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Although spring has “officially” sprung, it’s not quite the ideal weather to garden outdoors just yet in southern Colorado. This has many plant-lovers in the Pikes Peak region looking to local greenhouses and shops for spring greenery in the form of houseplants.We reached out to the experts at McCord’s Garden Center and Landscaping in Monument and Phelan Gardens and Summerland Gardens in Colorado Springs to see what indoor plants have been popular with customers recently.Macie McCord, who co-owns McCord’s, said plant shoppers have been drawn to bright colors, big leaves and air-purifying plants.“A few popular plants we’ve noticed are neon colored plants like Neon Pothos, also Monstera have been popular, and any air purifying plants,” she said. “Keeping your air healthy has been a trend the past year.”With most of us spending more time indoors at home in recent months, thanks to the pandemic, having better air quality is desirable and plants can help.Top choices for air-filtering plants include palms, Boston or Kimberly Fern, English or Devil’s Ivy, Spider Plant, Peace Lily, Anthurium, Snake Plant, Gerbera Daisy, Rubber Plant and Philodendron. As McCord explained, indoor plants can absorb gases including carbon dioxide and many volatile organic compounds, such as Benzene found in plastics, pesticides and cigarette smoke, and formaldehyde, which is in some cosmetics, fabric softeners and detergents.The scientific word for this (and a great vocabulary booster) is phytoremediation — the ability of a plant to mitigate air, soil or water pollution.But also, consumers are often just looking for pretty and eye-catching plants.“We’ve had several fun Calathea that have been popular. The Red Maranta Prayer Plant (has leaves that fold like hands in thankfulness) after the past year is a great gift for a friend or family or a reminder to ourselves of all we have to be thankful for,” McCord said. “Other popular plants right now are succulents. Scheffleras have been selling also. Miniature plants are popular for folks making miniature gardens or terrariums.”Sam Nilsson, who works in the greenhouse at Phelan Gardens in Colorado Springs, said “ALL houseplants are popular right now ... everything from common pothos to the more uncommon types of succulents and tropicals. Aroids continue to be a hot trend ... philodendrons, monsteras, alocasias in particular, with many people trying to collect multiple varieties. Hoyas, with their many leaf forms and blooming potential fly out of the greenhouse as soon as we get them.”Tropical houseplants are all the rage at Summerland Gardens in Colorado Springs, said owner Julie McIntyre.“Things with gorgeous, full foliage. Plants like Alocasias, Calatheas, and Monsteras with the bold tropical look. Succulents continue to be popular with plants like string of pearls, string of dolphins and the zig zag plant being very popular.”Shoppers are looking for signs of spring, McIntyre said.“People are definitely attracted to flowering houseplants to add a little extra cheer as we get through these last couple snowy months,” she said. “Orchids, Jasmine, and African Violets are all great options for the flower lovers. We’re also getting in our first batch of pansies for the outdoors. These plants are totally misnamed because they are not pansies: they love cold, can take the spring frosts and snows and are such a welcome sight this time of year.”And don’t worry if your thumbs aren’t exactly green. Nilsson suggests easy care houseplants such as sanseviera, ZZ plants and succulents which adapt well to our high-desert climate.“But, honestly, most of our houseplants are considered easy as long as you give them the light they prefer light and follow our watering tips,” he said. “We are happy to help coach people what might work best for their situation.”McCord highlighted the “ZZ Plant, Jade, Cast Iron Plant, Aloe, Snake Plant, Spider Plant, Peace Lily, Peperomia (several fun varieties like Watermelon, Rainbow and Owl’s Eye), and Golden Pothos” as some of her easy-care favorites.If you’re looking for more inspiration, as part of its 10-year anniversary celebration, McCord’s is offering a new video series, “I Wish I Was a Crazy Plant Lady,” with episodes soon available on the website, mccordgardens.com. The videos will “go over a range of topics including houseplant care and many other topics like starting seeds, high altitude growing, watering practices, soil types, and how to grow through the threat of frost and more,” McCord said.At each of these businesses, you can expect to see a whole new storeful of plants almost every week. Now starts their busiest season.“Each week we’ll be bringing in new houseplant hauls, and as the weather warms, we’re getting the greenhouse up and running,” McIntyre of Summerland Gardens said.“For the first time we’re growing some of our own annuals so we can offer some really different varieties, extremely cool new annuals and new mixes for our hanging baskets. We’re also excited to be bringing in more tropicals like Hibiscus, Shrimp Plants and Oleanders that make awesome patio plants for the summer! All kinds of citrus, plumeria, guava, olives, passionflowers.”Nilsson added that the inventory at Phelan Gardens is constantly changing “to keep up with the ever-changing demand for plants. It is so encouraging to see how much our houseplant department has grown the last few years. We appreciate the local support and absolutely love to see all of our customers getting excited about indoor gardening.”
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