Tuesday, January 22, 2008

House Plants

Well, I hope you all survived the holidays. I had a great time with my girls who were home from college for a few weeks. The oldest one just headed back last Saturday so now the house is rather quiet. She is off on a great adventure, doing her semester abroad in Denmark. We are trying to arrange a visit for sometime in March but in a warm, sunny location, say Portugal, since I think we will both be looking forward to sunny skies.

As you know it has been very dreary around here. Sunday when I was working in the greenhouses at Countryside though, the sun was finally out and we even had a few intrepid customers brave the freezing outside temperatures to enjoy the sun in the warm greenhouse. Greenhouses 1,2 and 3 are stocked to the gills with tropical plants in preparation for Tuesday’s 40% off green plant sale.

Green plants do add so much to our interior environments. They really do improve the air in our houses, removing toxins and adding oxygen. Just as there are plants for every outside garden, there are plants for every house as well. Even if you think you can’t grow plants inside, there are plants that will take lots of abuse and that will even thrive with a modicum of care.

Plants that will survive even the most adverse home conditions include: Algaonema (Chinese Evergreen), Anthurium aemulum (Climbing Anthurium), Crassula arborescens (Jade Plant), and Philodendron, to name a few.

There are many green (and variegated) plants that can take medium to low light and you don’t have to be a slave to the watering can, since most plants slow down in their growth habit in the winter and generally need less water and fertilizer. One note of caution, however, is that the inside air can be very dry during the winter as forced air furnaces tend to dry the air as they heat our homes. Most tropical plants prefer a more humid environment. This can be accomplished by setting your plants in saucers filled with pebbles and water. Just make sure the container is sitting above the level of the water (hence the use of pebbles or small rocks) so that the soil is not saturated with water and can still drain. As the water in the saucer evaporates it will create a “humidity dome” around the plant. This is even better than misting the plants.

And house plants aren’t just green, either. The anthurium plant has a red, white or pink flower (actually a modified leaf), bromeliads flower in several colors and we have a philodendron that has orange shaded leaves that are quite stunning. The spathiphyllum (Peace Lily), that is often used in betta bowls, has a white “flower.” Algaonema can be variegated or a golden color.

Ann Larson, who manages our interior plant department, is a veritable fountain of knowledge about house plants and can answer any question you might have about house plant selection and care. And now is a great time to stop in and take advantage of this great sale not too mention soak up some rays on a cold day.

No comments: