by Ken Lain, the mountain gardener
The Christmas tree came down this week, the fresh wreath withered, poinsettia’s gone, and the house is back to the way it was pre-Thanksgiving. The house is once again clean and dull; so what’s a person to do?
January is when new houseplants are brought home from the garden center to bring some vibrancy back into the Lain casa. Preparing for this column I glanced through a greenhouse full of plants and found we have over two dozen varieties in stock if succulents and office cactuses are included in the tally. This doesn’t include the dozen or more air plants grown indoors through winter. It’s a lot of variety that can be overwhelming! Not sure which plants are likely to survive a new home?
For gardeners new to the realm of houseplants, let me introduce you to four of my favorites, which also happen ti be easy to grow. They are undemanding to keep watered and fed, with moderate price points, a flexibility of room placement, and no pesky insect issues.
There are lots of benefits that come by surrounding yourself with indoor plants. I just like the way plants make me feel in my office while typing out a garden column or checking my Facebook feed. While checking my Twitter feed, my plants’ stress reduction capabilities really get a workout!
NASA has done some serious studies on a houseplant’s innate ability to remove toxic contaminants from the air we breathe, and we all know that breathing contaminant-free air is an important factor to our general good health.
Pictured are my four favorite houseplants that can boast a long-time popularity, and are easy to grow.
Top Row: Pothos and Dieffenbachia
Bottom Row: Croton and Peace Lily
Pothos – This vining plant, with glossy, variegated leaves, is one of the easiest and most popular plants to grow indoors. It does well whether planted alone or in mixed containers with peace lilies, philodendrons, and aglaonemas, all of which thrive in low-light spots.
Dieffenbachia – One of the easiest houseplants to care for, it has long, attractive variegated leaves. It is an upright grower that works well as either a floor plant or atop a table. It prefers bright light and moist soil. Please note: The sap of Dieffenbachia is poisonous if ingested, so keep this plant out of reach of children and pets.
Croton – With its variegated leaves sporting red, yellow, orange, and green colors, the croton is one of the most colorful indoor plants. Although it will survive in low to high light spots, it will show more colorful foliage in brighter light. Requires water only when its soil is dry to the touch.
Peace lily – This is the most popular houseplant of them all, and with great reason. It has beautiful glossy green foliage, elegant white flowers, and is super easy to grow! It thrives in low light areas, and with consistent moisture. Should you forget to water it, it will give you a heads-up by drooping slightly when it needs a drink!