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Easy-Care House Plants

The green and yellow leaves of a croton plant
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The croton is just one example of a low-maintenance house plant.

Each week, gardening expert Charlie Nardozzi shares his knowledge about all things gardening. Today, Charlie suggests three easy-care house plants that thrive in low-light and with little-to-no watering.

3 Easy-Care House Plants

These house plants are very forgiving if you don't have ideal lighting and if you forget to water them. Plus, the foliage on these plants comes in a lots of bright colors beyond just the common green! These house plants enjoy high humidity, too.

1. Antherium: This plant has heart-shaped leaves with deep green foliage, and it comes in colors including white, pink, red and burgundy. Antherium plants do very well in a bright room and you can use the blooms as cut flowers.

2. Agloenema or Chinese evergreen: This plant most often grew with dark green foliage, but newer varieties boast leaves of golden, orange and red. This is another plant that doesn't need direct light; it can survive and thrive in a low-light situation, like under those fluorescent lights in many office settings.

3. Croton: The croton is a bit more needy of light — to accommodate it, you can place it in a south- or west-facing window. This plant loves a bright room, which aids in bringing out its most vibrant foliage. The croton's leaves are like those on a rubber tree, only these are splashed with yellow, orange and red. This house plant is still considered low-care because it won't need a lot of watering.

Q: "I have trouble growing parsley. What does it like? Any other tips to make it successful?" — Margo, in Stowe

Parsley is easy to grow, provided you begin with a transplant from a local garden center rather than trying to grow it from seed. This herb does best in organic, well-drained soil because of its taproot. You can help it along by mixing in compost to your soil.

One idea is to grow some parsley in a garden and some in a container. Then, in fall, bring the container indoors and grow the herb in a sunny window. This will thrive right through the holidays, and you'll have fresh parsley to add to your favorite dishes.

Q: "What is the real answer for the best approach on soil preparation? No-till or rototilling? I hear no-till requires additional fertilizing and other prep, while tilling disturbs a biome happy in its undisturbed state, also putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere." — Brian, from Lake Elmore

For the home gardener, the practice of "no-dig" or "no-till" is definitely the way to go. This method sequesters carbon in the soil, which is good for climate change. It's also easier on you and promotes healthier soil.

By not digging or turning the soil in your garden before planting, you allow all the billions of microbes that are in the soil — along with the myriad bacteria, fungi, protozoa and earthworms — to create their own structure in the soil. That structure is a natural one where water drains well, nutrients are released and plants can grow well.

In no-dig, all you're doing is putting a little organic matter and some compost on the top of the soil every season, and it'll just keep growing.

A thin grey line.

All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie will answer them in upcoming episodes. You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling VPR at (802) 655-9451.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with VPR host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

 

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