THE DIRT ON GARDENING

My houseplants like to bloom during the winter months. There’s something extra special about plants that bring color and fragrance into our homes when there’s nothing blooming or even green outdoors.

Jasmine is a plant that provides a lovely green and tropical look in the house in winter. They also have creamy white blossoms with a remarkable, musky scent. There are many different types of jasmine, but winter jasmine, Jasminum polyanthum, and royal jasmine, Jasminum nitidum, are two that are known to have an excellent scent.

Jasmines need to be pruned regularly to prevent them from becoming scraggly. They do like to be fertilized regularly. They will grow in about any lighted area, but they prefer a sunny, southern exposure.

Primroses are another houseplant that provides beautifully colored flowers. In the primrose family is Primula auricula is the primrose that stands out from all other primroses. This is a small, rounded plant that blooms in many different, bright colors. The scent of aricula primrose is not an extremely strong scent. However, the scent is stronger in light.

If you’re a houseplant owner that prefers to ignore the plants in your house, you should get a Hoya plant. These plants have pendulous vines that prefer to crowded roots and low light. The flowers are not large, but they smell like chocolate. Ranging from mocha-scented to chocolate-cake scented, the chocoholic may want to keep this plant out of his or her home.

A blooming houseplant that provides numerous scents for the home is “scented geranium.” These geraniums aren’t “true” geraniums; they are members of the genus Pelargonium. These “geraniums” are natives of South Africa, and the different blooming plants have leaves that smell like everything from lemon to nutmeg.

Scented geraniums do have blooms similar to traditional geraniums, and scented geraniums also like infrequent fertilization and repotting. Pruning will help keep the plants the right size as well as growing more of the wonderfully scented leaves.

If you’re interested in growing more houseplants, check out “The Complete Houseplant Survival Guide,” by Barbara Pleasant. Thompson and Morgan, www.tmseeds.com, and Logee’s Greenhouses, www.logees.com, are two resources for some fragrant houseplants to enjoy indoors this winter.

Questions or comments related to gardening? Contact Joleen at missourigardener@hotmail.com.

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