives indoors. It’s the Esther Williams of house plants, a water baby that doesn’t need soil to grow. Many come from China twisted into fantastic spirals. Prefers: Indirect average to low light. It’s sensitive to chemicals, so treat it to a few centimetres of filtered water in a tall glass container with a layer of pebbles in the base. Change water once a week and add a drop of liquid fertiliser once a month. Hates: Direct sunlight. Dirty water.
Ponytail Palm Botanical name: Beaucarnea recurvata Not a palm, but a relative of the yucca, this plant has a dashing demeanour and graceful drooping habit. A mature specimen makes a dramatic focal point in a large space. Prefers: Bright light or full sun, and low humidity – it loves the dry air of heated homes. It rarely needs repotting, performs best when root-bound and can grow to two metres-plus high, although it can be bonsai-ed. Hates: This creature of the Mexican desert isn’t too keen on water, so only water when soil feels totally dry. Over-watering turns the leaf tips brown – just snip them off.