Winter is the perfect time to start an indoor garden. And for inspiration and tips on how to choose and use the right plants, check out Julia Hofley’s houseplant article in the January/February edition of Fine Gardening magazine, www.finegardening.com, now on sale at newsstands.
Hofley, a confessed houseplant-a-holic, spent almost a decade overseeing a large tropical greenhouse stuffed with houseplants during her tenure as the greenhouse manager at Goldner Walsh Nursery in Pontiac.
Julia Hofley never saw a houseplant she didn’t love and started combining, or as she calls it “layering,” plants together in single pots when she ran out of room to house her large collection. This technique allows her to create stunning combos rich in color and texture. Hofley says plants thrive when planted together in pots because of the extra humidity. Also, just like outdoors, the larger the pot, the more moisture it holds, the longer it takes to dry out.
The secret to combining plants is choosing varieties that have similar needs regarding light and moisture. “Astral Gem” Asplenium fern, “Florida Beauty” Dracaena, Prayer plant “Marisela,” Philodendron “Golden Erubescens” and Philodendrim “Aureum” make great plant partners because they look fantastic together and all require bright, indirect light. Typically, in winter that would be a room with a south-facing window.
For most of us, when it comes to caring for houseplants, watering as needed is a prescription for plant death. A better method is to water the plant well and then monitor the soil moisture daily to see how fast it dries out. An inexpensive moisture meter will help you get an accurate reading of the soil condition at the center of a large pot. Then plan to water on the same day of the week, whether it’s weekly, semi-weekly or bi-weekly.