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Caring for your Green Plants

You don't need a green thumb to keep your plant  healthy and thriving – in fact, you don't need to do much at all. With just a little attention to appropriate lighting, watering, and temperature, your plant will be a beautiful reminder of the person who gave it to you for many months to come. Remember when you are caring for a plant in your home or office, to  move it to a sink or water safe area. Water the plant and allow excess water to run out the bottom of the pot into a sink, bucket or saucer. Prune leaves or  blossoms that are past their prime and do not allow dropped leaves or debris to collect on top of the soil inside the pot to decrease the chance of pests or  diseases. To make your plant shine, wipe the leaves with a soft, damp cloth and then return the plant to its pot and then to its setting.

 

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 Peace Lily

With dark green leaves that can be more than a foot long, the spathiphyllum plant (peace lily) produces hood-shaped white blooms, and in some cases, can grow up to 4 feet tall (although many varieties are developed to be compact).

These plants can wilt easily, so it's important to keep the soil moist, providing good drainage and emptying excess water from trays or saucers to prevent their roots from rotting. Display them in a spot with bright, indirect light. Low light slows their blooming cycle, and too much direct sunlight may cause burn spots on their leaves. Wipe their leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust.

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 Ivy

Although ivy can survive in a range of temperatures, it's more vulnerable in the winter with dry air from heating. To make sure it gets enough moisture, set the planter on a tray or saucer filled with pebbles and water.

Display your ivy in a bright spot with indirect sunlight. In the summer, you can move it outdoors to a protected area, but make sure it's out of direct sunlight, which can burn its leaves.

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 Bromelaid

Native to Central and South America, bromeliads are a large family of plants – all with a similar rosette of stiff leaves and some kind of bright central flower spike or colored leaf area. They're tough, easy-going plants, preferring bright, indirect light or direct sun.

Keep their soil moist to dry, and pour the water in the center of the plant where the leaves join together, allowing it to drain into the soil. Avoid letting the plant sit in water. If you live in a hard water area, use rainwater or distilled water whenever possible, as bromeliads are very sensitive to salts, which may cause their leaves to turn brown at the tips.

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 Orchid

Keep your orchid in a well-ventilated spot with partial shade, away from radiators, air conditioning, and strong drafts. To help maintain the right level of humidity, set the planter in a tray of pebbles and water so that the pot sits out of the water. This prevents the roots from rotting, and allows the moisture to circulate.

Orchids gain their water from the relative humidity in the atmosphere, they do not absorb water in a traditional way from the roots and soil. For stability, orchids are often potted with the roots in a growing media that should not be overly wet. Orchids require a period of dormancy during the winter in order to bloom again in the spring, so allow it to rest in a sunny spot, and don't water it at all during this time. When its blooms are gone, cut the spike an inch above the foliage, leaving the old canes in place.

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Hydrangea

Place your hydrangea in a sunny, bright spot that receives indirect light, and keep its soil moist by watering it thoroughly and allowing excess water to drain. In the fall, allow it to rest and lose its leaves by placing it in a cool, dark location (a basement or cellar) without water. In January, bring it out again to a spot with plenty of light, and it should bloom in time for spring.

 

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Rose

Kept indoors, rose plants will do well in bright, indirect light. Keep their soil moist, allowing it to dry out a bit in between waterings. Remove any leaves that have yellowed while indoors, and pinch off spent blossoms to encourage new blooms.

 

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Schefflera Arboricola

Your new schefflera plant may thin out a bit and loose some leaves as it adjusts to its new home. This is normal, and with proper care, it will begin to thrive again in no time. Although it adapts to a wide variety of light levels, the schefflera arboricola prefers medium to higher light, which keeps it full and more compact. If your plant does stretch out, don't be afraid to prune it – it can handle even an occasionally radical pruning and come back strong.

Scheffleras don't like to sit in water, but do best when their soil is kept moist. If its leaves begin to turn black and drop off, it's a sign that the soil has stayed too moist. On the other hand, if you notice that the tips of the plant begin to wrinkle, you've allowed it to get too dry. Wipe its leaves-both the tops and undersides-with a damp cloth to remove dust and prevent spider mites.

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