The temperatures are dropping, leaves are dropping, and perennials are storing up food for the winter. Plant life as we know it is shutting down everywhere... Everywhere but indoors!
We do not have to stop playing with plants just because fall is giving us the cold shoulder as we beg it to stay just a bit longer. Your home may already be a sanctuary of fresh-air providing greenery, but if it isn't yet, allow me to tell you a little about pruning back the winter doldrums with indoor plants. And please, excuse my oh-so-witty gardening puns along the way.
If you’ve lived through a Minnesota winter, I’d be willing to presume that you’ve had the craving for tropical environments. It might hit as you sit at home or at work daydreaming (between bouts of working really, really hard, of course) on a cold and dreary January day. Perhaps you dream of a vacation somewhere; anywhere you could go out in light clothes and soak up some sun and mingle with vibrant living nature.
Unfortunately we can’t all just hop on a plane and head south when the cold comes. And besides, a vacation is only temporary. Yes, there is an alternative way to escape the frozen temperatures and blanketing white of winter: houseplants (I hope you weren't guessing space heaters)! The benefits of indoor plants have been documented by universities and scientists around the world. These benefits can range from improved air quality, reduced stress, better health and faster recovery times, and more. Oh, and most of them look pretty cool too. Whatever it is you’d like to accomplish, whether it be decorative or hobby-oriented, you can find a plant to suit your scene; even if you don’t have a bunch of sunny windowsills.
Another common misconception of the houseplant is that they are a lot of work. Au contraire, mi amigo (that’s French AND Spanish, just be happy I’m not using Latin, yet…). Granted, there are plants that need a lot of babying to get the most out of them; but they aren't all this way! Many are not only fairly simple to take care of, but are also very resilient to mistreatment. There are plenty of choices for beginners or those who are tight on time to select from.
For those of you who may be interested in bringing some green life to your winter, here are a few options you’ll find at Linder’s; and a few fun facts about what makes them easy to care for as well as interesting pieces for your home.
The Cast Iron Plant
The name says it all: tough! This plant actually benefits from you ignoring it (to a point, of course).
It hates to be over-watered, and does NOT like to be transplanted. This plant also likes to hang out in shadier spots; direct sunlight is not great for its leaves. This makes it a great plant for rooms that do not get large amounts of sun.
You don’t need to re-pot a cast iron plant for 4-5 years after you've planted it, and yes, they can live that long and much longer. This plant, which can get as large as a shrub depending on what type of pot you keep it in, is great on the floor of almost any room.
Hailing from China and Japan, these things are made to last by Mother Nature, especially in your home.
This lovely group of plants has been a favorite for a long time, and is native to American rain forests. While they are all fairly easy to care for, the easiest is the Sweetheart Plant, scientifically known as and sometimes sold as Philodendron scandens.
This plant can climb, crawl, or trail itself all about your house in whichever fashion you desire. A hanging pot planted with a Philodendron will droop down to the floor in a matter of months, giving a beautiful cascade of leaves that can be all green or green with splashes of yellow or white. A philo on a windowsill or ledge can crawl across and give a very natural feel to a home. In nature, the philo actually climbs trees. If you wish to provide it with its most native environment, moss sticks can be placed into the pot for the plant to climb. Since it is a native to the shadier spots in the rain forest, this plant does not require direct light and would prefer not to have it.
This is a vast category of plants, and as such certain varieties will have slightly differing care requirements. Generally speaking, however, they are all very similar, and very easy to care for. Many consider succulents one of the easiest ways to get into house plants. Succulents are called so because of their fleshy, succulent feeling leaves and/or water storing stems. Cacti are a part of the succulent family, as well as aloe. All of these can tolerate drier periods since they’re native to dry desert environments. Provided you have a warm sunny place, you could easily have a small collection in one pot, commonly called a succulent garden. These gardens can be very interesting with all of the unique ways in which a succulent has adapted to survive. Some may grow as very large balls with tiny small flowers, others are like small fingers arising from the soil, and others yet like tiny tropical tress. With all the different options, creating a succulent garden can be one of the most interesting yet easy things you can bring home. Of course, the staff at Linder’s would be more than happy to help you put something like this together!
Another very popular house plant is the peace lily. With lance like leaves and interesting white flowers that rise out of the center, this plant is sure to provide color and interest in your home.
This plant has also been proven to remove harmful contaminants from the air such as Carbon Monoxide and Formaldehyde by capturing it in its plant pores and breaking it down, turning it into Oxygen.
This plant is native to forests in Central and South America, and should be placed in a brightly lit spot but not in direct sunlight. This will allow it to flower and keep its leaves from having a burnt appearance to them.
The Snake Plant, also commonly called the Mother-in-law’s tongue, is the go-to-plant for many beginners.
Not only is this plant tolerant of light and shade, it can also take long periods of dryness. On top of that, it looks very interesting. Long thick leaves arise from the soil in large clumps, green in the center with white or yellow edges.
This plant is fantastic for decorating a room and adding some character without adding too much work.
Aside from the few highlighted houseplants are countless others, ranging from easy to quite difficult. Whatever it is you happen to be looking for, we invite you in to Linder’s this winter. We’ll help you find something fun, whether you want a challenge or are just getting started. Even if you’re unsure about picking up a plant, Linder’s is a tropical oasis in the middle of the winter wonderland that is Twin Cities come mid-January. Stop in and grab a free cup of coffee and breathe in the warm humid air; who knows, you just might leave with a bit of the tropics in hand.