With snow on the ground, a gardener is either dreaming about the spring, leafing through seed catalogs or beautifully photographed garden magazines, or focusing on the houseplants. Most likely both. This time of year at the garden center, we’re doing the same thing. We’re finding new suppliers, or ordering from our regular ones, for all the lovely plants you’ll find here in the spring and summer. But we’re also surrounded by all the houseplants we’ve brought in for your pleasure. In ‘the season’ we get distracted from these indoor tropical beauties, so now is the time to talk about them.
The air in my house is in very dry in winter as I have forced air heat. My skin is very unhappy, and my mood sometimes matches it. I can’t just run outside and immerse myself in my garden, but I can sit with a cup of tea next to one of my houseplant tables and relax as I inspect the leaves and soil and breathe in all they’re giving me. Joy, for one, and moisture, and a little bit of oxygen. Some recent studies have found that certain species are best at cleaning toxins out of our stale indoor air and adding oxygen. (Some studies say it doesn’t really work that way, but, hey, it makes me feel better to believe it). If you find lists on the internet, there will be some differences, but the standard tried and true ones are here: Peace lily, English Ivy, Snake Plant, Spider Plant, and Pothos. I know, not the most exciting of houseplants, but it’s good to have some of these basics along with some of the more fun ones like the Angel Vine pictured above, String of Pearls, Rex Begonia, Myrtle, Ferns, Oxalis, African Mask Plant, or some of my new favorites, Parallel Peperomia and Peperomia peperomioides.
Taking care of houseplants is very easy, and if you’re new to it, please come in and ask for advice. Of course, the internet is there for you too, and really, there is nothing like just doing it. Get one, get a bit of advice, and just pay attention to how it reacts to its place in your home, and how you water it. If you’re paying attention, you can usually save a poor looking plant from death by changing some aspect of its care before it gets too bad. If it dies, that’s okay. Compost it if you can, and try again! Most importantly, just enjoy.
Jodie MacKenn Bross