Monday, October 24, 2011

Bringing the garden indoors

Much of this blog has been devoted to outdoor gardening…ornamental and edible. But as summer fades into fall (as it is here in central Virginia, where I live), and soon into winter, people want to continue enjoying plants in the off-season as well. Unfortunately, many people believe houseplants are tricky to keep alive, requiring constant watering or fertilizing. To the contrary, many houseplants prefer NOT to be pampered with such treatment. Good news, right? Below, I’ll show you some plants that thrive without meticulous care: they tolerate medium to low light, dry air, and low to moderate moisture.

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My favorite: “ZZ Plant” (I won’t even try to pronounce the botanical name!). This one has nice texture provided by the thick, deep green, glossy leaves. Branches arch out in various directions. Tough as nails…I only water it maybe once a month and is perfectly happy with only filtered light through the blinds.

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Golden Pothos: This trailing plant exhibits a wonderful yellow and green marbling on the foliage. It can be trimmed to stay compact, or allowed to trail over the edge of the pot. Like ZZ Plant, it tolerates low light but the variegation in the foliage is best under medium to bright indirect light. Prefers to dry out a bit between waterings.

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Snake Plant: This well-known houseplant is just about indestructible, perfect for folks with a black thumb! Large, sword-like leaves stand tall, adding vertical interest. Snake plant does well with a good watering only once or twice a month (allow to dry between waterings) and low to medium light. There are dozens of varieties of this plant, some with yellow margins on the leaves, others with lighter green marbling on the foliage.

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