Womancraft 1973


The 1970s undoubtedly saw a peak in houseplant popularity.  The central question in this article for Womancraft is whether you can keep plants if you only have a window-sill instead of a greenhouse?  The answer?  “Yes, indeed you can!

womancraft2Appropriately named Violet Stevenson highlights coleus, begonias, african violets (of course), tradescantia, busy lizzies, cyclamen, streptocarpus and primulus.  Being a DIY magazine, it’s not just about display.  We get tips on indoor propagation: “Much of my window sill gardening is based on the use of plastic bags” – giving plants their own little greenhouses.

And there is a gem that reveals a truth pretty much forgotten, buried or overlooked in today’s houseplant rhetoric – that these things die, that’s ok and you just get on with replacing them: “Is is wise to keep going a stock of young, healthy house plants to replace old, tired specimens.”


Violet also reminds us of another lost tradition of giving our plants away and swapping them (which probably went out the window with our sense of community and knowing our neighbours).  After all, this was the way the Chinese Money Plant managed to spread across Europe.


And there is an insight to choice of display during the decade too.  Violet favours multi-plant displays in large bowls, deep vases, china wash basins and a great white porcelain Georgian footbath over individual pots (opting for a layer of charcoal to compensate for the lack of drainage holes).