Easy houseplants are ones that grow well, adapt easily to your home and can live and flourish for long periods of time often without a lot of babying from you. There are many, many houseplants that fall into this category.
One of the easiest houseplants to grow is the philodendron. They have glossy green leaves and some have a vining habit. They can tolerate warm, dry houses and low light which makes them a perfect houseplant. There are also many hybrids so there is a wide choice of leaf shapes and sizes. They prefer moist soil.
Repot your philodendron at least once a year and keep it neat by removing any old yellow leaves. If you plant gets too leggy. you can cut it back to the ground and it will soon sprout new leaves.
Some of my other favorite houseplants are also foliage plants from the following families: fern, palm, dieffenbachia, dracaena, fiscus, and peperomia. Of course the minute I wrote this sentence, I thought of about ten other families I could also name, but the point is there are countless varieties of plants that are easy to grow for indoor gardeners.
Now, when Christmas is over and the days are still very short and the ability to get outside is still months away is when I find myself hungering for the site of green.
In fact I came home from the grocery store today with a small, variegated cyclamen that I just couldn’t resist. It had been part of a Christmas plant display and was deeply discounted so it would sell quickly. (It did!)
It’s new home is right next to my kitchen sink, so that I can enjoy it frequently. It will also benefit from the window that is near by and the higher humidity due to the faucet being turned on often.
All of the plant families listed above have countless varieties and since I don’t aim to be a comprehensive encyclopedia, I thought I would name one or two specific common varieties that are easy to find in any major nursery center, and would be fairly easy for beginning gardeners to be successful raising.
I have had a Boston fern for several years now that moves back and forth between my front porch and my house. It likes medium light in the house and a shady porch outside.
Like all ferns it wants to be kept slightly on the moist side, and it benefits from being misted frequently when kept in a dry house. During our hot, humid summers this is not an issue.
Keep your fern neat by pruning out old pale, and broken fronds occasionally. Repot when fern becomes pot bound. Throw away the old woody clumps and select several of the youngest actively growing clumps to replant in fresh soil. Divide into two pots if necessary.
Another way to propagate a new plant is to pin the little plantlets that form from runners to the soil. When the plantlet develops 3-4 new leaves you can cut it away from the runner and repot it in its own home.
Boston Ferns prefer warm temperatures with cooler nights and should be fertilized about once a month during the spring and summer with a water soluble fertilizer used at half strength. I often use my fertilizers at half strength because I have a limited amount of space and I don’t want my plants to grow so fast that they become unwieldy in my house.
Below is a compact staghorn fern. It's hard to believe this is a fern because it looks so different that the Boston fern above. Actually stag horns are epiphytic ferns. In their natural environment they grow on the trunks of trees, which makes them very adaptable to living in our houses.
Plant your stag horn in sphagnum moss mixed with a tablespoon of bone meal. They appreciate bright but not direct sunlight. They like dry conditions. To water soak the whole plant once a week and let drain. Fertilize about once a month during the spring and summer with half strength water soluble fertilizer.
Pigmy Date Palm
This palm is a very common houseplant because it grows gracefully on a tabletop or as a floor specimen. It is a very slow grower and usually trouble free. It will grace your home with its presence for decades.It sends lacy fronds out from a central crown, and it can survive low light, and both warm and cold temperatures, which like many other palms makes it a good candidate for a houseplant.
Pygmy palms do not like direct sunlight, but they do like a bright location. They prefer to be kept on the moist side, but not wet. Good drainage is a must and they don’t like being overcrowded in their pot.
Dumb CaneDumb cane is a common variety of dieffenbachia that is often used as a houseplant. People easily recognize the large cream leaves that are blotched or edged with dark green.
Many varieties are on the large side and grow well on sheltered patios in the summer. Dumb canes prefer medium light and warm temperatures. Water when the soil is dry to the touch and fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer about every three months or so.
Corn plant is an old-fashioned houseplant. It is a member of the agave family known by horticulturists as Dracaena fragrens massangeana. It can be used as an accent plant with others in planters, as a small specimen on a table, or a large one in a tub. Their attractive green and yellow leaves make it a popular decorating accent.
Corn plants are relatively slow growing and prefer a warm moist environment. It can be cut back if it grows too tall and it will sprout new shoots from the bottom.
Java FigJava figs, commonly called a fiscus tree, are very popular in homes and offices. They are usually grown as floor specimens and like semi-shaded locations outside in the summer.
Inside, they like warm temperatures and medium light. Fiscus trees should be kept on the moist side. Leaves will turn yellow and drop off if soil is allowed to dry out. They will also drop leaves if the transition between inside and outside is too abrupt. Usually they will recover and regrow new leaves, but it is better to gradually acclimate them to new growing conditions to prevent stress to your plant-and clean up in your house!
Peperomias, unlike a lot of other houseplants, prefer to be a little on the dry side. Already he’s a survivor!
It grows well on a windowsill, on a table, in a dish garden with other plants or alone as a specimen plant. Horticulturists are constantly coming up with new varieties because peperomias have a wide array of rippled, ruffled, green and variegated leaves.
Peperomias prefer medium, indirect light in the winter. They like warm temperatures and drier soil. Water when soil is dry to the touch. It is also easy to pinch out stems to encourage bushiness and compact growing.
Each plant that I described above has several close relatives. The growing conditions that I described will work for the close relatives, too.
Don’t be frightened to try something a little different, too. These houseplants are remarkably adaptable and will try their best to adjust to whatever environment you put them in.
It is easy to judge if your houseplant is happy, and if they’re not, consider your watering habits or the amount of light your plant is receiving. These are the two most likely reasons that your plant isn’t thriving and both situations can be rectified easily before your plant dies. Once it’s in a situation it likes, your new houseplant will quickly recover and reward you with healthy green leaves and a pleasure to look at.
So are you motivated to go out and buy a new houseplant? I hope so. Thanks for gardening with Julie!
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