MINTER: Brighten your January

Brighten up your winter with a plant. - photo submitted
Brighten up your winter with a plant.
— image credit: photo submitted

The bright and cheery holiday décor has come down and our homes can look and feel rather sterile in January.

Nothing raises our spirits more and adds a touch of much-needed life than some living colour on windowsills, desks and tables.

While the growing conditions inside our homes at this time of year are not great, there are some truly resilient plants that, even under less than ideal circumstances, stand up well and are easy to care for.

On top of my list are the new varieties of anthuriums. These tough plants have lovely shaped flowers that just never seem to quit flowering in colours of red orange, pink, white and burgundy and their foliage is a rich dark green.

Anthuriums are ideal for low light and poor humidity growing conditions.

They also come in four- or six-inch pots for a nice size variation and the best thing is they need so little care other than some water.

Next on the ‘easy list’ Aare orchids. By far the most popular are the phalaenopsis orchids that now come in a wide range of colours from hot pinks, deep purples, yellows and reds to some wow bi-colours. As a result of having so many good growers in this part of the world and a bountiful supply, the prices for phalaenopsis orchids are very reasonable. They come in 4”, 5” and 6” pots for a nice size variation.

The secret for optimum success is to place them in a relatively humid location, such as near a kitchen sink, in a bathroom or in a cool room and hardly water at all until they become really dry — that’s it!

For the longest life, I like to choose plants that have lots of buds and those that have multiple stems branching off the main stem.

Violets have gone out of favour the past few years and I’m not sure why. They are so easy to care for and all they need is an east or north window to bloom for months if kept a little dry.

They also now come in a series of bright bi-colours that just pop.

Speaking of dry, kalanchoes are simply fun and easy. I love their wide range of bright colours, from yellows, reds oranges and pinks that brighten up any window, anytime.

The new doubles, called ‘Calandivas’, are particularly charming and have given new life to the kalanchoe market.

They are a little hard to find right now but ‘Cape Primroses’ (Streptocarpus) will be far more plentiful later this year.

It is, without a doubt, the most prolific indoor flowering plant there is. I put one on a windowsill the other day and it continues to perform like a little trooper.

You’ll be surprised that, with such a little Ainvestment, how much vibrancy these easy care plants will add to your home and life.

They will all tolerate the warmer, drier conditions in our homes at this time of the year and help make our January days just a little brighter.


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