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Easy, Breezy Houseplants that Cool Your Home

While everyone loves being indoors in air conditioning on hot summer days, indoor spaces sometimes could use a good pop of plant life. Plus, Mother Nature has her own way of cooling things down. Try cooling your house down the eco-friendly way with houseplants.

Not only do our favorite houseplants look good, they also have humidifier properties and  clean the air too. If you live in dry regions, having houseplants with humidifying effects will help beat the heat.

Photo courtesy of Garden Answer

 Aloe Vera

Not only will you be able to treat sunburns all summer, but Aloe leaves have a high water content which release cool moisture into the air. Aloe is also known to remove toxins from the air. The plant prefers a lot of sun and well-draining soil, such as Espoma’s Organic Cactus Mix. Water approximately every three weeks to allow the soil to dry 1-2 inches between watering’s. Fertilize once per month with Espoma’s Cactus! Liquid fertilizer.

Bamboo Palm

The bamboo palm’s luscious leaves are excellent humidifiers and have air purifying qualities as well. The more mature the plant gets, the more moisture it releases. Bamboo Palms prefer well drained soil and pots. They are relatively low maintenance and only require watering when the soil surface feels dry. It is important not to over water Bamboo Palms. Set the pot in an area with bright, indirect light to get healthy growth.

Photo courtesy of Garden Answer

 Sansevieria

Sansevieria has a variety of names but is commonly known as “snake plant.” This snake-like plant has incredible air cooling and cleansing properties. Not to mention, it may be the easiest houseplant you can find. It only requires watering when the soil is completely dry. This can take up to six weeks depending on the size of the plant, humidity, light and temperature conditions in your home. They prefer indirect, medium-to-low light.

 Peace Lily

The Peace Lily is a home essential. Not only does it have stunning green foliage, but if given enough light, classic lily blooms will flower. They have air cleansing and cooling abilities making them perfect as part of your air-cooling house plant team. Peace lilies prefer medium to low light and well-drained soil. For quality potting soil and houseplant success, try Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix. The biggest danger with Peace Lilies, and most plants, is over watering. It is best to check the soil once per week. If the plant starts to wilt or the top 1” of the soil is dry, it is time to water. They only require fertilizing once or twice per year.

Areca Palm Tree

Like the other heat-battling, air-cleansing plants on this list, the Areca Palm tree is an excellent air humidifier and also removes toxins from the air. It requires a little more attention than the other plants on this list and will not survive neglect. They prefer lightly moist soil so be sure to check on your plant frequently, especially in warmer temperatures. It is best to fertilize frequently in the spring. For a lush, healthy tree try Espoma’s Indoor! Liquid Fertilizer. They are light-loving plants so near a non-drafty window would be the perfect spot.

Espoma Products for Houseplants:

Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix

 

 

How to Re-Pot Houseplants (quick cut)

Your houseplant’s health is extremely important. Laura from Garden Answer clears the air when it comes to re-potting in this step by step tutorial.

This is the safest and best way to re-pot your plants to enjoy them in your home for years.

There are a few tell-tale signs a plant is outgrowing its container. Pick the plant up out of its container. If you see a jumbled mess of roots, it is time to re-pot. Another sign of needing to re-pot is if you are able to see roots coming out of the drain hole. Matted roots near the surface are another sign it is definitely time for a bigger container.

The new container will need to be one to two inches larger in diameter than the original. Be sure your new container has holes for drainage in the bottom. This is important because if the plant roots are sitting in water, they can rot. Laura from Garden Answer typically uses terracotta pots because they are porous and oxygen can flow in and out, which is good for your houseplant’s health. Plants in terra cotta pots tend to dry out faster so be sure to adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

When transferring your plant, you will want to use a good quality potting mix, such as Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix. This mix works for most plants, but there are some such as succulents, African Violets, and orchids that require a specific potting mix. For these plants try Espoma’s Organic Cactus Mix, Organic African Violet Mix, or Organic Orchid Mix.

Now you’re ready to re-pot. It’s really simple. First, take your plant out of its original container. You will need to gently break up the tangled roots at the bottom. Next, place the plant in its new container. Fill in around your plant with soil and pack in tightly. Avoid burying your plant too deep by only filling in soil to the level at which the old soil is packed. To finish it off, water it lightly and, voila! You have a re-potted houseplant.

When fertilizing your newly re-potted houseplant, use a liquid fertilizer such as Espoma’s Indoor! Liquid fertilizer. However, plants such as succulents, African Violets, and Orchid require specific fertilizers. For these plants try Espoma’s Liquid Cactus!, Violet!, and Orchid! liquid fertilizers.

Products:

Espoma Organic Potting Soil MixEspoma Organic Orchid Mix

 

How to Re-Pot Houseplants

Plants can outgrow their homes. And by homes, we mean containers. Here are quick tips on how to re-pot houseplants.

Usually, there are two reasons to re-pot houseplants. The first is that you just bought a plant from a garden center and would like to put it in a more decorative pot. The second is that your houseplant has outgrown its current pot. Either way, the same re-potting rules apply.

There are a few tell-tale signs a plant is outgrowing its container. Pick the plant up out of its container. If you see a jumbled mess of roots, it is time to re-pot. Another sign of needing to re-pot is if you are able to see roots coming out of the drain hole. Matted roots near the surface are another sign it is definitely time for a bigger container.

The new container will need to be one to two inches larger in diameter than the original. Be sure your new container has holes for drainage in the bottom. This is important because if the plant roots are sitting in water, they can rot. Laura from Garden Answer typically uses terracotta pots because they are porous and oxygen can flow in and out, which is good for your houseplant’s health. Plants in terra cotta pots tend to dry out faster so be sure to adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

When transferring your plant, you will want to use a good quality potting mix, such as Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix. This mix works for most plants, but there are some such as succulents, African Violets, and orchids that require a specific potting mix. For these plants try Espoma’s Organic Cactus Mix, Organic African Violet Mix, or Organic Orchid Mix.

Now you’re ready to re-pot. It’s really simple. First, take your plant out of its original container. You will need to gently break up the tangled roots at the bottom. Next, place the plant in its new container. Fill in around your plant with soil and pack in tightly. Avoid burying your plant too deep by only filling in soil to the level at which the old soil is packed. To finish it off, water it lightly and, voila! You have a re-potted houseplant.

When fertilizing your newly re-potted houseplant, use a liquid fertilizer such as Espoma’s Indoor! Liquid fertilizer. However, plants such as succulents, African Violets, and Orchid require specific fertilizers. For these plants try Espoma’s Liquid Cactus!, Violet!, and Orchid! liquid fertilizers.

Products:

Espoma Organic Potting Soil MixEspoma Organic Orchid Mix

 

How to Repot a Bromeliad

Summer Rayne Oaks of Homestead Brooklyn demonstrates the ins and outs of repotting bromeliads. Follow along as she explains the difference between the pup and mother plant and what happens when you remove the pup vs leaving it on to continue growing. Utilizing her expansive collection of plants, she shows us what both scenarios look like in the repotting process.

Three takeaways from this video:

Summer Rayne teaches you how to get a brand new bromeliad from a plant that is about to expire. With the right care, she was able to get new life from the plant.

The best soil to use for bromeliads is a barky airy mix, such as The Espoma Company’s Organic Orchid Mix, that’s full of nutrients.

Once the pup is either 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the mother plant, you can decide to remove the pup for the mother to grow another or keep it on and watch it grow from the mother until it expires.

5 Steps for Repotting a Bromeliad:

  1. Grab some gloves. Some of the leaves are going to be prickly, so you want to protect yourself.
  2. Grab scissors or sheers. If the mother plant is desiccated or if you want to remove the pup before repotting, you will need something sharp to remove them.
  3. Remove the bromeliad from the container and separate it from the mother plant, if possible.
  4. When placing the bromeliad into the new container, center it and fill with Espoma’s Orchid Mix. You don’t need to tuck it in too hard, as it likes having room to breathe.
  5. Water it in well to help it settle into its new home.

*Remember, if you have a healthy mother plant and a healthy pup, you can plant them together or separately. You won’t harm it either way.

Classic Houseplants for your Living Room

What is the most commonly used room in your home? It’s probably the living room. It’s where the whole family comes together, where visitors sit and enjoy conversations and where memories are made. We’ve already shared houseplants for your kitchen and bedroom; now let’s focus on the living room.

Houseplants differ in needs of light, space and water. So we are outlining the perfect houseplants to add to a medium or brightly lit living room.

Head to your local garden center to pick any of these beauties up. And don’t forget to grab some Indoor! liquid fertilizer to give your plants a boost.

Here are our top picks for plants in the living room:

String of Pearls

This easy to grow succulent adds dimension and design to any space. As the string of pearls gently cascade down the container, it resembles jewelry hanging off of a shelf. You can’t go wrong with this classic plant. It grows best in bright light. Make sure you feed regularly with Espoma Organic’s Cactus! liquid fertilizer.

Philodendron

This heart-leafed plant will inspire anyone who comes in contact with it. It has gained popularity due to it’s big, angular leaves. It is easy to grow and will tell you when it needs a little bit of love through it’s slightly dropping leaves. Philodendrons prefer bright, indirect light.

Umbrella Tree

Aptly named for foliage that look like miniature umbrellas, this tree is the perfect addition to your home. This tree needs bright, indirect light – if they do not receive enough light, they can get leggy, so be sure to keep an eye on it to ensure it is getting the light it needs. Learn more about dealing with leggy plants.

Rubber Tree

Don’t be intimidated by a tree this size. Get a young rubber tree and train it to any size you want. Caring for this tree is simple – put it in bright, indirect light so it doesn’t over heat. Enjoy the oversized foliage, and a few compliments from visitors.

Staghorn Fern

This antler-like foliage will be the conversation starter you were looking for. Mount this fern on any wall or place it in a basket to really show off it’s beauty. This fern does well in low-to-medium light, so it will be happy anywhere you place it.

Learn how to fertilize these houseplants from Homestead Brooklyn.

 

Romantic Reds Houseplants

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, there’s a lot of pressure to find the perfect gift, we made it simple.

Give something that will live long past the special day – Red Houseplants!

The best part yet? These are perfect gifts for your special guy or girl. Visit your local garden center to surprise your love with a beautiful new plant today.

5 Red Houseplants to Spark the Romance

  1. Anthurium
    This lovely houseplant has heart-shaped blooms called spades. Be sure to buy one in bloom to ensure your significant other sees the heart on your sleeve plant. Anthuriums love light, so be sure to place them in a bright area, but not directly in the sunshine.
  1. Bromeliad
    This easy-to-grow houseplant is the perfect gift. It provides an exotic touch of red to any home. Even with the thick foliage and wide leaves, it gives off a radiance that anyone will fall in love with. Be sure to use Espoma’s Orchid Potting Mix to allow proper drainage and vitality.

    Feed regularly with Indoor! liquid fertilizer to keep your plants happy and healthy.

  1. Kalanchoe
    Succulent love! This succulent produces clusters of tiny red flowers which will last for several seasons. The scalloped greenery is just as gorgeous as the flowers, so you will have a showstopper year round. Use Espoma’s Cactus Potting Mix and Cactus! liquid fertilizer to be sure your Kalanchoe is happy and hearty.
  1. Croton
    Red can be too much for some lovers, so crotons offer the perfect balance of greenery with a subtlety of red. But don’t let it fool you, this houseplant is a bold contender. It offers texture and design to any household that needs extra energy. Crotons also help purify the air, which in turn keeps you calm and relaxed.
  1. Red Aglaonema
    Another more subtle red houseplant, the Red Aglaonema is a standout in home décor. The bold foliage adds height and eye-drawing texture. Your significant other will love this easy-care plant.

Trust us, gifting any of these romantically red houseplants will show your love for years to come. Feeding plants with Espoma’s Indoor! liquid fertilizer helps keep their red vibrant.

What else can you give for Valentine’s Day? Try a cute and creative gnome garden!

Houseplants for the Bedroom

Your bedroom should be a sanctuary. The place to go at the end of a day and unwind, relax and rest. We’ve already shared the best houseplants for the kitchen; now let’s focus on the bedroom.

Unique indoor plants are the perfect solution to help purify the air and add serenity to your space. Plus, they can add natural color and exotic beauty to bedrooms.

Not all houseplants are the same. Some will let off CO2 while others release oxygen, which can really make a difference. The best indoor houseplants do the double duty – they help you relax while purifying the air in your room.

Here are our top picks for plants in the bedroom:

  1. Snake Plant

This plant is an excellent night breather, which leads to a better night’s sleep. It has tall pointed foliage and is easy to care for. Anywhere you need to add a little height, this plant will do the trick. The foliage can be green, yellow or white, with spots and lines of various shades. Read more about healthy houseplants.

  1. Bamboo Palm

With foliage that’s a little wild and crazy, this plant is certainly a showstopper. Bamboo palms bring color and warmth to bedrooms with their exotic textures. Plus this palm can be happy almost anywhere since it grows in low light. Plus, it is pet-friendly! Learn about more pet-friendly plants.

  1. Fiddle-Leaf Fig

The most popular houseplant of the moment, the fiddle-leaf fig, is a stylist’s dream accent. Its violin-shaped glossy leaves and mass will fill space in larger bedrooms. It truly is a plant that you will admire. Read more about oversized houseplants here.

  1. Orchids

Orchids are perfect houseplants for your bedroom. Keep them happy with Espoma’s Orchid! liquid fertilizer.

Orchids are also excellent night breathers and offer gorgeous blooms. Orchids provide the perfect balance of elegance for décor and tranquility for health. With Espoma’s Orchid! Liquid fertilizer your orchid will be thriving and happy. Visit your local garden center to learn more about orchids. Learn more about orchid care. 

  1. Dracaena

Most Dracena’s grow upwards with smooth strap-like leaves in various shades of greens, with white, cream or red touches. Depending on the species, the leaves can be short and pointy or long and grass-like, making this tropical plant even more unique. Read more about unique indoor plants.

Remember to keep your bedroom a place of relaxation and serenity to help unplug, unwind and sleep well. Feed your houseplants regularly with Espoma’s Indoor! liquid fertilizer to help keep them healthy and strong. Visit your local garden center to learn more.

Have a Christmas cactus that needs some care? Watch Laura help explain what these plants need to survive these cold months.

How to Fertilize Houseplants with Homestead Brooklyn

Find out how Summer Rayne of Homestead Brooklyn cares for and fertilizes her houseplants. Summer is using Espoma’s Indoor! liquid fertilizer.

Best Houseplants for the Kitchen

Sometimes we find a beautiful houseplant and have no idea on where to put it. Other times we have a space that needs filling and no idea what to put there.

The way we see it, you can never go wrong with more plants!

There’s no better place to start adding plants than the kitchen. If you haven’t thought of adding plants there before, you’re missing out!

Houseplants in the kitchen aid in decreasing cooking scents that consume your home – while it might smell amazing when you bake cookies, cauliflower can really bring you down. Or, you can grow edibles in your kitchen to have easy access while cooking.

Here are our top picks for plants in the kitchen:

  1. Assorted Herbs
    Herbs are perfect to grow in the kitchen. Place your herb garden on your windowsill or in a hanging basket for ease. Luckily, a lot of herbs grow well indoors with adequate light. They need to be rotated if they start to become leggy. Read more about growing herbs in your kitchen.
  1. Aloe Vera
    Aloe Vera is one of the easiest plants to grow, so keeping it in your kitchen will bring life there all year long. It’s especially great to have in the kitchen to use its natural coolant in case of a burn. It will do well anywhere in the kitchen, although next to the stove is probably best. Read more about growing aloe and other succulents.
  1. White Jasmine
    The soft jasmine scent that is released from the blooms of this plant will help keep your kitchen smelling nice and fresh. The scent is subtle enough that it won’t overwhelm the kitchen yet can still help keep your space feel clean and refreshed. Read more about growing jasmine.
  1. English Ivy
    Ivy is a diverse plant that can thrive in many rooms. Putting it in the kitchen will add dramatic lines and textures while purifying the air. If your cabinets don’t hit the ceilings, this ivy will gladly take up space. It will add wonderful shades of green with accents of whites or yellows. Read more about growing ivy in unusual spaces.
  1. Spider Plant
    Another great air purifier, the spider plant will help keep cooking more enjoyable. Place it somewhere you need to add height and texture to an area. It is an easy-care houseplant that will continue to love you in every season. Read more about the benefits of houseplants.

Don’t forget, all of these plants need to be fed as directed with Espoma’s Indoor! liquid fertilizer in order to grow strong and highlight their colors.

Need more inspiration for houseplants? Check out this paint can container that Laura from Garden Answer created!

African Violet FAQs

We are big fans of African violets and know many of you are, too! These houseplants add color to any space in winter and their cheerful flowers make us smile.

Since African violets can be picky about where they want to be and how they want to be watered, we created a go-to guide for you.

Keep your plant happy and healthy with these African violet frequently asked questions.

The Basics

  • How do I pick the perfect plant?
    • Select a healthy African violet in your choice of color that has dark green, spot-free leaves.
    • Look for a plant with one growing center, known as a single crown, to get the most blooms.
  • What container should I use?
    • Keep in mind that the roots grow out, not down, so a shallow wide container works better than a narrow tall container.
  • What potting soil should I use?
  • How much light should my African violet get?
    • African violets need indirect sunlight, as direct sun can burn the leaves.
    • Choose a north- or east-facing window and keep plants away from cold glass.
    • Rotate the pot once a week so all leaves receive light.
    • Extend daylight by placing African violets under a grow light during winter months.
  • Do my African violets need to stay warm?
    • African violets prefer the same temperatures most people find comfortable: between 70-80°F during the day, and around 65–70°F at night.
  • How do I water my plant so it is happy?
    • Only water your violet when the soil is dry to the touch.
    • Fill the pot’s saucer, and allow the roots absorb the amount of water they need. After an hour, dump any remaining water to avoid over watering.
  • When Should I fertilize?

Getting Leggy

  • What causes my African violet to get leggy?
    • Leggy is when new growth forms on a plant tip. This new growth takes most of the energy away from the bottom of the plant.
    • The three main reasons on why your plant is getting leggy are age, water and light. For more information on this, visit this blog.
  • What can I do to help my leggy plant?
    • The best (and easiest) way to help it is to repot your African violet. Allowing more room for roots and a better growing atmosphere, will help your plant succeed.

Repotting Plants

  • How often should I repot my African violet?
    • Once a year should be enough to keep your plant happy. It will provide new space for root growth and also prevent it from getting leggy.
  • Can I use the same size container?
    • You want to find a slightly bigger container than the one it is in now – never smaller. While African violets like to be root bound to bloom, you want to provide space for it to breathe and grow.
  • Can I reuse the soil?
    • It’s best to start fresh with an organic potting soil made specifically for African violets such as Espoma Organic African Violet Mix. Using the same soil can bring new infestations to your plant that may not be prevalent now.
  • How close to the top of the pot should the root ball be?
    • You want the root ball to be below the top of the container. Don’t forget to center your plant!
  • Do I need to compact the plant in the new pot?
    • It is best to tuck your plant in to the new pot gently. Pressing too hard can harm the leaves, but not tucking it can cause problems in growing.
    • Settle the plant by watering it from the saucer.

 

Start Propagating

  • Is it difficult to propagate African violets?
    • Not at all! It’s one of the easiest plants to propagate.
  • Where do I start?
    • Find a healthy leaf on one of your current plants. Be sure to have a clean cut on it before planting it in your soil. For full directions, see here.
  • How long does it take?
    • At about 3-4 weeks, roots should begin forming on the leaf.
    • In another 3-4 weeks, your new leaves will start to sprout.
    • When the sprouts get 2-3 leaves on them, which is around the 2-6 month mark, you will need to repot.

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