Cathy Austin March’21

Calling all Green Thumbs–it’s March !

By Cathy Austin

For months we’ve been inside our homes, venturing out for walks, groceries, prescriptions, and the occasional snow shoveling (so rare this strange winter). We’ve all discovered something new to keep us amused in between home schooling, working from home, and keeping connected with friends and family.

Many of us have found the wonders of: Plants!

Indoor plants have become a new passion for many people. They are easy to care for, can be studied for growth, and ultimately sprout new leaves and blooms. Plants are a real joy, take up little space, and reward us daily with their simple beauty. Plants are something we can control in a chaotic world. Check out these awesome easy-to-care-for sweet green things:

Tropical cuties in 4-inch pots can be found at your local grocers. The most familiar is a spider plant, usually variegated in green and white with trademark slender long leaves. They like a sunny spot but not smack dab in the window. Water from the bottom up, so pop a plate under the bottom and only water when dry. ‘Babies’ or plantlets will pop up from a long stem. You can detach these after a bit, and root them in a glass jar filled with water. Again, place them near the window, not in it, or you’ll have a skunky smelling jar. Just drop them in the top, let them get nice and lush with roots, then pot them in a 4-inch pot. You may also save the rooted plant until the end of May and plant them outside in your garden planter. This is how I have propagated mine over the years.

Tradescantia are, by far, one of the easiest to root and grow. Their colouring is so rich in purples and velvety green foliage. I’ve got jars of them all pinched from the ones in my summer garden. Wintering over in jars is dead easy – simply pinch back and peel off two bottom leaves, drop the stem into a jar of water near the window, and top it up throughout the winter months. If the stem gets too long and leggy, pinch back and root it back into the same jar. You’ll get a nice thick bunch of roots which you can pot up in planting season. Last year I had two hanging Tradescantia plants in the backyard that simply thrived. In the fall I cut back all the stems, prepped them all for rooting, and discarded the remainder in the pots. I’ll start afresh this coming spring. If you have a pot of this lovely house plant already and it’s looking a bit tired, consider cutting it back, cut back on watering, remove old dead foliage, and mist the foliage. All houseplants like a blast of mist now and then especially in the winter months.

Peace lilies are another nice plant that reward you with an oval shaped white bloom now and then. A sunny spot, but not direct light, suits it and if you can, set it on a pebble tray. It likes moisture, not saturation. Mine is in the dining room next to 6 other assorted green plants, quite bunched together, providing one another a nice leafy togetherness. Currently, it’s coming into bloom after a long bit of non-flowering.

African violets. The plant that keeps on giving. Blooms in lovely shades of pinks and mauves. They like to be watered only when very dry. They like a sunny spot but not hot sun. They like to be in the same pot forever. Nothing beats watching new little buds poke up through the soft velvety leaves.

There are tons more leafy indoor plants to make your day happy. Try your search engine for more, but always be mindful of kids, pets, and anyone with allergies in your home. Start small with your choices. As your plant skills flourish along with your plants, you’ll discover just how much watching a little bit of green can enhance your day and enrich your soul.