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Houseplants can liven up indoor spaces
URBANA, Ill. — As the days get shorter and sunlight diminishes, new plants can liven up indoor space, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.

“You don’t need a green thumb to be successful in using a new foliage plant to fight the winter blues, but you do need to pay attention to a few details,” said Susan Grupp.

The most important detail, she notes, is light.

“How much light your plant will get should determine which ones to buy,” she explained. “Low-light plants such as Chinese evergreen, parlor palm, and heartleaf philodendron will do fine when placed near a north-facing window or several feet away - three to 10-feet - away from an east or west window.

“Medium-light plants such as spider plant, rubber tree, and Dracaena need to be placed only a few feet away from an east/west window or up to 10 feet away from a south window. High- or bright-light lovers should be directly in front of an east/west window or a few feet away from a south window.”

Jade plant, weeping fig, and English ivy all need bright light to succeed, she notes.

“During the holidays, many Norfolk Island pines are sold; for success, they should be grown in a bright light setting,” she said. It is important to learn about other needs, too, such as watering, humidity and temperature.

“The trick to growing tropical foliage plants is to match their needs to your indoor setting,” she said.

More information about houseplants can be found at: www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/houseplants

This farm news was published in the February 1, 2006 issue of Farm World.

2/1/2006