Gardening inside is probably a good idea for this time of the year. Soon the outdoors will be more accepting of our efforts, but for the time being, why not consider some easy-to-grow and hard-to-kill house plants. Gardening inside only requires some window exposure, some hand watering, and fertilization from time to time.
In a recent Birds and Blooms online newsletter, there were some really good recommendations for houseplants. Before getting to their list, I must tell you that I have had a pothos for over 40 years! It does not care where I place it or how often I forget to water it. It just keeps growing and growing no matter what I do…or don’t do. And, pothos do not require very much light. So, toss out those fake plants in the basket on the ledge above your kitchen cabinets or in the niche in your family room and put a pothos in that planter!
When you choose your indoor beauty, make sure you know its lighting requirements. East windows get only morning sunshine and tend to be a bit cooler than west-facing windows. North windows will definitely be cooler and good for succulents. South-facing windows are fine in late fall through early spring; but when the sun’s position in the sky changes, there may not be any direct sunlight in a south window. Just be aware of these different environments and the fact that you may have to change the location of some plants throughout the year as the seasons change.
Now let’s get to the recommendations:
Philodendron is the first because it is easy to care for, does not need strong, direct light, and the cuttings can be used to generate new plants. Some types will grow well in a vase filled with water!
Geranium is the next recommendation, and I can tell you from experience that nothing gives you more showy flowers in the winter on a sunny sill than geraniums. You will have to pinch off the used blooms, and some fertilizer might encourage really good growth. Geraniums can certainly be moved outdoors as soon as the danger of frost is over.
Christmas cactus is readily available now and will grow and flower for you in your own home. They flower once yearly, but for a lengthy period of time.
Succulents, all manners of, will thrive in a north-facing window. They do not require much water, and once weekly is more than enough. If you leave on vacation, water your succulents [and pothos] before you leave and they are good for two weeks.
You might want to check out The Indestructible Houseplant: 200 Beautiful Plants That Everyone Can Grow by Tovah Martin. For certain this guide will answer all your questions about growing plants indoors.
Your Master Gardeners invite you to visit their website http://saddlebrookemastergardeners.org/ for all up-to-date information and events for your community. Garden questions? You can reach our very own Garden Helpline by calling Pat at 407-6459.
Remember, nothing brings more tranquility to the heart than a beautiful garden.