Many gardeners abhor the winter months, when the grass browns, blooms are scarce, and digging in the dirt seems a distant pleasure; however, indoor plants offer year round beauty and function. Whether for the purpose of purifying air or simply for aesthetics, flora fill the corners of homes, office cubicles, apartments and businesses. To ensure the health of your greenery and a lack of gardener frustration, stick with these five, can't-be-killed, common houseplants.
The peace lily, a solid choice for beginners, is an ideal indoor plant for many reasons, including its tolerance for low light. This characteristic also makes the plant ideal for dimly or fluorescently lit office spaces. Although it prefers filtered indirect rays, it lives well in shade.
Watering the peace lily is also a cinch. When its broad leaves begin to droop slightly, water until soil is evenly moist. The foliage will perk up within the next few hours. Cup-shaped white blooms with a ribbed, stemmed center shoot from the plant's base, making the peace lily an easy yet lovely flowering houseplant.
Jade plants are members of the succulent family. For indoor gardeners, this means that you can spend your watering energy on thirstier plants. Succulents store water in their thick, soft leaves, stems and roots, helping them stay healthier longer in between waterings.
Jade plants prefer brightness but can survive in somewhat indirect light. They need to be repotted every two to three years as they use and store much of the soil's nutrients, and they are best kept in average room temperatures from 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Whitish to pinkish blooms appear in clusters during the later part of the year, as the days shorten.
The spider plant, or airplane plant, is an impressive yet resilient houseplant option. The most common variety is variegated, with green and white slender leaves. They require little water and will wilt a bit when moisture is needed.
With growth, plantlets will form, shooting out horizontally from the base of the plant to hang down from the side of the container. Bright but indirect sunlight is preferred, and with proper care, spider plants develop delicate white flowers along their plantlet stems. These indoor plants will grow to the size of the container in which they're kept and make great hanging baskets.
Mother-In-Law's-Tongue, also known as snake plant, boasts firm yellow and green leaves that shoot directly up from the soil like daggers. They thrive in both sun and shade, can grow many feet tall, are quite drought tolerant and rarely need repotting.
Although evenly moist soil and a few hours of bright sunlight a day are enjoyed, this houseplant needs little water, light, and nutrients ... a beginner's best friend.
African violets, with their wavy-edged, heart-shaped leaves, offer tender purple and pink blooms that remain vibrant for weeks. In between flowerings, which are best coaxed out by using a nitrogen fertilizer, African violets require filtered, yet abundant light, moderate temperatures of 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit and a regular water schedule. If soil is too dry, it will pull away from the sides of the pot and the leaves on the lower tiers will become soggy and brown.
Don't just run H20 down the plant, however, as the fuzzy leaves of African violets are sensitive to liquid. They are best watered from the underside, so the soil is able to absorb the liquid from the holes in the bottom of its container.