With winter weather here in earnest a lot of people find the outdoors to be to extreme for comfortable gardening. This is when the indoor house plant really “earns it’s keep”. While house plants are by far the most useful entertainers for shut-in gardeners, also have the most charming ability to “talk” to people, especially when given as gifts.
Most commonly we use to say: I love you; please get well soon; thank you; or congratulations. But being a gift from someone else or to ourselves, their help doesn’t stop there. For plants are true givers and once we get them home they start literally giving us the breath of life.
That is because plants breath carbon dioxide and also absorb many other gases that we humans find to be quite toxic like carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and many household fumes. And in return they give us back clean, fresh oxygen, our breath of life!
This one factor alone is reason enough to keep a number of large, healthy, leafy plants around the house. Winter weather forces most of us to keep our homes closed much of the time where household fumes can build up to toxic levels very quickly without us even knowing it.
And then there’s the office block with central air that continually recirculates an ever building collection of fumes from office machines and special equipment, not to mention everyone’s cold and flu germs! Here again, it’s plants to the rescue! Not only will indoor plants help to clear the air in the office, oxygen is a natural antiseptic that is capable of killing most bacteria and even virus on contact!
But for a plant to help you it has got to feel “loved”. And that is where they need your tender loving care and understanding in order to keep them healthy and happy. The more “active” and growing the plant is, the more gases it can absorb and the more oxygen it will produce. This is not to mention all the pleasure a beautiful plant will give away free of charge to all who care. So how do we keep houseplants happy?
Almost all houseplants need very bright light (although often not direct sunshine), moderate to warm temperatures, water, at least occasional feeding, and a freely draining potting soil that allows air and moisture to pass through their roots easily.
Somewhere down the line they probably will need to have their leaves cleaned, especially if their environment gets at all dusty. Plants can get sick, too, and this may mean the odd spray for insects or disease. And if you do everything right and they reward you with luxuriant growth and blooms there will come the day when they need repotting.
Over the next few weeks we’ll look at a lot of different houseplants from A to Z and will discover what they need to keep both them and you happy, cosy and warm over winter!