How to Buy Houseplants
It's usually love at
first sight - at least, that's how many of us pick our houseplants. But
there's much more involved in selecting a new plant than meets the eye.
Where, how big, and how much are questions to consider before making your
Shop for houseplants
with a particular location in mind. You may need a tall plant to place
near a window or in a corner, or you might be looking for something
low-growing to fit on a shelf. Each type of plant will grow differently:
upright, trailing, bushy or spreading.
Know what the light is
like in the location you have in mind, and match the light requirements to
the location. (An aspidistra, for example, will do well in a low-light
location, but may burn up in a sunny window.)
Look for hardy plants
if your thumb is less than green. Select and buy plants that match your
gardening skills. Pothos, aspidistra, aglaonema and dracaena are all
plants that will withstand some abuse. Orchids, African violets and ferns
should be left to the more accomplished indoor gardener.
plants to save money. One thing is for sure - plants grow! By selecting a
smaller plant, you will eventually have a valuable addition to your
collection for a fraction of the cost. Beaucarnia (Pony-Tail Palm) will
run $30 to $40 for a large specimen, but costs just $3 to $5 for a smaller
version of the same plant.
fall in love and just have to have a plant, go ahead and buy it. But learn
all that you can about its care and cultivation to prevent potential
heartbreak. Your nursery professional can answer all your questions
regarding the care of most plants.
How to Choose Pet-Friendly Houseplants
you share your home with pets and plants, chances are the two are
compatible. However, there are a few plants that are hazardous to
pets. Here's a short list of considerations when selecting a
houseplant if you have a dog or a cat.
that are in good condition and free from insect pests. Examine
potential indoor plants carefully before you bring them home.
member of the chili pepper family. All peppers contain some amount
of capsicum, the chemical that makes peppers hot. Capsicum is an
irritant, both to skin and eyes.
members of the aralia family. A. spinosa is toxic internally and
may cause dermatitis, with blisters and inflammation
holly plants out of the reach of pets. Consuming large quantities
may cause vomiting and purging.
lime trees out of your pet's reach. The foliage contains terpene
hydrocarbons, which may cause respiratory irritation.
from the flowers of hydrangea, since they may cause nausea,
vomiting, diarrhea, and even coma or convulsions if ingested.
away from pets. It causes gastrointestinal irritation, nausea,
diarrhea, hallucinations, delirium and possible death if ingested.
amaryllis out of reach. Bulbs and seeds contain alkaloids and can
cause gastroenteritis, vomiting, diarrhea and shivering.
member of the agave family. The milky sap causes itching and skin
irritation, with red welts and eruptions that may last for several
Keep pets away
from asparagus ferns. The foliage may cause dermatitis.
queen (tradescantia pallida) out of reach. The sap causes eye
irritation and skin dermatitis.
foliage of philodendrons out of reach; chewing on it causes
crystals to form in the membranes of the mouth and throat, causing
fishtail palm and caladium plants if you have pets. They cause the
same symptoms as philodendrons.
simple test for most houseplants is to rub a bit of sap on your
skin. If the area reddens or becomes irritated, avoid that plant.
your pets to stay out of your indoor plants by using a squirt gun
filled with water. When they sample a leaf, give them a squirt.
If you see
evidence of poisoning, call a qualified veterinarian immediately.