We Demand … A Shrubbery!

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Aside from their obvious ability to beautify our indoor spaces, plants can also provide tangible health benefits when brought inside the home. Studies have shown that plants, which take in carbon dioxide and expel oxygen, vastly improve air quality inside a room. Some plants have even been shown to eliminate allergens and toxins from the air – a health benefit for all nearby humans and animals. When making a decorating plan, consider forgoing neat freak impulses to avoid dirt, and make a few finishing touches with appropriate and lovely plants. Popular and easy indoor plants include Norfolk Island Pines, Chinese Evergreens, Grape Ivy, Spider Plants, and Hoyas. Popular blooming houseplants include the African Violet, the Hibiscus, the Peace Lily, the Jasmine, and the Calamondin orange.

The two major considerations in choosing indoor plants are light levels and temperature. All plants need light to thrive, so putting a potted plant in a completely lightless room is not an option. Some plants, however, have adapted to low-light conditions, and will do perfectly fine inside the house. Think of the natural environment of the forest. Beneath the canopy of trees are literally thousands of plant species perfectly happy to live in the shade, off the minimal light which streams down through the gaps in the leaves. These are the types of plants that will do well in your home.

Temperature should also be carefully regulated around houseplants. Too much sunlight will cause too much heat, which will lead to burnt leaves and dead plants. Heat from radiators or baseboard units can also harm houseplants, as can drafty windows and doors. Before making a trip to the local wholesaler or garden center, take a few minutes to think strategic placement. Determine key areas of the home that are well suited for plants. Then, decide what type of plants you would like – flowering or non-flowering. With those ideas in mind, go into the store armed with a plan. This will prevent needless wandering and indecision.

When shopping for houseplants, it is important to inspect the product before purchasing. Thoroughly inspect the leaves of the plant for signs of disease or insect activity, and put aside any plants that have obviously been nibbled upon. Get around inside the pot and feel the soil. If it’s not wet, the merchant has not been watering his wares regularly, and the plant is more likely to die once brought home. Check the bottom of the pot for protruding roots, which are an indication that the plant has outgrown its pot, but hasn’t been repotted. This can cause growth stunting, which can limit the future growth as well. Finally, choose plants that appear healthy and are about medium size. If flowering, there should be plenty of buds present, but they should be closed. Try not to buy flowering plants that have already bloomed.

It is important to be flexible with plant choices. Despite the care labels included with all plants, choosing and locating plants in the home can sometimes be a hit-or-miss operation. Nuances of particular rooms or hallways might not be apparent until after a plant location has been chosen. Do be willing to move non-thriving plants around until each one has its own “sweet spot”. Most importantly of all, give regular attention to your new plant companions. Water according to directions and remove any dead spots as they appear.