Three Houseplants to Brighten Your Home in Winter
Listed below are three of my favorite houseplants to brighten up the winter months of January and February. My first favorite is the Lemon Cypress, a plant native to California. This evergreen tree enjoys lots of light and consistent moisture.
By Ellen Barredo
(This article was first published in The Gateway Gardener January/February 2014 issue.)
Listed below are three of my favorite houseplants to brighten up the winter months of January and February.
My first favorite is the Lemon Cypress, a plant native to California. This evergreen tree enjoys lots of light and consistent moisture. My Lemon Cypress lives in the kitchen where I spend most of my time, so it receives plenty of personal attention. Lemon Cypress can be grown indoors for winter and vacation outdoors for the summer, and can tolerate temperatures outdoors around the freezing mark before coming indoors. These beautiful evergreens can be kept clipped topiary style to control size. They come cone shaped or as a topiary tree shape. Lemon cypress trees produce a wonderful lemon scent when the foliage is brushed against. Not only do they have a lemon scent, they have a lovely lemon color. Place this beauty in a white pot to really show it off for winter.
Another favorite of mine for winter, especially in the month of February, is the blooming
Cyclamen. I love the fairy-like flowers that float above beautiful heart-shaped foliage. These beauties have flowers that come in many colors and bi-colors. Some ruffled flowering varieties can be found on occasion and white flowering cyclamen often have a citrusy fragrance. Place your Cyclamen in bright, indirect light. Please water Cyclamen whenever the soil feels slightly dry. Avoid watering the center of the plant, which is also known as the crown; instead focus on watering the plant slowly around the side of the pot. Remove flowers as they fade and start bending toward the ground. In time the plant will tire and want to go dormant. When this happens I usually toss it and replace it with another fresh blooming Cyclamen!
My new favorite, Variegated Parsley Aralia, grows outdoors in the Pacific Islands and Southeast Asia, and also can be found growing in the Caribbean Islands. The Parsley Aralia has leaves that resemble those of the herb parsley. It is often found with variegated green and white foliage, but this plant has very lemon color with green foliage. Awesome! This beauty is slow growing and can also be kept small through trimming. Parsley Aralia is often used as a bonsai specimen. This plant can be grown in very bright indirect light. Use a quality potting mix when repotting in the spring only if the plant requires it. It has a very fine root system and does well pot bound. Little fertilizer is required. Lack of water can cause the loss of leaves, but that being said, this plant will not tolerate sitting in standing water, either. Mist leaves indoors in winter. Parsley Aralia do best in an environment with a minimum of 60 degrees, remember they are tropical!
Ellen Barredo is a Missouri Certified Nursery Professional with more than 29 years in professional horticulture. When she wrote this article for us in 2014, she worked at Bowood Farms in St. Louis. She has since relocated and now helps gardeners find great plants in a Lone Star State garden center.