Houseplants are almost as popular as pets these days—and for good reason! They help improve air quality by filtering out toxins, they add to your decor by bringing an overall added ambiance to the home, and it can feel wonderful to nurture them and watch them grow. But as much as you may want to fill your entire North Carolina home with houseplants, if you also happen to have fur babies, they need to come into play when deciding which plants to bring into your home.
Unfortunately, not all of the trendy houseplants out there are safe for curious dogs and cats. But, don't let this fact deter you; there are plenty of pet-friendly houseplants out there to choose from! Read on for our top 10 list of pet-friendly houseplants that will look fabulous and keep your furry friends safe.
1. Spider Plant: The spider plant may be the ultimate houseplant for beginners! Known for being highly tolerant of low light and forgetful waterers, spider plants are excellent for folks with busy schedules or very little natural light in the home. When the plant is allowed to thrive in bright, indirect light and regular waterings, it will grow “pups,” or baby plants that can be plucked off, planted, and shared with friends! Best of all, they’re perfectly safe for both pets and young children.
2. Money Tree: Pachira aquatica, most often called a money tree, is a lovely, easy-to-care-for, pet-friendly houseplant to add to your collection. It is known as a symbol of good luck as well as financial success. Its braided trunk and bright green, palm-like leaves will bring a unique, tropical feel to your home.
3. Areca Palm: If you love the tropical look, the areca palm is a safe and beautiful way to give your space that “vacation” atmosphere. Areca palms are statement plants that can grow to be up to 8 feet tall, and yet they’re also easy to care for and perfect for beginners. Fair warning; their graceful fronds may be tempting for your pets to nibble on, but the foliage itself is harmless.
4. Air Plants: Tillandsia, more commonly known as air plants, have an almost ethereal feel to them. They seem to grow from nothing, as they don't require any soil to thrive. This magical quality makes them part of the epiphyte family, which means they grow on other plants (usually tree branches) rather than in the ground. There are hundreds of different varieties and almost as many ways to display them. While they are pet-friendly, they might also look like a fun toy to cats, so we recommend getting creative as you figure out how to display your air plants. You can attach them to hanging planters, make a DIY hanging terrarium for them, or even turn them into surprising little fridge magnets using suction cup hooks.
5. Bromeliads: Bromeliad plants are a bit of a triple threat, in the best way possible. Like air plants, many of them are epiphytes, which means they can be grown without soil. They like bright light and humidity, but otherwise, they are relatively low maintenance, pet-friendly houseplants.
6. Boston Fern: These beautiful, feather-like plants have an incredibly whimsical feel to them. They can grow quite large if cared for properly and make for wonderful hanging plants. They thrive in indirect sunlight, moist soil, and relatively high humidity. While all ferns are not pet-safe, the Boston fern is one of a few exceptions. The birds-nest and staghorn fern are a couple of other pet-friendly options.
7. Hoya: Hoyas are a family of beautiful air-purifying houseplants that helps to improve air quality in your home by removing icky things like benzene and formaldehyde. Their distinct, lustrous green leaves and fragrant flowers range from pink to white in color, and they won't do any harm to your furry friend.
8. Calathea: This eye-catching family of houseplants feature showy foliage with intricate markings. We’re especially fond of the Rattlesnake calathea, with it’s almost snakeskin-patterned foliage with rosy-purple undersides. Not only are calatheas an excellent pet-friendly houseplant for smaller spaces, but their unique appearances add something exquisitely different to your collection.
9. Basil: While basil probably isn’t what comes to mind when you think “houseplants,” the plant is a perfect companion to a bright kitchen. Keeping some fresh basil on hand comes in handy for enhancing hundreds of dishes, plus it looks great and smells fantastic. Unlike some other herbs, basil is also safe for pets, making it a pretty and practical addition to your collection.
10. Christmas Cactus: The Christmas cactus is another quirky succulent that is both pet-friendly and nearly impossible to kill. They also have a somewhat misleading name, as they are a little different than most desert variations that likely come to mind when you think of cacti. The Christmas cactus originates from the rainforest, so it does like a bit more humidity than you might expect. They thrive in indirect sunlight, bloom spectacular flowers around Christmas time, and when cared for properly, can live for decades.
Ready to fill your home with lush greenery, knowing Fido will be safe and sound? We have a wide variety to choose from, so stop by our garden center to browse our full collection!
Are you thinking of brightening your home with a poinsettia for the holidays? Or, perhaps you’ve already fallen in love with one and brought it home. Either way, the poinsettia is a lovely plant both for Christmas and year-round, if you choose to keep it, as it’s perfectly capable of living a long life. Plus, caring for a poinsettia plant indoors is easy-peasy. Here’s how to care for poinsettias!
Poinsettia Care Instructions
1. Choose a healthy plant. If you don’t have your poinsettia yet, be sure to pick a healthy one. Signs of health include thick, deep green foliage and firm, colorful flowers.
2. Protect it from the cold when you bring it home. While our North Carolina winter is milder than many, the cold from outdoors could still be a shock to your poinsettia, which is a tropical plant native to Mexico. So when you take it home, protect it from that cold outdoor air by covering it with a cellophane bag or pillowcase.
3. Put it in a sunny, warm place. Like real estate, poinsettia care is all about location, location, location. Once you get your plant home, put it in a spot that’s both sunny and warm.
4. Meet its sun and light requirements. The poinsettia prefers a minimum of 6 hours of bright sunlight each day. A pro tip: to get the Christmas-time bloom period to last as long as possible, also ensure that your poinsettia gets at least 12 hours of darkness each night. An easy way to remember to meet this requirement is to put the poinsettia in a dark place when the sun sets and return it to its sunny location when the sun rises.
5. Meet its warmth requirements. As already mentioned, the poinsettia is quite sensitive to cold. It’s happiest when it’s in a consistently warm room free of cold drafts and hot drafts, so keep it away from places like the ledge of a drafty window or radiators. Its ideal daytime temperature range is 64 to 70°F, while at night, it’s still fine if the temperature dips as low as 61°F.
6. Water it only when the soil is dry. Poinsettias often fall victim to overwatering. If your poinsettia has leaves turning yellow, that’s a strong sign you’re overwatering the plant. Water your poinsettia only when the surface of its soil has become bone-dry.
When you water it, immediately empty any water that collects in the plant pot saucer, as waterlogged soil is harmful to the plant. One efficient way to prevent waterlog and make the watering process easier is to put the saucer aside, move the plant into the sink, and water it generously. The excess water will then drain out directly into the sink, and you won’t have to fuss with emptying the saucer.
What About Poison Precautions?
Now, what about the stories of poinsettias being poisonous? Is there anything you should do to protect pets and kids from your poinsettia? As it turns out, poinsettias are not poisonous—that’s a myth. However, they’re not edible either, and in fact, are mildly toxic. So even though they’re unlikely to cause serious illness, it’s still best to keep your poinsettia out of the reach of pets and kids.
How to Care for Poinsettia Flowers
Before we answer this, first, an interesting fact: what you might think of as the flower on a poinsettia is not a flower. The colorful non-green parts of a poinsettia are actually bunches of modified leaves called bracts. In the center of the bracts are the diminutive flowers, which look like tiny yellow buds.
So how do you make those bracts last as long as possible?
Holiday Plants at Carolina Seasons Nursery
Whether you’re in the market for a poinsettia or looking for other holiday plants, we have lots available. Contact us so we can check our stock for you and recommend plants that will meet your needs. Happy Holidays!
There's no denying that houseplants add style and vibrancy to your home decor, but if that's not reason enough for you to venture into "plant parenthood," there is a long list of other benefits that might surprise you! Science has shown that keeping houseplants indoors can improve your physical and mental health, and will even keep your house cleaner! That's right; your plants will help you clean your house. They really don't get enough credit for all they do for us!
There are so many fabulous benefits to owning houseplants here in North Carolina. Here are some of the most compelling cases for why you should add some plants into your home, your office, or anywhere else you hang out.
Plants Have Air-Purifying Properties
Houseplants are truly a scientific marvel. Back in the late 1980’s, NASA began looking into whether they could use common houseplants to clean the air in future space stations. Since then there have been numerous studies conducted to determine which common household VOCs can be affected by plants, which plants are best at removing VOCs from the environment, and just how it happens. One thing is clear, lab tests prove beyond a doubt that plants can remove harmful VOCs from the air.
Fewer Toxins In The Air: Many everyday household items, like printer ink, cleaning solutions, paints, and even your carpet can release airborne toxins known as Volatile Organic Compounds. You may remember from your last chemistry class that the “organic” part of that phrase means the material is composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. High concentrations of VOCs can trigger asthma, irritate your skin and eyes, and make it harder to breathe deeply. In high enough concentrations, some VOCs are considered to be cancer-causing. Houseplants can take in these compounds and convert them into usable chemical components where they may be stored in the leaf, translocated to another part of the plant, or removed by the roots into the soil. Unlike us, it doesn't hurt them at all. Thanks, houseplants!
More Humidity: When the air in our home is too dry, our skin, nails, and immune systems suffer. Having extra moisture in the air will help to avoid chapped, cracking skin while promoting faster healing. Plants release moisture into the air as they pump out all that clean oxygen, so you'll feel a noticeable difference in your home if you fill it with some greenery.
What Is The Best Houseplant To Clean The Air?
Not all houseplants are equally gifted in their air filtering abilities, but there are a few in particular that are total powerhouses. If we had to crown a champion, we'd have to go with the ever-popular spider plant, which soaks up dust and impurities like a magnet. Who needs Febreze when you've got your trusty spider plant to keep things smelling fresh? Spider plants are also known for their rapid reproduction—a full-sized plant will develop tons of baby plants that can be plucked off and grown into a new plant to share with a friend!
Some other plants that are super effective at cleaning the air include:
Do Houseplants Make You Happier?
As unbelievable as it may sound, many studies have shown a clear link between improved mental health and having lots of plants around, indoors and out. The effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder can bog some folks down during the more dreary winter months, but a living space full of vibrant, lush houseplants can have a positive effect. Herbs with soothing scents are especially calming and can help improve sleep and reduce anxiety.
Offices full of plants tend to have higher productivity and fewer employees calling in sick, and schools full of plants report more focused, well-behaved students. In essence, plants help our overall well-being.
The benefits of having plants at home are nothing to sneeze at—they really do have a major impact on our health, our mood, our productivity, and overall quality of life! If your living space is feeling a little lifeless, consider picking up some new houseplants. Even if you don't have much sunlight streaming in, there are plenty of low-light-tolerant plants you can grow indoors! Visit us at Carolina Seasons, and we'll help you find the perfect plant.
Scale insects are a common houseplant pest. They are strange insects in that they don’t really look like insects at all. They are basically immobile, remaining in one place for nearly their entire life cycle. They basically sit where they are born and feed off the sap in our plants. They often go unidentified because they don’t move much. They appear as tiny bumps on the stems of plants, and a large enough infestation will eventually kill the host plant.
There are two kinds of scale insects, Armored and Soft Shell. Armored scales develop a hard protective bubble over themselves that measures about 1/8th of an inch long and keeps them firmly in place. Softshell scales secrete a waxy film, which allows them to move a little bit. The females lay eggs inside their shell, and when the nymphs hatch, they crawl a short distance away and begin to make their own shell. Interestingly enough, ants will "farm" and protect scales on outdoor plants because they produce a honeydew that ants love.
How to Get Rid of Scale Insects
There are a few different ways you can get rid of scale insects on your plants, depending on the level of infestation you have.
Symptoms of scale infestation include yellowing or wilting leaves and stunted growth, combined with the telltale bumps on plant stems and leaves. A large infestation will eventually kill a whole plant.
If you’ve caught a scale infestation on your houseplants early, you can treat it a few different ways.
If you have a medium infestation, you can try organic pesticides.
If you’ve got a large infestation, your best bet is to dispose of the affected plant in a sealed garbage bag. If you want to tackle it with an insecticide, it's worth a try—but your plant has probably already sustained enough damage that it will not be able to recover. If you can find a section of the plant that is not infested, take a cutting and start propagating it. Just make sure you treat the cutting with Neem oil or alcohol to make sure there are absolutely no bugs hitching a ride.
Scale infestations can be tough to diagnose, and even tougher to eliminate. The best solution is to prevent an outbreak in the first place. Inspect your houseplants regularly, and make sure you adjust your watering schedule as the seasons change. During the winter, our furnaces dry the air out, so your plants may dry out sooner than expected. Plants that experience water stress, either by over- or under-watering, are more susceptible to pests.
If you need products to help you tackle scale insects, or if you need to replace a beloved plant you lost to scale, stop by the garden center in Greenville. We can offer advice on the best products to deal with them, or help you choose a healthy replacement plant.
Carolina Seasons Nursery