Increasingly, plants are being grown for their benefits as much as their beauty. Even after the ground freezes and the snow flies, there is still a way to enjoy live vegetation – houseplants! Here are a few good things to know when choosing which houseplants to grow.
Did you know?
Houseplants are healthy for you! So healthy, in fact, that NASA conducted a study into which houseplants do the best job purifying the air. Try golden pothos, Philodendron, Dracaena, or Gerbera Daisy.
Tropical plants make great houseplants. In their natural environment these plants are actually perennial, but they do well as houseplants because they like the same conditions as people.
Houseplants can reduce stress, increase focus and improve productivity. Several studies have found houseplants can dramatically improve our lives and work.
How to choose
Consider light conditions. Full-sun plants will need a sunny window but many houseplants would rather not have direct sun.
Consider how big the plant will eventually become. Houseplants can live and grow for many years.
Peace lily (anthirium), left, and calathea
Succulents are popular plants and for good reason. Available in a variety of foliage shapes and colors, they are easy to care for and fun to plant together to create an interesting mixed container. Aloe is in the succulent family and has an added benefit – the gel-like substance inside the leaves can sooth burns and help heal cuts.
Grow succulents in a sunny window in well-drained soil and water them sparingly. Succulents naturally retain moisture and, like cactus, will rot if overwatered, making them a perfect choice for busy people who may forget to water their plants.
Planning a countertop or windowsill garden? In addition to succulents, try Christmas cactus and African violets for sunny spots.
In bright, indirect light try croton, schefflera, or zeezee plant (easy care and fun to say!)
For low light, try calathea and anthirium, also known as peace lily.
For dramatic interest, grow snake plant (sansevieria). This stunning plant requires little light or water and likes to be pot bound.
Go big and grow a tree. The fiddle leaf fig is particularly “in” right now, and it’s easy to see why – the stunning foliage adds impact and complements any décor. Figs (or ficus) are also known for their air-cleaning abilities. Plant in well-drained soil and do not allow them to sit in water. Ficus want bright light but not direct, hot sunlight. They are sensitive to cold drafts so keep them away from outside doors and drafty windows.
For the best success, identify a good spot for the ficus and don’t move it – it will become stressed and drop its leaves. If you must move it, don’t be alarmed by leaf drop – just care for the tree as usual until it becomes acclimated to the new space.
Think up and consider a hanging plant. Spider plants, ivy, and – of course – ferns are all excellent choices. Ferns do well with very little light but will suffer in dry conditions. Mist every week and consider growing them in the bathroom or near the kitchen sink where humidity is higher.
The most common problem with houseplants is the tendency to “love plants to death” – meaning overwatering in an attempt to give the best care, but instead may result in grumpy or rotted plants. Signs of overwatering are often the same as underwatering – drooping, yellowing leaves that drop and a generally “sick” looking plant.
Feel the soil before you water. If it’s damp, hold off for a couple days. Water when the top 1 inch is dry.
Rotate plants weekly or bi-weekly and rotate trees every few months to keep them evenly growing on all sides.
Keep plants about 1 foot away from windows and out of direct drafts.
Inspect plants often for signs of pests – don’t worry, they’re usually easy to get rid of. The usual suspects include mealy bug, spider mites, scale, and aphids. Bonide Eight, Captain Jack’s Dead Bug, Neem Oil or horticultural oil can quickly fix pest problems.
Tonkadale carries vast variety of beautiful houseplants to suit every style of décor and light conditions. Pick a houseplant today – here’s to your health!