Silvermine Gardens Inc. -  Landscaping, Garden Maintenance, Stone Walkways, Walls, Driveways, Terraces in Connecticut - Home PageSilvermine Gardens Inc. -  Landscaping, Garden Maintenance, Stone Walkways, Walls, Driveways, Terraces in Connecticut - Home Page
Home Page Design Services Property Maintenance Our History Our Portfolio Contact Us Gardening Tips

Garden Design Tips

The Cabin Fever Cure — Easy To Grow House Plants

By now the holiday decorations are packed away, the winter days are getting longer and you’re probably anxious to bring some life into your house. By March 15, I’m tired of snow and ready for some spring color. Lush house plants are an easy way to lighten your mood and curb your cabin fever.

Buying a House Plant

My rules of thumb are simple when buying a house plant:

  1. Consider the size of the plant. Since most plants will grow large – either vertical or fuller or both, consider the space for the plant and whether or not you’ll have ample room as the plant matures.

  2. Evaluate the light conditions and temperature of your house. Most plants need some light. Make sure you know which ones require bright direct sun versus those that need low light. Most plants won’t tolerate high or low temperatures in a home, or large fluctuations in temperature. In general, most house plants will do best in an even temperature between 62 and 70 degrees.

  3. Look closely. Before you buy, shake the plant and examine the leaves closely to see if there are any pests present. If there are webs on the leaves, bumps on the under leaves or flying insects, the plant is infected and must be treated and quarantined by the nursery.

Caring for House Plants

In general, most plants can be watered once a week, although there are few exceptions. Water until the soil is moist. Try to water smaller plants in the sink and let the water run through the soil. I find that customers who kill their plants tend to over water them. The roots become rotted and the plant withers. Never let your plants sit in water for very long. Signs of over watering are spongy leaves and yellowing of leaves. I try to pick a day of the week I do all the watering. Once you get on a schedule, try to stick to it. Fertilization is important for new growth. Unless it’s an orchid plant, I use Miracle Grow or a comparable fertilizer once every six to eight weeks on my watering schedule. I also use Bloom Booster as a fertilizer on flowering plants. Always make sure your house plant is potted in rich soil and that the pot allows drainage of water. If your pot doesn’t have a hole, make sure the bottom is lined with gravel to create a spot for run off away from the roots. Additionally, make sure the roots are covered by the soil. If the roots are exposed or growing out of the holes in the pot, it is generally time to upgrade to a larger container.

Easy Care House Plants


For those of you lacking a green thumb, I have a few suggestions. The easiest plant to grow is a spathiphyllum. This broad leaf plant gives off a cone shaped bud with a white leaf surrounding it. Also known as a peace lily, this plant can survive in most low light homes. It makes a great office plant and requires no more than once a week watering.


Another good light choice is a Chinese evergreen. These grow upright, are great for an office with low light and require minimal watering.

Chinese evergreen
Snake Plant

Another no-fail green plant is a snake plant, or mother in law’s tongue. This plant has vertical leaves, is slow growing and can tolerate low light conditions. It’s virtually indestructible.


Another good choice is the pothos ivy. This plant is a prolific grower and tolerates different light conditions. It can be clipped back to make it fuller and can be left long to make it appropriate for hanging.

pothos ivy

philodendronFor brighter light conditions try an arbicola or any kind of philodendron. Both of these plants can grow large and wide to fill up a corner. They both require medium to bright light and average terperatures.


One of my favorite easy care plants to grow is a rex begonia. I love it because it comes in a wide selection of colors. The foliage has 2-3 different colors and shows a lot of texture. It’s very easy to grow, and does the best in bright light. It also likes high humidity. Rex begonias make excellent terrarium plants as well.

rex begonia
fiddle leaf fig

If you like ficus trees, but find them hard to keep, a great alternative is a fiddle leaf fig. These plants have become popular with decorators, for their variety of sizes and easy care. You can buy them as bushes or topiary style with foliage on the top of the stalk. They can grow to 14+ feet high, so they are an excellent choice to fill a large corner and give a room some height.


If you like a tropical feel, I recommend bromeliads. They thrive in bright direct sun and give off a cone like flower. Typically the cones are red, orange or yellow. These plants add a punch of color to a room and the blooms are long lasting. Jade plants are also an excellent choice. They require the same light conditions as the bromeliads, but like a cooler temperature. They are slow growing and love to go outdoors in a shady spot in the summer.

jade plant
birds nest fern

If you like ferns, but have had problems growing them, the bird’s nest fern is a good choice. Ferns in general are more finicky because they require more moisture and more vigilant care. This broad leafed fern is a great alternative. It likes medium light and an average temperature. It also makes a great terrarium plant.

Send Jan Peterson an email with your gardening question:

>> back to top

Past Articles

Five Easy Steps to Beautiful Orchids

The Cabin Fever Cure — Easy To Grow House Plants

Tips for Fabulous Container Gardens

Fail-safe Perennials for Sun (Part 1)

Fail-safe Perennials for Shade (Part 2)

Spring Gardening Tips

Fall Clean Up Tips


Stewart Flowers Announcement

Stewart Flowers Offers Landscaping Services

Landscaping Design Services
Property Maintenance
Our Portfolio