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What We're Reading - "The Unexpected Houseplant" by Tovah Martin

Posted by The Sill on

Author and renowned plant authority, Tovah Martin, says, "I've never had the opportunity to explore whether I am prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder. With all this greenery around, I never feel the full brunt of winter. Sure, my back aches from shoveling snow and my fingers are swollen from chilblains. But my spirit is warmed by all the growing things performing around me."

Tovah's Winter Plant Care Tips:


Because of winter's low light levels, plants do not grow as rapidly and do not require as much watering (however, take into consideration if your plants are in the direct line of furnaces, stoves or hot-air vents - which, combined with the sun reflected off the snow, can cause a drying effect)


Tovah urges houseplant-owners to monitor their plants' needs, "overwatering is the primary cause of untimely death for most houseplants, and wInter is when overzealousness with the watering can tends to occur. Blame it on sheer boredom, but we spoil our houseplants to death in winter." No need to fertilize, either.


Try not to transplant plants in autumn or winter (when excess soil remains soggy longer, rotting the plant's roots). Tovah says, "Don't assume that the remedy for a plant's problems lies in repotting or feeding. That's usually the worst solution, especially in winter. Instead, just hold steady [untill spring]."


Don't be afraid of the pruning shears! According to Tovah, winter "is the time when plants make spindly, leggy growth that won't compare favorably with the tight, sinuous limbs that develop when more light streams in."

AND ABOVE ALL -- Tovah urges us to focus our energy on plants that are trouble free ("truly glam, and worth the room and care") during the autumn and winter months!

(Tips & tricks via


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