Along the Garden Path: Houseplants are back in fashion


We are in-between seasons, eager to see green but still too cold outside to do most things. Until the ground gets warmer we can concentrate on houseplants. The houseplant interests of the 1970s are coming back into our homes.

Knowing that plants make people happier, lowers blood pressure, and so much more, it gets you as close to nature as you want.

When you get a plant the first thing to decide is how much light or sun does the plant require. Usually, if you have purchased your plant from a reliable grower, there will be a tag with the common name, botanical name and condition with which the plant requires. The information will let you know where you should position your houseplant within the home.

Gardeners have had spider plants or peace lilies that are easy to care for. Lately, there has been a huge increase in sales of low maintenance house plants such as cacti and succulents. Cacti have so many shapes and sizes and will flower if they have enough sun. Succulents also come in many shapes, sizes and colors, and are chosen by everyone because they are easy to grow.

The Spider plant (Air plant) and the Peace Lilies (Spathipyllum) are still popular as they are efficient in removing pollutants from the air. If you are “houseplant challenged,” the Spider plant is the plant for you. They have long stems with babies, and flowers at the ends that just go any way they want. Spider plants are one of the most easy care houseplants around that can tolerate almost all conditions. Chinese evergreen is another plant easy to grow; it tolerates about all conditions. The rewards are the different colors you are able to get. There is a deep green with a silvery pattern in the leaves or (my favorite) the red Siam Chinese evergreen with beautiful foliage.

Ferns, my favorite, are coming back in to fashion. My father grew a large Boston Fern in the picture window of his barber shop in Ansonia. He nurtured that lovely plant for years with just the right temperatures the correct sunlight and right amount of fertilizer. My sister has a knack for growing the Staghorn Fern on long pieces of barn siding. She gives it the right amount on humidity, the correct lighting and fertilizer. There are eight or more varieties of ferns growing at our house, mostly in the sun room where they get ample light, humidity and love. When searching for houseplants, we always end up with some different fern.

Tropical houseplants can bring color and an exotic flair to your home. Tropical plants can be grown indoors to bring a bit of the jungle or rainforest into any room.

The tropical Bromeliads are wonderful houseplants with their colorful and flowering habits. Some have a stalk with a large showy flower atop it while others have small flowers which appear deep inside the cup. Bromeliads are easy to care for and a rewarding addition to your houseplants.

The key to success with any houseplant is paying attention to the plant. Check often for dryness and the need to water, insects, diseases and don’t over water. Your plants will thrive with your attention and you will be rewarded with green living friends that being life and joy to your home.

By Charlene Thornhill

Along the Garden Path

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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