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Everyday Gardeners

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Houseplants

5 Easy Indoor Plants

Since it’s National Indoor Plant Week this week, I thought I’d show you a few easy indoor plants to inspire you to add some greenery to your home. I have a bunch of indoor plants around my house, they really do add depth and life to any room – and they purify the air too! Below are my top five picks for indoor plants, as well as light and water requirements. And here are a few more houseplant suggestions.

 

Maidenhair Fern

Light:  Low light
Watering:  High humidity and consistent moisture (I water mine daily!)
More info on Maidenhair fern here.

national indoor plant week

Philodendron “Orange Prince”

Light:  Low light
Watering:  Moderately moist soil, water once or twice a week

philodendron national indoor plant week

Pachira Aquatica (aka The Money Tree!)

Light:  Bright light, no direct sun
Watering:  Moist soil, high humidity

pachira aquatica money plant national indoor plant week

 

Aphelandra (aka Zebra Plant)

Light:  Bright light, no direct sun
Watering:  High humidity, moist soil (Don’t let the soil dry out!)
More houseplants with fantastic foliage here.

aphelandra national indoor plant week

Bromeliad

Light:  Medium light
Watering:  Moist soil, but tolerant if you forget every now and then. (You can water into the stem where the leaves form a little cup at the base, above the soil. It’s actually a good idea to keep some water in that “cup.”)

bromeliad national indoor plant week

 

 


Thank the Heavens for Houseplants

 

It’s no news to most of you that spring has been slow this year. Exceedingly slow. While I’m starting to see signs in life in my landscape (snowdrops are blooming), it’s my houseplants that are really providing my garden delight.

There are lots of great reasons to have houseplants:

  • They help clean indoor air (and according to the O2 for You website, the EPA ranks indoor air pollution as one of the top threats to public health).
  • Looking at houseplants helps reduce stress, improves concentration, and helps our memory (says some research).
  • Houseplants add moisture to the dry, heated indoor air we suffer with in winter (and early spring this year)
  • There’s a houseplant to work with every style of decor
  • And ultimately, it’s nice to be able to look at something nice and green on your desk or in your home.

 

Houseplants aren’t hard to grow. Some people think so, but if you choose the right plant for your space and lifestyle, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits without having to feel like your sacrificing your time to maintain them. By the way: Need help picking the perfect plant? Use our Houseplant Finder!

When I get home, I’m greeted by the lush leaves of a 6-foot-tall banana I’ve had for about five years now; the wonderful scent of Arabian jasmine; and a host of other beauties.

Do you have houseplants? If so, what are your favorites?


All About Amaryllis

That thick layer of snow outside hasn’t dampened my garden spirits one bit. On the contrary, after perusing the seed and plant catalogs that have been piling up in my mailbox, I’m inspired to fill my windowsills with blooming color. And to me, amaryllis look best right around now, when the days are slowly growing longer and the desire for a little outdoor action makes everybody a little loopy. The huge trumpet-shaped blossoms of amaryllis have an almost otherworldly appearance…and they are surprisingly easy to grow indoors. Amaryllis are tender bulbs with tropical origins; they have been bred by the Dutch to produce vigorous three-foot-tall stems that bear 10-inch blossoms in red, white, peach, green, salmon, striped, and even polka-dotted. There are even variegated (the foliage), miniature, and pointy-petaled cultivars.

Bulbs potted up shortly after the new year will be in full splendor well before the vernal equinox on March 20th (it takes about six to eight weeks after planting for the bulbs to actually bloom). Before I moved to Iowa, I had some three dozen amaryllis bulbs, collected over the years, that I’d overwinter in the basement of the brownstone where I lived in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. There’s no reason to toss out an amaryllis once it’s done blooming since they’re a cinch to get to bloom again the following year. After your amaryllis has finished blooming, treat the strap-like foliage just like any other houseplant until it is warm enough to move out to the garden for the summer. Come September, move them into a cool, dark spot and allow them to dry up and drop their leaves. Then, a couple of months before you want blooms on your windowsill, start the indoor forcing process all over again (I usually repot by bulbs with fresh potting soil and time-release fertilizer for extra oomph). I also like to provide the stalks with added support by tying them to a stake; this helps them hold their heavy heads—usually three to four massive flowers each—upright.

Last fall, our friends at Longfield Gardens sent me a selection of their amaryllis bulbs to add to my personal collection. They sent me ‘Elvas’, and ‘Nymph’, and ‘Vera’, and ‘Magic Green’. That’s ‘Elvas’ and ‘Nymph’ blooming their heads off in my breakfast nook this morning. ‘Elvas’ has broad white petals with painterly, cardinal-red brushstrokes. ‘Nymph’ is a gorgeous double amaryllis with layers of glistening white petals that feature delicate traceries of red. The center radiates a soft, lemon-lime glow. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to that?


It’s National Indoor Plant Week!

Did you know that it’s National Indoor Plant Week? We love any opportunity to celebrate gardening! There are lots of reasons to grow plants indoors, especially in your home or office.

University studies have shown that we’re more productive and less stressed when there are plants around. That little plant on your desk is a connection to nature, especially if you can’t easily see a window to look outdoors.

In addition to making us feel better psychologically, plants help us physically. Plants indoors do a marvelous job of filtering out pollutants, especially from super-energy-efficient buildings where air is circulated all day and there’s not much fresh air coming in from outside.

Do you have plants? If not, now’s a GREAT time to add some to your life. Not sure which are best? Take our fun quiz at http://www.bhg.com/gardening/houseplants/houseplant-finder/.


Wonderful Houseplants

While there’s  still a bit blooming in my garden (for example, ‘Rozanne’ geranium, ‘Luscious Citrus Blend‘ lantana, and ‘Little Mischief’ shrub rose), my attention has pretty much turned to my indoor garden.

I have some of the usual suspects (ficus and moth orchids, for example), but I also grow some less traditional choices, including a white double impatiens (shown here), a few fun plectranthus, and of course my favorite passionflowers.

Why bother with so many houseplants? Besides the fact that I’m a gardening fanatic, I know they also help my health. A number of scientific studies have revealed that simply having plants around can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and help improve concentration.

Plants are good for my physical health in other ways, too. NASA experiments have shown that plants are able to remove nasty pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene from the air.

And my indoor plants release moisture into the air as a part of their breathing process — this increases the relative humidity in the rooms where I keep my plants. Spending time in these rooms is like a mini vacation from the desert-dry air coming out of my home’s furnace.

Really when it all comes down to it, though, I’m a plant lover. Do you have houseplants? If so, share your reasons with me by commenting below!


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