It's times like this, when it is cold and dreary outdoors, that you want to brighten up your home with some fresh greenery; but what plants work best indoors? How do you keep them alive? Kristian Briggs, with Farmer John's Greenhouse, joined us in the studio to share his expertise on house plants.
There are a variety of plants that can do well indoors and they all involve different amounts of care, so let's start with the easiest: zamioculcas zamiifolia, or a "ZZ" plant. This leafy, green plant needs medium light (about six hours) and minimal water. So what does minimal water mean? Well, according to Briggs, it's all about chocolate.
It may sound strange, but this chocolate analogy works quite well. When you water a plant and get the soil all nice and soaked, it turns the color of dark chocolate. As the plant sucks the water up and the soil dries out, it starts to look more like milk chocolate. Plants like to live somewhere on this dark chocolate/milk chocolate spectrum. The ZZ plant and others like it that want minimal water should have milk chocolate soil. Plants that require more frequent watering will like dark chocolate soil.
So what about light? Plants like the fiddle leaf fig and the midnight ficus need lots of light and will take up lots of space. In terms of air filtration, spider plants and snake plants are a great option.
Now, if you do buy a new plant for your home, Briggs recommends you let it acclimate to your home before you re-pot it. If you do have a pot you eventually want to put it in, keep the plant in its original container and prop it up in your new pot for a couple months.
So what if you have a plant already, but it is not doing too hot? Our Michelle Oliver brought in her pot full of a variety of plants, and Briggs helped her out. In her case, there was a variety of plants that needed different amounts of watering, so if you get a variety of plants in a single pot, look at the individual plants and re-pot some of them if they do need different kinds of care. Also, look at the drainage of the original pot. If you have succulents like Michelle does, you need a pot with good drainage and no moss, since moss will hold in the moisture.
If you have any more questions about what plants will work well in your home, Farmer John's Greenhhouse is located at 26950 Haggerty Road in Farmington Hills.