Do you have houseplants? Gardeners should never be without them. In many areas of the country there’s not much gardening to do from November to April, unless you consider looking at seed catalogs gardening. But you don’t have to live without plants. Even if you keep your home cool, you don’t have sunny windows or forget to water them sometimes you can find houseplants to suit the conditions.
Houseplants have a lot to offer besides the fun of growing them. They clean the air of noxious fumes and floating particles. They raise the humidity in the home in winter. They produce oxygen. Studies have shown that rooms with plants feel more inviting to people, and have a calming effect. Sick people report less pain in rooms with plants and recover faster. Homes that are for sale sell better when attractive plants are added to the rooms.
If you think houseplants are boring spider plants, scrawny ivies and bare stemmed rubber trees you haven’t explored the houseplant possibilities quite enough. Do you long for certain conifers that aren’t hardy in your planting zone? Many small and slow growing evergreens can actually become great houseplants in the winter and good patio plants in the summer. Evergreen perennials such as tender lavenders, rosemary, sweet bay, lemon verbena, small thymes, lantana, mints, small tiarellas and heucheras, violas and violets, citrus trees and figs can find places in the home in winter.
Even lovers of ornamental grasses can grow some as houseplants. Small grasses like “Bunny” grasses, and blue fescue, carex, sedges and clumps of bamboo will thrive in a sunny window. Many garden sedums, even hens and chicks will do well inside. And there is a wealth of exotic succulents on the market and many make excellent houseplants.
Pond enthusiasts can also garden indoors. Set up containers with tropical water lilies, water hyacinths, calla lilies, and other interesting water plants. There are beautiful ferns other than the well-known Boston fern that do well indoors. There are ivies and vines, including small bougainvillea’s, inexpensive orchids, beautiful gingers, sweet scented jasmines, passionflowers, mandevillas, cane type begonias, rex begonias, exotic cacti and stone plants, streptocarpus, carnivorous beauties and so many more unusual and exciting plants.
And of course there are all the old standby houseplants, parlor palms, weeping figs, African violets, jade plants, philodendrons, Norfolk Pines, prayer plants, pothos, and so on, which with proper care, can look quite stunning too.
When warm weather comes many houseplants can take a vacation outside, they can become part of planters and garden beds, and provide interest on porches and patios. This will help you have more time to care for the outside gardens.
A book you’ll want to read
If this has perked your interest a bit in houseplants or you already know and love many houseplants then you may want to read this book: The Unexpected Houseplant –220 extraordinary choices for every spot in your home by Tovah Martin- 2012 . It’s quite inexpensive if you buy the ebook edition on Amazon.
This is a delightful read, not just a care primer for houseplants. The author talks about her love for houseplants and all plants, her experiences with them, her charming older home and even her cat. Ms. Martin has written numerous popular garden books and is a frequent article writer for popular garden magazines.
You may not find your houseplant in this book, many of the plants Martin describes are the unusual and eclectic houseplants, some of which are mentioned above. The more common houseplants are left to other authors to worry over. But when she’s through discussing her choices, you’ll want to run out and try to find some of them.
She talks about the plant’s needs, how to display them, what type of container to grow them in, and many other things woven into a narrative story beginning from the best fall houseplants through summer and permanent houseplant residents. Martin is an organic grower, so there are no plants discussed that require intensive pest control, although she lists what pests and problems a plant may have. There is a summary of care requirements at the end of each section. And there’s a section devoted to houseplants that Martin doesn’t recommend.
This may not be the book for you if you are looking for basic houseplant care. But if you are looking for houseplant inspiration this is it. When you get done reading this book you’ll know there is no excuse not to have houseplants. The hard bound version has beautiful color photos but it will set you back a bit more money. This book would make an excellent Christmas present for any gardener.
Houseplants don’t have to be boring nor do they need to look pathetic or cause you lots of work. By matching your homes conditions with plants you are interested in you can enjoy the benefits of gardening all year round.
There are many houseplant articles on this site. Here are some additional articles you may want to read.
Caring for a Norfolk Island Pine
How to grow herbs inside.
Finding more space for houseplants
You can read the authors weekly garden blog at
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org