The mercury is rising. And the days are lengthening. That translates into a whole different wardrobe for you, as well as new additions to your houseplant repertoire. While shopping for garden, patio, deck, and veranda plants, why not pick up some promising thrillers for your home? Pair those cheap and cheerful annuals with the right container, and you’ve got much better rainy day entertainment than watching television reruns.
Raid the Garden Center to Find Annuals for Indoors
Right now, nurseries are bursting with hot annuals with pizzazz. Granted, they won’t all work as houseplants. But some of those plants are windowsill-worthy to make your interior just as sassy as the deck. What qualifies a plant to become the right candidate for indoors? Easy maintenance is high up on the list. Even if you don’t have a garden to tend outside, summer is when road trips and vacations send you away. You don’t want to spend your summer catering to the needs of heavy drinkers or green drama queens in your home. If a plant wilts constantly, it probably won’t work as a houseplant.
What sorts of plants are easy care? It doesn’t get any easier than a zonal, ivy, or scented-leaf geranium. Not only are they omnipresent in nurseries and anywhere plants are sold (check out the supermarket!), but they are chill roommates indoors. And you can’t beat those blossoms when it comes to bang-for-your-buck. The color range will knock your socks off and they are glad to party in indirect light or a bright window—whatever you can offer. First on the agenda: Transplant them out of that boring plastic container into something gorgeous. No need to give them a whole lot more root room, but definitely improve the potting soil so they are sinking their roots into something with substance—like Coast of Maine Bar Harbor Blend Potting Soil.
Skip the Sun Worshippers
In general, annuals that don’t demand bright light are easier to host in your house. So maybe you should skip the snapdragons, zinnias, marigolds, portulacas, lavender, and other sun-lovers. Instead, go for begonias, vincas, and alternantheras that shine in the shade. You can have a ball with presentations, potting your newly adopted green friend into a larger container—remember to fill the pot from top to bottom with potting soil. Skimping on the underpinning by filling with packing material or whatnot isn’t going to make anything happy and the soil is apt to sink away from the roots leading to watering issues. Instead, pack your container with potting soil.
Flowers aren’t everything. Adopt a plant with great foliage—like an alternanthera—and you will have a predictably colorful character close by to complement the décor in your home. Alternantheras are good examples of tough plants with jazzy leaves, and all sorts of colors are available. Get creative by matching up containers that bring out the true colors in your botanical summer buddy.
Succulents make great houseplants in summer because they don’t require constant attention with the watering can. To make sure they drain properly, grow succulents in Mount Desert Blend Cactus & Succulent Potting Mix and provide a container with a generous drainage hole. A south-facing window is optimal, but you can often squeak by in summer by sitting your succulents on any bright sill—east or west-facing works.
Play with your color combos. Bounce hues back and forth – you can even get grasses like colorful Pennisetum ‘Fireworks’ into the dialogue and play the shades against nearby blossoms. Do vignettes.
Want a plant to linger in your home after the summer is over? The good news is that many of these plants will remain by your side happily ever after. Select plants with thick, tough leaves rather than wispy delicate foliage. If you planted several annuals together in a container, break them apart and pot into separate containers in autumn when light levels diminish. Be sure to give each plant a container with sufficient root room—and fertile soil—to take them through the year. After all, they are part of the household now. Treat them like family.
Written by award winning author, Tovah Martin. Photos also taken by Tovah Martin. Find her books and more information on her website: tovahmartin.com