Monday, November 22, 2010

Houseplants for the Holidays


Why am I smiling so broadly? Until a few months ago, there wasn't a single plant living in our house, and now, well, I'm surrounded by houseplants. And I haven't paid a dime for them.

In late summer, I received a delivery of O2 for You houseplants courtesy of the wonderful growers at Costa Farms. I'm happy to report that those six plants are still alive and well, and my previous indifference to houseplants has been replaced by a love of having living, breathing green around the house. Sure, it takes a decent bit of maintenance, because Mother Nature doesn't help out much indoors, but I've really grown to appreciate the lush softness that houseplants provide.

So when Costa Farms approached me a few weeks ago to participate in a consumer insights project about houseplants, I gladly volunteered and was chosen as 1 of 20 people to receive $200 from Costa Farms to purchase indoor houseplants -- any plants from any vendor. In return, we fill out a consumer survey (about the experience, I assume).

This past Saturday, I went to one of our local nurseries -- Prairie Gardens -- to browse through their two large greenhouses dedicated to houseplants.  I'd decided I would go more with quality and size than quantity, for with plants buying time is often the best investment. I pushed the double-level cart through the aisles, slowly filling it with plants until I could barely see around it to avoid the other customers. Perhaps it was my bounty, or maybe the boots/jeans/Carhartt/baseball cap combo I was wearing, but I was asked several times if I worked at the nursery. One customer told me, "You look like you know what you're doing."

After several rounds through the greenhouses, I settled on the plants that would come close to the $200 price tag. I tried to focus on houseplants that didn't require high light conditions, as our house has limited "bright" spots, although a few choices may be pushing the light requirement limits. Most were good size plants in 10" pots. They were:

  • Araucaria heterophylla (Norfolk Island Pine)
  • Chlorophytum comosum (Spider Plant)
  • Cordyline 'Red Sister' (Ti Plant)
  • Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane)
  • Dypsis lutescens (Areca Palm)
  • Epipremnum pinnatum (Golden Pothos)
  • Philodendron 'Brazil'
  • Sansiveria 'Zeylanica' (Snake Plant)
  • Spathiphyllum 'Milky Way' (Peace Lily)
  • Tradescantia zebrina (Inch Plant)

These new plants have been repotted and are now in place throughout our living room, bedroom and home office. The difference in the rooms is nothing short of amazing. The added texture and color has made the rooms come alive. I'm sure I'll need to shift some of the plants around as they tell me (subtly, or not so subtly) how much they prefer their new home.

I'll admit to being intrigued by what the survey will include and what Costa Farms is hoping to learn through this consumer insights project. But for now, I'll sit back and enjoy the plants and the new ambiance they've brought to our home just in time for the holidays. 

6 comments:

  1. I hope you become as addicted to houseplants as some of us are! You have a nice assortment, most fairly easy to care for. And you even get to play with potting up the baby spider plants already.

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  2. What a great photo! I'm doing this, too! I haven't gotten all my plants yet, but it's sure been fun so far!

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  3. It's fun being a total newbie again. I love the learning process. Now, I wonder how hard it would be to cut a few skylights in the new roof we just had put on. ;)

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  4. Whoah! That's really cool. You sure got a lot of plants for the money.

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  5. @MBT, that's one of the advantages of living outside the Chicago Metro area. When I'm up your way, I'm astounded at plant prices.

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