Blog posts from November 2013
Nov 19, 2013
This is Texas for you. A few days ago we were having frosts. Yet I came back to Dallas from Cincinnati on Sunday to 86F degrees, sunny skies and blooms in the garden. One such plant that decided this return to warmth was permission to get it's bloom on was my dwarf Bulbine. I believe this is 'Tiny Tangerine', but I'll have to dig around in my stash of labels to confirm.
Bulbine are a beautiful and easy to grow upright fleshy plant that is a cousin to Aloe and Kniphofia (red hot poker). It thrives in hot, dry conditions and can often excel where other plants wither in the Texas summers. I like planting it alongside other succulents, grasses and lavender; all plants that appreciate full sun, good drainage and less frequent waterings. This is a great plant for a waterwise garden.
Nov 8, 2013
Not feelin’ the outdoor gardening vibe right now? Maybe you live in an apartment or condo without much yard space. If so then it’s houseplants to the rescue!
Yes, there are many good reasons you should bring the garden indoors. Plants help purify the air, improve your mood and decrease anxiety and depression. Plants do a body good! NASA has even done extensive research on how plants purify the air by absorbing toxins.
The way we build houses these days makes them really energy efficient. But that also means the air inside our homes stays trapped. Toxic chemicals like formaldehyde and other VOCs (Volatile Organic Chemicals) are emitted from things like cleaning products, furniture and paint. These chemicals can damage your health and exacerbate allergies.
Here are some great indoor plants to help clear the air in your home:
Most of us know the benefits of using aloe as a remedy for burns, cuts and even detoxing the body. But did you know it also purifies air? Aloe helps absorb pollutants found in cleaning products. When concentrations of these chemicals become too high in your home, the leaves will often show brown spots. Be sure to keep plants in a bright window so they will receive a good amount of sunlight. Water aloe plants thoroughly but allow to dry between waterings.
One of the easiest indoor plants to grow, Rubber Trees are experts at purifying indoor air by removing toxins. These beautiful foliage plants will thrive even in low light conditions and cooler homes. Be sure to let plants dry between waterings, as soil that stays wet can result in the roots rotting.
A classic indoor plant, the sophisticated Peace Lily is low maintenance. Plants product large glossy green leaves and pure white blooms. They tolerate medium indoor light conditions and cooler temperatures. They are adept at filtering out a number of toxins found in the air. Again, water thoroughly then allow plants to dry a bit between waterings. Over watering is a common killer of Peace Lily.
Sansevieria are just about one of the toughest indoor plants you can grow. They survive in low light conditions with minimal water. So if you’re one to forget about watering your houseplants, this is the plant for you! Plants produce tall strap-like foliage in a number of striking patterns. They have an architectural look about them which makes them a perfect complement for modern décor. Mother-in-Law’s tongue absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen during the night time, instead of the day. This makes it a great choice for your bedroom.
This palm is on NASA’s list of top air cleaning plants. It’s especially adept at cleaning some of the most toxic chemicals from the air. These palms need medium light conditions or indirect sunlight and consistent moisture. If you like a more tropical look, this is a great houseplant choice for you.
There are many different species and varieties of Philodendron to choose from. If you’re looking for a trailing indoor plant, there are vining Philodendron that are easy to care for. Philodendron is particularly adept at absorbing formaldehyde from the air (formaldehyde is put off by much of the furniture we have in our homes). Philodendron don’t require much care; medium light and moderate watering can keep plants happy for many years indoors.
Probably the most popular of houseplants, Pothos Ivy is incredibly easy to grow. The vining tropical can be found in several different foliage colors and makes a great addition to kitchens, bathrooms and offices. They can handle low-light conditions and moderate waterings. Pothos is also particularly good at filter out formaldehyde from the air.
Also referred to by their scientific name Aglaonema, these are some of the easiest of houseplants to grow. If you’re looking for a low-light indoor plant then Chinese Evergreens are for you. Plants remain compact and offer up an array of foliage colors and patterns. Plants can remove a variety of air pollutants initially and become more efficient at doing so if exposure to toxins increase. Plants will produce small blooms and red berries (poisonous).
Also known as Australian ivy-palm, Schefflera produce glossy dark green leaves in a bright sunny location. The whorls of leaflets resemble umbrellas. Schefflera can become quite large so be sure you choose a larger container and have adequate room for them to grow. Choose a sunny window or sunroom for your Schefflera. Have a smoker in the house? Schefflera remove toxins like benzene, formaldehyde and toluene.
Most of us are familiar with this classic house plant and the small babies, or plantlets, it produces at the ends of long runner stems. Spider Plants are tolerant of both dry and humid conditions and can tolerate a forgetful waterer. They prefer bright to medium light. Although they are typically grown in hanging baskets, Spider Plants can be grown in just about any container. They are adept at filtering out formaldehyde and xylene from the air. They are also good to keep in the kitchen or near fireplaces as they can also help filter out some carbon monoxide.