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Hardy Houseplants For Your Not-So-Green Thumb

A ZZ plant in a white pot.

Each week, gardening expert Charlie Nardozzi adds to our own gardening knowledge by sharing tips and suggesting plants for our gardens and homes.

This time, Charlie offers three houseplant suggestions that could even survive in low-light conditions on an office desk or in the home of folks who do not possess an affinity for keeping plants alive.

Three Easy-Care Houseplants

Here are a few houseplants for those who have trouble keeping their green friends thriving:

1. Pothos: If you're looking for a foliage houseplant, this one — with heart-shaped leaves that trail as they grow — only needs a bright room and to be watered when they begin to wilt.

2. ZZ Plant: In an office setting with no natural light, try this plant from Africa. These have long stems with fleshy leaves, and the roots are tubers (and even look like potatoes!). This plant is tough, as it doesn't need a lot of light and can go weeks with no water.

3. Sansevieria: This is known as "the Swiss-Army-knife plant" of the world. These are low-care and can come with gold and green variegated leaves, and it does well in our low-humidity homes during the winter.

Q: "Last spring we planted a crab apple tree. At the time we planted it, there didn't appear to be an underground stream but as the weather has been mild and cold there appears to be a stream running under the small tree. ... Do you think we'll be able to replant it in the spring to a dry area of our yard?" — Paulette, in Braintree

The tree will have to be replanted it in spring or it likely will not survive. Though crab apple trees — and all apple trees — are hardy and can stand wet and even clay-heavy soil, this one will not survive because of too much moisture.

In the spring, dig it up and move it to a drier site in your yard. If you don't have a dry spot, you can also build up the soil and plant your tree on top of that with mulch.

Q: "My blueberry bushes got very few blueberries. Wonder what I can do for them?" — Jane, in Johnson

If you're getting no flowers at all, that's likely a sign that the blueberry bush is not getting its necessary six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day to produce berries. Pruning them back too much could also be a factor. 

Also, if there's not enough pollinators visiting the bush, that's a possible issue — and that can be remedied by attracting pollinators.

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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