Children and Houseplants

Does your child want a puppy, or a kitten, guinea pig, canary or snake? Perhaps you do not wish to care for one more living thing at this point? I remember swearing to care for the dog if we could just get that lab puppy. I think that promise lasted approximately two weeks.

Granted, a houseplant is not as exciting as an animal but neither is it as demanding. It can be used to teach responsibility, science and care of a living thing. It is so gratifying to see children become interested in growing plants in a garden or on their windowsill.

Sometimes the carnivorous plants (especially the Venus flytraps, which move) are the gateway plants for kids, but each child is unique and so are their plant choices. I try to guide kids, and adults, to plants that will thrive in the type of light that is available in their room/home, but that said, I’ve learned not to discourage the love of a certain plant. Even if that particular one doesn’t live for years, it is enjoyed.

Another benefit: you won’t have to hold a funeral. Just return it to the earth in the compost pile!

Here are some easy care, fun plant suggestions your children may enjoy:

Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya): Medium light

African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha): Medium light and pretty flowers.

Anthurium sp: Medium light, heart-shaped flowers.

Cactus: Bright light. Be careful when handling as their spines can injure.

Nerve Plant (Fittonia albivenis): Low light trailer.

Kiwi Dragon Tree (Dracaeana marginata ‘Kiwi’): Low light. Very tough.

Air Plant (Tillandsia sp): Medium light. They don’t require soil, just misting.

Rabbit’s Foot Fern: Medium to bright indirect light. Can get drier than other ferns. Interesting, velvety rhizomes.

About Charlotte Campbell

Char has managed the Garland Nursery houseplant department for twenty years. She brings a wealth of knowledge to bear in excellent customer service.
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