Colorful Crotons

Codiaeum variegatum_Croton_Conservatory - VolunteerPark-Seattle-WA_LAH_0334-001

My first thought was, is this for real? If I hadn’t seen it growing in the conservatory at the Denver Botanic Gardens, I’d have thought someone had been playing with Photoshop. I wondered what kind of plant could have leaves that are green, red, black, purple, orange, pink, yellow, and creamy white—all at the same time, and in crazy combinations!

My next thought was, can I have one?

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Moth Orchids

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With the holidays behind us, winter seems to stretch out as far as we can see. I don’t know about you, but I’m more than ready for a tropical vacation! We can’t afford tickets to a balmy beach or verdant rainforest, but I can manage to plunk down a mere $19.95—or less—for a blooming orchid. My imagination will have to supply the rest.

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Save the Poinsettias!

I’ve been down with the crud that has been going around. Luckily, I don’t have to come up with an inspirational year-end post; the Utah State University Cooperative Extension has done the job for me. I urge you to watch their short video on the torture and destruction of post-Christmas poinsettias. Then take action. Please.

Not-So-Trendy Plants

Sempervivum 'Palouse'_Houseleek_DBG_LAH_0817

Should my jeans be high-waisted or hip huggers? Should my tops drape or cling? It seems that clothes go out of style the moment I finally break down and buy them. And it’s not just fashion—plants are trendy too. Houseplants are back in vogue. Recently, I’ve seen headlines like “The Trendy Gardener,” or this one from Sunset magazine: “9 Super-Chic Houseplants.” The Sunset article insists that spider plants are out, and fiddle leaf figs are in. But wait—another website reads, “The 13 Plants That Are Leading The Trends This Year: Say goodbye to the fiddle leaf fig (or at least give it a friend).” It appears that plant styles change just as often as hemlines. Continue reading

Do Houseplants Reduce Stress?

Are you stressed? You should grow houseplants! Just ask all the experts. Try an online search and you’ll come up with almost two million sites claiming that growing plants reduces stress. Even the National Institute of Health has jumped on the bandwagon with a study “proving” that houseplants reduce both physical and psychological stress, at least in young men.

Unlike the articles that tout huge benefits in air quality from including plants (especially spider plants) in your home (NASA said it so it must be true—but see my post here), there may actually be some basis for the stress-reduction theories. Or not.

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Houseplants & Indoor Air Quality

spider-plant-home-28mar2006-lah-123rI’ve been down with a nasty stomach virus for the past week, more interested in the distance to the bathroom than in gardening. As a result, I’ve been perusing articles instead of writing them (it takes far less effort!). I’ve also spent considerable time reading bogus gardening advice on Pintrest—it’s an amazingly rich repository of horticultural mythology. One afternoon I focused on the idea that houseplants purify the air in our homes. We’ve all seen the articles…

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