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Contributors: Kim Palmer, Lynn Underwood, Connie Nelson, Kim Ode and Nicole Hvidsten.

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Need some green? Try tropical houseplants

Posted by: Lynn Underwood under Flowers, Decoration and design, Gardening and landscaping Updated: February 10, 2012 - 11:49 AM

Outside, it’s bleak and brown.

Inside my house I’ve created a mini-version of the Minnesota Zoo’s tropics trail. My kitchen hutch holds clusters of striped green  dracaena. Potted pothos trail over the edge of the coffee table.  And a plant stand near a bay window holds my favorite cure for the winter blahs —  the jungle-like Peace lily.  It’s one of few houseplants that blooms consistently even when there’s little light. Spikes of milk white spoon-shaped flowers shoot out of the deep green glossy foliage.  The Peace lily droops when it wants water,  and within a few hours, perks back up.

It's a great tme to fill your home’s empty corners, shelves and tabletops with lush green plants. I was at a friend’s house and pointed to a spacious landing at the top of the stairs. “That’s the perfect spot for a Chinese evergreen on a cute little table,” I said.

 Why not? Houseplants are pretty cheap and easy to find at local garden centers and even home improvement stores like Home Depot. Don’t worry about a chosen spot not having sufficient light -- many varieties thrive in low-light conditions common in many Minnesota homes in the winter. Good ones are pothos (variegated vine), philodendron (shopping mall staple with heart-shaped leaves) and zeezee plant (fleshy succulent).

These green energizers are pretty indestructible — if watered regularly. Heck, they even clean indoor air by absorbing toxins.

 To help with your plant picks, the Better Homes and Gardens website (www.bhg.com) offers sumptuous slide shows — with detailed descriptions — of dozens of different houseplants.

What are your favorite houseplants?  Do they help tide you over until spring?


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