Mike Cutri of the Millwood Garden Center and Nursery has gardening in his genes. His grandfather started the business more than 40 years ago, and it has been in the family ever since. Now, Cutri gives us advice on how to tend to houseplants during the winter.
Cutri says some of the most foolproof houseplants to grow and keep alive indoors are ZZ plants, snake plants, and peace lillies. “The peace lily will let you know when it needs water by drooping its leaves. ZZ plants and snake plants are so easy that you can basically forget about them for weeks on end, and they will be fine,” he says.
Looking to propagate? Pothos, philodendron, and spider plants all deserve honorable mentions for their ease of care and ability to multiply with their clippings.
More Challenging Specimens
“Cacti and succulents (e.g., jade) tend to be thought of as beginner plants, but in reality, they can be the most challenging to keep alive,” says Cutri. He goes on to say that cacti and succulents need a lot of light and very little water.
“The best way to ensure your plants survive indoors is to place them in an appropriate spot, in terms of lighting. Some plants thrive in shade and some in bright sun; make sure you know which is which.”
A common mistake is to overwater them. These types of plants only need to be watered once every two weeks to once a month, depending on the variety and time of year.
The Right Environment
Houseplants are typically from places with tropical environments, such as South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. However, it is very difficult to mimic these environmental conditions indoors. Cutri says, “The best way to ensure your plants survive indoors is to place them in an appropriate spot, in terms of lighting. Some plants thrive in shade and some in bright sun; make sure you know which is which.”
He suggests misting plants with a water bottle or using a humidifier to help them stay green and healthy indoors.
Choosing the Right Plant
The first mistake people make is choosing a houseplant that is not a good fit for them and their residence. Whether it be a fiddle-leaf fig that needs a lot of light or a Boston fern that needs a lot of humidity, finding a plant that is the right fit is important. Know your residence and choose a plant accordingly.