TEXAS CERTIFIED EXPERT GARDENER — Your tenable New Year’s resolution: Purchase a plant

Published 10:11 am Tuesday, December 26, 2023

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Another season has arrived in SETX, winter-scarcely announced but heralding much cooler temperatures and hopefully increased rainfall!

There are but a few days remaining for 2023 as the year is rapidly approaching its end. Perhaps now is a suitable time for reflection on another year that is almost passed?

None of us (gardeners included) get through a year without “bumps & bruises” of the past year, an incremental “road map” of our lives reflecting things which worked out well for us providing immense happiness, and things which did not.

I have learned to simplify my New Year’s resolutions over the years, if I have any hope to attain them.

I would encourage you to create a ‘realistic’ New Year’s resolution list, which is attainable but tenable.

To do this I always start my list with “new” plants at the forefront.

Most gardeners realize houseplants not only “look good,” but they also can make you feel good as well. The benefits of adding plants to your home environment go far beyond simply providing some “green” to the indoor color scheme.

Plants can raise your spirits by boosting your mood, making you happy and the Mayo Clinic agrees: Gardening is good for you.

New Year’s Resolution 2024: Plant List

Many of us have New Year’s resolutions but unfortunately most of us abandon them quickly, often in less than a month because they are simply too difficult to maintain or are not tenable.

Rather than create a list of resolutions, which are implausible, this gardener relies on plants.

This gardener considers houseplants as “Living Indoor Investments” and due to the investment, I feel obliged to care and nurture the plant, in hopes it will provide me many years of enjoyment and comfort.

For this reason, quitting my New Year’s resolution is not an option. I know the new “addition” will lead a happier, healthier, stress-free life as long as my houseplants remain alive and are thriving.

There are multiple benefits of growing houseplants indoors and several are listed:

  • Air quality increases within our home.
  • Reduces stress by creating a calming effect.
  • Productivity increase.
  • Plant nurturing is therapeutic.
  • Diminishes noise pollution-from partners, spouses, in-laws, children and dogs (OK, I’m joking, maybe). The larger the plant the better in my view!
  • Immunity-boosting which reduces recovery time if/when we become ill.

Basic House Plant Care:

Plant care tasks, contrary to widely held belief, are not daunting. Most often, less is more when nurturing houseplants. Enlist these rudimentary care tips for success.

  • Growth Conditions: review the plant guide, which is attached to the new plant before purchasing as it explains exactly what the plant requires. If the plant guide isn’t attached, all is not lost. Use a web search engine to find the needed information.
  • Provide Requisites: Monitor crucial aspects for plant growth such as temperature, sunlight, water, and fertilization. Place every plant in a location where it will thrive and allow you to provide minimal care.
  • Unhappy Plants: keep a watchful eye for signs the plants aren’t getting what they need. It’s easy to see if you remain alert. Droopy or yellowing leaves, brown leaf tips, and leaf drop are each a signal all is not right!

The “Pink Princess” philodendron is a beautiful addition to any gardeners plant collection and will be admired by everyone who casts a gaze upon the plant. Easy to care for with minimal care requirements though over-watering will quickly become detrimental to the plant. (urbangardencenter.com)

7 Trending House Plants for 2024

Hoya “Pubicalyx” is an exceptional plant in a hanging basket creating a cascade of glossy, emerald-green, dark foliage with silver or silver-pink striations. Requiring little care as it should only be watered once every couple of weeks, thriving in indirect sunlight.

Anthurium crystallinum “Selby’s Silver” — beautiful plant with large, heart-shaped leaves having vibrantly contrasting veins meaning every leaf has an aesthetic much like ‘Art’! Adding this plant to your collection will bring a “touch of the tropics” home. The plant appreciates bright, indirect light with elevated humidity.

Philodendron “Moonlight” — a tropical hybrid with stunning fluorescent yellow-green, neon leaves which darken to a radiant, bright green providing a vibrant splash of color to any room, requiring a mere two hours of direct morning sunlight, afterwards indirect sun is needed to keep the leaves from burning.

Philodendron “Pink Princess” — Unusually diverse leaf patterns feature candy-colored pink variegation, thriving in bright, indirect sunlight. Water infrequently once every two weeks. Philodendrons are one of my favorite plant species and my collection contains approximately thirty varieties including the two above as well as numerous others: “Prince of Orange,” “White Princess,” “Red Princess” and “Birken” to name a few.

Split-Leaf Philodendron “Philodendron Selloums” — many gardeners think of this plant as a “new monstera” plant. The fact is they are often confused with monsteras, as they have similar leaf characteristics. Lush and voluminous, filling an empty corner nicely, they do well indoors with minimal maintenance; simply make sure the soil remains moist and provide them with bright, indirect sunlight.

Monstera “Thai Constellation” — this plant features the same wondrous natural holes as the previous one, but has spotted, creamy flecks which decorate the enlarged, heart-shaped leaves due to a gene mutation. The plant grows slowly but simple care requirements!

Syngonium podophyllum “Pink” — these plants are stated to purify the air in your home and have a pink coloring. Water regularly and providing them with bright direct light.

Happy New Year! Thank you for all the wonderful questions and comments posed throughout the year. Let’s go out and grow ourselves a greener, more sustainable world, one plant at a time.

Send Certified Texas Expert Gardener John Green your questions and please continue sending comments to jongreene57@gmail.com.