The Hardiest of Houseplants

    • Thin fruit trees after “June drop” when the trees partially thin themselves. Thin apples to 6 inches apart and peaches to 4 inches apart. Pears don’t need thinning.
    • Garlic should be harvested when the leafy tops turn yellow and fall over; air-dry bulbs, remove tops and store bulbs in a cool place.
    • Roses need water and fertilizer to keep blooming through the summer. Watch for pests and diseases and treat as soon as you see trouble.
    • Birdbaths will attract our feathered friends to your backyard so you can enjoy them close-up. Place them a few feet from a bushy shrub to give the birds protection.
    • Prune rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas to shape them now. If you wait much longer, you will be cutting off next year’s flowers.

The Hardiest of Houseplants

There are houseplants that even brown thumbed gardeners can enjoy. They require minimal care and are able to put up with irregular watering, low-light conditions and occasional feeding.

Some of the best and easiest houseplants are in the Dracaena family. Dracaena fragrans “Massangeana” (corn plant) and D. deremensis ‘Janet Craig’ adapt well to low light conditions yet remain attractive. Both have wide strap-like leaves. The first with a yellow stripe down the center and the latter, a dark lush green.

Dracaena Warneckii is a handsome plant with distinctive white stripes down the center of each wide leaf. There is also a “Lemon Lime” variety that has dramatic green and yellow stripes on its foliage.

Dracaena marginatas have thin, dark leaves. They make elegant, tall plants for a corner or to add a vertical dimension to a wall or entryway.

Pachira, or Money Tree, is hardy plant and extremely tolerant of low light and dryness. With braided trunks and large, 5-leaflet leaves, these plants can reach 7 feet in height, so give room to grow.

Aglaonema, or Chinese Evergreen, is valued for its lush green leaves that often have silver or cream variegations on them. It is one of the best for low light situations and will tolerate light watering but thrives with lots of water.

Spathiphyllum is one of the few plants that will flower well indoors. It has large dark
green leaves on slender stems and its flower resembles a calla lily. It is known as Peace Lily or White Flag.

Sansevieria or Snake Plant is almost indestructible. It will tolerate low light levels and little watering; during winter it only needs watering every couple of months. It will rot easily if overwatered.

Chamaedorea elegans (Neanthe Bella Palm or Parlor Palm) is a small palm tree, growing slowly to 3 feet tall with slender, cane-like stems. It is often grown as a houseplant, and was particularly popular in the Victorian era. It can be grown in low light, but it grows faster with bright, indirect light.

For hanging plants it’s hard to beat trailing philodendrons or pothos. Philodendron cordatum is a tough, long-lived, trailing plant. They can live for 10 years or more in the same 6-inch pot. It requires very little care.

Pothos is similar in appearance to the trailing philodendron. Its leaves have bright yellow streaks on top of an apple green background. A white and green variety is called ‘Marble Queen.’ Both will take low light conditions and will grow to 20 feet or more, if you let them. Just keep the soil evenly moist.

There’s a houseplant for almost every condition. Houseplants beautify and freshen the air in our indoor environments.

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