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GardenSMART :: Add Style and Comfort to Your Home with Easy-Care Houseplants

Add Style and Comfort to Your Home with Easy-Care Houseplants

By Karen Weir-Jimerson, Costa Farms Garden Guru™
Photograph courtesy of Costa Farms

Houseplants make any interior space more inviting. But they do more than that; scientific research shows that spending time around houseplants makes us feel better, reduces stress, and boosts cognition, concentration, and memory. Plus, houseplants clean the air by removing potentially harmful VOCs – volatile organic compounds – added to our air by cleaning products, paint, and carpet. Select plants that prefer your home's conditions and they'll be a lot easier to grow successfully.

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Houseplant Care

Here are tips for caring for houseplants in your home:

Light: Most plant tags define light in three ways: bright, medium, and low. In low light, you can comfortably read a newspaper or magazine without having to add more light. High-light spaces make houseplants cast a strong shadow most of the day. Your houseplants don't actually need natural sunlight; any illumination will do. That's why plants can grow in corporate settings under fluorescent lights.

Water: "How much do I water?" is one of the most common questions new plant owners ask. Add moisture to most plants when the top inch or so of the potting mix dries to the touch. If you are a forgetful waterer, choose houseplants labeled as "low water." Most of these plants make it through periods of dryness well.

Temperature: Nearly all houseplant varieties prefer temperatures that you do: 60° to 85°F (15 to 29C).

Drafts: In their natural habitats, plants aren't exposed to regular blasts of hot or cold air. Avoid placing plants in indoor spots where they can be hit by air from heating or cooling vents, as well as drafty doors or windows.

Design Techniques

Try these design ideas for indoor plants:

Group Favorites: A single plant is lovely on its own, but most look their best in combination (just like in nature). Mix plant heights, colors, and textures for added interest.

Hang Up: Low on space? Hang plants from wall-mounted brackets or ceiling hooks. This décor style can be helpful to keep plants out of reach of children or pets. Some popular picks for hanging baskets include pothos, English ivy, and ferns.

Shelve It: Show off a collection of plants on a shelf. Mix them with books, art objects, and collections.

Create Focal Points: A plant makes a brilliant focal point on tabletops or side tables. Ferns such as blue star, bird's nest, and rabbit's foot are ideal centerpiece plants because they're so wonderfully textural.

Fill Empty Corners: Use tall plants, including yucca cane, fiddle leaf ficus, and money tree, to fill blank corners with rich texture. Flank furniture, such as entertainment centers.

Pot Them Together: Plant several different types of houseplants together in the same pot! Combine a tall Ficus Alii with a few low-growing purple waffle plants or artfully mix different varieties of no-fuss Colorful Aglaonema together and let them complement each other's colorful variegated leaves.

Dress Up with Cool Pots

Drop houseplants (sold in black plastic pots) in a colorful pot, big basket, or vintage container. Put the right look together by using containers that complement or contrast your plants and the surrounding décor.

 


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