The selection of houseplants today is almost as impressive as the many benefits of having them in your home. Some options are better than others, though, so you might want to avoid houseplants that are finicky, prone to problems, cause allergies or could injure children or pets.
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Boston fern is not very difficult to grow, but it is challenging to maintain good health. Because Boston ferns are light-sensitive, it's not unusual to see some of their fronds shrivel up and their rootballs dry out if watering is neglected. The plant loses some of its attractive shape once the spent fronds are removed. Before you know it, you'll have a sad-sack plant to stow away in the corner whenever visitors are arriving.
Finnicky houseplants are ones that are just unfit for the environment. Consider a tropical plant that is excessively sensitive to chilly drafts or dislikes the dry air in your home. One illustration is the orchid. Even though phalaenopsis orchids are thought to be the simplest and would certainly survive if you give them any care, it can be difficult to get them to rebloom. You might be able to keep orchids alive, but it will take extra work to encourage them to rebloom because they are quite picky about lighting and drainage.
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Another example of a finicky plant is the miniature rose. When you first bring it home from the store, it looks lovely, but when the blossoms fade, it can be difficult to maintain healthy-looking foliage. And when the plant receives more light, the likelihood of reblooming decreases. A little rose needs six hours of sunlight each day, but few interior spaces, outside of a greenhouse, provide that quantity of light.
If your home has an adjoining greenhouse that is warm and damp, banana plants make excellent houseplants. To appear its best, it requires 100 percent sunlight and 50 percent humidity. While those conditions are typical outdoors in the tropics, homeowners with dry, heated indoor air in the winter cannot easily replicate them.
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Beautiful leaf plant with unusual stripes is called pin-stripe calathea. The problem is that it is susceptible to cool, dry conditions, which are typical in many homes throughout the winter. The leaves will appear better in a warm, humid area with bright, indirect light, but it also needs evenly moist soil and regular fertilization. There are, therefore, indoor plants that are simpler to grow.
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Any chef worth their salt will tell you that basil is a fantastic plant to have around. Pick it up in the summer from the garden or in the fall from a pot protected from the frost. However, you'll have better luck purchasing it at the grocery store in the winter. Basil needs at least 6 hours per day of direct sunlight to grow properly, which is difficult to get indoors during the winter. Expect little growth, though you might be able to persuade some to stick around for a while.
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Abutilon, often known as flowering maple, is a lovely outdoor plant with mallow-like blooms and maple-like leaves. It is a delicate shrub that grows hardy in Zones 9–10 and is occasionally grown indoors in other climes. Although it doesn't require much light or water indoors in the winter, it can be difficult to keep flowering because it attracts bugs. Some of the pests that frequently target flowering maples include whiteflies, spider mites, mealybugs, and scale.
Popular indoor plants include streptocarpus, which are prized for their textured leaves and vivid blossoms. However, it can be picky about moisture, and people frequently push it too far by either overwatering the plant, failing to provide it with adequate drainage, or a combination of the two. Every year, the leaves of some types die back and turn brown. Mealbugs frequently attack the plants as well.
Rex begonias are cultivated for their lovely foliage. Even though they are not difficult to grow outdoors under the right circumstances, they frequently appear to have been put through the ringer indoors, with tattered foliage and brown margins. They also prefer winter temperatures that are on the cool side, around 60 degrees F, which are typically too chilly for people and animals.
When you have young children, avoid planting any sharp, pointy, or prickly plants. When they are exploring their surroundings, they are easily vulnerable to injury. Even older children risk harm if they play or wrestle close to cacti or other plants. It's best to stay away from those plants or to keep them in a separate area where children won't be at risk.
Speaking of risks, you should stay away from dangerous plants. Children and animals are both at risk from some people. There's no need to take a chance even though many poisonous plants are naturally bitter and unlikely to be consumed in large amounts. Philodendron, pothos, oleander, dieffenbachia, and Easter lily are a few typical examples.
Saving special plants or starting the growing season early are both excellent ideas. And it's even better if you have a designated space where you can overwinter your indoor plants. However, since they will be missing the outdoor conditions to which they were accustomed and on life support, the plants won't be in the best of shape during that time. Please, please, keep them alive. However, don't anticipate that they will be worthy of your coffee table.