House Plants & Healthy Living: February

February is the perfect time to add some color to your home with flowering plants. They clean the air and add some much-needed color during these long winter months. Here are our picks for February. 

Anthuriums

Anthuriums have dark green foliage and beautiful spath-shaped blooms that range in color from red to pink to white. With the right care, these plants can keep their blooms for a long time. 

Light: Anthuriums can tolerate low light, but they prefer bright, indirect light. The less light these plants get the fewer flowers they will produce. Keep them away from direct light, the flowers and leaves can get sunburned. 

Water: Water your Anthurium regularly. Water only when the soil is dry to the touch and do not overwater because they are susceptible to root rot. Anthuriums love humidity. Keeping them on a humidity tray will cut back on watering, and help the blooms last longer. 

Food: Fertilize with a high-phosphorus fertilizer once a quarter.  

 

Phalaenopsis Orchid

The name “orchid” comes from the Greek word orkhis, and was named by an ancient Greek botanist named Theophrastos, who thought the orchid's roots resembled a part of the male anatomy. Orchids are epiphytic in their native habitat, growing on trees and rock formations, instead of directly in the ground.

The popular Phalaenopsis orchid is one of the easiest varieties of orchids to grow as a houseplant, and is often called the beginner orchid due to its easy going nature, or the moth orchid due to the shape of its blooms. 

Phalaenopsis Orchids are beautiful indoor plants that have long-lasting blooms. They’re available in a variety of sizes and colors and bring a touch of color indoors.

Light: Phalaenopsis Orchids need the brightest light available without being in direct sunlight. The leaves will scorch if exposed to direct light. They can tolerate low light, but need to be rotated every few weeks to ensure even growth. 

Water: Water Phalaenopsis Orchids weekly, or when the roots turn silvery. Watering them first thing in the morning will help keep the soil damp throughout the day. Empty any excess water from around the stem or saucer to prevent new growth from rotting. 

Food: During the growing season, fertilize weekly with an Orchid fertilizer. When flowers are in bloom, fertilize once a month.  

Peace Lily

The beloved peace lily (Spathiphyllum cochlearispathum) is not only one of the most popular indoor houseplants but is well regarded for its symbolic nature. Peace lilies are known to represent sympathy, peace, innocence, and prosperity.

This plant also became famous for its air-purifying capabilities after taking part in NASA's 1989 Clean Air Study. The study recorded that peace lilies can break down and neutralize toxic gases such as benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and ammonia. 

Light: Peace Lilies prefer temperatures between 18 and 26 degrees Celsius, they can also thrive in medium to bright indirect light indoors as well as tolerate low indirect light. Most houseplants are just like us — they love it 75 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny. Keep them away from cold and hot drafts, like AC units, heaters, or open windows and doors.

Water: Because of their tropical origins, peace lilies enjoy consistency when it comes to watering. Replicating the slightly moist environment can allow your peace lily to thrive and bloom. However, it can tolerate slightly longer droughts than other houseplants under the right conditions. You can water your peace lily every one to two weeks, even allowing soil to dry out between waterings. Expect to water more often in brighter light and less often in lower light. Misting your peace lily once a week in addition to its regular watering routine can also give it the moisture it needs, especially when in brighter light.

Food: Blended potting mixes with texture are common for peace lilies, especially ones with perlite, peat moss, coir, or loam. Also, a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength can give your peace lily the little push it needs during the spring and summer. 

ZZ Plant

Zamioculcas zamiifolia has been around for centuries, originating in drought-prone Africa (where it thrives outdoors). A couple of decades ago, Dutch nurseries located in South Africa saw the plant’s propagating potential and in 1996 started distributing it around the world. Since then, ZZ plants have entered hearts, homes, and offices worldwide.

ZZ plants are as low maintenance as they come. With long stems and glossy leaves, these plants will dress up any office, dorm, and or hallway. 

Light: ZZ Plants will do great in any lighting condition and can even thrive in fluorescent lighting. Avoid direct sunlight, because the leaves can get sunburned. 

Water: ZZ Plants like to dry out between watering, and can even thrive if forgotten for a bit. When in doubt underwater. Overwatering this plant can cause root issues, and stems to turn yellow. 

Food: During the growing season (April to August), fertilize with a liquid fertilizer once a month.

For more information on choosing the right plant for your home, visit Harper's Garden Centre and talk to an expert.