By Justin Hancock, Costa Farms Horticulturist
Photographs courtesy of Costa Farms
There seems to be no end to the benefits of gardening indoors and out. Scientific research shows us that plants can help our memory, our problem-solving skills, and help us be happier in general. Plants are able to filter some health-damaging VOCs (volatile organic compounds) through their leaves. Beneficial microorganisms in the potting mix also help pull out these nasty chemicals, which can cause headaches, sore throats, and other symptoms.
It turns out keeping an easy-care houseplant on your bedside table might help you sleep better. In addition to giving us purer air, being around houseplants has been shown to help us relax and feel calmer. Some studies even suggest that proximity to houseplants can help lower our blood pressure levels.
If you do some research on the topic, you'll find a lot of stories online recommending different houseplants to keep in your bedroom. Here are my recommendations.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
One of the most durable houseplants around, Chinese evergreen is a fantastic choice if your bedroom doesn't get a lot of light during the day. It's also fantastic if you're an inconsistent waterer; it can go for a couple of weeks without batting an eye. Plus, it's pretty, sporting variegated leaves that look good all year long.
Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis)
It features long-lasting flowers (in bright conditions with good humidity, the flower spike can continue to produce blooms for several months!) and is a lot more resilient than most people give it credit for. I shouldn't admit this, but I've had moth orchids hang on for three weeks without water while I've been travelling. Most of my other houseplants didn't fare so well.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria)
If there was an award for most adaptable houseplant, I think snake plant would win. As long as you don't keep the soil soggy all the time or leave it in cold weather, it's almost hard to kill. Snake plant doesn't need a lot of light during the day (but thrives in bright spots, too). Plus, it's stylish, showing off chic vertical leaves usually striped or streaked in silver.
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By Susan Martin for Proven Winners,
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners
When you head to the garden center this spring, you'll find more patterned flowers than ever before. All those stripes, speckles and pinwheels are dazzling but it takes a little know-how to pair them with other flowers in container recipes. Here are five creative ways to design spectacular container recipes using patterned flowers.
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