Houseplants at RHS Malvern Spring Festival

The countdown is on to one of the UK’s favourite gardening and flower shows, the RHS Malvern Spring Festival, which this year will be a hotbed of activity for houseplants. Adam Kirtland, who will be speaking and podcasting at the show, previews the big event

As past readers will know – I’m a regular speaker at gardening and flower shows right across the UK and a constant favourite of mine is always the RHS Malvern Spring Festival at the start of May. This show provides plant fans with inspiration for their green spaces, no matter whether they’re outdoor… or indoor.

Houseplants have been growing rapidly in popularity in recent years, partly brought about by the extended periods of time we all had at home during lockdown. And now the RHS Malvern Spring Festival is bringing houseplants to the masses!

New to the festival this year is the Green Rooms Market ‘Festival of Houseplants’, complete with its own purpose-built building. You don’t need to have a garden to be a gardener when you can dive into the world of houseplants at this year’s festival. Whether you’re seeking inspiration, looking to expand your collection, or simply wanting to immerse yourself in the beauty of indoor gardening, the Festival of Houseplants is a highlight for all plant enthusiasts. Housed in the new Kildare Hall, it includes workshops and talks hosted by industry experts, botanical displays, exhibits and lots of shopping opportunities.

The new festival is a collaboration with Green Rooms Market which is headed up by houseplant enthusiast, social media star, author and houseplant rescuer, Sarah Gerrard-Jones. Along with a host of other names, Sarah will be at the show sharing her houseplant stories but she’s also kindly shared her five top houseplant tips with me – to share with you this month. You can find more from Sarah on Instagram at @theplantrescuer and also in her book The Plant Rescuer.


1. The most important thing you can do is give your plant enough light. The right light intensity is essential for plants to photosynthesise; this is how they create energy to grow. Houseplants are more than decoration – they, like us, have basic needs and require energy to grow, and if they can’t make food, they will starve. All plants need to be close to a window. If they are too far from a window, they will look unwell and eventually die.

2. Don’t water without checking the soil for moisture. Watering every plant in your house once a week isn’t a good idea because some might not need it. Plants use water at different rates depending on many variables, such as how much light they receive, temperature, soil and pot type (plastic or terracotta). A plant positioned far away from a window will likely need less water than one closest to the window. Always check that the plant needs water before pouring it in. You can do this by lifting the pot and weighing it in your hands if it’s small. If the pot feels light, it probably needs water. Or use your finger, push it into the soil and feel if it’s damp or dry.

3. Ensure your pot has drainage holes so excess water can escape. If you have the pot inside a decorative cover pot, take it out when you water it, let the water drain out and then put it back into the cover pot so the water doesn’t collect at the bottom and cause the roots to rot.

4. Check your plants for pests once a week. A few bugs are far easier to tackle than an infestation. There are many ways to tackle different pests, from biological control to sticky tape. I never use pesticides that harm other insects, like bees, or animals.

5. Buy plants suitable for your home, expertise, and lifestyle. If your house doesn’t get much light, don’t buy a plant that requires bright light (or be willing to invest in grow lights). If you have busy work, social life, or often travel, buy one that requires less water than a tropical plant, like a cactus. Lastly, don’t run before you can walk. If you’re new to houseplants, go for something easy to care for, like Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), Snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata) or ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia).

Tickets are available now for the RHS Malvern Spring Festival (9 to 12 May), featuring the new ‘Festival of Houseplants’ from

The festival also includes inspirational show gardens, sensational flowers, giant veg and plenty of ideas to try at home. Adam will be at this year’s show – speaking on Sunday 12 May and he’ll also be there on Saturday 11 May in the Festival of Houseplants doing live podcasts.


Follow Adam on Instagram @viewfromthepottingbench and listen to his podcast Tales from The Potting Bench for more gardening inspiration. You can also read Adam’s blog at