Plants grown mainly for their leaf characteristics and used for interior decoration or for landscaping purposes are called foliage plants. As our society becomes more urban, living plants increase as part of the internal landscape. The use of live foliage plants brings people closer to a type of outdoor environment and the great variety of plants gives us the opportunity to select species that will serve as interesting additions to the interior decor. Foliage plants are excellent for indoor culture as they are able to survive unfavorable environmental conditions than many other plants.
Most avid gardeners continue to grow plants all year round. We start the seeds in the living room, we grow ferns in the bathroom, we introduce begonias from the outdoor garden year after year and we have potted herbs in the kitchen. Today there are so many interesting plants that can be grown indoors that there is simply no reason for a gardener not to be surrounded by plants all year round.
Everyone can grow foliage plants indoors with little effort if the right plant is used in the right place. Large leaf species such as rubber plants (Ficus elastica), Monstera deliciosa, mute cane (Dieffenbachia amoena) and philodendron are particularly suitable for commercial building interiors. They provide the dimensions necessary to make them focal points in the internal landscape. These large leafy plants and smaller specimens such as ferns, vines and ivy can serve a similar purpose in the home or apartment.
Practical steps for buying houseplants
Houseplants are grown in glass greenhouses where the air is warm and humid. When brought into the average home, they must withstand more adverse conditions than the average outdoor plant. Difficult conditions such as minimal light, inadequate ventilation, warmer temperatures, drafts and dry air contribute to stressful conditions for plants. Considering the following points will help in selecting houseplants that will complement your interior decor and live for many years to come.
1. Strong and vigorous. Give the plant a shake. An unstable plant in its pot may not be well rooted. Shaking the plant also tells you if the plant has white flies which will disperse in any direction if the plant is infested.
2. Evergreen – Since it will be seen every day of the year, the plants must be evergreen.
3. Attractive – Some of the foliage plants will bloom from time to time, but the main reason for the purchase is the foliage of the plant and the way the plants grow. The leaves can be selected for their color or shape, or both, and the growing habit should be attractive and require minimal maintenance.
4. Slow Growth – Select plants that grow slowly without much pruning or training. They will perform better for a longer period of time.
5. Crowded roots – Check the base of the plant for the roots that protrude from the drain hole. The roots that emerge from the holes in the pot do not necessarily mean that the plant is under-potted, but it is often a first symptom. Root-bound plants require transplanting when the plant is brought home.
6. Unhealthy Roots – If possible, have the employee take the plant out of the pot to check for crowded roots. The roots are available in all shapes, sizes and colors. They should always feel firm and not squishy. Squishy roots are a sign of root rot.
7. Stem or root rot – Smell potting mix. The marks of rot smell like the sweetish smell of a rotting potato. Do not buy this plant, as it probably has a bad case of stem rot or root rot.
8. Leaf spots, yellowed leaves or abundant leaf loss – Leaf spots can be a sign of disease or caused by tangle of plants in a central garden. A yellow leaf or two at the base of the plant is nothing to worry about. If you see many yellow or fallen leaves, however, the plant is probably stressed out and therefore not a good choice. Damaged leaves never recover. Ask yourself if you are willing to wait for the plant to produce new leaves or would you rather buy a healthier-looking specimen.
9. Long-legged plants or brown leaf tips – These conditions are signs of a plant that has not received proper care over a period of time. Slender plants indicate a lack of adequate light.
10. Signs of insects or diseases – Look under the leaves and axils of the leaves (the point where the leaf attaches to the stem) where the parasite most often hangs. Do not buy this plant, since not only will you have a problem with it, but you can also infest other plants in the house.
by Gwen Stewart