GV Gardeners: Houseplants to provide winter greenery

South African native Spider Plant stores water in its roots so it can tolerate hot, dry conditions, making it a favorite houseplant.

Although short, winters in the desert can provide nighttime temperatures low enough to damage outdoor plants, especially if they are not native. So if putting on and taking off protective coverings is not a favorite chore, why not add greenery to your indoor environment with houseplants? Most are as easy to grow as they are attractive.

Following are just a few of the many options available, all low maintenance and able to adapt to life inside.

• Spider Plant makes great visual accessories for the home, including in hanging baskets where young plantlets appear at the ends of long cascading stems. They also provide a proven ability to absorb indoor pollutants, especially formaldehyde from new construction materials.

• Asparagus Fern is another good plant for hanging baskets, whether outside or in the house. Using one plant in both places is possible if weather reports are carefully monitored.

GV Gardeners: Houseplants to provide winter greenery

As robust as its name implies, Cast Iron Plant thrives in even the lowest light within the home and can survive without water for weeks.

• Cast-Iron Plant is a good example of one accepting neglect while adding a graceful, weeping beauty. This is the safest choice for indoor lowest light conditions.

• Pothos, also called Devil’s Ivy, is a vining plant with shiny green heart-shaped leaves marked with irregular yellow or cream variegation. It takes interior low light and poor water management with ease.

GV Gardeners: Houseplants to provide winter greenery

Many of us grew up with a Snake Plant sitting in a quiet, neglected corner of the parlor. It is still one of the most abused yet reliable of houseplants.

• Snake Plant, or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, is perhaps the most tolerant houseplant, accepting lots of neglect while continuing to thrive. Its patterned, tongue-like leaves resemble an exotic snake with markings in cream, white, yellow or lime green.

Do your homework before making final selections from the many houseplants available. Check out reference books, visit greenhouses, and talk with a Master Gardener for recommendations. Then enjoy the cheer these low-maintenance plants can add to your winter environment.

Mary Kidnocker is a University of Arizona Master Gardener who lives in the Green Valley area.

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