The Christmas tree came down this week, the fresh wreath withered, poinsettia's gone, and the house is back to the way it was pre-Thanksgiving. The house is once again clean and dull; so what's a person to do?
January is when new houseplants are brought home from the garden center to bring some vibrancy back into the Lain casa. Preparing for this column I glanced though a greenhouse full of plants and found we have over two dozen varieties in stock, if succulents and office cactuses are included in the tally. This doesn't include the dozen or more air plants grown indoors through winter. It's a lot of variety that can be overwhelming! Not sure which plants are likely to survive a new home?
For gardeners new to the realm of houseplants, let me introduce you to four of my favorites, which also happen ti be easy to grow. They are undemanding to keep watered and fed, with moderate price points, flexibility of room placement, and no pesky insect issues.
There are lots of benefits that come by surrounding yourself with indoor plants. I just like the way plants make me feel in my office while typing out a garden column or checking my Facebook feed. While checking my Twitter feed, my plants' stress reduction capabilities really get a workout!
NASA has done some serious studies on a houseplant's innate ability to remove toxic contaminants from the air we breathe, and we all know that breathing contaminant-free air is an important factor to our general good health.
Pictured above are my four favorite houseplants that can boast a long-time popularity, and are easy to grow.
Pothos - This vining plant, with glossy, variegated leaves, is one of the easiest and most popular plants to grow indoors. It does well whether planted alone or in mixed containers with peace lilies, philodendrons, and aglaonemas, all of which thrive in low-light spots.
Dieffenbachia - One of the easiest houseplants to care for, it has long, attractive variegated leaves. It is an upright grower that works well as either a floor plant or atop a table. It prefers bright light and moist soil. Please note: The sap of Dieffenbachia is poisonous if ingested, so keep this plant out of reach of children and pets.
Croton - With its variegated leaves sporting red, yellow, orange, and green colors, the croton is one of the most colorful indoor plants. Although it will survive in low to high light spots, it will show more colorful foliage in brighter light. Requires water only when its soil is dry to the touch.
Peace lily – This is the most popular houseplant of them all, and with great reason. It has beautiful glossy green foliage, elegant white flowers, and is super easy to grow! It thrives in low light areas, and with consistent moisture. Should you forget to water it, it will give you a heads-up by drooping slightly when it needs a drink!
2017 Gardening Classes – The first gardening class of spring starts January 28th. As usual, the classes are free, and the first few classes are very timely:
Jan 28 – Fun Houseplants and Miniature Fairy Gardens
Not all houseplants are created equal when growing in an arid climate. You'll be given a list of the top 7 houseplants to grow in our area.. If you liked GI Joe's & dolls' houses as a kid, then you will be clamoring to get to the tables at this class. We'll have 10 miniature gardens ready for hands-on “playtime”. Students are given the opportunity to design their own fairy gardens with access to all the ornaments and houses from Watters' 2017 collection. The top 3 designs win 'way-to-go' prizes at the end of the session. This class is very social, hands on, and fun, fun, fun.
Feb 4 – Advanced Landscape Pruning for Spring Success
Not all plants in our yards need pruning, but timing is critical for those that do. The pruning techniques exhibited are sure to help plants bloom better and reduce disease this spring. Wear warm clothing and bring garden shoes, as this is a working demonstration on the landscapes here at Watters. Demonstrations include a walk through Watters' vineyard and orchards.
Feb 11– Wildflowers: Ready - Set - Grow
Late winter is the ideal time to start wildflower seeds, but you can't just chuck them onto the landscape and expect success. We share all the local tips that ensure a spectacular showing of these bloomers. You will know the best seed, soils, food, and techniques that brings on the color this spring. Come early, this class can be standing room only.
Lisa and I wish you and your gardens a healthy and prosperous New Year!
Until next week, I'll see you at the Garden Center.