Indestructible Houseplants
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Indestructible Houseplants

Indestructible Houseplants

Tovah Martin, the delightful “Queen of Green” horticulturalist and award-winning author, is as passionate about houseplants as she is her garden outside. In the first of a special series created for Greenwood Gardens, Tovah introduces us to three easy-to-care-for beauties featured in her book, The Indestructible Houseplant; 200 Beautiful Plants that Everyone Can Grow.

I’ve always been an advocate for houseplants and needed no convincing that they are critical. But this year, houseplants literally became a lifesaver. Einstein (the Purrfessor) and I would be climbing the walls without something green and growing by our side. And this is not rocket science. You can do this at home. Take this Ctenanthe oppenheimiana ‘Tricolor’ for example, yes, it looks challenging to grow, but nothing could be easier. And the rewards…are infinite.

Orchids also have a reputation for being difficult–in truth, this Paphiopedilum maudiae (tropical lady’s slipper) is a cinch. And the rewards are immense—from early winter onwards through spring, P. maudiae holds its blossoms in pristine condition. Give it indirect light and water about once a week. Do not subject it to ice cubes (how did that get started?).

Before the bulbs burst outdoors, rhizomatous begonias are happening inside. Begonia ‘Palomar Prince’ is among the easiest and most rewarding. The secret to sublime begonias? Keep the roots confined to a small, shallow container and do not overwater—especially in winter.

In her constant, undying pursuit of all things garden-related, Tovah Martin gets her hands dirty both outside and indoors. She is a perennial, heirloom, vegetable and cottage gardener of fanatical proportions, award-winning author, and is accredited with NOFA as an Organic Land Care Professional. This passion for gardening led her to author over a dozen books, including her most recent, Gold Medal award-winning, The Garden in Every Sense and Season (Timber Press, 2018).

Photograph of Tovah by Kindra Clineff. Plant photographs by Tovah Martin.