Ah, winter. There’s nothing quite like an Iowa winter to make you start counting down the days till Spring like my kids longingly counting down the days till next Christmas. Thank goodness for remote start and our Toro snowblower during these dark, cold times.
The good news: there is a sure-fire way to bring a piece of Spring inside, houseplants.
The better news, The Flower Shoppe at Steve’s Ace has a wide selection of houseplants and tropicals that anyone can care for. Here’s a snapshot of just a few options we carry that will look great in any space.
Fiddle Leaf Figs
There’s a reason you may have seen Fiddle Leaf Figs in design magazines for years. With its dark green waxy foliage and unique shape, this quintessential “it” plant is gorgeous in any well-lit space.
Location: Provide your Fiddle Leaf bright consistent light, preferably by a sunny window. Turn the plant every few months once it begins to lean toward the light. Make sure that your window is properly sealed. Figs are used to the still, warm conditions of the rainforest. Cold drafts from windows, doors and AC units may cause its leaves to dry out and drop.
Water: Water only when soil is dry to the touch. Then water thoroughly (until the water drains into the saucer) and allow to dry out again. If plants don’t get enough water, new leaves will turn brown and drop. If they are overwatered, the oldest leaves (toward the base of the plant) will turn brown and fall off.
Soil/Fertilizer: Plant in rich, well-drained peaty soil. Plan on re-potting about once a year because once roots become crowded they will start growing through the container’s drainage hole, causing circulation problems and even root rot. Feed with a water-soluble plant food throughout the growing season according to directions.
Temperature: As a tropical plant, Fiddle Leaf Figs prefer warm temperatures. Typically it will grow best between 60-80 degrees
Pests: Figs are vulnerable to aphids, mealy bugs, scale, mites and whiteflies, causing leaves to turn yellow and drop. Inspect the foliage regularly, and if signs of infestation occur, wipe down the leaves with a solution of ½ teaspoon dishwashing detergent and one gallon of water.
Staghorn Ferns have a look that is out of this world. They’re a perfect choice for someone who likes to be a little edgy. Brown thumbs need not fear because these plants are notoriously easy to care for and require minimum maintenance.
Location: Your Staghorn Fern will thrive in medium to bright indirect light. It will not do well in low light situations.
Water: Your Staghorn Fern can handle a bit of drought, even to the point of slightly wilting. If the soil dries and the leaves start to wilt, water thoroughly and discard any excess water that has dripped into the saucer. However, they are sensitive to overwatering. The soil should be kept moist, but not soggy. Root rot will occur if your Staghorn Fern is left in standing water. If the soil dries and the leaves start to wilt, water thoroughly and discard any excess water that has dripped into the saucer.
Soil/Fertilizer: Use a general-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer once every month during the spring and summer. No need to feed your plant in the winter, when growth naturally slows. Before applying any form of fertilizer, make sure the soil is damp. Never apply fertilizer to dry soil.
Searching for something exotic looking that will also devour any houseflies it attracts? Look no further than these Pitcher Plants. Caring for pitcher plants is minimal as most of the plant’s nutrients comes from a supply insects it catches in its pitcher shaped organs.
Location: The plants grow best in lots of light but not full sun. These plants are native to the bogs of the southern Mississippi, so the need to stay warm and like humidity.
Soil/Fertilizer: Use peat moss or sphagnum moss as these hold lots of water. No need for fertilizers or bug spray. As long as this plant as a supply of bugs, it will remain well fed.
Watering/Care: Water plant before soil begins to feel dry as the plant is likely to suffer if you allow the potting medium to become completely dry. Add water like a traditional houseplant till water flows through the drainage hole. Although they like moist soil, these plants are prone to root rot in soggy, poorly-drained planting medium. If any traps turn brown, cut them off and new ones will grow.
Swiss Cheese Philodendron
Swiss Cheese Philodendron is a plant known for its interesting leaves that sports holes like swiss cheese. This vine makes a perfect evergreen houseplant for starter growers and experts alike as care is minimal and they tolerate low light.
Location: These plants grow best in indirect sunlight. If it's in a spot with direct light, limit it to just 2 to 3 hours of the morning sun.
Soil: Use peat-based potting soil that has a large drainage hole. The peat helps to trap moisture in the soil without allowing it to become waterlogged.
Water: Before you water a Swiss cheese vine, do the knuckle test—stick your finger up to the knuckle into the soil to see how wet or dry the soil is. If the soil is nearly dry, water it. Don't let the soil dry out entirely.
Temperature: Keep above 60 degrees Fahrenheit if possible, but it can survive brief cold spells with some die-back. Move the plants outside in the summer.
Searching for House Plants?
Stop in for expert advice, to see our selection, or to say hello to our store cats Bolt & Blossom.
The Flower Shoppe
3350 John F Kennedy Rd #1053, Dubuque, IA 52002
Order online today at flowersbysteves.com