Collecting indoor plants is a fruitful hobby that brings your home to life. Even better, once you find the right greenery for your space, you’ll enjoy beautiful foliage and flowers the whole year round! Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services delights in watching our care receivers in Chicago take on new interests and this pursuit is easy to begin and a whole lot of fun!
Spring is a great time to look for houseplants, as garden centers and greenhouses are often chock-full of options. So, bust out the gardening tools, prepare to clean the dirt from your fingernails, and let’s dig in!
The lush, feather-like fronds of a Boston fern provide a captivating pop of color in any home. This hearty plant, whose lineage dates back hundreds of millions of years, is a survivor and an easy-to-care-for addition to your space.
Great for beginner plant enthusiasts, Boston ferns are fairly low maintenance once you find a spot they enjoy. These houseplants can grow quite large, sometimes two to three feet wide, so enlist the help of a family member or Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver when moving mature ferns from place to place in search of the right location.
Adhere to the following tips and your Boston fern is certain to thrive:
- Place it in an area that receives bright light, but not direct sunlight
- Keep soil moist and make sure it doesn’t dry out in between waterings
- Ferns LOVE humidity, so spritz its fronds with water several times a week or place a tray filled with pebbles and water underneath it
- Make sure the pot it’s planted in has excellent drainage to prevent root rot
Boston ferns will enjoy the high humidity found throughout many areas of the Heartland and may do best if left outside over the summer, bringing it back inside when temperatures consistently breach the low 60s.
Did you know: Boston ferns have humidifying properties themselves? It’s true! They put moisture back into the air, helping to relieve dry skin, dry noses, and sore throats.
Peace lilies produce breathtaking white flowers that pop against their shiny, dark green leaves. Often referred to as “closet plants,” they don’t need much light to thrive, making them a fantastic choice for the darker corners of your home.
Beauty and Benefits
In addition to its attractive appearance, the peace lily offers some wonderful perks to the homes it occupies. For example:
- It purifies the air by removing toxins commonly found in paint, perfumes, air fresheners, and adhesives
- It’s a pet-safe houseplant
- It helps promote a restful night’s sleep, making it excellent to display in bedrooms
- It absorbs mold spores and allergens in the air
Simple Care: Ideally, you should place your peace lily in an area that receives medium, indirect light, but as mentioned, this tolerant houseplant can handle low light as well. Its soil should remain evenly moist, and the best part? This plant will tell you when it needs to be watered! Pay attention to its leaves – if you notice they’re drooping more than normal, give it a drink and they’ll perk right up!
Best known for its evocative-smelling white flowers, the gardenia is a stunning houseplant that is sure to spark conversation! If you live in one of the southernmost areas of the Heartland – where nighttime temperatures rarely dip below 60° -- you can even move this beauty outside if it gets too big for your space. After all, some can grow to six feet or taller!
Gardenias are best for seniors with an already green thumb, as their ideal growing conditions can be quite specific. However, if you have a little knowledge and time to devote to its needs, this plant is well worth the effort.
Use the following Seniors Helping Seniors® tips as a guide to maintaining this spectacular houseplant:
- Place it in a sunny spot where it will get at least four hours of direct sunlight every day
- Keep its soil moist but not soggy, watering when it’s dry to the touch
- Ensure it gets enough humidity, applying the same tricks mentioned for the Boston fern
- Use a well-draining, peat-based potting mix
Keep a Watchful Eye: Inspect the leaves of your gardenia frequently, because this plant is vulnerable to insects and diseases like brown scales and aphids. It’s also important to note that its flowers are toxic to pets, so make sure it’s out of reach of any curious four-legged family members.
Whether you have an established green thumb or are just beginning to hone your houseplant-growing skills, the options above are all wonderful additions to any home. By bringing the outdoors in, you’ll enjoy a livelier home, as well as benefits like reduced anxiety and improved mood. And, just maybe, you’ll spark an interest in a relaxing new hobby!
Our Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers are helpful friends to bring along on the journey too, happy to assist in researching, transporting, planting, and caring for new houseplants! So, get into the spirit of spring with some fresh greenery!