Forget Apples, Teachers Love Houseplants!
Not only will a houseplant last longer than the time it takes to munch down a juicy apple, they bring class rooms, dorm rooms, sitting rooms, heck – any room back to life! They provide a number of positive effects on our very existence. First of all, plants have a calming affect on our personalities. They actually reduce stress when we tend them. And, there are so many varieties, some of them are virtually goof proof, that there is something for every level of care taker.
Indoor plants improve the environment where we live and work. They purify the air, taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. They absorb other substances from the air we breath, 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. That’s right, cacti and succulents make great houseplants.
There are a few things to keep in mind when caring for houseplants. Number one 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 – watering thoroughly and less frequently are the first steps to maintaining your new friends. 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, but others require this exposure. Do your homework and discuss this with the people who are providing the plants or google the plant name to find out this information.
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 the fall and winter months. Normally a modest feed program once a month is adequate. Some houseplants require no fertilization during this time.
With all the benefits houseplants provide, no one should feel crazy because they desire healthy, breathing foliage inside their home or classroom. Everyone needs something to care for now and then. Show your teacher you care and let some colorful plants fill your interior garden this coming season.
Get some plants and Garden On!