I was sitting at my desk, pen in hand, contemplating the subject of my next garden article. I was distracted by the thought of planting a new succulent bed and pruning my overgrown vineyard. Today, I would much rather play outside in my garden than give birth to words. As I sat ready and open to inspiration, my eyes fixed outside, gazing through the patio doors, I realized that right in front of me was the revelation of my garden. On either side of the doors were potted ZZ plants, Zamioculcas Zamiifolia. Sometimes overlooked and often overlooked, these waxy green tropical plants from East Africa look almost artificial in their natural perfection. The ZZ plant is a rock-solid, bulletproof houseplant for any home. My plants could use a little foliar cleaning to be at their best, but nonetheless, they are quite nice to look at in their current state.
Our ZZ plants are located to the north inside our house and receive low and modest sunlight. They would prefer bright indirect light, but they still thrive in those conditions. Moderate watering and occasional fertilizing will maintain their healthy appearance.
We also have two pots in our living room with an assortment of Snake plants, Sansevieria Trifasciata. These hardy plants with sword-shaped leaves are native to tropical West Africa. They grow slowly indoors with varieties eventually reaching 6 inches to 8 feet in height. They do well in household temperatures of 60 to 80 degrees. They will go two months between watering in fall and winter; and they can be watered every two weeks in spring and summer. I’m sure they are doing their part to improve the air quality in our home. A popular variety is Trifasciata Laurentii, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue. It has long variegated green leaves with a yellow border. Another variety, the all-green Snakeskin plant, is similar in appearance except it lacks the yellow edges. The African Cylindrical Spear is an architectural snake plant that can be shaped into different shapes with binder material. Some Snake Plant enthusiasts recommend placing them in the bedroom as they release oxygen overnight.
We also have small pots of Sedum adorning our window sills. I am hopelessly addicted to succulents and can’t help but include them in our living environment. Sedum is available in different colors and shapes. I like to use sedums that don’t need a lot of sun for indoor planting, like Angelina and Blue Carpet.
My proclivity for outdoor gardening has blinded me to the beneficial aspects of indoor gardening. While the ancient Babylonian emperor, Nebuchadnezzar, grew plants indoors, indoor container gardening became more prevalent in early Greek and Roman civilizations. Indoor plants provide basic benefits. First and foremost, they naturally beautify a home by accenting your decor. You’ll feel more connected to nature and the outdoors by introducing potted plants into your home. This in turn can improve your mood and even promote relaxation and creativity. Indoor plants are proven to purify the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and airborne toxins; and they will release oxygen during photosynthesis. I hope this is an incentive to enjoy gardening inside your home as well as outside.
“Life is a garden, not a road. We enter and exit through the same door. Wandering, where you go matters less than what you notice. Kurt Vonnegut.
The Red Bluff Garden Club is a member of the Cascade District, California Garden Clubs, Inc., Pacific Region Garden Clubs, Inc. and National Garden Clubs, Inc. We are on “Vacation”