By Ellen Ruoff Riley, photography Ralph Anderson, styling Sissy Lamerton
Brighten up your home now with pretty plants from the greenhouse or grocery store. You don’t have to wait for warm days to have flowers.
1 of 4
Southern seasons are a lesson in contrasts. Autumn blazes in a firestorm of color, and the holidays glow with the man-made extravaganza of lights and bling. January, however, offers the serenity of indoor flowers to warm the spirit and ward off cold, dreary days. Whether you want a large display or a single pot of posies, let these ideas brighten your home.
Tip: Once spring arrives and danger of frost has passed, plant the potted hydrangea outdoors. Some selections available now are not winter-hardy in the garden, so growing the plant in a large container is one way to beat the problem. When cold weather approaches, move the pot into your garage or basement to protect it from a hard freeze.
2 of 4
A Visit to the Tropics
If the weather outside has you longing for the warmth of a Caribbean island, tropical anthurium provides a vicarious vacation. Snuggle multiple 6-inch pots of this waxy, exotic-looking bloomer in a planter. For additional lushness, incorporate a variety of ferns and trailing angel vine to soften your arrangement.
Light: Indirect light; a bright location near a window. Water: Keep the soil slightly damp. Do not allow the plant to sit in a water-filled saucer for more than 10 minutes. Insider’s tip: Occasionally place all plants in the sink and give them a rinse with warm water. Check the plant stand and saucers for standing water and plant debris. Expect to pay: $10-$15 for a 6-inch pot.
3 of 4
In Search of Summer
When hydrangeas bloom in the garden, the season’s romance becomes intoxicating. This time of year, a pot of voluptuous blooms on a foyer table promises warmer days. Surround it with ethereal maidenhair fern.
Light: Indirect to low light keeps the blooms fresh; avoid direct sun. Water: Add water before the plant dries out. This may be necessary every day when the heater is in use. Insider’s tip: Hydrangea and maidenhair fern both have high moisture needs. To make maintenance easy, line the decorative pot with a large plastic bag, such as the one produce is placed in at the store. Remove the plants from their pots, and arrange the root balls in the plastic bag. Water just enough to moisten the soil, and check it every few days. Expect to pay: $18-$25 for a 6-inch pot.
4 of 4
Primroses may be the ultimate feel-good flowers. Their simplicity, vibrant colors, and inherent charm work magic on the dreariest winter day. All it takes is a single container in a pretty basket to change your outlook. Another option is to plant several primroses in a large container, and place it in a sunny spot that is protected from harsh winds.
Light: Indirect light with a bit of early morning sun. Water: Keep soil moist at all times. If the soil dries out and plants wilt, soak the root balls in saucers of water for about an hour and they will perk up. Insider’s tip: Primroses love to be cool. To extend the life of plants, give them a few hours outdoors (if it isn’t below 38 degrees) every day, or put them in an unheated garage at night. Expect to pay: $2-$4 for a 4-inch pot.