Greening the home

Published 8:15 pm Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jeff Williamson of Smithfield Gardens explains that Golden Pothos are easy to maintain. He says that Pothos can grow on a flowerpot placed on a table or pedestal or even in a hanging basket.

If you have a green thumb, it’s time to move inside the home to focus on indoor plants.

In late January and early February there isn’t much that you can do for your outdoor plants beyond planning out springtime gardens or flowerbeds and planting bulbs, rosebushes, small trees, or shrubs while they are dormant.

But you also can begin to focus your energies on plants indoors.


Email newsletter signup

There are several options for indoor plants, but the Golden Pothos, commonly known as devil’s ivy, is one of the most popular indoor plants that is easy to maintain, according to Jeff Williamson, retail design manager and greenhouse manager at Smithfield Gardens on Bridge Road.

If you have had any exposure to indoor plants in your life, you have probably seen some variety of Pothos, because they are so common, Williamson said.

The most common varieties you will see in garden stores are the Golden and the Marble Pothos.

Pothos can survive in a variety of lighting conditions, Williamson said.

In the wild, Pothos actually live in tropical areas that get little light, said Tim Johnson, owner of Johnson’s Garden Center on Holland Road.

Williamson said it is a good idea to research any plant before purchasing it to learn the origins of the plant, the conditions it can survive in, how often it needs to be watered and the life span.

“Knowing the origins will give you a big clue as to what they like,” Williamson said. “When you’re doing research, you’re not only learning something, but it clues you in on the success of these plants. If you are spending money on plants, it makes sense to do research.”

Williamson advises to find and use the botanical name of the plant for your research. He explains that some plants have a variety of common names. You can find the name on the tag of the plant at most garden centers.

The Golden Pothos grows primarily in areas of Southeast Asia and throughout the tropics, Williamson said. Pothos can survive with more water, but in the wintertime Golden Pothos need to be watered only once a week or once every two weeks. Let the top 2-3 inches of soil dry before re-watering.

There is a danger of over-watering in the wintertime. In fact, the death of most indoor plants is over watering, according to Johnson.

“None of the house plants need as much water in winter,” Johnson said. “They don’t grow as fast, so consequently they don’t need as much water.”

Always explore the light situation in your home before purchasing a plant, Williamson said. You want to make sure not to overexpose your plant to sunlight, but you also don’t want to underexpose it to sunlight, either, as light in some amount is vital to the success of the plant.

“It’s an excellent plant,” Johnson said of the Golden Pothos. “If you don’t have them, then you need to try them,” Johnson said.

In general, experts advise when dealing with indoor plants:

  • “Make sure the soil you purchase is for house plants and will drain freely,” Smithfield Gardens’ Jeff Williamson said. “A bark mixture can be good. You don’t want to skimp on soil. Purchase soil which will help with the growth of the plant overall.”
  • Avoid over-watering. Over-watering can kill indoor plants. Also, keep indoor plants away from dry heat sources, as this will dry them out faster.
  • When you purchase a plant, inspect it to make sure it is not root bound. Sometimes plants are allowed to become too large for the container they are in, and they need to be stepped up to a pot 2-3 inches larger. You don’t want the plant transferred into a pot too much larger. Spring is actually the best time to repot plants, but you don’t want them to become too large for the pot they are in.
  • Many indoor plants should not be exposed to direct sunlight. So do your research.