January 1, 2014

Go Green with Houseplants

While winter shuts down outdoor gardening, fill your home’s rooms with lush greenery.

Even in Texas, where ice storms and rainy weather are frequently interspersed with sunny days, those brown lawns and shriveled flower beds still dominate our outdoor views, causing countless cases of the winter doldrums. A dainty planting of pansies may wave valiantly from a neighbor’s yard, but it’s a small comfort when the festive Christmas tree has been hauled out to the curb and your spring plantings are at least two months away.

The only reasonable course of action? Get proactive and offset your loss of greenery outside with a daily shot of interior greens. A mix of vibrant, colorful houseplants is the perfect reminder that winter doesn’t last forever, and there’s no shortage of plantscaping options for filling your favorite rooms with color, texture, fragrance and — better yet — oxygen-infused air.

Interior plantscapers specialize in bringing people and plants together, and while many focus on creating soothing environments in bank lobbies and corporate offices, others spread the love to residential interiors, as well. And why not? Humans intuitively gravitate to lush, natural settings and draw strength and mental clarity from our symbiotic relationship with nature. There’s even a technical term for this attraction — biophilia — that means “love of life or living systems.”

Our little green friends can help restore balance to our worlds (and lungs), cleansing the air we breathe; they also reduce mold spores, neutralize free radicals and add humidity to the air.

An interior zone is considered “properly planted” with one plant in a 10-inch grow pot for an 800-cubic-foot space (square feet times height), but experts recommend a more generous and easier-to-measure rule-of-thumb: 15 to 18 small houseplants per 1,800 square feet.

Now is the time to quit pouting about those past-their-prime fall houseplants that have been dropping leaves faster than you can say “flower power” and start envisioning a new interior winterscape rich with color, texture and air-cleaning goodness. Keep NASA’s list of top performers in mind as you eye various dead zones in your home, and check out these spectacular and special planting suggestions from the plantscaping pros at Fifth Avenue Greenhouses, Southern Botanical and Calloway’s.

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