How Well Do You Know
Your House Plants?

Have you ever despaired over crispy ivy? Or wondered what it takes to get a cactus to bloom?

House plants can seem like a mystery if you don't know how to care for them.

With information now at your fingertips, it's easy to find out about your plant, discover what it needs, and get the most out of it. I promise you'll be rewarded with a healthy, thriving houseplant that's a source of pride and joy for years to come.

houseplant, growing olive tree indoors

Everything you need is here in this user-friendly house plant guide:

  • Check out pests and diseases and find out what to do about spider mites, fungus, aphids and other things that are bugging your houseplants.
  • Take a look at this list of poisonous plants and keep your family and pets safe.

kalanchoe, houseplant

Winter Bloomers

After the tinsel has been taken down and the tree kicked to the curb, you can bring a fresh, new splash of color to your home.

Florist shops are already bursting with blooming plants, such as snowy white azaleas, hot-pink kalanchoe and deep-blue African violets.

Winter-flowering cyclamen only blooms for a season, but its gorgeous red, pink or lavender up-swept petals are so spectacular, it's worth it.

Want more inspiration? You'll find more winter flowering plants here.

Take cover. Keep in mind that these tender plants are cultivated in greenhouses, where they enjoy constant warm temperatures. Even a short blast of frigid air can cause their buds to drop. Cover them in plastic for the ride home to prevent sudden exposure to cold drafts.

Take Indoor Plants to New Heights

Put them on a pedestal. Indoor plantstands are a simple solution for displaying several small plants together. With a multi-level stand, you can easily transform a jungle into an eye-catching arrangement.

Hang 'em high. Pot them up in indoor plant hangers and they'll be at eye level for all to admire.

Drive them up a wall. Vertical gardens are perhaps the newest trend in indoor gardening. Check out these planters that make hanging them a breeze.

5 Winter Survival Tips (Not for you...your plants!)

  1. Keep house plants away from cold drafts. Blasts of frigid air near doors and windows does damage to tropical plants and will likely make flowering plants drop their buds. It's a good idea to move your plants out of the entry way and off the windowsills.

  2. Give them more light. Shorter daylight hours -- and many overcast days -- will slow plant growth during the winter months. That's okay for some. But, if you want to keep flowers blooming and herbs thriving, give them a boost with an indoor grow light.

  3. Maintain humidity. Furnaces, fireplaces and closed windows can make indoor air as dry as the desert. Seriously. Relative humidity levels can drop drastically in winter, causing brown leaf tips and dropped leaves. Using a room- humidifier is the best way to raise moisture in the air (and it's good for you, too!).

  4. Cut back on food and water. Slower growth makes it easy to over-water and over-fertilize. Plants will drink up less water in winter and may get root rot if the potting mix is constantly wet. Too much fertilizer will cause more damage than too little. That's true any time, especially now.

  5. Check for bugs. Dry air and a closed-up house may draw unwanted guests to your house plants. Spider mites are more of a problem this time of year because they love the dry conditions of a heated home. Watch out for webbing between stems -- often the first tell-tale sign of these pests.

Growing Basil

Indoor Herb Garden

Is your outdoor garden blanketed with snow? That doesn't mean you have to give up fresh culinary herbs.

You can grow them indoors, if you have enough light. Herbs need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day, making them ideal for a sunny kitchen window.

Don't have a sunny spot? Set pots under a grow light, keeping the light 6 inches above the tops of the plants for about 14 hours a day.

Take a look at indoor herb gardens for ideas on what to grow, plus all the how-tos for successfully growing herbs. Make it easy on yourself with an herb kit that takes away all the guesswork.

Office Plants

office plants, cactus house plant

Did you know that office plants are good for you?

Okay, they won't bring your coffee, but they will boost your mood and create an instant garden ambiance right there on your desk.

Check these out. It's never been easier to find a few good candidates to share your office space.

Here's what others are saying about!

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Stay Up to Date is all about getting to know your indoor plants so you can bring out their best.

My hope is that it will give you an easy-to-use resource -- a place to turn when you need quick solutions, helpful how-tos, and maybe inspiration to grow something new.

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Enjoy your visit!