A Green Thumb at Any Age

Donna Mae Scheib

A Green Thumb at Any Age

Posted by Donna Mae Scheib on December 13, 2018

A Green Thumb at Any Age

With such a variety of indoor plants, the task of knowing which one(s) to pick for your environment and lifestyle may seem overwhelming. There is no need to worry. These five easy-to-grow, low-maintenance plants are guaranteed to brighten up your living space and bring a little bit of outdoor nature inside.

What’s more? Caring for inside plants has been proven to boost overall health with reducing anxiety, pain, and fatigue and lowering blood pressure while improving mental acuity. Plants even assist us in breathing as they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen.

African Violet – This relatively inexpensive plant likes a southern-facing window and its soil dry before watering. Speaking of watering, avoid getting the velvety leaves wet as they tend to spot. African violets have small, colorful blooms (purple, light purple to blue, shades of pinks, yellow, white, and almost black) and come in an abundance of leaf types, flower shapes, and overall sizes. The plant flowers continuously for a pop of color all year round. African violets are easy to propagate from cuttings.

Aloe Vera – This succulent with thick, variegated leaves that fan out from the plant’s central stem is known for its healing properties. The leaves’ juice can be used to relieve pain from burns or scrapes when applied topically. This plant enjoys the sunlight and dry soil (e.g., it seldom needs watering) and grows consistently with minimal care.

Amazon Elephant Ear – A warm, humid environment (at least 65 degrees) without direct sunlight is ideal for this tropical plant. Its leaves like misting to mimic the humidity of the jungle. The Amazon elephant ear has large dark-green heart-shaped leaves with whitish-colored veins that look like (you guessed it) elephant ears! Different shades of yellow and green appear through the leaves when the sunlight hits them.   

Peace Lily – A popular plant that prefers warm, humid environments and doesn’t tolerate direct sunlight, the peace lily thrives in moist soil. It has dark green leaves with white curvy blooms that grow quickly. This plant enjoys warmth but not direct sunlight. With enough light, the plant will produce white to off-white flowers that bloom throughout the year. Most household varieties of this plant grow to about 16-18 inches tall. If the plant grows too large for the original pot, it can be divided into smaller plants. Despite its name, the peace lily is not related to the “true” lily. Instead, the name “peace lily” comes from the white flowers that resemble small white flags of peace.

Spider Plant (also known as airplane plant, ribbon plant, and spider ivy) – One of the most common houseplants, the spider plant has extremely long, thin leaves that are solid green or variegated with white. They may also produce tiny white flowers during the warmer months of the year. There are many varieties of spider plants. These plants need medium to bright indirect sunlight to avoid burning their leaves, average room temperature (between 55-80 degrees) and humidity, and slightly moist soil to avoid the tips of the leaves from turning brown. If discoloring occurs, simply cut off the brown tips with scissors and remove any brown discs on the leaves with your fingernail. The spider plant makes an excellent hanging plant which you no doubt have seen in a hanging basket somewhere before. Healthy spider plants may eventually produce offshoots known as “pups”. These can be removed and replanted to start new plantings. Allow a growth of two inches in diameter before removing them from the mother plant. Another method is to place the attached pups in pots of soil next to the mother plant. Once these then root themselves, they can be cut loose from the mother plant to grow on their own.

Not everyone has a green thumb, but these easy-growing plants will help you meet success. Not only do plants offer a touch of the outdoors, nature, and beauty but they can boost your spirits and provide you with satisfaction in caring for them. There’s really no time like now to add a plant or two to your home.

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