By Tovah Martin
You don’t want to be that gardener rushing the houseplants indoors last minute, do you? You definitely don’t want to be caught with no plan when the weatherperson proclaims those horrifying “frost predicted” words on the radio. Not you. This year, you are going to think ahead. You are going to have everything ready to receive the influx of houseplants before that nasty f-word (meaning “frost” here) is ever uttered.
So, you are making a plan…Right? You are assessing your home for the right spots to host all those jolly green lovelies currently spending summer camp on your patio, deck, or wherever. This way, you can eliminate the guesswork and give your plants exactly the right growing spot to receive the growing conditions they crave.
Health and Welfare for Houseplants
No matter which houseplants ring your chimes, they all have certain needs. For example, I can’t think of a single plant that wants to dwell right next to your woodstove. In fact, they all need to be slightly distant from a heat source to prevent their leaves, roots, and other various appendages from terminal desiccation.
All plants need water, more or less. Make sure your houseplants have sufficient root room so they don’t constantly crave another drink. Repot now and use a potting soil that gives them oomph while also draining well—like Coast of Maine Bar Harbor Blend Potting Soil. Got cacti and succulents? Go for Coast of Maine Mount Desert Island Cacti and Succulent Blend.
Plants need light. If anyone tells you that your houseplant can survive in a dark dungeon without auxiliary light, they lie. But not all plants need a really bright window. By coupling plants with the right incoming light exposure match, you can accommodate all your green buddies while populating your entire house with photosynthesizing roommates.
The trick lies in making the right marriage between plant and window. In general, most flowering plants prefer a bright, south-facing window to continue producing blossoms. Place sun-lovers as close to the panes as possible and rotate to expose all sides to light. Exceptions to the flowering plant/bright light rule are orchids, begonias, and members of the African violet family.
Foliage plants such as pileas, peperomias, bromeliads, cordylines, figs, hoyas, and prayer plants, etc. do fine in an east or west-facing window where they receive good light, but not bright direct light. If you only have a bright window, pull them a couple of feet away from the windowpanes or station them away from the bright incoming beams. Although orchids are bloomers, they prefer indirect light. Position them beside these foliage plants.
Although north-facing windows are generally too dark for most houseplants, they work for ferns, mosses, and ivies. Or give shade-loving plants a spot pulled a few feet away from a bright window—you don’t want sunbeams falling directly on these babies.
When in doubt about a plant’s light preferences, ask at a nursery or internet search for info (it helps if you can identify your plant by name). Also pay attention to a houseplant’s body language—when plants crave more illumination, they bend toward the light source. On the other hand, when plants are receiving more light than they like, the foliage browns or burns.
So get with the program and start staging your indoor display early. Get ready for a super cool winter indoors with all your well-placed botanical buddies gathered around.
Written by award winning author, Tovah Martin. Photos also taken by Tovah Martin. Find her books and more information on her website: tovahmartin.com.