Indoor Festivity

FEBRUARY ALWAYS brings lots of festivity—parades, Valentine’s and good food and friends. It’s doubtful you will be spending time in the garden unless it happens to be on a parade route! In order to keep in touch with nature, why don’t you start a winter garden indoors? Long forgotten houseplants are a great way to add color and health to a room. Let’s talk about some good choices for easy care plants.


African violets come in many color varieties. Once they bloom, the blooms will last a long time. Violets love to be in an east- or west-facing window and in a warm room. They also do well under fluorescent light. The soil should be a mix of peat, potting soil and sand for best results. Water once a week and feed with fertilizer once a month. Blooms can be pinched off once they finish and dead leaves should also be removed. Make sure the container drains well. Violets do not like to have really wet roots.

Another easy favorite is a succulent or cacti. These come in many colors and shapes and some even bloom. Really sandy soil is great for these families of plants and they should almost completely dry out before re-watering. They will tolerate filtered light as well as bright windows so you can place them almost anywhere in a room. If the light is too low, they may not bloom. The ever popular Christmas cactus is one of these plants. Surprisingly, that particular plant will bloom around Easter as well as Christmas. If you already have one, remember to water sparingly and repot when you begin to see lots of surface roots.

Small citrus plants will do well in a bright sunny room. A kitchen is usually warm and sunny and citrus love that. Soil should be almost dry before you water. If you place the plant in direct sunlight, you will be treated to blooms that smell delightful. I remember small cumquats growing in our home when I was a child. It was fun to dry the fruit by baking slowly in a low temperature oven and then dipping the cut up fruit in sugar. What a great snack that made! Keep your indoor tree small by pinching off new growth at the top. Again, fertilize the tree once a month.

It’s always fun to visit your local nursery—now-a-days, you can find many interesting plants right in the grocery store. So when you go to pick up that King Cake, why not take a look in the floral department and bring a bit of nature home too? Once all the festivities die down, your new plant friend will still be there to remind you that nature is always full of life! Happy Mardi Gras!

Email your gardening questions and comments to Lisa at gardening@sophisticatedwoman.com.

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