Beginner buddies

Three easy-care houseplants take ‘Pride’ of place

Beginner buddies display
Beginner buddies planting Beginner buddies planting and structure

Planning the cube

Andrew Simpson, RHS Community Outreach Officer for the North West, took on the brief of creating an area focusing on starter-plants for people who have never looked after one before.

Preparing the plants for Beginner Buddies“I gave people small plants to keep and take home, asking them to make a note of any developments around how they felt looking after the plants” explains Andrew, “things like successes, failures, if they gave the plant a name, where they were growing it indoors and what they had researched themselves about its care. In essence, insights into their journeys as new plant parents.
“Working with four different LGBTQ+ youth groups across Salford they created a ‘birth certificate’ for their plant and we discussed potential themes and ideas for the visual content and design of the RHS Urban Show cube.”
 Pride flags in Manchester
With Manchester’s rich cultural LGBTQ+ history and Depot Mayfield being so close to the Gay Village, it seemed right to introduce an element of Pride into the design.


Fabric in the pride colours drapes across the cube. The colours, and their original meaning in the Pride Flag as designed by Gilbert Baker in 1975, resonate with why we grow plants.

Beginner buddies display

  • Red = Life
  • Orange = Healing
  • Yellow = Sunlight
  • Green = Nature
  • Blue = Serenity
  • Purple = Spirit

Blue fabric flows through the space to give the idea of a waterfall creating a rainforest backdrop for a wide range of easy-to-grow and commonly-grown houseplants including specific cacti and succulents. Three pedestals, painted metallic gold, showcase the three ‘buddy plants’ as shining examples in fake ‘jewel’ encrusted pots giving a slightly fun, camp and regal feel.

“It’s fun, celebratory and joyous.”
– Andrew Simpson

Three key plants

Beginner buddies planting
The cube provides three examples of low-maintenance houseplants, ideal for someone who has never looked after a plant before. These starter plants are forgiving of a little neglect and are notoriously hard to kill. Find out more about these green gems.

Sansevieria – Snake plant

These handsome houseplants, with their pointed, upright leaves, are deservedly popular for their resilience, longevity and dramatic appearance.

Chlorophytum – Spider plant

This well-known houseplant, with narrow variegated leaves, produces an abundance of spider-like baby plants that cascade downwards. 

Epipremnum – Pothos

Prized for its glossy heart-shaped leaves, this easy-to-grow climber looks great in a hanging planter or on a high shelf, with its long stems cascading down.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.