When you can’t be outdoors playing in the dirt, bring it indoors!
You are not crazy for wanting plants around you indoors. They provide a number of very positive effects on life especially in the winter months. First of all, plants have a calming affect on our personalities. They actually reduce stress when we tend them. Yes, there can be some frustration if your plants do not grow well. However, since there are many varieties, and some of them are virtually goof proof, there is something for every level of care taker.
Indoor plants improve the environment where we live and work. They tend to purify the air, taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. They absorb other substances from the air we are breathing, making where we live a better place. The effect on our psyche is another big plus by improving the visual appearance of our surroundings and giving us a sense of nurturing.
A few plants to consider having indoors could be a pothos, croton or spider plant. All are easy to maintain. African violets provide cute little flowers. Just remember they don’t like their feet or leaves wet. If all else fails, try a Jade tree or other succulent.
One of the problems people have in caring for their plants is that of proper watering. Even in the growing of plants in greenhouses the most difficult thing to learn is proper watering. If you think about it, over 90% of a plant is water and the management of this one item is huge. Following a few basics and watering thoroughly and less frequently are the first steps to having some new friends in the house during the winter months. Use the “1st knuckle test” for determining when to water. If it isn’t dry to the first knuckle, wait to water.
Some plants require more light than others. This is the second most important element to consider. Some plants may suffer from too much light in a bright sunny, southerly window in the winter months, but others require this exposure. Discuss this with the people who are providing the plants or google the plant name to find out this information. Poinsettias, for instance, require that full sunny window.
Insect pests are likely the next biggest issue. Aphids and mites can be a problem along with mealy bugs and fungus gnats. One of the best ways to combat indoor insects is to “shower” the plants in tepid water if they are not too large to handle, rinsing them off once a month. Be sure to wash the underside of the leaves also. There are sprays that are safe to use indoors such as some of the insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils. Do a little research first to help determine the best action to take. Identification of the pest is the best place to start. Your local nursery/garden center is a good source of information.
Fertilization of houseplants is not a big issue during winter. Normally a modest feed program once a month is adequate. Some houseplants require no fertilization during winter.
With all the benefits houseplants provide, no one should feel crazy because they desire healthy, breathing foliage inside their home. Everyone needs something to care for now and then. Let some colorful plants fill your interior garden this winter.
Get some plants and Garden On!