The Quiet Season

Beech

In the northern hemisphere, for most of us, gardening season is winding down. Days–and daylight–is much shorter. In fact, even when I lecture about house plants I always say no re-potting and fertilizer between December and March because the plants are pretty much dormant this time of year. (Of course, there are always those instances where re-potting is not optional but mandatory–a pot slips from your grasp when watering and now  you must re-pot. Clearly you can’t wait until March to do that or the plant will be dead. Common sense rules apply here).

This is the time of year when my house plants are literally my salvation. They are my “indoor” garden. If it were not for them, I literally do not know how  would get from October or November, when I finish working outside, to March or April, when I can get back outside. That’s why my house is a jungle.

But there are benefits to the “jungle.” While I may occasionally resent the time it takes me to water during the busy holidays, my plants give back so much more than they demand from me! They clean the air, as I talked about last week.

And while last week I spoke specifically about certain plants that I was using to take formaldehyde from new carpet out of the air, all plants perform the basic carbon dioxide to oxygen exchange. When our homes are so tightly closed up for winter (at least up here in the north) plants are giving us fresh oxygen.

Even more, if we are heating (or cooking) with natural gas (as so many do) plants can clean the air of the benzene that natural gas produces.

Plants also produce humidity to offset winter’s natural dryness. Anyone who has ever gone into a greenhouse in the winter knows that. My own home’s humidity averages about 45% (really nice but not enough to be humid) in the winter.

There are so many “easy care” plants these days that don’t require a lot of “fussing.” Bring some into your home this winter and garden year round!

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2 thoughts on “The Quiet Season

  1. It’s amazing how at this time of year our focus turns to our much adored indoor gardens. All of my window areas are packed with plants and still I couldn’t resist ordering two more today from a catalog. My husband says that I’ve reached the point where if one comes in, one must go out!

    On another note, I know that you speak at gardening clubs, etc., and I’m wondering if you know of houseplant organizations? I know there are begonia and orchid societies, but they are few and far between now. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic and any information on starting such a group. Thank you so much!

  2. Wow, interesting thought. I do not know of a general house plant group but given the interest in house plants that I am seeing, I certainly think one is a great idea, particularly, as you mention, several of the house plants already have their own groups.

    What you might try, if you wanted to start a group near you, is to try to find local representatives of every house plant group you can think of in your area. Find out (via email of course–all these groups probably have email contacts) how well attended their groups are, what their general membership is like, if tgey thought they might have interest in a broader group–things like that.

    If you had a very helpful contact, you could also ask about membership structure : what’s required by your state, for example. Are you required to hold a particular type of ownership? That sort of thing would be good to know. It’s probably also out there on google.

    Up here, in addition to the groups you mentioned, we have cacti & succulent societies and African violet society.

    I love it that you have so many house plants that your husband has given you an ultimatum. I just wedged another one in–somehow–last week. There’s always a spot for one more.

    If you do follow through on a house plant society, keep me in the loop!

    Karla

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