Houseplants for the Holidays

Friday, December 23rd, 2016 by Jenny Watts
    •  Wild bird feeders will attract migrating birds so you can enjoy the pleasure of their company.
    •  Wind chimes make wonderful gifts that fill the air with music whenever the wind blows.
    •  Fragrant daphne is an early-blooming shrub that will delight you with its strongly scented blooms each spring.  Plant it in well-drained soil.
    •  Stop peach leaf curl by spraying during the dry spells with copper-oil spray to help prevent this disfiguring disease from attacking your trees next spring.
    •  Daffodils and tulips make fine stocking stuffers as do gardening gloves and pot stickers.

Houseplants for the Holidays

Houseplants brighten our environment, especially in the winter time. Many houseplants require minimal care and are able to put up with adverse conditions, like not being watered regularly, low-light conditions and not being fed on a regular schedule. Here are some of the  “toughies.”

The “Money Tree,” Pachira, looks a lot like the familiar Umbrella Tree, but is much easier to grow. With its braided trunk and broad leaves, it is very attractive and may eventually grow to be a small tree. It is durable and versatile and makes a lovely gift plant.

Chinese evergreen is a tropical foliage plant 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 or heavy watering.

There are many varieties of Dracaena, like the corn plant, with a yellow stripe down the center of each leaf, and Janet Craig, a compact plant with dark green leaves, that will adapt well to low light conditions and remain very attractive. Dracaena marginata has slender leaves and attractive trunks that make it a fine upright plant. 

Spathiphyllum is one of the few plants that will flower well indoors. It is known by several common names including white flag and peace lily. It has large dark green leaves on slender stems and its white flowers resemble calla lilies. A new variety, Domino, has dark green leaves splashed with white.

African Mask Alocasia gets its name from its resemblance to the hand carved ceremonial masks found in Africa, but it actually comes from the Philippines. It is a striking accent plant and an eye-catching addition to your collection.

Sansevieria, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue or snake plant, is a tall, slender plant with thick waxy leaves that likes to be pot-bound. It is excellent in the home as an air-cleaning plant and almost impossible to kill.

For a hanging plant it’s hard to beat the Pothos. Similar in appearance to the trailing philodendron, its leaves are brightly marked with yellow on top of an apple-green background. It grows to be a very long, trailing plant that can be trained around a macrame hanger or up the wall. It will take lower light conditions and just needs the soil evenly moist. It’s sister plant, called Marble Queen, has green leaves splashed with white. It is also very hardy. There is now a new compact variety as well.

Spider plant, or air plant, is extremely adaptable and will even grow in low light if necessary. The variegated leaves are attractive and the plantlets that emerge on long shoots from the mother plant can be cut off and rooted to make new plants. They are very good at cleaning the air.

If you have a difficult, low-light situation or you find houseplants hard to grow, try some of these beauties and enjoy their greenery around you.