As summer winds down and we say goodbye to most of the fruits, vegetables and annuals in our gardens, it’s a great time to bring nature indoors by stocking up on houseplants.
Colorado’s dry, bright winter can seem intimidating for plant parents, but local experts weighed in on the best house plants for Colorado winter and common mistakes that people make when caring for their plants. The obvious answer for drought-resistant plants is succulents and cacti, but there are other resilient species that do well as house plants, too.
Jeanne Reedy is the co-owner of The Herbery, an independent plant store that she’s operated out of her home with her husband since 1974. She said the secret to caring for any plant in any climate is knowing the unique needs of each species. Light is another key for happy greenery in your home: Put your succulents in south windows for plenty of light, and your tropical friends in north windows so they don’t burn.
But even in dry Colorado, the most common mistake plant owners make is overwatering. Neicy Geis, owner of Tigerlily Goods, said people want something to take care of when they get house plants and end up drowning their new buddies. She shared a saying to help people remember when to water: “Be a hero, water on the zero.” That means youi should water your plants on the 10th, 20th and 30th of every month, unless the species specifically needs more to drink.
That can also take a weight off of your shoulders if you’re forgetful or travel a lot. Your plants will probably be fine if you don’t water them for a bit.
A few owners of local independent plant stores offered their recommendations for good house plants to have in Colorado. Of course, there are plenty of other options shops can recommend in-store if you’re ready to adopt a new plant baby.
We all know this plant for its incredible resilience in the desert, which makes it great for Colorado’s dry climate. Cacti also are unique: They conduct photosynthesis and other essential processes in their thick, waxy stems because their spines don’t have chloroplasts.
Paige Briscoe, owner of ReRoot Gardens, said cacti are perfect for bright, sunny spaces. Sometimes people get intimidated by their size and spikes, especially when it comes to repotting, but they’re easier to care for than they seem. “Give our cactus buddies an opportunity to shine,” she said.
This gorgeous house plant is recognizable for its thick, shiny leaves and starry pink or white flowers. Like its succulent siblings, it thrives in bright and direct sun. And this one is even considered a good-luck charm in cultures across the world.
Reedy recommended jade for its pretty flowers and strong growth. But overwatering is a major cause of death, so don’t drown your beautiful, lucky new friend.
The snake plant has a lot of quirky names, like Bowstring Hemp, Saint George’s Sword or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue. It is classified as a succulent, and is famously easy to care for. It has evergreen, sword-shaped, zebra-striped leaves that can grow to almost 6 feet. You might mistake it for a fake houseplant (it is that sexy).
And it has health benefits, too, regulating healthy airflow in your space. Like all plants, it converts carbon dioxide to oxygen, but it’s one of few species that can conduct photosynthesis at night. And it’s even been found to remove harmful toxins from the air, including airborne allergens. (No one’s checked to see if it can stop the coronavirus.)
But it’s also poisonous to people and pets, so don’t eat it or leave it within reach of your furry friends.
This common tropical house plant species in the United States can thrive in low light. Of course, Colorado’s bright, chilly winter is about as far from the understory of the rain forest as it gets, but the monstera is a resilient houseplant that can be incredibly rewarding for plant novices.
Tigerlily Goods’ Geis said these are the perfect choice for your Instagram aesthetic; you’ve probably seen their giant, perforated, dark-green leaves in your favorite influencer’s apartment. Geis said people get intimidated by these plants, because they need plenty of space and can get massive. She has her own Monstera named Mabel, who’s grown to a 6-foot wingspan and makes for an excellent companion and confidante.
Zanzibar gem plant
Affectionately nicknamed the ZZ plant, this is another low-light plant with impressive drought tolerance, perfect to turn your Colorado home into a faux-forest. It has long stalks with waxy, pinnate leaflets that look like asparagus. It’s native to the tropical grassland biome, which has a dry season and a wet season, hence their drought resilience as a tropical plant. And they’re certainly a unique addition to your collection.
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