by Ken Lain, the mountain gardener
There is a seemingly cavernous void in the living room when the Christmas tree and holiday greens are taken down for another year. There’s a simple solution to this annual letdown: Ring in the new year with a new houseplant and enjoy its contribution to a healthier, prettier home. Houseplants not only add their inimitable beauty, but they release oxygen and decrease dust and pollutants in the air. Their removal of contaminants help to fight colds. The peaceful zen feeling they bring helps reduce stress. Look around your home for a place for an indoor plant, then bring it in and enjoy its aesthetic and health benefits. Coincidentally, Watters’ stock of houseplants is at its seasonal high!
Below are the top houseplants grown in local homes:
Calathea – This plant has large, colorful patterned leaves in shades of deep green and purple. A large mid-sized upright plant, it can be used on a tabletop or as a floor plant. Put it in a bright spot but be aware that the leaves are sensitive to direct sunlight. Allow the soil to dry slightly before watering.
Creeping Fig – This vining plant has small, puckered, heart-shaped leaves. It is lovely grown in a hanging basket or trained as a topiary. Place in a bright spot and keep the soil evenly moist.
Variegated Creeping Fig – A variety of creeping fig that has green and
white leaves. It’s as easy to grow as the green variety, requiring the same conditions and care.
Croton – There are many different varieties of Croton with different
foliage color combinations. It has large leaves with exotic color patterns. The most popular is ‘Petra’, with shades of yellow, red, and green. This has long been a favorite houseplant for adding a punch of color. Crotons will survive in low to high light, but they will show more color when placed in a bright spot. Water regularly as the soil becomes dry.
English Ivy – In many areas of the country this ivy
is grown as a ground cover, but it is also a favorite indoor plant. A trailing plant, it is pretty on a table or in a hanging basket where it will gracefully move in the breeze; it can be trained into a topiary using a topiary form. Place it in a high light area and keep the soil evenly moist.
Design Ideas – From easy elegance to Arizona Room gone wild, check out these Happy Houseplant décor ideas on Watters Pinterest page. Follow us for the latest in garden trends.
Golden Pothos – This low maintenance vining plant is one of the easiest to
grow. Place on a table, shelf, or hanging basket, and let the vines grow and trail. Or plant it in a pot with a pole and let it grow up the pole. Grow it in low to medium light and allow the soil to dry between waterings.
Maidenhair Fern – Despite its soft, small,
green leaves on gracefully arching black stalks, this delicate – looking little fern is actually quite hardy. The key to keeping a Maidenhair happy is to keep it in high humidity. Because of their innate humidity, kitchens and bathrooms provide ideal environments. You can increase the humidity around a Maidenhair fern by putting it on a tray of pebbles and keeping water in the tray. Place this fern in medium to high light.
Money Plant– Many people believe this plant is lucky and a symbol of
wealth. It often is used to bring in green when designing with Feng Shui principles. Standing upright, green leaves above the trunk, it adds architecture and drama to a room. It is effortless to maintain, will grow in any light indoors, and can be allowed to dry completely between waterings.
Peace Lily – The peace lily undoubtedly has been the most common h
ouseplant for years, and with great reason. It is a natural plant to care for t
hat regularly blooms with beautiful white blossoms throughout the year. It does well in lower light areas. Peace lilies like to have consistent moisture. While some people wait for cues from the lilies to water them (they droop when they need water), you will notice some damage to the leaves with this method. It’s best to keep the soil evenly moist.
ZZ plant – With its tall succulent stems and architectural structure, this plant is a favorite for homes with modern decor. It requires very little maintenance and is nearly indestructible. Place it in medium to high light, watering only when the soil is dry.
Until the next issue, I’ll be helping gardeners here at Watters Garden Center.