Sunday, January 3, 2021

Since gardening outside is limited in the winter, most of us continue our addiction inside.
So how are your house plants doing?  Those who have south-facing windows are probably saying “we’re good.”  For the rest of us, the answer is “don’t ask.”  Several years ago, I bought myself a combination birthday/anniversary/Christmas gift, and I’ve never regretted it.  I bought a 3-tier Sunlite Garden from Gardener’s Supply.  I enjoyed it so much that I later added a second one.  What is supposed to be my Living Room is my Winter Getaway Room.  When the days are short, and the weather is chilly, nothing is more enjoyable than tending and observing my plants.

But I’m not here to sell you anything.  If you want houseplants that will do well in areas with limited light, please consider one of the following succulent options.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia called the ZZ Plant is perfect for a grand statement.  It will thrive on neglect and not miss you when you go on vacation.  Its shiny leaves provide a cheery note to a dark corner, but it will also flourish in bright light.  Use a well-draining soil and don’t overwater this amazing plant.

Another plant that will survive in almost any light is the familiar Sansivieria, also known as Mother-in-law’s Tongue or Snake Plant.
  There are many varieties, and all require well-draining soil and limited water.  Find an attractive pot for this lovely plant, and you will be pleased with the results.  Just remember that you must not overwater it and only fertilize with cactus fertilizer in the spring.

Many haworthias are also excellent choices for low-light areas.  These dwarf succulents are amazing.  All require well-draining soil and limited water.  A top dressing of small pebbles or tumbled glass will enhance the appearance.

One of the most familiar is Haworthia fasciata or Zebra Plant.  Its name is derived from the white stripes on the dark green leaves.  Although it remains small, the Zebra Plant will produce new offsets. 

Another interesting one is Haworthia attenuata ‘Concolor.’  This bright green specimen is covered with tiny, white, raised dots.  The new offsets can be left to form a larger clump or separated to share with friends.

Haworthia retusa is a lovely, easy-to-grow form.  Its triangular leaves are almost translucent.  There are several varieties, and you will love all of them.

If I say ‘aloe,’ most will respond ‘vera,’ but I want you to consider other varieties.  These succulents also require well-draining soil and limited water, and they will tolerate low light areas.  Aloes do bloom but are primarily grown for their interesting foliage.  Many hybrids have been developed, so don't become caught up too much in the names.

Aloe humilis is called Spider Aloe with its leaves extending in all directions.
  The gray-green color is enhanced by the white ‘teeth’ along the edges.  It will occasionally produce orange and yellow blooms.

Many of the aloes are edged with red teeth.
  Aloe Christmas Sleigh is a striking example and has dark green leaves with red teeth along the edges and red bumps on the leaves. 

Aloe Blizzard lives up to its name.  The leaves are shades of white and green with white teeth along the edges.  This variety will multiply, and you can enjoy the bounty or share with a friend.

None of these plants thrive in darkness, so you may want to play ‘musical plant chairs’ to keep them happy.  I do hope you will try one of many of these beautiful succulents as we begin this new year with hope and optimism.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!  


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