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Entries in agave (1)

Friday
Feb142014

Indoor Greenhouse Oasis

Feels a little tropical, even in the winterOne thing that gets me through these dreary winter months is knowing I will be back outside in my garden soon. Another thing is my indoor plants. No matter how big or how little your living space is, there's always room for a plant.

Not only do indoor plants look attractive but they also have health benefits. Plants increase the air quality in your home by raising oxygen levels, removing toxins from the air and maintaining healthy humidity levels. Low humidity indoors during the winter can do dastardly things to your respiratory system, caused by the heating systems that keep us warm. Plants can make you happy and improve your mental health. Caring for another living thing can give you purpose and be fun, too.

Some plants are super easy to grow indoors, like the Snake Plant. Snake Plant, cacti and succulents make great first time plants for a person just getting started. They need minimal care beyond occasional watering. The only real issue to watch out for is over watering, as that will rot the roots. Other plants are super temperamental like African Violets. They need special soil, fertilizer and much more care than other options. Just make sure when you choose a plant that it has attributes you want; non-toxic if you have small children or pets, if your windows face north and/or east  get a plant that thrives in low light, or a plant that tolerates dry soil if you're not around much.

A ponytail palm adds great texture all year round

In my experience, where you buy a plant from can have a bigger impact on how they grow than how you treat the plant. You can't see inside the soil at the store and you won't know until you have the plant home for a few weeks if there are any issues such as fungus gnats, mold, or root rot. Repotting might save the plant if you catch the problem in time. I usually quarantine a plant for a month in a separate room before I let it join the others. This prevents insects and diseases from spreading to all my plants if I bring home a sick one. You should do the same when bringing plants in from outdoors to over winter them. You don't want the outdoor garden pests coming in!

They sell all kinds of gadgets to help an indoor plant owner; moisture meters, irrigation globes, grow lights, and other products, but nothing compares to experience. So buy a plant and start learning! Start with something easy, like the aforementioned Snake Plant. Seriously, you can't kill it. I brought one home from college and it didn't take the move well. I took it out of the soil and left it to dry out in a vase for over a year. Repotted it and that Snake Plant is thriving today. Dracaena marginata, Dracaena 'Janet Craig' or a Spider Plant would also be good to start with. Some of the other plants in my home are Ponytail Palm, Jade Plant, Dracaena, African Violets, Orchids, cacti, Agave, Aloe and an array of succulents, among others. They all have different colors and textures to liven up my living areas. The Aloe is especially helpful if I burn myself in the kitchen. I even have basil and mint in one of my greenhouse windows. I miss my herb and vegetable garden immensely in the winter and these tide me over until spring. Next year I'm going to see if I can bring more inside! 

If you have any questions about your indoor plants or your outdoor landscape, email me at ashley@goldbergandrodler.net. Let's figure out your plantscape together.

A blown glass watering globe adds color to plants not in flower


A closeup of the aloe plant, great for soothing skin irritations; just watch out for the tiny spines when you peel it!