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Tropical Plants Crave High Humidity

People are catching on to the fact that indoor plants are great air purifiers. Green tropical plants clean the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen. And that’s even more important in the winter when all our windows are sealed, says James McArdle, manager of McArdle’s Florist and Garden Center in Greenwich.

Filling your home with beautiful greenery seems like a great idea when you’re at the nursery buying plants, but keeping those plants alive is a challenge for most people. “The number one reason plants die,” says McArdle, “Is because they’re sitting in water.” Indoor plants do not like “wet feet.” If water appears in the saucers under your pots, drain it.

Most of the green houseplants available in our area are native to climates far different from ours. Tropical plants grow best in environments with 60 percent humidity or higher. The environment in homes in Connecticut in the winter is “a far cry from ideal,” says McArdle. The typical humidity level is often less than five percent. But don’t worry. There is a solution to the problem.

“The best way to care for indoor plants in the winter is to put a humidifier near them,” McArdle says. “And keep them away from any heating vents or radiators.” Even though your tropical plants need a humid environment, ease up on watering them. “Let the soil dry out between waterings and then water deeply and thoroughly, discarding the excess.” McArdle adds. “Winter is their season of rest, so don’t feed them either.”

James, a Wilton resident, is the fourth generation of his family to run McArdle’s. “My great-grandparents started the business as a seed and fertilizer company in 1910,” he says, adding that in those days Greenwich was full of estates with caretakers who used to manage the gardens. Today McArdle’s is a full-service garden center as well as a florist. If you’re thinking of growing your own food this year, the staff at McArdle’s also offer organic edible gardening.

Did you know that tropical plants can help keep your indoor air clean?

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