Celebrate Houseplant Appreciation Day – January 10
Houseplants are “in” once more – which is super! But here in the Southwest, where humidity is low, if you want to be successful with houseplants, you need to select your houseplants with some consideration.
Look at their Genes
When caring for any plant, it helps to look at their “origin story.” Desert plants deal with certain stresses better than forest plants (and vice versa).
Most common houseplants come from rain forests need 45 to 99 percent humidity. But most Southwest homes average less than that! Average Southwest home humidity is 20 percent, less when furnaces pump hot dry air into our homes, or when AC units blow cold dry air into our spaces.
5 Houseplant Selection Tips
Select plants that have the genes that help them thrive without fuss. Here are 5 things to look for.
Tip 1. Look for narrow leaves, they will need little water. One example is the spider plant.
Tip 2. There are a number of tropical plants from seasonally dry areas. They will tolerate low humidity. Peace lily and dracena do fine in the Southwest.
Tip 3. Lush-looking, un-thorny succulents are a pretty option. Think jade plant and also sanseverias. Both come from dry but not excessively hot areas of South Africa, and tolerate low humidity.
Tip 4. Pick from plants that normally hang off cliffs or dangle from the tops of trees (epiphytes). These are used to toughing it out. Pothos and Christmas cactus are examples.
Tip 5. Plants with waxy coating to their leaves are better able to survive in low humidity. Think hoya. These are a favorite of mind due to the luscious fragrant flowers. Also they are a good hanging plant and easily stay out of reach of the cat.
Houseplant Care in the Southwest
Whole ‘nother post folks. But if you are wondering about watering them – I have a nice YouTube video on watering houseplants – here.
If you are interested in learning more about houseplants for our bright, dry region – consider this dynamic course Houseplants for The Southwest The course includes a downloadable care guide, a one hour video, and an extensive downloadable plant list. This is over on my class site, hosted by New Zenler. For the first 100 loyal readers, be sure to enter the 20 percent off coupon code on check out. Code is simple – HOUSE. This is only available to the first 100 readers and expires Dec 31 2023.
Note, about the class site – sort of like attending college, you have to register as a student before you enroll in the specific course.
I want to leave you with some nice science behind why you should have houseplants in your space.
Houseplants are Health Giving
Houseplants clean indoor pollutants out of the air according to NASA researchers. In the top ten cleaners are a number that do well in the Southwest – including peace lily, pothos, sanseveria species, dracena species, and spider plant that have been discussed here. The NASA researchers recommend one potted plant per 100 square feet of indoor space.
There are other health benefits to houseplants, enough for a number of other posts! Meanwhile, even these more arid adapted houseplants will transpire moisture into the air, which can help reduce the dry skin, colds, sore throats and dry coughs.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by today.
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