Pretty Up Your Windowsill
With colorful blooms (that aren’t easy to kill)
There’s something about adding a little green inside your home by way of a houseplant that just cozies up a space. “It takes us back to nature,” says Arlene Dreeszen, a 29-year expert with Gainan’s Garden Center. She adds, “They do take the toxins out of the environment inside your house. It’s beneficial for us as humans to have contact with plants.” That’s why we strolled through the aisles of our local nurseries in search of fail-proof plants for your home. The experts say these picks don’t need a ton of pampering and are generally forgiving if you miss an occasional watering. So, for roughly a $25 to $40 investment, you’ll have a happy little houseplant and a decorative pot to put it in to spruce up your living space.
This eye-catching succulent literally rains down blossoms in shades of white, red, pink and orange in late fall or early winter. “It’s a colorful blossom with easy care,” Arlene says. Put this long-lived plant in a hanging basket or tall pot that allows the bright green stems to trail and this plant will be as happy as can be. Be sure to allow the moisture levels to drop a bit between watering and never overwater.
Take a step back and let the Chinese Evergreen’s showy tropical foliage take center stage. “This plant has a wide variety of leaf patterns, mostly silver and green but there are a few new varieties with shades of pink,” Arlene says. What’s even better? These beauties can grow in lower light rooms and will live through stretches without water. “Overwatering is really the only way you can kill this plant,” she adds, which can make even the not-so-green thumb witness indoor growing success.
If you’re looking for a bit of the exotic, look no further than Bromeliads. This easy-breezy group of plants brings interesting leaves with a pop of colorful flowers. “There are many different kinds,” Arlene says, and “the flowers last for months.” As for care, plant this little showstopper in a pot with a saucer and be sure to keep a little water in the base of the pot. Keep in mind, Bromeliads like medium to bright light in order to flourish.
If you’re looking for one of the easiest going plants to add to the mix, you’ll find it in the spider plant. “They are colorful and have variegation on the leaves. They are one of my favorite plants,” Arlene says. The plant is named for the little spindles of plants that dangle down from the main plant, much like a spider on a web. They love the light and not a lot of water, making them the perfect pick for houseplant newbies.
If you didn’t know it, not all orchids are high maintenance. This variety is the mellowest of the beautiful bunch. “It is the easiest of the orchids. It likes bright light. Water it well in your sink and then let it dry out before you water it again.” When it comes to blooms, Arlene says, “They bloom once a year and the blooms last a long time, usually a month or more.” Keep in mind, these plants normally are potted in bark or another kind of potting medium to properly aerate the roots.
This plant from the succulent family often is a head-turner in florist shops. You’ll see their vibrant little flowers stuffed in planters and gift arrangements. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate their cluster of flowers on their own. “It is rather difficult to have them to reflower in the house but the flowers are long lasting. When they do bloom, the flowers last a month of more,” Arlene says. Experts say the trick to get these plants to rebloom is to shorten their exposure to light during the winter months, keeping them in the dark for 12 to 14 hours a day for upwards of six weeks. That way, this little plant will bless you with several years of bright, colorful blossoms.
CROWN OF THORNS
Give this little lady a bright location and you’ll set the stage for this houseplant to thrive. It’s a breeze to grow this plant since it settles in well with dry indoor conditions and doesn’t “complain” when you miss an occasional watering. In Thailand, the number of flowers on a Crown of Thorns plant is said to foretell the luck of its plant keeper.
DID YOU KNOW? To improve air quality, and reduce fatigue and stress, you should add one plant per every 100 square feet in your home or office.
DID YOU KNOW? As part of a plant’s growing cycle, plants release roughly 95% of the water they take in meaning plants increase indoor air humidity helping prevent dry skin, and illnesses like colds, sore throats, and dry coughs.