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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


Warm Up with Tropical Houseplants

Emmaline Harvey
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Escape the chill of winter by going on a mini-vacation in your own home with tropical houseplants. Popular tropicals such as Peace Lilies, Rabbit’s Foot Ferns, and orchids will bring a warm oasis of color indoors that even the most novice gardener can keep happy until spring returns.

The benefits of tropical houseplants extend well beyond brightening up the room. They help clean the air you breathe, too!

If you’ve had your tropical plants year round and recently brought them inside for the winter, you may have noticed that they lost a few leaves during the transition. Don’t fret – once they’ve adjusted, your plants should produce new leaves to replace the ones they dropped.

To help your tropicals thrive as houseplants, keep the humidity high in their immediate environment. You can do this by keeping the potted plants in steamy rooms such as bathrooms with showers, or near the kitchen sink. If you’d rather keep your plants in more traditional spaces, spray their leaves once a week with a light mist of water and cluster them together.

Tropical Plants in Saucers with Pebbles - SS - 300x300The simplest way to maintain humidity and keep your plants looking fresh and healthy is by spreading a handful of pebbles in saucers for each planter.

Fill the saucers halfway with water, then set the pots on top of the pebbles. Make sure to keep the water level low enough in the saucer that the bottom of the planter is not touching any water. Excess water that reaches the roots will create root rot.

Tropical plants like temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees, so avoid drafty rooms and keep them away from direct heat sources such as vents or space heaters.

And while tropicals – like most of us in the winter – appreciate plenty of sunlight, resist the urge to cram them all on the windowsill. Sit them far enough from the windows so their leaves won’t touch the glass and potentially be harmed by the frigid temperature.

Arrange your plants in indirect light (rooms with eastern exposure are best) so they won’t get overheated on sunny days. Rotate the tropical plants once a week to prevent them from growing toward the direction of the window. If you don’t have any rooms that have ideal light, set up a grow light with a timer to ensure your plants get about 16 hours of artificial light a day.

For more detailed care instructions for specific tropical plants, read more here. Are orchids more your style? Learn how to pamper these beauties here.

Got questions about this article or any other garden topic? Go here now to post your gardening ideas, questions, kudos or complaints. We have gardening experts standing by to help you!