We’ve all heard of spring cleaning, but now that nighttime temperatures are dropping into the 40s and lower, we need to think about fall cleaning for our tropical plants. If you’re a houseplant enthusiast, one of the biggest advantages of living in North Virginia is that our summer months boast ideal conditions for growing houseplants outside. However, now that it’s time to bring in and protect these tender plants from winter weather, there are a few things you can do to ensure an easy transition to your home or greenhouse.
Focus on Houseplants
One houseplant that has been on the market for many years, but still gets overlooked is the Syngonium. These vining plants, also called arrowhead vines (especially in older literature), are perfect for beginners as they thrive in medium light, don’t have any special watering needs, and come in a variety of leaf shapes and colors
An unhealthy houseplant is most often the result of improper care. Too much or too little water, light, or air circulation cause many plant problems. If a plant is struggling or stressed due to improper care, the likelihood of pest infestation increases. Providing a houseplant with the growing conditions it needs is the best way to keep it healthy and minimize pest infestation.
No longer in the tropics, my orchids live indoors now and thrive in the high desert climate of Albuquerque, which shows how adaptable they are. They are treated like my other houseplants (African violets, Christmas cactus, etc.). I water them once a week and keep them near a shaded south-facing window where they get early morning and late afternoon direct sun. Different orchids have different humidity and light requirements, so I have learned to choose those that fit into a low-humidity, good light regime.
The houseplant I always recommend to beginners is Philodendron hederaceum (heartleaf philodendron). The No. 1 reason I recommend heartleaf philodendron to beginners is because it is extremely forgiving and thrives in a variety of conditions. Simply put, you probably won’t kill a heartleaf philodendron while you learn the ins and outs of caring for houseplants.
At the end of a long winter indoors, houseplants often become spindly and tired-looking. You can renew your plants by moving them outdoors for the summer. Finding the right spot for their “summer vacation” is key.
Lina Rodriguez has been keeping houseplants healthy for ten years and has over 50 in her home. Only four of them are succulents. Because here’s the secret: succulents are easy, low-maintenance houseplants if you have the perfect conditions for them. But a lot of people don’t.
If you’re looking to introduce indoor plants to your home, Tradescantia pallida (purple heart) and Chlorophytum comosum (spider plant) are two good choices for starter houseplants. Following are growing basics for each plant.