Have fun with styling your plants, plus 5 other tips to make your house a home with greenery

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Indoor plant consultant Nkhensani Rikhotso shares how you can make your house a home.
Indoor plant consultant Nkhensani Rikhotso shares how you can make your house a home.
Photo: @her.merakai/Instagram

New Year, new me. That's one of the most popular phrases thrown around at the beginning of a new year. And with each new season, there's a desire for change or a new beginning. 

This change can take many forms and among the popular ones is sprucing up your home.  

One of the key ways to bring life into your home is adding some greenery. And just because you have an unconventional lifestyle or have children, it doesn’t mean you can’t have nice things.

We spoke to indoor plant consultant and reiki healer Nkhensani Rikhotso. In addition to her consulting work, Nkhensani runs the Her Merakai Instagram page where she creates content about plant education and overall wellness.

“It’s all healing but healing in different ways,” she tells TRUELOVE of the work that she does.

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In 2022, Nkhensani hit a couple of career milestones. Mr Price Home tapped her shoulder for the Women Who Inspire campaign, alongside creatives Keneilwe Mokoena and Adene Nieuwoudt, where she further reached into her creativity to design illustrations for a limited-edition range of a planter, candles, a cushion cover and affirmation cards.

The planter and affirmation cards with an illustration of monsteras and a woman had a special part in her heart and she says the entire campaign hit home for her.

“It just made me think more about the women in my life and the women that have raised me – my grandmother, my mom, my aunt, the impact that they’ve had. So, it was a celebration of the female form and nature because it’s such huge part of my life and my journey,” she shares.

Among her other highlights was opening an indoor plant concept store, in collaboration with women-led community and collaboration space, Toasted, that brings together coffee, food and her soul work – as she calls it.

One thing is abundantly clear, Nkhensani knows how to transform four walls into a space of beauty, peace and healing.

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She has the following tips on how you can do the same:

1. Understand the light in your home

“You need to get plants that are going to thrive in your particular space, so this is beyond the aesthetics. So that when you buy a plant and you are adding it into your home, you’re going to care and love for it for quite some time and you want it to be happy as well. So, the first thing I would say is have an understanding of the light situation in your home – so if it’s low light, if it’s bright indirect sunlight, if it’s full sun and then think about the corners in your home that you want to green up."

2. Have fun with styling your plants  

“When you are greening up those spaces, also think about plants that vary in height and odd numbers always work best if you are styling with plants, so use three or fives. For example if you want to create a plant corner, choose varying heights of the plant. If you like a particular aesthetic like baskets, use baskets but use ones with different patterns and that’s how I would recommend."

3. It’s better to under water than over water

One thing about bringing your home life with greenery you want them to actually look alive and happy – so easy on the water can.

Nkhensani  says, “Just a general tip for anyone who has an indoor plant, if you are unsure about watering, it’s better to under water than over water at any point. So, if you are in doubt don’t water your plant for a couple of days.”

4. Find a beginner plant that suits you

“This is going to be my honest opinion, I think everyone has green fingers, I think people are maybe purchasing the incorrect plant for themselves. So, I go with the philosophy when people talk about beginner plants and they make it a general top five plants. My top five beginner plants would be very different from yours so it would be how you are as a person, which comes into it."

With that, she says it’s also okay to not be a plant person.

“It would be how your lifestyle is, so for example if you are someone who travels quite a bit for work, if I give you a peace lily where I know it needs to be watered every two to three days and you travel for weeks on end, that plant will not survive. But if I give you a ZZ plant that needs to be watered every two to three weeks, it pretty much needs to be left alone, that would thrive in your space."

5. Have your kids participate in plant care

Nkhensani has a nine-year old son who is involved in the plant care routine in her home.

She says, “I think what it’s taught him a little bit of responsibility so when we do watering day, because I have to water about 200 plants in my house, it takes a couple of hours to just get through my plant care maintenance routine.

“So, it’s that thing of him helping me take out the plants when we’re wiping them down and I think I’ve realised for us it’s been a bonding experience. Like he knows that that’s our time, we are just grounding essentially.

“Also, what I’ve seen is that when you go and let them pick the plant that they’re going to have in their room, in their space then it teaches them to nurture that plant. When it’s sad he notices before I notice because he knows that’s his plant in his room. So I think it also just teaches a little bit of responsibility and I realised it makes him a little bit more gentle.”

6. Trendy plants are fine but …

She says you can go for trendy plants but also consider your space and lifestyle – perhaps you can have one plant for the sake of aesthetic and make it a feature piece.

“You don’t want to purchase 10 plants that are all going to die for the sake of a trend,” she cautions.

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