HOUSE PLANTS - CARE OF HOUSE PLANTS - BUYING HOUSE PLANTS - DECORATING IDEAS - INTERIOR DESIGN TRAINING - DECORATING YOUR HOME TIPS
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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 final choice.

Steps:

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.

Purchase smaller 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.

Tips:

If you 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

If 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.

Steps:

Select plants that are in good condition and free from insect pests. Examine potential indoor plants carefully before you bring them home.

Avoid any 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.

Avoid some members of the aralia family. A. spinosa is toxic internally and may cause dermatitis, with blisters and inflammation

Set holiday holly plants out of the reach of pets. Consuming large quantities may cause vomiting and purging.

Place indoor lime trees out of your pet's reach. The foliage contains terpene hydrocarbons, which may cause respiratory irritation.

Protect pets from the flowers of hydrangea, since they may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even coma or convulsions if ingested.

Keep mistletoe away from pets. It causes gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, diarrhea, hallucinations, delirium and possible death if ingested.

Place amaryllis out of reach. Bulbs and seeds contain alkaloids and can cause gastroenteritis, vomiting, diarrhea and shivering.

Avoid any member of the agave family. The milky sap causes itching and skin irritation, with red welts and eruptions that may last for several days.

Keep pets away from asparagus ferns. The foliage may cause dermatitis.

Put purple queen (tradescantia pallida) out of reach. The sap causes eye irritation and skin dermatitis.

Keep the foliage of philodendrons out of reach; chewing on it causes crystals to form in the membranes of the mouth and throat, causing intense burning.

Avoid dumbcane, fishtail palm and caladium plants if you have pets. They cause the same symptoms as philodendrons.

Tips:

A 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.

Train 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.

Warnings:

If you see evidence of poisoning, call a qualified veterinarian immediately.

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