In these cold, windy, nasty times people find it difficult to get out and enjoy nature, walk on the grass and literally smell the roses. Most of us would love to be able to enjoy nature whenever we want, whenever we need to – and fortunately we can! Simply look within… Your home that is… Houseplants!!!
There are so many benefits to the cultivation of indoor plants that you would be crazy not to enjoy the positives yourself. These benefits apply equally to business premises and offices as well as to your private homes, so you can enjoy the well being that plants bring everywhere you go.
Did you know???
-Plants improve indoor air quality – they remove volatile organic compounds emitted from plastics and synthetic furnishings, reduce CO2 by up to 25%, and CO by a whopping 90%. They also filter nitrogen and sulfur oxides, ozone and microscopic dust particulates.
-In a three month study it was shown that workers with plants in their offices suffered considerably less illness, and had less time off.
-Plants help reduce background noise. As well as being brilliant in reducing noise levels in your gardens, plants in your houses can also absorb noise, and thus help promote a calm, peaceful atmosphere.
-They lower stress and counter negative feelings.
-They’ve been shown to improve productivity in both schools and workplaces.
(Cleaning the air while bringing a room to life!)
So let’s get started!
So, where do I put my plethora of new plants? Anywhere with abundant natural light, but avoid direct afternoon sun. If you live in a cave and have very limited sunlight, there are many species available that will tolerate less light. If you choose to enjoy more than one houseplant, it’s always good to group them together. Apart from providing a more bountiful feel to the arrangement, it creates a micro-climate for the plants which will benefit all of them. If the air in your home is very dry, place a dish of water somewhere near the plants to create a localized increase in humidity. A light misting with a spray bottle once a day also creates the same effect.
So, which ones should you choose? To provide a comprehensive list would be well beyond the scope of this article and your attention span. Choices depend a great deal on your own location, so the best idea is to ask your local nursery for ideas. If you don’t have any luck finding a nursery that is open this time of year, box stores, pharmacies and supermarkets usually have a vast selection of house plants. As a small business person, I always recommend shopping local whenever possible. Also, check out which plants your friends grow indoors, or any businesses that have them. Chances are they will work for you also. Whenever I go into a hotel lobby, shopping mall or office complex, I always take a few minutes to enjoy the species of plants on display. Not only do I steal their ideas but I quickly pick up on which houseplant varieties require the least amount of maintenance(plants in these environments are likely only watered once a week, if not less). Some of my best houseplant arrangement ideas I picked up while waiting outside of a clothing store at the mall!
If budget is a problem, you don’t necessarily need to buy houseplants! How about grabbing some cuttings from your friends or neighbors? Most people are more than happy to help out a fellow gardener with plants and good advice, and it’s an excellent way to meet people.
If you have plants outdoors in pots you can bring them in for short periods of time, then rotate them to make an ever changing display. Of course you must use common sense when doing this – you can’t bring one in from the snow to a heated room and expect the plant to like it.
Indoor plants don’t require any more care than your outdoor ones, you just need to treat them a little differently. Self watering pots are a great investment in time saving, and water retentive potting mixes will improve this even further. If you have chosen large leafed plants, they will love it if you wipe the dust off their leaves occasionally with water or milk. You can achieve this with the smaller plants by giving them a shower, or taking them outside when it’s raining. In between, you can give them a misting with a spray bottle.
How Often Should I Water??
The most common cause of house plants dying off is over watering. People ask me on a regular basis, “How often should I water my houseplants”. My answer is, “The plant will tell you”. Once a plant starts to wilt, it’s time to water. Usually once a week, but that could fluctuate based on humidity and a number of other factors.
(Rootbound plants seldom thrive and often choke themselves- Either reduce the size of a plant like this or plant in a larger pot)
Re-potting is very important, and you should generally do it once a year. Potting mix gets depleted of vital nutrients and trace elements, and fertilizers can only do so much. There are some things in this world that you can buy cheaply with no problems, but potting mix is not one of them. I recommend buying the best you can afford, as it will be so very worth it in the long run.
If you wish your plant to continue growing larger, you need to purchase a pot a little larger than the one it’s in. Don’t forget to include a layer of pebbles or mesh at the bottom for drainage. Gently tease the roots loose after removing the plant from it’s pot, and place it in it’s new home with fresh potting mix. water it in well and enjoy! A layer of pebbles on top of the soil will help minimize evaporation as well as provide a cleaner look.
If you want to keep your plant at it’s current size, you can generally trim the roots of most plants without ill effects, and put it back in the same pot with fresh potting mix. I would suggest you thoroughly wash the pot before putting the plant back in, just to help keep any diseases in check.
Just a little something to keep us busy for a few more weeks.
Keep in mind that Lundholm Landscaping offers off season discounts on projects like pavers, hardscaping, planting, water features or anything else that you have in mind. Contact me in any of the following ways to discuss your project. My initial 30 minute conversation is always free!
P.O. Box 1066
Cape May, NJ 08204