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Indoor Plants - Keeping Your Roomies Happy
By Amanda Whatley Owen
web posted December 4, 2017

GARDENING – Indoor house plants can be so much fun!  Your collection can include many different types from orchids to a mini indoor herb garden in your kitchen window.  You can own almost any plant you wish.  Today, we'll cover some very general tips that apply to many tropical-type indoor plants.

Many indoor plants are of a tropical variety, which typically, would not be found growing naturally in our region.  But with a little love and care they can thrive in the warmth of our homes during the cold months until the warmer months, to which it is more accustomed, return.  So let's talk about how to make your winter roomies more comfortable.

First off, where should you set your indoor plant?  Ideally, the north window.  The north window always has the right amount of sun to give any indoor sun-loving plant, that lush, deep green, healthy look.  Another cool fact is that north-window indoor plants tend to be less prone to diseases and insects.  Many folks make miniature tropical escapes out of their north-facing windows.  Some of the plants that would love to lounge here would be asparagus ferns, palms, orchids, dracaena, and peace lilies.  You can fill empty spaces in the north window with hanging plants such as purple heart, ivy, and spider plants.

If you have a north facing window in your kitchen, you might consider growing herbs or germinating seedlings here.  With both, you would treat and plant the same way as if they were outdoors.  Full grown herbs would require a little less water than if they were outside.  Typically, the seedlings just need a constant mist.

So what should we do with our plants that only like part sun?  Some plants with color blooms, such as the flamingo plant, or coral-top can't take the full sun of the north window because it would effect the vibrant colors.  For the part sun indoor plants you would want to find a location in your home where not as much sun shines through, maybe even an end of the house with a tree shading it. 

One other thing about plant placement in your home…remember to be careful not to put your plants too near an air vent.  Being too close to a vent can actually damage the plant over time.    

The amount of water your indoor plants receive is super important.  Most indoor plants prefer to be more on the dry side than the wet side.  Think of it this way, people get pretty miserable when they have wet shoes, socks, and feet.  You just feel soggy.  It's the same principal for plants.  When the roots of a plant stay too wet, for too long, this can make the plant miserable and not want to grow properly.  It can cut of the nitrogen supply to the plant causing the leaves to turn yellow. Now, if you have been over-watering your indoor plants, and they have the soggy-bottom blues, don't worry too much because there is solution.  It's something that needs to be done annually anyway.  Repot your plant!

You can get a new, larger pot, and soil with lots of perlite (that's the little white specs).  This soil is great for drainage.  After repotting, your plant should look much better within a week.  It will be like having a fresh new pair of shoes, with dry socks!  This aeration of the soil will allow the roots to thrive.

If any pest enter the home and make their way to your plant, the major home improvement stores sell pest control sprays specially designed for indoor plants.  If you are one of the folks who lean toward the more natural remedies, warm water and dish soap can help control pests without harming your plants.

Also remember to give our little friends their vitamins!  Fertilize at least once a month with a liquid fertilizer.  Do not use the granular type. 

Always keep your indoor plants well groomed and clean. Do not leave all the dead leaves, stems, etc. on plants, and do not let the soil mold.  Plants, like people, want to feel groomed and clean.

Next week we will answer a few readers questions !

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