Houseplants can soften up the interior of your home and help clean the air.  They can also supplement your holiday decorations and help create stunning focal points.  To help determine what plants do best under certain conditions and to give pointers on plant care, this month’s Gardening in the Panhandle LIVE! was all about houseplants.

spides plant

A spider plant on a coffee table. Photo Credit: University of Florida/IFAS

Environmental Conditions for Houseplants

Unless you live in a glass house, you’ll probably want to choose houseplants that do well in low light conditions.  A guide for what light level different houseplants prefer can be found on the Gardening Solutions Light for Houseplants page.  This page also provides useful tips on supplemental lighting.

Some houseplants are better at cleaning the air than others.  A list of houseplants that do a good job improving indoor air quality can be found on the Gardening Solutions Houseplants That Clean the Air page.

The best way to determine if your houseplants need water is your own green thumb or whatever finger you choose to stick in the potting mix, but for some interesting information on outdoor soil moisture meters check out this informative publication on soil moisture sensors.

Houseplants need a good quality, well-drained potting mix to thrive.  Tips on selecting a potting mix can be found on the Gardening Solutions Container Media page.

Houseplant Pests

One of the best ways to rid houseplants of insect pests is to set the plants outside for a few days and let the pests move on.  For some information on pest control products in and around the home check out the publication Natural Products for Managing Landscape and Garden Pests in Florida.

Fungus gnats are mainly a nuisance, but some species can feed on living plant tissue.  Darkwinged fungus gnats are known to feed on ferns, orchids, and geraniums.

Houseplant Propagation

One way to increase your houseplant population and save a few dollars is to propagate your own plants.  The University of Florida/IFAS created the Plant Propagation Glossary to help with any propagation questions you may have.

Air layering is a propagation technique that not only allows the prospective plant to thrive from the nutrients of the mother plant, but it also saves space.

moth orchid

A moth orchid (Phalaenopsis spp.) outdoors. Photo Credit: University of Florida/IFAS

Specific Species Info

Orchids in the genus Phalaenopsis are easier to care for than other genera of orchids.  The American Orchid Society provides some great tips on caring for orchids indoors.  Some people choose to water their orchids with ice cubes.  The Ohio State University has a publication that provides some more insight on watering Phalaenopsis orchids with ice cubes.

A lot of cacti do well indoors.  A popular cactus during the holiday season is Christmas cactus.  Christmas cactus have interesting foliage, but their blooms are what people want to see.  Some tips on getting your Christmas cactus to bloom on time and general care information can be found in this Christmas Cactus Preparation fact sheet.

Have you ever wanted to grow fruit trees indoors or do you want some tips on bringing containerized fruit trees indoors for the winter?  The Growing Fruit Crops in Containers publication provides some good tips on growing fruit trees indoors.

Unless you have a house with a lot of windows or a sunroom, plumeria don’t make the best houseplants.  They need at least six hours of sunlight per day and need to be at least three years old to bloom.  If you are interested in propagating plumeria, then check out this publication on propagating plumeria from cuttings.

Matt Lollar
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