Planting Points

December 23, 2012

By Daniela Yankelevitch

Special Thanks to Kevin Shaw at Hay Hill Garden Market

Green thumb or no green thumb, it’s tough to garden during the colder months. Keeping houseplants is a great way to surround yourself with nature, brighten the atmosphere in a room, and make the air in your home healthier. These are some of the most popular houseplants that are easy to maintain and will liven up the ambiance in your home.

Chinese Evergreen (aglaonema) is known for filtering out pollutants in the air and removing toxins. Its luscious, splotchy leaves add a dramatic look to any setting, and it only requires minimal care since it adapts to a variety of living conditions. It prefers moderate watering and moderate sunlight; so keeping it out of the direct light is a good thing. If the bottom leaves start to yellow, that’s a sign of under watering. Pick the yellow leaves off so that the plant re-routes its energy for growth.



Snake Plant (sansevieria trifasciata), also known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, is an ideal plant for beginners. This plant tolerates low light and it barely needs to be watered. Keep the watering low maintenance because overwatering will actually lead to its demise. Twice a week is just enough to keep the soil from drying out, but soil should be slightly dry before each watering.  This plant is also known for filtering out formaldehyde, which is typically found in cleaning products. So not only do its sharp, pointy leaves decorate a room – but they also help clear the air of toxins.

Golden Pothos (scindapsus aureus), also known as “Devil’s Ivy,” can be displayed in many different ways. It can be placed in a small pot or even hanging outside. The Golden Pothos can adapt to low light but it’s better known for tolerating sunlight, which gives the plant its yellow streaks. It only needs to be watered every other day just to keep the soil moist. Besides its beautiful appearance, it is also known as one of the most air-purifying plants. It is known to remove formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide.

The Prayer Plant (maranta leucoreura) gets its name because at night it has a habit of raising its leaves to an upright position where they fold together like hands during prayer. The Prayer Plant has full, beautiful leaves that are lined with yellowed veins on the top; the back is flushed with different shades of red. It is easy to keep the plant because it is tolerant of low light. Too much sunlight will scorch the color on the leaves and dehydrate the plant. The Prayer Plant does not require much watering during the winter, but don’t let the soil get dried out.


Four Great Houseplant Tips for Colder Months:

1. If one of your plants dries out and the water runs right through the soil – don’t be discouraged! You may still have a chance to save it.



The first thing you need is a tub or a bucket of water large enough to submerge the houseplant pot. Once you have submerged the pot, wait until all of the air bubbles come out and the plant is floating on the water by itself. Take the pot out of the bucket and let it drain. This will help rehydrate the plant. Give it a day or so to come back to life!

2. Don’t overwater plants during the winter months when the heat is on inside and the air is dry. Instead, keep a spray water bottle handy and simply mist the plant occasionally. This will keep the plant happily hydrated.

3. If your plant has cold damage and it’s starting to look like a goner, here’s a trick that may liven it up. Place your houseplant in the bathroom, turn on the shower to the hottest temperature, and keep the shower curtain open (water should never directly hit the plant). Let the plant soak up the steam for four to six minutes and then turn off the shower. Place the plant in the shower and close the curtain.  Your plant should look healthier in the next twenty-four hours.

4. Going on a vacation and can’t water your plants? A way to make sure that your plants don’t die while you’re gone is to do this simple trick with a water bottle: Cut off the bottom of an empty bottle and unscrew the cap. Place the bottle upside down in the soil and pour water into the open bottom. The plant will only take the amount of water that it needs to quench its thirst.

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