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You Can Grow It: How to successfully grow houseplants

Here are some things you can do inside before heading outdoors into the garden.

BOISE, Idaho — Do you grow houseplants? It’s a great way to keep your gardening hobby active until you can go back in the garden outside.

Garden master Jim Duthie takes us to a local garden center to get a look at some of the many kinds of houseplants plants that are available, and gets a few tips on how to grow them successfully.

Spring is still several weeks away, but in the meantime, houseplants can provide great gardening fun for beginners as well as experts. And Jos Zamzow at Zamzows Garden Centers shows us the huge variety of houseplants that are available throughout the year.

“We have a wide selection of houseplants primarily because there’s a different houseplant for every person. And sometimes, in the house for each window.”

“I think the universal easiest plant to grow as a houseplant in the world is the pothos.”

And pothos is the perfect houseplant for beginners. It’s doesn’t need much attention, and will thrive in any room in the house, and it comes in a wide variety of colors.

“They’re easy. They are tolerant if you forget to water them, and they’re just, just happy.”

Or try the arrowhead plant, with its silvery white, arrowhead shaped leaves. It also makes a pretty hanging plant.

But for really low maintenance, you can’t beat the umbrella plant.

“And this is interesting, too, because, you were telling me, if you happen to break a piece off, you can root it and regenerate a new plant.”

“I feel that way about most of the houseplants. If in doubt, stick it in some water, and if it roots, put it in some dirt and you’ll have a new plant to give to a relative down the road.”

And if a plant gets too big, just cut it back.

“The one thing you never have to be afraid of is pruning. If they get in the way or start blocking the window, get a pair of pruners out and cut them off and stick them in the water and start a new one.”

But what about the wide range of light available to plants throughout the house?

“These are all tropical plants that will live in the canopy, and so they do really well in a wide variety of light. Especially north sides of the building, where you would think it might be too dark.”

Most houseplants are easy to grow, but if you want to test your indoor gardening skills, try something that demands a little more attention.

“This is actually a bird of paradise, and you would see this, if you have real expensive trip to Maui, but you can grow this in Idaho, even through the winter, and some people, if they’re really good, can get them to bloom.”

It produces a spectacular flower - brilliant oranges, yellows and blues, resembling the head of a crane.

“Yeah. Almost doesn’t look real. It’s so beautiful.”

“Well, sometimes you’re a little afraid to plant something too big. These are fine in big office terrariums or atriums, but in the house, you might have a bare corner, and this would do really well there. Yeah. Absolutely. I think of it as like green, alive furniture.”

But what do you do if the plant starts having problems?

“So if a plant starts sagging leaves, or it starts turning brown or something, those are signs that you can make a change… it doesn’t mean the plant’s necessarily going to die.”

“Absolutely. Absolutely. And, once you learn what the signs are, it applies in many ways to all different kinds of plants.”

“They do a good job of telling us what may be wrong.”

“It might be that it’s too close to a drafty door, or you’re watering not enough, or too much.”

Speaking of watering, the most common problem with houseplants is over watering. So what’s the best method?

“Well, the vast majority of these plants are going to want a big, deep, long drink of water, and not very often. Every couple of weeks.”

You can even give them a bath.

“Every Saturday my mom puts the plants in the bathtub and gives them a good drink.”

So, no matter how you decide to water them, houseplants will help clean the air inside our homes, and keep our green thumbs active until we can start gardening outdoors again.

Almost all garden centers carry many of the most popular houseplants, as well as some of the more exotic ones. Houseplants come in a wide range of sizes, colors and textures. and all garden centers will offer helpful advice on how to grow them successfully.

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