Indoor plants make a comeback
Article and photos by Shelby Simon
Of the many surges of popular hobbies during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, few have been more accessible or seen greater growth in popularity and enthusiasm than the houseplant collection craze.
People of all ages yearning to bring the outdoors in and spruce up their space with new life have flocked to garden shops in pursuit of a new leafy friend or three or four — to the point where some industry experts are actually predicting the demand for some houseplants is actually outpacing the supply from growers.
Whether you already know you have a passion for planting or you’re looking for a hobby, any age or skill level can partake in indoor gardening. And the benefits are numerous.
“Not only are indoor plants aesthetically pleasing, they are extremely beneficial to the air quality in the home,” says Charlene Sharkey, co-owner of Flowertown Garden Center in Summerville.
The huge spike in indoor plant sales during quarantine can be attributed to the need to reinvent a space at home into an office or peaceful refuge, says Sharkey, who witnessed the surge firsthand.
And it’s no wonder, as plants also offer mental health benefits such as reducing stress, increasing productivity and boosting your mood. These plants are also a great option for those who can’t brave the Lowcountry summer heat to tend to an outdoor garden.
For beginners who are looking for affordable, low-maintenance options, sansevieria, pothos and ZZ plants are amongst the easiest to care for due to their ability to be self-sustaining in low light conditions with minimal watering required.
Flowertown Garden Center carries myriad options for the indoor plant enthusiast in their greenhouse. Sharkey says popular options include hibiscus, peperomia, schefflera, spider plants, pilea, polka dot plants, nephthytis, dieffenbachia, varieties of hoya, pothos, monsteras or succulents, especially the “strings —string of pearls, string of turtles, string of dolphins, string of bananas and string of hearts. More advanced care indoor plant options include African violets and varieties of tulips.
Sharkey offers tips for successfully growing indoor plants:
-Don’t over water.
Indoor plants don’t require the amount of water required if they are outside in the sweltering heat.
“Houseplants work best if they are allowed to dry out completely before they are watered again,” Sharkey says. “As a rule of thumb, feel the soil about an inch down, and if it is still moist, let it dry a bit more before watering again.” Some humid-loving plants, like air plants and orchids, can do well in a bathroom where they can get steam from the shower.
-Find the best light.
Indoor plants vary in the degree of lighting they need. Some varieties, such as sansevieria or bromeliads, require little to no light to thrive, says Sharkey, whereas options like jade, aloe and palms perform their best in full or filtered light.
-Pay attention to pests.
“Common pests for indoor plants are aphids, gnats and white flies,” says Sharkey. “When any of these are spotted, the plant should be removed from the house and sprayed with a product like RTU that is made for indoor plants.” The plants can come out of quarantine and placed near other plants again after the pests are clear.
The Flowertown Garden Center offers visitors a one-stop shop for gardeners ranging from beginner to expert with a wide variety of indoor and outdoor plant material, as well as all the soil, mulch, fertilizer and other supplies required for successful maintenance. 410 E 5th N St, Summerville.