Written by David S.
Houseplants are an excellent way to add dimension and living energy to your home. Some are exotic, and others are common, but all uplift your living environment by adding an aesthetic contribution. This newsletter focuses on six houseplants ( and a few others) that are easy to grow and add beauty and interest to your home and living space.
1. Spider Plants
These are relatively common but beautiful. They come in two colors – green and white/green striped. Spider plants also help to clean the air in your home and can absorb some toxins. All plants convert CO2 to oxygen, but spider plants go a bit farther in helping to keep the air clean.
Planting – Choose a pot or hanging basket as these plants grow weeping tendrils on which their flowers appear. The small star-like flowers are white and delightful. Spider plants – aptly named for their flowering tendrils that vaguely look like spiders legs. – are not overly fragrant, making this a beautiful plant for anyone sensitive to perfumes or other scents.
Spider plants are very forgiving, and they will grow in partial shade or direct sunlight. They are originally an understory plant meaning they make their home under trees or on them. Dappled shade is their ideal lighting, but they adjust to growing – almost like a weed – anywhere.
Soil – Spider plants need well-drained with organic matter. A light covering of mulch – even indoors – helps the soil to retain moisture, which is what these plants love. For indoor mulch, consider sphagnum moss. These plants will grow outdoors and do fine with regular watering. For outdoor mulch, bark or chips are perfect. Be sure to check out the full range of mulch available through Green Thumb Nurseries as we have some that are very beautiful.
Tips: Spider plants do well alone or in mixed pots where you want to create a mosaic of living colors and textures.
2. Peace Lily
Beautiful for pots, the Peace Lily is deep green with unique spade-like white flowers that seem to appear overnight. This, too, is a fairly common plant and for a good reason. It is easy to grow and makes an excellent small/medium-sized plant that is perfect for accenting a space in a room. You can grow these in a hanging basket, but they are most attractive in a 1-2 gallon decorative pot.
If there is one drawback for growing Peace Lilies, it is their dislike for additives to water such as chlorine. For that reason, we recommend using filtered water or distilled water. These plants also love high humidity and as such, make beautiful additions to a sunny bathroom.
Peace Lilies grow well in full sun but prefer a bit of shade in the afternoon. They do not require much care and only need fertilizers 1-2 times per year. Soil requirements are similar to the Spider Plant – evenly moist well-drained soil. This is another plant where a thin layer of sphagnum moss as mulch would do wonders.
3. Rubber Tree Fig
A medium to large tree, the Rubber Tree Fig can be 8-feet or higher, though most are in the 3-4 foot range. Rubber trees are beautiful and offer broad leaves that are either green or reddish-purple. As houseplants, Rubber Trees make beautiful plants for sunny corners or to add drama to a room’s design.
Care – Best in a beautiful medium-sized pot with soil that is well-drained but moist. These are heat-loving plants, so find them a spot in a sunny window where they can enjoy the sun most of the say. Check the soil moisture regularly as Rubber Trees do not like to dry out and they do not like to be overly wet either. Choose a potting mix that is rich in organic matter.
4. Moth Orchid – Phalaenopsis
Of all of the plants on this easy-to-grow list, the Moth Orchid is probably the most difficult to grow, and they are still reasonably easy. The big deal with these plants is that they love humidity, which you can provide using a mister bottle with just water in it. They do well in dappled shade (indirect sunlight) and are perfect for bathrooms or quiet corners.
Orchids are pet-friendly, and the Phalaenopsis are pretty easy to care for as they have few needs. These are also low-water plants meaning you only give them a little water each week as they take water out of the humid air. Every time you walk past it – mist it.
Soil – Use only orchid potting soil for these as they like to have moist soil that is not overly wet.
5. Donkey Tails – Sedum morganianum and Sting of Pearls – Senecio rowleyanus
These two plants are succulents and very similar in how they grow and in their care. Donkey Tails produces a thick textured runners that are beautifully pale green. String of pearls produces a long and narrow string of pearl-like orbs. If you are looking for an interesting hanging plant either of these work beautifully. You will gain more movement from string of pearls than you will with the donkey tails.
Care of both – These plants love full sun and grow in well-drained that is uniformly moist but not wet. You can easily achieve that by using succulent potting mix and then adding a layer of sphagnum moss as mulch. The moss helps reduce evaporation of the pot’s water. Both love soil that is slightly acidic – around 6.0 – which you can achieve with succulent potting soil.
Donkey Tails blooms are red, white, or yellow whereas string of Pearls produces a small white and frilly flower. Both are easy to grow and become beautiful houseplants.
There is a vast variety of succulents that make wonderful indoor plants. Most are low growing with spikes of flowers that range to two-feet tall. There are so easy to grow and because of their slow growing nature they make amazing plants for shallow pots. They also mix beautifully and by doing so, you can easily make a kaleidoscope of color.
Succulents are easy to grow and need only well-drained soil that holds moisture but does not become soggy. Indoors use sphagnum moss as a mulch.
Green Thumb Nursery carries a wide range of houseplants throughout all five of our Southern California locations. Plant inventories change rapidly as these are very popular. Be sure to call ahead to check on availability if you are looking for something specific. You can also visit us online or stop by in person. We are happy to answer your questions about houseplants and our nursery experts can help you find the plants you love, all of the products you will need, and give you the best advice to help you develop your green thumb.
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