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Make House Plants Your Friends by Barbara Jennings

Never mistake the value of a good house plant. I've had some of mine for a decade or more and they still go on cleaning the air for me and providing a softening effect in the room from all the hard architectural features and hard edged furniture.

While I don't give my plants the same kind of tender loving care I give to my four cats, I need to remember than plants are an important part of my life and my decor. They are alive and participating in my home experience with me. We would all probably take better care of our house plants if we thought of them more as pets or friends.

house plant, houseplants, care of house plants Keep your plants happy if you want it to share your life for a good many years. One of the best things you can do for your plants is to find them the perfect location for exposure to light. A plant will let you know where that perfect place it. It will thrive there but won't in a place with too little light or too much heat.

You've located the perfect place if your plant's existing growth is strong and not damaged or yellow. Look for new, healthy-looking green growth.

If you can't find the right amount of light, add supplemental lighting. But don't give them too much light. Most plants will actually "cook" in bright sunlight coming through the glass, especially if it's coming from a western or southern exposure.

You'll see damage in the form of brown or yellow patches on the leaves. You can protect plants near windows by having hanging blinds, sheer curtains or adjustable shutters on the windows.

You also need to water properly. The trick is in knowing what's right for your plants based on where it is located and the type of plant that it is. Darker leafed plants usually require less sunlight and watering than their lighter counterparts. Dehydration or drowning are the most common causes of plant death. Most plants like to dry out a little bit before the next watering. Check with your local nursery on the amount of water you should give for each species.

Yellow leaves is a sign of over-watering. Brown leaves are usually an indication of under-watering.

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One Important Decorating Color
How to Mix Patterns
Make House Plants Your Friends
A Fire's Best Friend
Cautions About Your Pillows
Using Quilts to Warm Up Your Home
The "Must-Have" Ugly Accessory
List of Free Decorating Tips

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(2004-05 Copyright Barbara Jennings)

Barbara Jennings
is the West Coast Pioneer in Redesign, author of 7 decorating books, a published artist, corporate art consultant, and furniture arrangement consultant. For training in professional furniture and accessory arrangement, or to start your own redesign or art consulting business, please visit: