The Gift that keeps giving

The Gift that keeps Giving
Indoor plants today provide style to the home. Indoor plants provide a transition from nature to our domestic living space. Indoor plant arrangements in diverse and creative containers have gained popularity. As opposed to being innocent living defenseless and sympathetic individuals stuck in a corner, today’s indoor foliage breathes life into a home. Indoor plants help clean the air, provide oxygen and brighten our spirits. This can be done in a stylish way. It wasn’t always that way.

Foliage plants like these Sanseveria (pictured) are a welcome and healthy addition to any home!
Foliage plants like these Sanseveria (pictured) are a welcome and healthy addition to any home!

Years ago indoor gardening meant a Ficus, Dieffenbachia or Dracaena plant stuck in a corner losing half its leaves in winter. A token Fern basket would hang deprived of the humidity it needed because of dry furnace air and then maybe a Christmas cactus and an African violet on the windowsill. Today Orchids, Tillandsia, Succulents, Herbs, Fiddle leaf Fig, Sanseveria, Palms and more to name a few have become main stays of the stylish indoor garden.
If you are prone to an eclectic mix of plants I have a suggestion. Most people tend in this direction because most plants are purchased without a plan. Inspiration and impulse influence our plant purchases. That’s OK because a mix of textures and sizes in plants gives depth to your décor. I would pay attention and make investment in the containers, the “homes” for your houseplant friends. A good quality container has enough space for roots to grow and allows for drainage. A good quality container also adds to the style of your interior plant arrangement. With a variety of colors, textures and forms to your plants you can unify your living space by coordinating the containers. Even though the plants are varied, a consistent style and color of container in various sizes can unify or pull the whole décor together. As a matter of fact, I recommend for the interior what I recommend for our outside landscape. Monocultures are not a good idea. When a problem develops it spreads like fire in a monoculture. Diversity is a good thing. Celebrate it with your plants and visually tie them together with a consistent planter theme.
Finally don’t forget about Poinsettias to add color to our indoor plants in December. Today’s varieties of Poinsettia are colorful with long lasting bracts. They like other houseplants don’t like cold drafts. Don’t place them near heat registers, room temperature will do just fine for them. Don’t overwater them (too much water is the number one killer of houseplants) and make sure to provide drainage if they are foil or deco wrapped in a fancy pot cover.

Proper care for Poinsettias...don't over water and avoid cold drafts
Proper care for Poinsettias…don’t over water and avoid cold drafts

Indoor plants are our friends and help bring an interior space to life. They truly are the gift that keeps giving.


Pamper your Plants

In social media lately a post has been circulating about the use of diapers to improve your plants. If you want to “pamper” your plants or give your houseplant a “huggie” I suppose you could consider using a diaper. You see the super absorbent material in disposable diapers is just that….”SAP” or super absorbent polymers. The “bottom-line” is it’s much easier to use “Soil Moist” granules where you can use just a few in the soil to help retain moisture. Each granule can hold 30 times or more it’s weight in moisture. Understanding OVER-watering kills many plants be careful how much you use. Want to learn more? Check out this video of a recent TV segment I did on the subject……

Diaper dandy idea for your plants
Diaper dandy idea for your plants

Bon Foliage My Friend

Bon voyage as we begin our journey into a new year. The New Year provides a fresh start often accompanied by resolutions to live healthier. How about adding a natural inexpensive air purifier to your home or landscape?

Ficus Elastica
Ficus Elastica

How about something that will improve your mood and just might enhance your productivity? Well then it’s Bon “foliage” as we begin our New Year. Talk about functional decorating! Style with a purpose! You’ll find the benefits of some well placed houseplants will grow on you!

My good friend split leaf Phil O’ Dendron

Cleaner indoor air decreases stress and noise reduction enhances your productivity. In our enclosed sealed tight spaces for winter, plants create oxygen and remove CO² as well as connecting you with the outdoors improving your mood.
Who would think the Space Station would teach us the benefits of clean indoor air? It makes “scents” when you think about it. Astronauts can’t throw open a window when the air gets stale and often neither can we in the middle of winter. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration conducted the NASA Clean Air Study to demonstrate the effectiveness of particular plants to purify air. That’s one small “Schefflera” for man, one giant “leaf” for mankind. Homes are more insulated and efficient today making it easier to trap indoor air pollutants.

Breath easier....Go Foliacious!
Breath easier….Go Foliacious!

We often don’t think about indoor air pollution and the seemingly harmless nature of its many sources. Aside from the obvious Uncle Ernie and his cigars or that smoking casserole on the stove, pollutants indoors can come from things like glues and adhesives, insulation materials, carpets, chemicals in household cleaners, paint and pressed wood products.
Here are some favorite easy to grow Houseplants to clean your indoor air:
• Pothos
• Philodendron
• Peace Lily
• English Ivy
• Dracaena
• Ficus Elastica or Lyrata
• Snake Plant
• Chinese Evergreen
• Spider Plant
• Aloe Vera
• Anthurium
• Bamboo Palm
• Oakleaf Ivy

One very popular houseplant today is Ficus Lyrata better known as fiddle leaf fig.

Fiddle leaf fig or Ficus Lyrata
Fiddle leaf fig or Ficus Lyrata

Unique large leaves and relatively easy to grow…..this houseplant is trending as a must have for your interior decor.

“Lettuce” make this a good year and I say some well placed purposeful foliage can do just that. Bon “foliage” my friends!


Detox your home

Detox diets are popular with a New Year’s arrival. I did one this winter. Not sure if it worked but I learned a lot about myself. You have a lot to think about on those “cleanse” days when you are just drinking liquids. Primarily how much you like Pizza. I personally think fresh air and exercise are a key factor to good health. The problem in winter is we spend a large share of our day indoors. Think about it….between home and work many people spend 80%, 90% or more of their day indoors in winter. Our houseplants are also “prisoners” indoors in winter. Dry furnace fed air with no fresh air through the windows can get things rather stale. Aside from elevating your mood or calming you, plants can also raise the humidity in a room which is good when the air is dry.

My good friend "Phil"-o-dendron
My good friend “Phil”-o-Dendron

Houseplants can also have a pulling effect on airborne toxins. Studies by NASA have found that indoor plants can eliminate some toxins in the air including formaldehyde, benzine, carbon monoxide and even act as dust collectors. I have a list of prime air cleaning plants that I have mentioned on my radio show….here’s the list!

  • Areca Palm (I said “Areca” not “Eureka” which some people might exclaim when they are able to actually keep the plant alive)
  • Mother-in-law-tongue (Yes that’s what they call it because most people can’t remember it’s real name Sanseveria. This plant is virtually indestructible)
  • Spider Plant (Unless you have a phobia about spiders)
  • The Golden Pothos (this is not an all you can eat buffet but a great easy to grow vining houseplant in many variegated variations)
  • Aloe Vera (not a waitress in a bad sitcom, this plant is great to have in the kitchen for “owwies”)
  • Peace Lily (not the goofy lady next door who still smokes her herbs instead of using them in her cooking)
  • Dracaena (not a dance craze but a colorful “spikey” plant that comes in many variations.
  • Purple Waffle (not a place you have breakfast, it’s called Purple Waffle because Hemigraphis is too tough to remember)
  • Philodendron (my easy going good friend Phil O’ Dendron. There are color variations, split leaf varieties, floor plants and hanging vines)
  • English Ivy (a spot of tea anyone?)
  • Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica at one time it’s latex was used to make rubber)
  • Money Plant (see money does grow on trees….said to bring good luck)

The Topic of Tropics

When the snow starts flying and the Christmas decorations are packed away most of us need a little pick-me-up in the home or office. Tropical plants are just the ticket. Take a trip to my January Women’s Lifestyle article where the topic is tropics as in foliage for your indoor living space! Visit this link and flip on over to page 34!

January issue Women’s Lifestyle