By Kathryn Weber
Houseplants soften any decor and add a touch of color on dull winter days
After months of gray skies, freezing winds and frozen ground, it's hard to imagine spring will ever come. During the wintertime, our houses tend to feel lifeless, too. Bringing a new plant into the home will perk up a drab room and lend that natural touch we long for after months of staring at a dull, leafless landscape.
The deteriorating quality of indoor air is a major concern today. Volatile organic compounds from cleaners and other household products can be trapped inside tightly-insulated homes. But cleaning and freshening stale indoor air can be as easy as putting out a potted plant.
Wikipedia lists some of the recommended plants and the airborne chemicals they filter: http://tinyurl.com/50plants
DECORATING WITH PLANTS
Even a single ivy plant is enough to bring a touch of nature to your home, but layered plants in varying sizes can really bring a room to life. A tall ficus in a corner diagonal to the door will make a room seem both larger and more alive. Layer in a floor plant next to a console or entertainment center to soften a corner. A perfect choice is spathiphyllum, also called peace lily or closet plant. One of the heartiest and easiest plants to grow, it tolerates low light. This plant takes regular watering, but otherwise it's a champ, requiring little care. English ivy tucked into a basket and set on a sofa table or console rounds out the effect. Set the ivy under a table lamp for lighting and the best look.
If flowering plants are your preference, don't overlook dendrobium orchids. Their blooms last a month or more and take very little care. Once the blossom falls off, cut the stem back. Water with an orchid-feeding solution, and another blossom stem will emerge. These plants need only a little water once a week and are very hardy, even in low light.
Your home center will have a selection of houseplants to infuse some new life into your home. A plant or two may be all it takes to help banish the winter doldrums.
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