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Top 5 Easiest Houseplants

Bring the outside in with some of our favorite easy-to-care for houseplants -- no green thumb required. Most of us who think that we have bad luck with houseplants simply have not selected the right plant for our space. Before purchasing a houseplant, consider these three simple questions: where is the plant going to live?; what kind of light does the area receive?; and what are the plants watering requirements?

Top 5 Easiest Houseplants:

Succulents are one of the most versatile plants on the globe. Because they have shallow roots, they can survive without a great deal of water or care and thrive in drought-like conditions. Succulents also have a variety of pleasing shapes and colors, looking good whether they have blooms or not! These stylish plants have moved to center stage and are being used in a multitude of ways both inside and out. Succulents used in all sorts of ways; as table arrangements, living sculptures, as cut flowers – the skies the limit when it comes to using succulents. Take advantage of these unique garden characters and challenge yourself to come up with new ways to display your succulents around the house.

Air Plants, or Tillandsias, survive mostly on air and an occasional watering. These unique plants, from the Bromeliad family, absorb nutrients, especially calcium and water, from the air which provides an abundant supply of nutrients to the plant rather than through their roots. Place them in glass terrariums, hang them from string on their own, set them in a shell or on a stack of books. They can even be glued, wired, pinned or tied to driftwood, seashells or baskets. The possibilities for the tough little plants is endless. Air Plants need plenty of fresh air and humidity. To water the plant, submerge it every two weeks.

Pothos, are tough, versatile plants among the most popular of houseplants. This plant gets its name from its leaves, which are heart-shaped and glossy green. Pothos grow trailing, leafy vines that can reach 40 feet in tropical jungles, but usually confines itself to about 6-10 feet in containers, when allowed to trail freely. This hardy plant is able to withstand neglect and less than optimal lighting conditions. Pothos prefer natural, bright, indirect light. If they're exposed to too much light, they may slowly lose the lush color and slowly turn a pale green. As a general rule, check the soil and water when the top inch of soil feels dry. Keep the soil evenly moist but allow it to dry out between waterings.

Snake Plants, are tough plants with heavy, sword-like leaves which shoot up from the base of the dirt and can grow to 4-feet in height. The snake plant prefers moderate to bright light. This houseplant prefers to be watered once every 7 - 10 days thoroughly, allowing the soil to dry in between waterings. Drooping foliage can indicate over watering. On the other hand if the foliages begins to wrinkle or bend over you are not providing enough water.

Chinese Evergreens are another versatile low light, low growing, durable houseplant. The distinctive foliage and compact size make it an ideal accent plant. Chinese evergreens are available in assorted varieties, but no matter which one you choose, rest assured they are all easy to care for. This plant tolerates low light but does best if located in bright indirect sunlight. Keep it constantly moist but not wet, since sitting in water can cause rot. A moderate drying between the waterings is okay, but the soil shouldn’t dry put completely.

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Give Your Houseplants a Summer Vacation

After being inside all winter, there's nothing like sitting outside on a warm day, and just like us, houseplants enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and change of scenery! Letting them stay outside all summer long will give them much-needed nutrients for the winter once they're back in your heated house. However, you'll need to take a few steps to ensure a smooth transition. If you take the time to make the move outdoors a gradual one and shield them from extreme elements, they will thank you with healthy, vigorous growth and gorgeous blooms throughout the year.

Avoid Direct Sun. Place plants in light conditions similar to what they enjoyed inside your home. Never put them in full sun. Just like you, they’ll get sunburned – and there’s no SPF sunscreen for houseplants! Gradually expose the plants to sunlight by placing them in a partially shady spot.

Avoid Windy Spots. Wind can be a huge stressor for houseplants, since they are not exposed to windy conditions inside your home. Wind can dry plants out and knock them over. Be sure to place houseplants in a well-protected area, such as near a wall.

Avoid Exposure to Excessive Rain. A light drizzle can provide a welcome drink, but downpours can be destructive to houseplants, washing soil out of their containers and pounding their delicate leaves. Check to make sure your pots have drain holes, since heavy rain can also cause containers to overfill, which can lead to root rot and even drowning plant roots.

Consider the Outside Temperature. Most houseplants originate in tropical-like regions, so they will need to be brought in on cool nights or whenever the thermometer threatens to dip below 55 degrees. A good rule of thumb is to move them out when you would start planting your garden. If the weather has been unseasonably cold, wait until you've had at least a week of warm night temperatures before moving houseplants outdoors.

Consider Repotting & Pruning. Summer is an ideal time to repot and prune houseplants and cleanup is always easier outside! The rule of thumb is not to increase pot size by more than 2 inches (ex: use a 6-inch pot for a 4-inch plant). Pruning back excess growth and legginess can also help plants to grow fuller and more vibrant.

Fertilize & Inspect for Pests. Houseplants will need more nutrients outside during the warmer months; however, be careful not to over do it. Too much food can be just as bad for houseplants as too little. When in doubt, fertilize according to label directions. Secondly, be sure to inspect for pests. Inside, there are fewer opportunities for insects to bother your plants, so be sure treat against common outdoor insects once you move them outdoors.

If you have any questions about bringing your houseplants outdoors for a summer vacation, or you need a plant diagnosis, one of our McDonald houseplant experts will be happy to assist you!

Photos from McDonald Garden Center Owner, Eddie Anderson's backyard

GET THIS LOOK!

DO-IT-YOURSELF STRING GARDENS

Some call it string art, some call it Kokedama and some just call it unique. Whatever you call it, these interesting moss-covered gardens held together with string find their roots in the century old art form called kokedama. A form of bonsai, the Japanese have enjoyed moss balls for centuries and just recently the West has caught on to this unique art.

Loosely translated, “Ko ke” means moss and “dama” means ball. Its history began, as a poorer mans bonsai due to its inexpensive requirements and easy to do technique. The simplicity of these moss balls are what makes them so interesting and you are not constrained by a pot. We recommend any small sized plant around 4-inches that has an interesting shape. We especially love using orchids, ponytail palms, rabbit foot ferns and succulents.

What You'll Need:

  • Clear Fishing Line or Twine
  • Orchids, Ponytail Palms, Rabbit Foot Ferns and Succulents
  • Sphagnum Moss
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Bucket of Water
  • Scissors
  • Shallow Container or Hanger
  1. Soak sphagnum moss in water. We do suggest that when working with sphagnum moss you wear rubber gloves.
  2. Remove the root system of the plant from its container.
  3. Surround the root system in a mud cake of sphagnum moss.
  4. Once the roots are completely covered, wind fishing line or twine around it to secure the moss in place.
  5. Once your are finished, hang your string garden or place it in a shallow container. Enjoy!

String gardens are not exactly maintenance free, but if you use the right plants then watering shouldn’t be a problem. We recommend watering once or twice a week depending on the plant.

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