Suburban Jungle

Dana Luce of Calloway's Offers Advice on Creating a Home for Happy Houseplants

One of the best ways to add color, dimension and a bit of happiness to the home is to incorporate houseplants. Research has shown the indoor plants can purify the air, reduce stress and improve focus.

“I consider houseplants essential components for mental and physical health,” says Dana Luse, Allied Manager of Calloway’s Flower Mound. “Plants are able to change the carbon dioxide we exhale into oxygen through photosynthesis. The more oxygen we breathe means more oxygen for our blood to deliver to our cells.”

For those who find the idea of keeping houseplants alive a daunting task, Dana says they simply haven’t met the right plant yet.

“When someone tells me they have a brown thumb, my first go-to plant is the sansevieria, also known as a snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue. They are virtually indestructible! They do not require much light or water – they are very forgiving,” Dana says. “Another choice would be a peace lily. Some people call them closet plants due to their very low light needs. This plant will let you know when it wants water by drooping its leaves, and they will perk up once hydrated.

“One more suggestion would be the pothos. It likes either bright, indirect light or low light. Its soil does not need much water or it will also grow as a sprig in a glass of water.”

Dana says though fiddle leaf fig trees became extremely popular a few years ago, they are difficult to maintain. “They are definitely finicky fellows!” she says.

“Some other less challenging choices for larger plants would be, once again, the snake plant, peace lily, ZZ plant, mass cane and dracaena.”

For those looking to start small, Dana suggests air plants because they don’t utilize soil. “They don’t need watering, but they do need misting and a lukewarm soak about once a week,” she says.

For the lowest maintenance, Dana suggests succulents. “They don’t require much water and can be planted in squatty pots for a different look. They come in many shapes and colors. It’s fun to get creative with them. They are my favorite."

Keeping houseplants healthy isn’t as difficult as it may seem, Dana says.

“The biggest syndrome is too much love or overwatering. I find watering once a week is a good standard for most plants,” Dana advises. She suggests housing plants in containers with a drainage hole. “This will help deter a cesspool in the bottom, which can create fungal issues or root rot.”

Plant owners should read the directions on each plant so they will know how much light the plant requires to thrive.

“Houseplants need a variety of amounts of light, but none like direct light. Do your research,” she says.

To keep plants happy and healthy, replant them every nine to 12 months with new soil in a new container that is two inches larger than their current container, Dana says. “Doing this will refresh the nutrient levels that have been flushed out and will remove the salts that are remnants of fertilizers.” The new container will allow the roots more room to grow.

Always be on the lookout for signs of trouble. “Signs of distress include drooping leaves, brown spots, yellowing leaves, visual insects and webbings," Dana says.

Drooping and discolored leaves can indicate over or under watering. Brown spots can indicate sunburn or too much heat from a heating vent, as well.

When in doubt, Dana suggests bringing a leaf sample or picture to Calloway’s and asking a staff member for advice. “We have numerous staff members that are Texas Certified Nursery Professionals that are very willing to share their knowledge,” she says. “We also have the products to help you be successful with your house plant projects.”

Calloway’s is located at 2901 Long Prairie Road in Flower Mound. Visit Calloways.com for more information.

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