Friday, February 18, 2011

Houseplant CHIC

I LOVE houseplants, my perfect house would have a HUGE sun room off the back of it.
There are so many reasons to use houseplants:
  • Plants make you happy - a Chicago cardiologist conducted a test, and the findings were that if a hospital patient faced a window with a garden view, they recovered quicker then patients who faced a wall.
  • Plants fight fatigue and colds - It was found the plants reduced fatigue, coughs, sore throats, and cold related illnesses by more then 30% partially by increasing humidity levels and decreasing dust.
My major reason for having plants:
  • Plants Clean the air -  NASA did a study that showed, houseplants can remove up to 87% of indoor air pollutants in 24 hours. 
  • Plants can remove a variety of toxic air emissions, such as: ammonia, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, benzene, xylene and trichloroethytene.
Here's the Plants we have around the Manor:

First is our DUMB CANE (Dieffenbachia): It is one of the most common houseplants, and one of the easiest to care for (which makes it perfect for me :)
He needs Moderate to Low light, Moderate to Heavy watering, a little bit of 'food' once a month, we've have NO problems with this green guy. They prefer to be within 8 feet of a window but can survive a bit farther away (ours is about 10 feet away). They like it humid so daily misting is a must!They hate Drafts so keep them away from registers and opening doors.
They are a 'poisenious' plant so if you have young kids or pet who have an interest in eating plant leaves this is NOT the plant for you, luckily Max has no interest in plants!
This plant basket is actually a waste paper basket!


Next is our: BURGUNDY RUBBER PLANT (Ficus Elastica) Also a very common houseplant, very easy to take care of. They require Moderate to Low levels of light so 5-8 feet from a window is ideal. A rubber plant requires heavy watering once or twice a week. Because you want to water it heavily but you don't want the roots sitting in water so a pebble tray is super handy under one of these guys. 
This is the plant and basket we bought as part of our $50 hallway challenge!


Then we have our BOSTON FERN - again one of the most common houseplants (I feel very ordinary thanks to this post hehe) They require Medium levels of light so 4-7 feet from a bright window is necessary, I've found that our Fern needs A LOT of light we have him in the library next to a south facing window, although I'm suspecting come summer he'll need to be moved a few more feet away from that window. Ferns like moist soil, however during the winter months water when the top soil feels dry (but don't let it dry completely, that will make him angry). Misting is also necessary!!!! They like it warm during the day, cool during the night, they hate drafts and like to 'eat' once a month :)


Our ORCHID is a favorite of mine. Some people say they are finicky, some say they are the easiest of houseplants, my view on them is somewhere in between. I've had one that required no work at all, and bloomed for 6 months straight (then we left it in the garage after the move and it died). I have one now, where the blooms are doing great but the buds that were about to bloom died and fell off. But in general they are not as difficult as I thought they would be. The most important part is the soil, the roots need to breathe so using bark for soil is the only way to go. The also like orchid fertilizer, other fertilizer just won't cut it. They require low levels of water once a week to once every two weeks should do it. They love a daily mist! And they LOVE bright light at least 10 hours a day of indirect light a day!
Troubleshooting: 
If the leaves turn yellow, your giving it too much water.
If the foliage turns brown you are giving it too much light, essentially burning the plant.


and last is POTHOS IVY (Devils Ivy) The number 1 most common houseplant (I feel super original now :)
It is the easiest plant to keep! It can handle a variety of indoor conditions. The Pothos does have one pet peeve, It hates wet feet, so a pebble tray or good drainage is a must. To ensure success with a pothos ivy of your own Pick a plant with a good root system (pop it out of the pot at the store and ensure all the roots are strong and active, not mushy), and avoid over watering :)
Pothos is also slightly toxic if you eat it, so if you have kids or pets who won't eat their dinner but somehow find a potted plant irresistible avoid this plant.


Nasa suggests that for an 1800 square foot home you'll need 15-18 "good sized" houseplants, in 6-8 inch containers. It looks like we'll be needing some more plants :)

Here's some I'm looking to add to the menagerie of plants:
  • Chinese Evergreen 
  • Asparagus Fern
  • A jade plant
  • I would LOVE to try my hand at a Lemon Tree again (I definitely won't be leaving the next one in the garage when we move :( 
  • Some herbs on the kitchen window sill
  • I want to add some ferns to the front porch during the spring and summer and those will need to come in over the winter so those count as future houseplants.
  • I always wanted a peace lily but heard the are VERY toxic so I always avoided them. 

So there's our "Collection" If anyone has any other suggestions I would LOVE to hear them, please keep in mind that my thumbs are NOT green ,they are Black :) So only the easiest of plants will do for me!

17 comments:

  1. thanks so much...this is great!!! I have a little shih tzu who loves to get his nose into everything...so some of those plants (if i get them) ill be sure to keep somewhere up high. I plan to go to our local garden shop and possibly home depot this weekend to find some indoor plants to put around the house.

    Im shocked at how many plants NASA recommends. My house is like 2800 sq ft and I don't think I can afford or can truely care for 30 plants :-) But I'll attempt to get a few thie weekend. Thanks for sharing!!!

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  2. Wow, your plants are thriving! Mine not so much... :( Black thumb and all...
    A bit more info:
    - Pothos is a greek word that means "lust"!
    - The herb pots need windows full of direct sunlight. In the summer they won't let the flying bugs enter the house
    - If you put homemade compost as the final layer in the pot, it will protect the plant from unwanted visitors and it will nurish it even more
    My favorite plant in my home is the bamboo one in the bathroom. It was a gift I got when my son was born, 3 1/2 years ago, and it is still going wild!

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  3. Great tips! I love the look of houseplants but mine always seem to die. I will have to give some of these a try. I really want a Boston Fern, I think they are such beautiful plants and they provide such a great pop of color.

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  4. hi! i found your blog thru tidy mom! i am your latest follower! xo

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  5. Thanks so much for this post. Your other posts on houseplants have inspired me to add more real plants to our home (and get rid of most of the fakes!)

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  6. P.S. I have a peace lily that was given to us when my son was born 15 years ago and is still going strong. Easiest plant ever! I didn't know it was toxic, but fortunately I don't have small children or dogs that like to eat plants.

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  7. Great info! I had stopped having houseplants, after becoming a caretaker for ill parents...just no time. But, I've developed such allergies, I think I'll take your advice on letting some help clean my air. Thanks!

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  8. Great post! I used to have a bunch of houseplants, but then just got to busy to keep up with them. Just repotted our orchid, so we'll see how that goes. I'd love to add some more plants especially to help with our allergies. Will have to watch certain types with Kylee however. I really should put one in Kate's room (might help with her headaches).

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  9. I was wondering how your lemon tree was doing! I'm sorry to hear it died :( That post was the last push I needed to decide on getting one or not -- I have yet to find one though. Maybe closer to spring/summer. I'm with you on easy house plants. The outdoor ones can take more work, but inside? Easy please. I wish I had your luck with Orchids ;)

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  10. My guy and I would love to fill our house with plants, but I am very concerned about an increase in bugs because of plants.

    We live in Austin, TX, and apparently Austin has big problems with sugar ants and "tree roaches" (thank heavens we only found a few dead tree roaches inside!). I am very, very obsessive about keeping bugs out of my space, so I do not want any reason for bugs to come inside.

    Have you found your plants have increased the bug population inside? I would definitely love to know. :)

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  11. I LOVE houseplants and, like your followers, go through phases of giving them away and starting over. I finally became brave and purchased an orchid several years ago and thankfully they are not difficult at all. I think the key is plenty of light and humidity. Mine do best in an east-facing window with humidity from the kitchen. I love all your plants and have had those varieties at one time or another. The smaller parlor palms are one of my favorites and I've always wanted a split-leaf philodendron, but don't have the space for one. I miss a beautiful Boston fern I recently gave away. Have fun filling your gorgeous home with green life!

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  12. ok so this may be a stupid question - but im new to house plants and had a question. Do you actually put the plant with dirt directly into those baskets you have? Or do you keep the plastic pot the plant comes in from the store and just put it directly into a nicer looking basket. Thanks!!

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  13. My mom always said there is no such thing as a stupid question! I agree :)
    I keep the plant in the pot is comes from the store for a couple of months, (I don't want to stress the plant in a new environment and a new pot all at once.) Then I put a plastic tray or plate inside the basket . . . then I add the plant pot to the basket. You need the tray to catch any water that might come out of the bottom of the pot after watering, For plants that absolutely can't have wet roots, place some rocks in the tray then put the plant pot on top, this will keep the plant roots super dry :)
    Hope that helps!

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  14. I'm happy to have come across this post. Earlier this week I visited a Lowe's garden center eyeing items for a front porch potted garden. Wistfully I thought of how much I'd love to have indoor plants for our new home - but the dog and our cats consumed or ruined almost everything we had inside over the winter. Is there anything *live* that is animal proof (i.e., not tasty, LOL)?

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  15. Jamie,
    Max has never been too interested in plants (other than his overwhelming desire to pee on them :)
    So I'm not an expert, but my sister had the same problem with her cats and she bought a Venus Fly Trap and they left that alone! Infact they were kind of terrified of it :)
    I would imagine Aloe would be a good choice (just a guess). My sister also has small plants on window sills and such and puts a cactus or two on either side, that also did the trick :)
    Hope that helps

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  16. We had over 20 plants a few yrs ago. This post has definitely put me in the mood to get some more. Tomorrow we are planning to try to get an avocado pit to grow. Never done it before, but apparently it works.

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  17. Might want to double-check your Pothos ID. That looks more like a Philodendron sp. (maybe scandens) to me.

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