Healthy House Plants
Houseplants are popular again – last time they were as trendy and hot was the 1970’s. AND, macramé hangers were all the rage then (to hold the plants) and they too are back in style!! Novice and experienced gardeners are embracing the trend of having plants in their homes for air purification; it’s a bonus that plants also add depth and texture to the decor of your home.
The tips listed below have been generated by our knowledgeable staff, lead by Master Gardener Christine Freeburn:
- Success with house plants depends on: Location (including light level) and Water/Care
- Plants for high/bright light: succulents, cacti, tropical plants (wintering indoors or permanent)
- Medium Light (most homes can provide): philodendrons, pothos, ivy, fiddleleaf figs, orchids, most flowering/seasonal plants, ferns, goldfish, lipstick. Plus: spider plant, anthurium, peperomia
- Low Light: peace lilies, ZZ Plants, snake plants, Chinese evergreens
- When transplanting, go up one size (i.e. 4” pot to a 6” pot) as we tend to water to the size of the pot and can “flood” a plant that is too small for a big pot
- Drainage holes are key – water retention trays help keep spills from happening, plant dollies help move large plants for cleaning purposes
- Our homes have been studied and a Canadian home in the middle of the winter is “drier than the Sahara Desert”, so humidity is key for many house plants. Plus, our modern homes are NOT friendly for house plants – we turn on our furnaces for our own comfort (air con in summer too) or heat with wood (very dry heat), have air tight windows and doors (energy conservation) and new windows have low-e glass emitting in VERY little sunlight in, especially the weak winter sun, so houseplants struggle in our homes in the winter.
- Humidity trays (a plastic or clay tray with rocks on it, plant sits on top) ans misting do help with the dryness; signs of stress due to dryness include: dried up leaves or brown tips on leaves
- Water used should not be run through the water softener and should sit in your watering can for a few hours so it is room temperature and allowing the chemicals in the water to disperse.
- Plants should not sit in water; drain out any water left in the saucer or decorative over pot
- Fertilizer should be used only during months of growth (not winter) as plants rest when light levels are low (winter)
- Pests can be monitored with “Sticky Strips” and/or controlled by spraying an insecticidal soap (Safer’s End All is a great option)
- Air Plants should be soaked in the sink in ½ inch of water, upside down (so crown is not soaked too much) for about 20 mins once per week. Dab off on a towel and tuck back in to arrangements, holders etc. Skip misting, not enough water for them! Medium light is best, not too sunny of a spot.
- Fiddle leaf figs are the “It” Plant – very desirable as they are used in many home design magazines and on HGTV shows such as “Fixer Upper” and “Masters of Flip”. Best in a bright to high light location; water as needed. It is relatively easy to grow in our modern homes.
- One of the most “blogged” about plants for 2018: Pilea Pepperomia, the Chinese Money Plant (pictured). It prefers a medium light and a pot with drainage.