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What?!?!?! Have we really just persevered through three consecutive days of twenty-degree weather in Texas? We beat our own low temperatures for March, according to our local weatherman. So much for my snapdragons coming into their own and the columbine buds just getting ready to bloom. I sure do hope these next few days of warmer weather, sunshine spurts, and spring rains keep these favorite early spring flowers of mine alive, much less healthy. In these conditions, I can really see the benefits of mulching thoroughly over the winter!

I have a temporary solution for spring garden fever when it’s still freezing outside; tend to houseplants!  Some of you have asked me to talk about indoor gardening with houseplants since your outdoor space is either limited or nonexistent. Many of the same guidelines apply: choose plants suitable for your lighting, choose plants suitable for your indoor climate, and choose plants that require the amount of care that suits your reality.

In other words, some plants thrive in the humidity of a bathroom, while others in the same spot will turn to mush. Some choice varieties love the incubated, central air, overheated environments of our western homes, while others in the same situation will droop and wither from such arid conditions. Choose wisely, not impulsively! Follow some basic guidelines and you will be rewarded with life-giving, air-filtering, indoor gardening.

For shady corners, try wandering jew, peace lily, spider plant, and mother-in-law’s tongue.

For morning or afternoon bright light, try cacti and succulents, like big- band, watch chain, and trumpet jade.

For humid and medium light, try maidenhair fern, boston fern, and orchids.

For anywhere but a dark corner, try ivy, prayer plant, and peace lily.

For architectural accent, try Chinese evergreen, reed palm, red-edged dracaena, and elephant ear philodendron.

My rule of thumb is to water once a week. Allow water to filter through to the bottom, but don’t let the plant sit in water. Let your specially formulated, commercial, indoor potting soil dry out between waterings. However, cacti and succulents need to be watered only once a month. Use liquid solvent fertilizers sparingly, once every three waterings. The only other maintenance includes a twice a year wipe down with watered down alcohol swabs, especially on the underside of leaves, to kill any itty bitty critters that have snuck into your house. Also, snipping off yellowing leaves or brown tipped leaves promotes new, energetic growth.

Healthy indoor plants not only are beautiful, but are also excellent natural air purifiers, neutralizing benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and solvents used in cleaning products. Refrain from spraying more chemicals in your home as an air freshener, but instead, remove poisons and odors with natural purifiers, houseplants!

Which air freshener are you growing in your home?

At the scent of water, it will flourish and put forth shoots like a new plant.

Job 14:9