What better than houseplants to soften the clinical appearance of stainless steel sinks and ceramic tiles or to blend with the warming colour of wood veneer? As space on work surfaces is usually limited, choose small or compact, bushy plants displayed on windowsills, shelves, in wall containers or on tables, leaving larger specimens to stand on the floor in corners if space is available.
Don't put plants where they will obstruct walkways between work areas, as you will be likely to trip or knock them over.
If you have a small kitchen, why not have a hanging basket above the sink to take advantage of the humidity created when washing up? Plants like tradescanthias, asparagus fern, chlorophytum comosum and creeping fig (ficus pumila) will thrive.
Growing conditions can vary, specially in a large kitchen where light, temperature and humidity change as a result of the days activities above the sink or near the cooker and kettle, steam makes the air warm and humid like in a rain forest.
The oven, toaster or grill, its like the hot, dry air of a desert but open an outside door or window to let out the steam and the draught is like the wind over the tundra! Because conditions are far from ideal, grow tough, tolerant plants which are cheap and easy to replace, rather than risk delicate exotics.
Ivies and tradescanthias provide all-year-round foliage interest but avoid putting trailing plants on the top of cabinets where they interfere with the cupboard doors.
A range of impatiens, pelargoniums, hibiscus rosa-sinensis or cyclamen can by introduced for a temporary splash of colour and if there is enough space, variegated specimen plants like weeping fig (Ficus benjamina).
Chinese evergreen or devil's ivy brighten up darken corners.
Fortunately for us, when grown as a houseplant, devil's ivy is less exuberant; we only see it in its juvenile condition, at the most 9ft.
tall, with small-variegated leaves.
In the kitchen, it should be trained up a moss pole for best effect.
The kitchen window is the perfect place for any sickly plant which requires emergency attention.
When chemicals are being used to treat those with pests and disease, any spraying should take place elsewhere because of the presence of food.
Kitchen space can also be used to grow your own herbs.
Frost tender basil given plenty of light but cool conditions will thrive.
Mint, chives, parsley and thyme will grow but will need replacing regularly as they dislike the constant and rapid changes of temperature in the kitchen environment.