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Vivarium Plants You Need to Thrive in Your Tropical Habitat

vivarium plants

If you keep amphibians or reptiles as pets, you want to provide them with the best environment possible so they can thrive and be happy. One way to do that is to build them an enclosed environment that mimics their natural environment. Choosing the right vivarium plants to fill their habitat is a combination of what your animals will enjoy and which plants will create a tropical humidity level for them to live in.

Even though it might be tempting to provide your terrarium animals with plastic plants, live plants for your tropical vivarium are the better choice.

Plastic plants can’t produce the humidity your pets need, clean the air inside your vivarium, or contribute to the ecosystem you create.

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So, how can you pick the best tropical vivarium plants for your enclosed habitat? Before you settle on plant varieties, there are some issues you need to consider.

You also have to realize that there are different types of terrariums, and the type of plants you choose will determine the type. The one you choose has to fit the animals who are going to live in there.

Vivarium Types

Although there are over a dozen vivarium types that can house everything from just plants to all types of animals, we’ll concentrate on the types that house reptiles and amphibians.

The items you put in your terrarium will affect the environment and give you either a desert climate, tropical climate, or semi-aquatic.

If you have arid reptiles, you want to have a desert vivarium, which will use a sandy or rocky surface, and plants that promote a dry environment. In effect, you’re bringing the desert into your enclosure and copying the atmosphere.

A tropical environment is best for both reptiles and amphibians because they’re warm but not dry. You want to compare this enclosure to the heat and moisture of a tropical rain forest.

Many reptiles and amphibians can also thrive in a semi-aquatic vivarium. Here, you have a combination of dry and moist, with a pond feature in a separate area of your tank.

Consider this type of environment if you have frogs, salamanders, or turtles.

Once you decide on the type of vivarium you need, you have to make some more decisions in order for it to work.

Initial Considerations

If you’re building your vivarium as a habitat for your pet, you need to consider what type of environment will help them live their best life. One of the main differences between vivariums is the humidity level.

As mentioned, for a tropical enclosure, you want to create a rainforest ecosystem. So, any reptiles or amphibians that live in the rainforest will do well in a tropical terrarium setting.

When picking your vivarium plants, placement and size matter. You need to make sure each plant that needs light gets it and doesn’t sit in the shadow of a taller plant.

Drawing out your plan ahead of time, taking into account future growth, will go a long way in the success of your enclosure.

Additional Considerations

In addition to the humidity within your vivarium, you have to think about the lighting. Your plants will need light to thrive, and so will your animals.

Whether you choose bright lighting or soft lighting, you have to be sure the plants you choose can handle that light. You also have to be sure there’s enough light left for your animals, but not too much.

When placing your light fixture, think about where the shadows and bright spots will be so you can put the plants in the right place.

Pet Needs

Not only do you have to think about the needs of your plants, but the needs of your animals are a top priority. Is your terrarium strong enough to house your pets in addition to the plants, water sources, and hiding places?

Think about if they like to hide in logs or dig under the dirt, and plan accordingly. You want to give them what they need while thinking about whether their behavior will fit what you build or not.

For example, if they dig, are they going to uproot your plants? If they climb, will the plants you choose support their weight?

When you design your vivarium, consider all these points, then pick and choose tropical plants that will support your environment and your animal’s life.

Choosing the Best Vivarium Plants

The vivarium plants you choose are ultimately up to you, but it’s best to start simple. Choose a handful of plants that serve different purposes and see how they work together.

Observe how they grow and how your pets react, then make changes or additions as necessary.

Also, keep an eye on your humidity level to see if the vivarium plants you chose maintain the moisture and heat your enclosure requires.

Finally, be sure that you purchase plants grown without pesticides. Ask questions before buying from a vivarium plant supplier to find out the methods they use to grow their plants.

Exo Terra Rainforest Habitat Kit (includes PT2602) - Small
  • Full glass terrarium ideal for snakes, frogs, lizards and geckos
  • Dual front doors for an escape-free access
  • Unique front window ventilation; Full metal screen for top ventilation
TetraFauna Viqaquarium, All-In-One Terrarium And aquarium, Ideal For...
  • TERRARIUM & aquarium Unique all-in-one land and water environment ideal for aquatic turtles amphibians and fish
  • REALISTIC FEATURES Includes cascading waterfall basking areas and easy-to-climb ramps so critters can climb easily from...
  • KEEPS WATER CLEAR Uses 3-stage Tetra Whisper filtration system with two medium-size filter cartridges
Exo Terra Glass Natural Terrarium Kit, for Reptiles and Amphibians,...
  • Glass terrarium for reptiles or amphibians
  • Patented front window ventilation
  • Raised bottom frame in order to fit a substrate heater and has a waterproof bottom
Zilla Tropical Reptile Vertical Starter Kit with Mini Halogen Lighting...
  • Glass Terrarium holds up to 5” of water
  • Mini Halogen Dome with light bulb
  • Front opening door with locking latch and hinged screen top

Fill Your Tropical Vivarium

When setting up your tropical paradise, you’re looking for plants that will do a few things. As discussed, you want the right plants to create the proper level of humidity. You also want plants that allow your pets to climb, hide, and function as they would in the wild.

Keeping size, placement, and light in mind, here are some vivarium plants that will help you plan the perfect tropical habitat.

Ferns

Bird's Nest Fern - Live Plant in a 4 Inch Pot - Grower's Choice -...

Whether you’ve seen a rainforest in person, on television, or in pictures, the one plant that stands out is the fern. Ferns don’t require much light, they’re simple to grow, and they produce high humidity.

Not only that, but ferns come in many sizes and types, so no matter the size of your vivarium, they will fit in nicely. A few varieties to investigate for your enclosure include:

  • Staghorn
  • Bird’s Nest
  • Boston Fern
  • Rabbit’s Foot

Adding ferns big and small is a good start to creating a tropical paradise.

RELATED READS: Best Grow Lights for Indoor Plants

Orchids

Bloomify Jewel Orchid (Macodes sanderiana/petola) Terrarium in Self...

Another plant you probably associate with the rainforest is the orchid. They are a beautiful addition to your terrarium because they add a pop of color to an otherwise green landscape.

While it’s true that orchids can be temperamental in some varieties, many require little more than some light and a place where their roots will not get soggy.

Some orchid blooms to consider include:

  • Jewel
  • Pink Rock
  • Macodes Patola
  • Masdevallia

With tens of thousands of orchid species choices, adding one or two to your vivarium should be a colorful breeze.

Bromeliads

Neoregelia Bromeliad - Live Plant in a 4 Inch Pot - Bromeliad...

The plants in your vivarium that need the majority of the bright light are the bromeliads. This species is an air plant, so you can place them anywhere in your enclosure, as long as they receive the light they need.

Bromeliad leaves are tube-shaped, so they can collect water and act as a pool for your climbing pets to use.

In fact, this might be one of the best plants for dart frog vivarium habitats for that reason. So that feature is something to consider when adding these vivarium plants to your space.

In addition to that, they come in a variety of colors, which gives you even more beautiful and diverse choices for your habitat.

A few species to consider in this plant family include:

  • Fireball
  • Zoe
  • Donger
  • Billbergia
  • Neoregelia

Philodendrons

Heart Leaf Philodendron - Easiest House Plant to Grow - 4' Pot - Live...

If you don’t have a natural green thumb, you might want to add some philodendrons to your tank. Not only are they easy to care for and come in a variety of colors, but they thrive in varying light levels and rarely die.

Placing these vines high in your vivarium allows them to tumble down and fill your space with shiny heart-shaped leaves.

These vines will give your animals an opportunity to climb to higher places.

Tradescantia

Rare Nanouk Pink Wandering Jew -Tradescantia - 2' Pot - Collector's...

Another easy and quick-growing plant to add to your enclosure is the tradescantia. They are a deep purple and green color with tear-drop leaves, and they love low to medium indirect light.

Where the philodendron cascades down, the tradescantia climbs up. But beware of the speed it grows because it can take over your environment, so you need to trim it regularly.

A few different varieties would be an excellent addition to your vivarium plant collection. They are:

  • Bolivian
  • Red
  • Burgundy

Peperomia

Costa Farms Peperomia Watermelon Trending Tropicals Collection Live...

If you’re looking for a pop of green to add to your tropical vivarium ecosystem, consider peperomia. The varieties run from small to vining, so no matter where you need to fit a plant, there’s a peperomia genus for you.

Just be sure when planning your habitat, that you consider the peperomia needs low to medium light.

The choices for your terrarium plants are vast, but here are some of the most popular among hobbyists.

  • Watermelon
  • Felted
  • Columbian
  • Pixie
  • Prostrata
  • Venezuela

Pilea

Chinese Money Plant - Pilea Peperomioides Live Plant - 1 Gallon -...

Pilea is another easy plant to grow in your terrarium. They come in vining and bush varieties and can take over your tank if you don’t keep their growth under control.

Since there are so many variations of the pilea plant, the ease of which you can add texture and color to your vivarium makes this plant a popular choice.

When planning your space, choose a pilea variety that fits the size and amount of light exposure in any place that you need to fill.

Some pilea varieties to consider include:

  • Creeping Charlie
  • Tiny Tears
  • Red Stem Tears
  • Baby Tears
  • Moon Valley
  • Friendship

One of the most helpful features of pilea is how easy you can propagate another plant. All you need is one cutting, and you can start a whole new plant. So, if you plan to have more than one terrarium, pilea can be very useful.

Ficus

Costa Farms Live Ficus Lyrata, Fiddle-Leaf Fig, Indoor Tree, 2-Feet...

Ficus plants are also known as fig plants and come in hundreds of varieties. A few of those varieties are appropriate for your tropical terrarium because they love humidity. They also grow in low light, so it’s easy to find a space for your ficus.

Like a few other vivarium plants on this list, ficus plants come in vine and shrub forms.

You might find that your pets like the vine varieties, but you can also add a shrub as long as you remember to prune it, so it doesn’t take over the habitat.

If you do choose to add a ficus, beware of the type you choose because some of these plants have toxic leaves.

So, if you have a pet that eats plants in your vivarium, be careful not to add one with leaves that could make them sick.

Create Your Tropical Vivarium Environment

vivarium plants

Building a tropical paradise for your reptile or amphibian can be a complex adventure. After all, your building a tiny rainforest in a tank that will have everything it needs to support both its plant and animal residents.

That’s a lot of responsibility.

Planning is key to success, and the great thing is that if something isn’t working, you can change it. Start by adding just a few plants and see how they do. If the humidity isn’t quite right, add a little more and see how that changes things.

Also, keep an eye on your pets and see how they react to their new home. Track their behaviors and make any necessary adjustments, so they thrive in their tropical space.

Be sure to buy non-toxic live vivarium plants for sale from a reputable company, and contact an expert if you get stuck building your habitat.

Above all, enjoy the creative journey of perfecting your own tropical terrarium.

Head Pots Galore! 12 Wonderful, Wacky, Beautiful, and Kitschy Planters

concrete head pot detail showing eyes and small leaved vining ivy

So you’re ready to jump on the bandwagon and include houseplants in your home decor. Great! But choosing which species to include in your plant collection is just half of the fun. You also need to decide what you’ll keep these new green beauties in. If you’re looking for something fun and quirky, look no further than head pots!

Head pots come in all different materials, sizes, and styles. The only thing they all have in common is that they’re shaped like heads.

We agree that the thought of displaying your new pothos or succulent in a disembodied head might sound macabre. These unique containers are anything but.

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Let us show you why head pots are one of the biggest home decor trends of the moment!

12 Unique Head Pots That Will (No Pun Intended) Turn Heads

If your interior decor seems to be missing something, a little greenery can certainly help!

Whether you’re investing in your very first houseplant or upgrading an established collection, the container can be just as impactful as the plant itself.

So why not take your home design to the next level with some of these funky, contemporary head pots that are sure to spark up a few conversations?

1. Orlandi Statuary Inc. Apollo Head Planter, White Moss

This Apollo Head Planter looks like it came straight from an Athens garden. It’s 17 inches tall and 11 inches deep, making it the perfect size for larger houseplants or floral arrangements.

Despite the worn, stone-like finish, this head pot is actually made from fiberglass. It’s extremely lightweight and portable (it weighs just eight pounds). This makes it a great option for your plants that thrive outdoors but need to be moved inside for the colder months.

This head planter doesn’t appear to have drainage holes, which is disappointing. If you have the proper tools and safety equipment though, fiberglass is one of the easiest materials to add holes to yourself.

2. Distinctive Designs Pucker Up Kissing Face Weathered Finish Concrete Head Planter

With its cherub-esque appearance, the Pucker Up Planter from Distinctive Designs is one of our favorite head pots.

This planter is the perfect complement to any romantic or Bohemian decor style. We can easily picture this sweet statue holding an overgrown pothos or lush ivy.

It measures 10 inches tall and, surprisingly, weighs less than 7 pounds given its concrete construction.

This head pot does not have any drainage holes. While drilling holes through the cement might be possible, we recommend lining this planter with a smaller pot that drains so you can keep an eye on the water level.

3. Funsoba Ceramics Statue Flower Vase

Funsoba Ceramics Statue Flower Vase Face Pots Bust Head Shaped for...

If your interior decor leans more toward a modern, avant-garde aesthetic, this Statue Flower Vase is sure to be right up your alley.

This ceramic vase features a sleek white finish and, at 10 inches tall, is the perfect size for displaying on a desk or plant stand.

The statuette even has a hole in the earlobe. You can dress up your new head planter with a stylish earring.

Keep in mind that this is more of a vase than a planter, and doesn’t have any drainage holes. If you’re not experienced with houseplant care, stick to keeping cut flowers or silk plants in this particular head pot.

4. WinDesign Half Face Planter

Half Face Planter, Head Planter Face Pot, Flower Pot Succulent Pot,...

If minimalism is more your vibe, then WinDesign’s Half Face Planter might be exactly what you’re looking for.

This stylized head pot comes in several colors, including a striking metallic gold finish.

Each Half Face Planter measures about 4.7 inches tall and 6.3 inches across. It’s the ideal size for a small succulent or a cutting from a larger houseplant.

Perhaps the best part about this head planter is the half-inch drainage hole in the bottom. It also easily doubles as a vase, candle holder, or other types of decor.

5. AIMEBBY Face Flower Pot

AIMEBBY Face Flower Pot Head Planter Pot Succulent Planter Cute Resin...

The sweet expression of this Face Flower Pot would look right at home in a quaint fairy garden. But the perfect spot for it would be on your desk, shelf, or dining room table.

This resin head planter is 6.7 inches tall, with a top opening of 3.74 inches. It’s the ideal size for succulents or a small ivy cultivar (both of which will look like hair growing from the planter’s head).

The bottom of this head houseplant pot does include a single drainage hole. It also comes with a rubber stopper, just in case you want to use this planter for cut flowers instead!

6. YIKUSH Face Planter

YIKUSH Female Head Design Succulents Plant Pot with Drainage...

Many head pots can be planted to look like they’re growing “hair.” If you’re a fan of this cute houseplant trend, the YIKUSH Face Planter is a perfect example.

In its entirety, this face planter measures just over 8.5 inches tall. The planting cavity is a bit smaller, measuring slightly less than 5 inches deep (the perfect size to hold a 4.3-inch pot if you want to double up).

This planter is made of resin and is non-porous. Fortunately, it does feature a single drainage hole in the bottom.

It also comes with rubber feet to protect whatever surface is underneath.

7. Yanmilia Head Planter

Yanmilia Head Planter Face Flower Pot Goddess Statue Planter...

Not all head pots will suit every sense of style. For those who prefer feminine decor over a simple modern aesthetic, the Yanmilia Head Planter is a great option.

This resin planter features a worn, antique finish and looks like stone from a distance. The vintage-inspired design boasts tons of intricate detail.

In total, the pot measures 7.9 inches tall.

You can display this head pot indoors or outdoors. It includes a single drainage hole in the bottom, though more can be added with the right tools.

8. Youfui Cute Girl-Shaped Flower Pots

Youfui Cute Girls Flowerpot Animal Resin Succulent Planter Desk Mini...

These Girl-Shaped Flower Pots are incredibly cute and come in a set of four to hold all of your houseplants.

Each container features a different girl with hand-painted hair, clothes, and facial details.

These resin head pots are all slightly different sizes, averaging around 3.5 inches tall. The planting space is quite a bit smaller, ranging from about 1.5 to 2 inches deep, depending on the pot.

While these head pots are too small for most houseplants, they’re the perfect size for many succulents and cacti.

Each container has a large drainage hole in the bottom.

9. Ufrount Cartoon Expression Planter Pots

Ufrount Ceramic Succulent Planter Pot with Drainage,Cartoon Expression...

Realism isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. If your home decor trends toward the cartoonish, then these Cartoon Expression Planter Pots are perfect for you.

This set includes six head pots, each with a different color and exaggerated facial expression.

They measure 3.6 inches tall and 3.86 inches across, making them ideal for small succulents and cuttings.

Every pot from this set is made of glazed clay and includes a single drainage hole in the bottom. They also come with wood bases to protect your furniture from soil or water damage.

10. POTEY 212121 Ceramic Face Planter

POTEY 212121 Ceramic Face Planter - 4.4' Indoor Plants Containers...

If you’re on the hunt for a fun, abstract take on the head planter trend, then this POTEY Face Planter set is our top recommendation.

This pair of black-and-white pots will suit almost any home decor style.

Each pot measures 5.4 inches tall and 5.5 inches across. The actually planting space is a bit narrower, measuring just five inches wide.

Made of glazed ceramic, these head pots offer some porosity. More importantly, though, they also include drainage holes with optional stoppers.

While these head pots feature rubber feet to protect the surface beneath, you’ll still want to place something underneath to catch draining water.

11. Panghuhu88 4.9 Inch Concrete Head Planter

4.9 Inch Concrete Head Planter Succulent Plants Pot Set of 3, Cement...

Personally, we love the kitschy aesthetic. But for those interested in a more subdued houseplant container, this Concrete Head Planter fits the bill.

Measuring 5.5 inches tall and 4.9 inches across, these head pots would make the perfect home for an echeveria, cactus, or small aloe vera.

These stylish concrete planters come in sets of three and include one white, one gray, and one brown pot. Each planter also comes with a wood base to catch water from the drainage hole.

12. WinDesign Multi-Face Succulent Planter

Multi-Face Succulent Planter Vase Small Face Plante Head Face Vase...

There’s nothing wrong with leaning into the slightly bizarre concept of a head-shaped planter. In fact, we love the idea! This Multi-Face Succulent Planter is the perfect addition to your oddball home decor or patio.

Despite featuring nine human faces, this planter is on the smaller side. It measures 4 inches tall and 6 inches wide. The actual planting compartment is a bit narrower at four inches across.

While this resin planter is non-porous, it does have a half-inch drainage hole in the bottom.

You can choose from a simple white or black finish or paint the resin surface to suit your own taste!

How to Choose the Right Pot for Your Favorite Houseplants

At the end of the day, what a planter looks like isn’t nearly as important as how it serves the needs of its residents.

If your stylish new head-shaped pot isn’t the right size or doesn’t offer the right amount of drainage, it could spell death for the cacti or spider plant inside!

Here’s what to look for when shopping for containers for your beloved houseplants (whether they’re shaped like heads or not!)

Size really does matter

Everyone likes a little elbow room, right? While you might want to give your plants as much extra space as possible, this isn’t always ideal.

On the one hand, large planters offer plenty of space for your plants to produce new, expansive roots. On the other, too much space can result in compacted soil and poor drainage.

So it’s important to find the perfect balance between too much and too little room when shopping for new pots.

If you already know what plant species will live in your quirky head pot, finding the right fit is easy. Research your houseplant to learn if it prefers a tight or roomy planter.

Don’t take drainage for granted

One of the biggest mistakes amateur plant lovers make is to use containers without drainage holes.

You might have heard that some plants can survive without drainage holes with proper care. While this is technically true, it’s a fool’s errand.

Fortunately, most head pots and planters come with drainage holes already drilled.

If you’ve fallen in love with a hole-less pot or find that your favorite container just isn’t draining enough as-is, you can always drill more holes.

This project is relatively simple if you have the right tools. However, there’s still a risk that your pot will break during the drilling process — proceed with caution.

Embrace your materialistic side

Drainage holes aren’t the only pot feature that can make or break your plant’s soil quality. The material your planter is actually made of can also play a part.

Terra cotta pots are incredibly popular, largely because they’re cheap and go with everything. But did you know that they’re also porous?

Porous pots let moisture escape through the material itself, helping the soil inside dry more evenly. Wood, ceramic, and earthenware pots are also porous.

Alternatively, plastic, fiberglass, and metal planters are not porous at all. The only way for moisture to escape is up or down.

Sometimes, a head pot made from non-porous materials is the only option. If so, it’s incredibly important that you avoid overwatering your plants and ensure there is adequate drainage below.

We’ve All Got Plants on the Brain (Literally)

You don’t need to have an out-of-this-world sense of style to adorn your home with head planter pots. With the right finish and plant choice, these quirky planters can match any decor!

Head pots inspired by ancient Greek and Roman statues look great indoors and out.

You can easily pair these planters with feminine, vintage, or academic decor. Use a statuesque head for houseplants that grow big and wild.

Meanwhile, modern head and face planters pair well with all kinds of contemporary decor.

You can use specific plant species to mimic the look of hair. Or lean into the unsettling look of some head pots for a one-a-kind conversation starter.

However you choose to incorporate these fun planters into your existing decor, one thing is guaranteed. You’ll never look at plain terra cotta pots the same way again!

Which ones did you choose? Share your favorites in the comments below!

Don’t Buy Cut Flowers for Valentine’s! 14 Living Plants They’ll Love Instead

living plants
living plants

Flowers represent nature’s most potent beauty. So it’s no surprise that we’ve built an entire market around gifting cut vases and bouquets around Valentine’s Day. If you want to give a gift that will last more than a few days, though, we recommend switching to living plants!

It doesn’t matter if you’re shopping for an experienced gardener or a plant novice, many houseplants are surprisingly beginner-friendly. And if your giftee wants to display their Valentine’s present for all to see, there are plenty of options that thrive outdoors, as well.

14 Best Living Plants To Give Instead of a Bouquet This Valentine’s Day

Don’t worry! You don’t need to know a thing about plants to pick out the perfect gift for your green-thumbed loved ones.

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Here are the 14 best living plants to brighten up someone’s Valentine’s Day this year:

1. Hyacinth

There’s no better way to celebrate the end of winter than with a pot full of hyacinth. These flowers are one of the first to emerge in springtime. They’re also incredibly fragrant.

Like tulips, hyacinth grows from bulbs. It’s quite easy to force these bulbs to sprout in the spring by placing them over a jar of water. You can also plant hyacinth in the garden for a perennial reminder that spring is coming.

As far as giving a hyacinth as a gift is concerned, we recommend surprising your special someone with a set of potted hyacinth bulbs ready to bloom.

6' Hyacinth (Assorted) - 3 Per Pack
Buy on Amazon

2. Bromeliad

If you’re on the hunt for a houseplant that will add a little color to your giftee’s life, just wait until you hear about bromeliads.

These tropical plants produce brightly colored leaves that grow tall, almost resembling a flower. Unlike a flower, though, these vibrant leaves won’t fall away during the off-season.

Believe it or not, these plants do produce flowers on top of their show-stopping foliage. However, most won’t bloom unless their growing conditions are near-perfect.

Bromeliads require special care to survive, so this plant is best gifted to someone with a little bit of gardening experience.

Costa Farms Live Indoor Blooming Bromeliad in White-Natural Decor...
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3. Citrus trees

Did you know that many citrus tree cultivars thrive in containers? You can even grow these plants in colder climates, as long as you bring them inside during winter or keep them in a heated sunroom!

However, keep in mind that not all citrus trees will submit to the confines of a pot. For the best results, you’ll want to surprise your giftee with a dwarf variety. These trees have been specifically bred to maintain smaller root systems and shorter trunks, even into maturity.

The Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree is actually a hybrid between a lemon plant and a mandarin orange tree. Rest assured, however, that this citrus tree will only grow bonafide lemons. While this lemon tree will grow up to six feet tall in the ground, it adapts well to life in a container.

Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree Hanging Basket (Age: 1 Year, Height: 18 - 26 IN, Size: 3 Gallon)

If you’re looking for a great beginner-friendly citrus tree, the Dwarf Washington Navel Orange Tree is your best bet. This tree is extremely low-maintenance and compact, making it the perfect gift for an inexperienced gardener.

Dwarf Washington Navel Orange Tree (Age: 2 - 3 Years, Height: 2 - 3 FT)

4. Fern

Ferns might not grow flowers of any kind, but that doesn’t make these prehistoric living plants any less beautiful. Many fern species grow well as houseplants — some can even be grown as mock air plants without any soil.

While the Boston fern is the most popular variety for containers and hanging baskets, we guarantee your giftee will love a unique fern cultivar even more.

The Kimberley Queen Fern looks a lot like its Bostonian cousin, except its fronds, grow more upright. These ferns make excellent houseplants and tolerate a range of light conditions.

American Plant Exchange Fern Kimberly Queen Live Plant, 6' Pot,...
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For a fern unlike any other, check out the Japanese Bird’s Nest Fern. This fern features solid fronds with stylish ruffled edges. The middle of the fern — where the fronds emerge — resembles a bird’s nest (hence, the name).

Japanese Bird's Nest Fern - Live Plant in a 4 Inch Pot - Asplenium...
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5. Sansevieria

There might not be a plant with more common names than Sansevieria. You might know this popular houseplant as a snake plant, mother-in-law’s tongue, viper bowstring hemp, or Saint George’s sword. Either way, they’re all the same plant in the end.

The classic Snake Plant, or Sansevieria trisfasciata, makes a perfect gift for anyone just getting into keeping plants. This plant is super tolerant of forgotten watering and thrives in low-light rooms.


Snake Plant

6. Money tree

living plants

Whether you believe that money trees actually bring good fortune or not, you can’t deny that they make excellent houseplants. The money tree’s tolerance for living indoors and its flexible trunk also make it a favorite within the Bonsai community.

Money trees are surprisingly easy to care for. These living plants love dim light and require little attention. You can even buy a Just Add Ice Money Tree, which needs just a few ice cubes per week to survive.

Just Add Ice JAI266 Money Tree, White Pot
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7. Anthurium

Many people love giving and receiving bouquets around Valentine’s Day. Though, the thing about bouquets is that they tend to die off within just a few days.

If you want to give living plants this Valentine’s season but don’t want to give up the beauty of a bundle of flowers, we recommend gifting your loved one a potted anthurium.

Anthurium come in all different colors (white, pink, and red are the most popular) and produce flowers for three months at a time. After a short dormant period, this houseplant will get right back to work, producing another round of stunning blossoms.

Anthurium

8. Begonia

Some people grow begonias for their foliage. Others grow them for their charming flowers. Either way, your Valentine is sure to love a basket of begonias.

Begonias come in so many different cultivars, each bearing a unique shape, growth pattern, and color palette. One of our favorites this season is the Golden Balcony Begonia. It features gorgeous yellow-and-pink flowers that will stick around all summer long.

If your giftee is a traditionalist, surprise them with a basket of the Roseform Pink Begonia or Maxima Switzerland Begonia.

Begonias make excellent living plants for hanging baskets or decorative outdoor containers. Many begonias also thrive as houseplants if they get enough light and humidity.


Apricot Illumination Begonia

9. Hibiscus

Hibiscus trees can be grown as annuals or perennials, depending on the climate. Many gardeners have success growing hibiscus trees in containers and bringing them inside during winter in colder climates.

Even if your Valentine only gets to enjoy their hibiscus for a single season, these plants make excellent centerpieces for ornamental containers. They can also be grown indoors in a bright window or screened porch.

Hibiscus plants produce all types of vibrant flowers. We’re partial to the pink hues of the Double Peach Bloom Hibiscus and Sugar Tip Hibiscus in particular for Valentine’s Day.

Sugar Tip Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus) Live Shrub, Light Pink Flowers and...

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10. Caladium

Flowers are just one way to add color to your home or outdoor container garden. Caladium is extremely popular for its colorful, one-of-a-kind foliage that pairs nicely with all kinds of ornamental flowers.

When we say caladium comes in all shades, we really mean it. The Red Flash Caladium is a classic style with green-edged leaves. Each leaf features a “flash” of bright red coloring in the center.

The White Christmas Caladium is a bit more subdued. These plants have white-and-green variegated foliage that grows just a couple of inches above the soil for a compact appearance.

Another of our favorite varieties for Valentine’s Day is the Miss Muffet Caladium. The light green leaves are speckled by pinkish-red spots — perfect for the holiday.

Caladium is an annual plant that sprouts from tubers (a type of bulb) in the spring. In the right conditions, these tubers will produce leaves in as little as two weeks. If you don’t want your giftee to wait to enjoy their new living plants, though, you can always give them a planter full of already-sprouted caladium.

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11. Elephant ear

As made obvious by their near-identical appearances, elephant ears are closely related to caladium. The name “elephant ear” applies to several genera of plants. (To make things more complicated, you’ll sometimes even find caladium sold under this common name!)

While caladium works great as a filler in mixed flower pots, elephant ears are larger and often look and grow best on their own. If you want to go the extra mile, gift your Valentine a large, well-draining container to go with their new living plants.

Like caladium, elephant ears come in all different colors. This season, we’re partial to dramatic cultivars with dark leaves.

The Black Velvet Elephant Ear (Alocasia reginula) really lives up to its name. This plant produces deep black foliage with contrasting white veins. They grow just one or two feet tall, so are a bit smaller than many other types of elephant ear.

Elephant Ear - Alocasia reginula Black Velvet Tropical Garden Live...
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The Illustris Elephant Ear (Collocasia esculenta) is another dark species that will perfectly complement your giftee’s favorite flowering plants. These black-and-green leaves can grow up to five feet tall. But you’ll still see them used as the centerpieces of large ornamental containers.

12. Dahlia

While dahlias shine as cut flowers for bouquets and floral arrangements, they’re not as commonly grown in containers or home gardens.

A big reason for this is that most dahlia cultivars grow quite tall. These long stems are ideal for cutting but not so great for growing in an ornamental pot.

Not all dahlias follow the same growth patterns, though. The Pulp Fiction Dahlia is a great example that tops out at just 8 to 10 inches tall. Its crimson flowers and stunning all-black foliage is just a bonus.

The Pulp Fiction Dahlia still needs full sunlight, so this flower is best grown in an outdoor container. If your Valentine is looking for something new to freshen up their window boxes or porch planters, a set of these dahlias may be the perfect fit!

13. Japanese maple

Ornamental trees can add much-needed color and variety to your landscaping. With a big enough container, they can also bring life to your sunroom, deck, or front porch.

Of course, you don’t want to throw just any tree into a pot and hope for the best. If you want to really wow your Valentine this year, gift them a dwarf Japanese maple tree instead of a bouquet of flowers.

Japanese maple is known for producing autumn-toned leaves nearly all year round. Many varieties also feature bright red stems in their younger years.

The Little Sango Dwarf Japanese Maple is a great option for any ornamental tree-lover. This variety has green leaves that quickly transition into yellow, orange, and red. It won’t grow more than five feet tall at full maturity, making it perfect for a large container.

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14. Rose

Last but certainly not least, there’s no denying how synonymous Valentine’s Day is with the rose. And you can still give this classic flower with a gift of living plants.

Instead of a bouquet of cut roses, give your Valentine a Mini Yellow Rose Bush. Miniature roses offer the same beauty and color as their larger counterparts, just in a much smaller package. The one thing miniature roses really lack is the fragrance.

Live Mini Yellow Rose Bush in a Daisy Gift Pot - 4 Inch Indoor Plant
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It’s also possible to grow roses in outdoor containers. These plants can be grown as annuals or brought inside during cold weather for multi-year blooms.

The Pink Double Knock Out Rose Tree is a prolific bloomer that will grow between four and seven feet if it survives to maturity. It produces bright pink flowers and a subtle fragrance. Plus, it bears the famous disease- and insect-resistance of the Knock Out line, making it perfect for inexperienced rose gardeners.


Pink Double Knock Out Rose Tree

Living Plants: Spread the Love (Near or Far)

While celebrating holidays from afar has become the norm, it doesn’t need to affect your gift-giving efforts.

It’s truly never been easier to ship living plants to your loved ones. Dare we say, it’s as easy as sending a bouquet. So get started on your Valentine’s Day shopping now, before it’s too late!

What do you buy for a plant-lover who seems to have everything? Share your favorite rare or unusual plants in the comments below!

12 Reasons You Need A(nother) Houseplant in Your Life

Houseplant

If you are anything like us, 2020 has ended, and your houseplant collection is flourishing. You spent months building your plant collection by adding new green and flowery friends to your indoor space.

Perhaps you find yourself in a situation where you wonder if your plant obsession is getting a little out of control. Well, it is not. You are in perfect control of building your well-deserved houseplant empire. One could easily argue you need more plants because of all the beautiful benefits houseplants offer their caretakers.

1. Sense of Accomplishment

There has never been a moment like now with social distancing efforts and having to stay home to wish to connect with someone.

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Since contact with others is limited these days, the routine of the day tends to become even more limiting as we have less unique experiences to brighten the day.

That is where houseplants come in as saviors. Caring for houseplants takes the edge out of mundane day-to-day tasks.

Houseplants require attention, and in return, they thrive. As your plants thrive, you feel accomplished, and you are contributing positively to your world even if the world feels small right now.

2. Deep Breaths and Calm Down

Woman with plants

Having plants in your home reduces not only psychological stress but physiological stress, as well.

The interaction with plants works to help your body produce its own antidepressants by triggering serotonin release. Interaction with plants means the daily and weekly care you give your plants, talking to them, and repotting them as they grow.

This stress-reduction happens because your heart rate goes down, and you get a feeling of comfort and satisfaction.

With everything going on in the world, this alone is a great reason to fill your home with plants.

3. I Feel So Disconnected, and I Like It

It is easy to get sucked into an online presence and create distractions by staring at your phone.

The conditions of the world right now and wondering what happens next create a lot of anxiety. It is easy to doom-scroll online, which manifests even more stress.

Pulling the plug from technology to focus on your houseplants will give you a break from the doom and gloom.

Also, investing that time to watch and see something grow because of your care is a special and unique reward.

Recommended Read: 10 Delicious Indoor Herbs You Can Easily Grow Yourself

4. I Feel So Close to You Right Now

There has never been a moment like now with the social distancing efforts and having to stay home to wish to be around others. Even introverts sometimes want to be around others.

Taking a break from technology to focus on something alive is fantastic, and houseplants help humans feel connected with something natural.

Since face-to-face interactions are at an all-time low right now, buying plants helps fill the crippling void of loneliness.

Plants respond to sound, so instead of talking to yourself, say nice things to your plants and watch them grow.

5. It Is Easier than You Think

Water Plant

Often potential plant owners shy away from houseplants because they struggle to keep things alive or feel as though houseplants are not worth the trouble.

However, this is not true.

Several houseplants are fantastic for those who cannot keep things alive.

For instance, spider plants are magnificent plants that do well in hanging baskets or just in a pot. These plants create baby spider plants that drape off the plant’s sides, making an impressive display of plant glory.

Snake plants are another hard-to-kill option for newbie plant-parents. Snake plants like light, but they are okay with neglect. These plants also tend to make snake plant babies easily so that you can add to your collection.

6. Keep it Clean

Plants are fantastic for humans because plants use photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis converts carbon dioxide into oxygen. Even better than cleaning carbon dioxide from the air, plants remove toxins, as well.

Now, there is no real way to know how many plants you need in your house to effectively work as a purifier because NASA did their testing in a sealed room.

Obviously, your best option is to add as many houseplants as you can manage. We give you permission. It is for science, really, and who can argue with that?

7. Oh, the Humidity!

Houseplants can increase the humidity in your home, which can help with issues related to dry air. Nosebleeds, anyone?

Plants take the water from the soil to hydrate their leaves and stems. The plants use some of the water for their own needs; however, the rest evaporates. This process is called transpiration.

Some plants are better at raising the humidity levels in your home. Houseplants with small leaves like desert plants or succulents are not the best options.

However, plants with large leaves that can absorb more light through photosynthesis are the best at increasing humidity in your space.

8. Sleep Easy

It is not just the purified air that is amazing. Houseplants help your breath at night, too.

Many plants are active at night, such as the snake plant, which means they actively absorb carbon dioxide at night.

Other night active plants to consider are aloe vera and the neem tree, to name a couple.

Also, the bamboo palm takes it a step further and cleans formaldehyde from the air, just in case this was a concern you have.

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9. Peace and Quiet

Houseplants

If you ever needed a reason to fill your home with plants, you will have one now. If you live in a noisy area with a lot of outside noise filtering into your home, plants can help.

All parts of a houseplant work to absorb sound.

However, for effective noise-canceling, you must remember the amount of plants matter. Therefore, you need more houseplants.

The size of the plant and the surface area of the leaves make a difference. Clearly, you need plenty of large plants, as well.

Also, pay attention to how you display your plants for noise reduction. Plants should be at the perimeter of your space, so the sound waves that vibrate off the walls have a chance for absorption by the plants.

10. I Feel So Productive

If you find yourself sluggish and unmotivated to accomplish your tasks and responsibilities, you are getting a clear signal that you must buy more houseplants.

Research proves that even though plants do not have a work-related function, having plants in workspaces increases productivity.

We feel it is a valid reason to buy another houseplant or three.

11. It is a Generational Thing

It may seem odd to think of houseplants or gardening being generational, but it often is.

Younger generations may find themselves newly interested in houseplants due to circumstances of the chaos that is 2020. Still, many witnessed an older family member indulge in the joy of gardening and houseplants.

It makes sense that level of joy makes an imprint as young adults pick up the habit of keeping houseplants.

Also, it is a fantastic bridge in a generational relationship because of a shared passion. For instance, if you have been socially distancing from your mom out of concern, talking to her about houseplants will help you feel closer.

Recommended Read: Best Self Watering Planters For Urban Gardening

12. Going to Need You to Stay in Your Lane

If you are getting the side-eye from your partner every time you eyeball a new plant or bring one home, remind them of all the great reasons why it’s worthwhile to invest in the houseplant hobby.

Many new plant wonders feel the end to hide their plant habit to avoid detection. Many quietly add to their collection subtly until the collection starts to take over the room

It is easy to feel guilty about any type of self-care, but if you feel bad for investing in your houseplants – do not do this.

Buy your houseplants because they please you and be happy.

Where Did These Bugs Come From?

One reason plant parents shy away from houseplants is the concern about pests.

Yes, pests are annoying. When you keep houseplants, they create a perfect environment that some bugs just love.

However, the pests are a lot easier to contend with than you think. Many pests require insecticides or fungicides to manage. Fortunately, some products are safe for plants and pets that handle more than one problem.

Just be sure to spray the leaves and the soil’s tops and underside to prevent and eliminate fungus issues, spider mites, whiteflies, mealybugs, and much more.

Also, if you find fungus gnats are taking over, and you do not want to use a spray, look into sticky fly traps.

Another fun option for houseplant pest control is the use of carnivorous plants such as the Venus flytrap, pitcher plants, or butterwort.

Creating Your Plant Space

Indoor Garden

There are several ways you can display your plants even if you think you do not have the room. If anyone tries to tell you differently, you can educate them on all your options.

Freestanding shelving dedicated to houseplants is an excellent option for houseplant display.

Hanging planters of varying length give you a lot of opportunities to take advantage of prime window space. Macrame hangers are making a come-back, although many would argue they never actually left the houseplant scene.

If your ceilings are high, you can add a shelf above your windows from which you can anchor your plants. Be sure to look for wood shelves so you can add the anchor hooks.

Also, there are plenty of wall brackets to add to the wall surface from which to hang plants. Just be sure you keep in mind how far the plant needs to hang from the wall or winder. For instance, a four-inch small pot will not need as much wall clearance compared to an eight-inch pot.

Also, window ledges and bathrooms are fantastic options, as well. Most houseplants are tropical or subtropical in nature, and they love humidity.

For instance, snake plants, prayer-plants, and even ferns love high humidity. Therefore, make sure your light conditions are suitable and fill your bathroom with the added tranquility of houseplants.

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In the End, Buy the Plant

Houseplants are addictive and fun. However, there is so much joy to be had fiddling around and caring for plants.

We find the additional work pleasing because it enables us to see the fruits of our labor.

Plants grow and even bloom under the care and words of their caretakers.

Buying and keeping houseplants is rewarding, improves your emotional and physical health, and gives you something rewarding and productive to do with your time.

What houseplant did you buy today? Answer in the comments!

Houseplants in Winter: Care, Lighting, Fertilizer, and More

houseplants in winter

Quarantine has us bursting with houseplants, and while we know how to care for house plants in the winter, we have so many new types of plants to consider. Therefore, it is time for a refresher on how to handle houseplants in winter.

There is a lot to evaluate when thinking about caring for houseplants in winter. It would be best to consider where you live, the winter temperatures, how much light you have coming in your windows, humidity levels, drafts, and individual plants’ needs.

Recommended Read: What You Need To Know About Planting A Winter Garden

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Winter is Coming for Your Houseplants

Plant needs shift when the season change. Houseplants tend to go dormant and need less care. However, winter is also the time of the year plants are killed by their well-meaning caretakers.

Plants go dormant during colder months, and houseplants need this time to rest.

During this time, your houseplants may seem as though they are on the verge of a tragic death when they drop some leaves and stop growing. The truth is the roots are hard at work in the winter.

Therefore, it is vital to understand your plant’s winter needs.

I Have Seen the Light

Houseplants

The sun shifts lower in the sky during the winter, and the amount of light coming into your windows drop.

Therefore, the windows that gave adequate light in the summer may not be the best spot for your plants in the winter.

You can move plants closer to the windows. However, pay attention to drafts that could chill your plant.

Tropical plants and succulents will not appreciate a cold and drafty window, for example.

Clean the leaves of your plants. Dust accumulates on leaves, just like any other source. The dust gets in the way of photosynthesis, which is vital for plants.

Since you are cleaning, give your windows a good washing to ensure you make the most of the available light.

If you really want to dig in and make sure your plants are getting enough light, look into a digital light meter. A light meter will help ensure your plants are in a prime location.

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Grow lights to the rescue for your houseplants in winter

If you find your light sources in the winter are just not enough, you could use grow lights, too.

There are several configurations of grow lights for house plants. However, consider a grow light with different brightness levels and a full spectrum of light such as Brite Labs LED Lights.

Grow lights are a fantastic way to boost your level of light in the winter, and you can set a grow light up with a timer, so you do not have to remember another chore.

You will need to notice the positioning of the plants under the grow light. Many houseplants need to be about 12 inches from the light. However, succulents can be closer.

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Water, Water Everywhere

One reason houseplants do not make it through the winter is due to overwatering.

During the winter, your plant’s roots need oxygen, and the best way for this to happen is by letting the soil get dry. Also, underwatering stunts your plants’ growth. Remember, even in dormancy, your plant is still doing some work.

However, when you do water in the winter, you want to ensure you water them thoroughly. One option is to reduce the amount of water you give your plant but still give your plants a deep watering.

For deep watering, you want to soak your plant in a basin of water until the bubbles stop coming up from the soil. Afterward, drain the water and allow the plant to dry out before watering.

It is fair to plan to reduce the watering by 25 percent but pay attention to the plant itself. If your plant begins to wilt, it needs some water.

Water needs in the winter depending on the plant itself. Also, the climate inside your house plays a role, as well. Consider a moisture meter and looking into the dormancy cycle of the different plants you own.

You can take the guesswork out of your plant’s moisture needs by researching your different houseplants to determine how they behave in the winter.

Also, consider a moisture meter that takes the guessing out of your plant’s needs.

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Why Is It So Cold?

plant in snow

Most houseplants are tropical or from tropical or sub-tropical climates.

Because they prefer warmer temperatures, they are perfect for growing indoors.

Most houseplants are content at 75 degrees. You could go up to 85 degrees, but you want to adjust for higher humidity at that temperature.

Your houseplants are happiest between 60 and 75 degrees, and many become unhappy with temperatures below 60 degrees.

If you realize your plant’s leaves turn yellow and fall off, it may be due to a dramatic temperature change.

However, if the lower leaves look stressed and turn brown or wilt, it may be too warm.

Houseplants in winter: Unique needs of succulents

If you are like us, you went crazy for succulents while on lockdown.

Now that the temperatures are dropping, it is necessary to look at the specifics of succulent care during the winter.

Your succulents need warmth to survive. Depending on where you live, you may be able to leave your succulents outside year around. However, the ability to do this also depends on the succulent itself.

Pay attention to your zone and the zone recommended for your succulent. At the same time, notice which of the succulents go dormant in the winter and continue to grow. This information will help you as you meet the needs of your indoor plants.

Hot and Steamy: Humidity

Humidity is more than just that sticky hot feeling you have when you walk outside, and the air feels like soup.

Your plants care a lot about the humidity levels inside your home, as well.

Also, the lower the humidity in your home, the more the leaves lose moisture.

So, if your house is dry in the winter, you may need to evaluate how often you water during dormancy and consider your humidity.

Plants, when grouped, create their own little environment and raise the humidity. Therefore, if you have a group of high-humidity needing plants, you can group them together.

You could also consider misting your plants several times a day to keep the humidity up consistently, but that does add a lot of extra steps to an already busy day.

Humidifiers are a great idea, specifically if you can place one near a group of plants that thrive with humidity. You could go for a tabletop humidifier for small spaces or plant groupings. Otherwise, consider a whole room humidifier, depending on your needs.

Another option is to take a tray of water and rocks and place your plants on top or near them. You do not want to set your plants in water because the water needs are lower in the winter.

The bathroom is another great place to bring humidity needing plants, assuming you have enough light in your bathroom to suit the plants’ needs.

I Am on a Diet

houseplants

Many plants need fertilizer regularly in the winter. However, this is not the case in the winter.

During the summer, houseplants are in active growth because the summer light levels are high, and the temperatures are perfect. You might consider fertilizing your houseplants in the fall but taper it off to a partial dose of fertilizer.

If you fertilize your plants in the winter, you run the risk of giving your houseplants fertilizer burn. Fertilizers contain salts and take moisture away from the roots, which can cause problems when those salts build up.

During the winter, the plant’s roots are hard at work, but photosynthesis is not at play to the same degree because the light is low. Therefore, the upper part of the plants do not grow much, and there is no need for extra fertilizer.

However, if you live in a climate where you still receive plenty of light, and your plants do not go dormant, fertilizing can continue.

Recommended Read: Best Grow Tower for Urban Gardening

I Need a New Home

For the most part, winter is a time for your houseplants to rest. Therefore, repotting your plants should wait until active growth begins in the spring.

It is a lot easier for houseplants to get over the shock and awe of moving to a new pot when winter is over. However, if the soil is degraded or the root system is so bound, you may have to repot in the winter.

Who Invited You?

Winter is a fantastic time to get your houseplant pest game in full force.

First of all, be sure you know the conditions your plant needs to be its best no matter the time of the year.

If your houseplant is not stressed or struggling, it is more able to withstand plant pests.

Common pest for plants includes fungus gnats, mealy bugs, and spider mites, to name a few.

Fungus gnats hang out in the soil and thrive on moist plant medium. Therefore, it is a lot easier to starve them out in the winter since your plants need a lot less water.

However, sticky traps are a great way to catch these little flies.

Mealybugs are another pest that likes houseplants. If you see white spots and a waxy-looking powder on the leaves, you may have mealybugs.

Mealybugs stay local to the plant currently infested and will not spread to your other plants. In bad infestations, you have to say goodbye to your houseplant. However, your first line of defense is using an insecticide.

Spider Mites love to hang out with your plants, as well. They like to feast on the sap in your plant’s leaves, and they leave behind a webbing to let you know they are unpacked and living on your houseplant.

Insecticides are a great solution to handle your spider mite infestation.

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To Prune or Not to Prune

The best time to prune houseplants is when the growing season kicks back up. Typically, this happens in very late winter or early spring, depending on your local conditions.

However, not all plants are dormant in the winter. Therefore, it is vital to consider the unique needs of those plants. Also, winter growth is often leggy. You could pinch leggy growth to encourage branching and trim off dead leaves and branches.

Plant On, Plant Parent

Woman with plants

In the end, caring for plants in the winter becomes simple once you have the conditions set up.

Each plant has unique needs, and your home has different availability of light. Once you augment light, water needs, temperature, and humidity levels, you can let your plants be dormant for the winter.

Typically, your plants won’t need fertilizer, repotting, or pruning. However, there are some exceptions. Some houseplants do grow during the winter. In that case, it is best if you learn about the needs of those select plants and adjust your schedule.

How did you handle your houseplants in winter? Answer in the comments.


About the Author

A teacher by trade, Victoria splits her free time between freelance writing, her camping blog, and (frantically) guiding her teenagers into becoming functional adults.

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