By Rachel Weston ~
The winter doldrums just seem to keep marching along. Don’t you crave seeing some greenery? Although the thermometer seems to be perpetually stuck in the 20s and 30s, you can turn your home into a tropical paradise.
Just add houseplants!
Indoor plants add a refreshing pop of color to your interiors but also help clean the air. This is especially important when the house is closed up in winter. Plants add oxygen and filter chemicals in the air which helps keep our indoor environments more healthy.
A visit to a local greenhouse is quite a treat for the senses at this time of year. I’ve made time in between appointments to stop in to browse at Barlow’s Garden Center in Sea Girt, Dearborn Market in Holmdel and The Herbary in Howell. The warmth and lush greenery certainly puts one in the shopping mood.
With looks ranging from graceful, arching fern fronds, prickly cactus, elegant orchids and flashy variegated leaves; there is a plant out there to suit all tastes.
Just as with gardening outdoors, it is important to remember to look for the right plant for the right place. The light, temperature and humidity of a space are all factors to consider before choosing a new houseplant. Also, consider your level of attention. Some plants can take being watered infrequently while others need to be fussed over with occasional misting to look and feel their best.
Plants get their nutrients from the soil. Repot with fresh soil to provide a nutrient boost. Spring is a good time to do this. Water plants weekly or according to their specific needs. If leaves turn yellow, get brown edges or droop, it could be signs that the plant is being overwatered, under-watered or not getting the right light.
Plants that love bright light
Dwarf citrus trees are particularly rewarding in winter and can be moved outdoors during summer. Succulents are known for their sculptural rosettes but will get lanky if light is lacking. Instagram’s favorite plant, monstera deliciosa, can get monstrously large if you have the room.
Dark Corners and Still Lovely
A few plants seem to thrive even in the lowest light situations. Snake Plant has wavy, upright leaves and the ability to thrive anywhere. Pothos will also keep producing heart-shaped leaves in low light. Peace Lily will even flower every few months. ZZ plant is an attractive slow grower with small leaves on tall branches.
Calathea are tropical plants with leaves that are often streaked with pink or white hues. They like bright, indirect light but can handle a lower light spot. African violets like it steamy, too. Create extra humidity by putting pebbles in a waterproof tray, adding water among the rocks and setting your plants on top.
Fussy but Worth It
Ficus and Fiddle Leaf Figs are gorgeous but resent being moved from a location they like or being in a draft. They will pout and drop leaves. Orchids are seriously seductive and a bit tricky to grow. Try a Phalaenopsis and grow it in quick-draining bark and peat moss.