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For the most part, grocery shopping is an errand shared by everyone. I shop primarily at Walmart Supercenter for my groceries, but I also occasionally stop by our locally owned grocery store for special deals. Since everyone pretty much has to grocery shop, why not make it easier on ourselves?

Spending a good chunk of time shopping amongst crowds, crying babies, malfunctioning carts, and long lines can be quite stressful! Overtime I’ve developed a way to maximize my use of time while grocery shopping and today I’d like to share six methods with you.

grocery-shopping

1. Make your trips worth it

I’ve said before in my post about stocking the pantry that I don’t like to make too many trips into town to go grocery shopping. It wastes time and gas. Whether you stock your pantry, meal plan, or both, you can easily cut down your number of grocery store trips because you are, in effect, planning ahead. Trips to get one or two items are the worst kind in terms of efficiency. Make your trips worth it.

2. One-stop-shopping versus multiple stores

Before even stepping out your door, you need to make an initial decision about which grocery stores you will actually be visiting during your trip. Unfortunately, even at a large superstore, you might not find what you need or there might be a better price somewhere else. So you need to weigh the pros and cons of stopping at more than one location.

The pros? Price, choices, availability. The cons? Extra driving and parking, not to mention all that extra time. I try to stop at my local grocery store only if I think it’s really worth it. I watch fliers and go there if I know I can shop for several items or get amazing deals I just can’t pass up. Otherwise, I always prefer one-stop-shopping because of its convenience.

You should definitely check out Almost Frugal’s recent post entitled, “Choosing Your Grocery Store” for some interesting thoughts on the subject.

3. Choose an optimal day and time to shop

When I was in Madison at the beginning of the month, I shopped at a large supermarket called Woodman’s on a Saturday morning. That was NOT the ideal time to be there! I spent a large amount of time just trying not to get run over by someone else’s cart, not to mention waiting in line and finding a place to park.

Not everyone has an option when it comes to choosing the best day and time to go grocery shopping. But if you do, take advantage of it! You’ll find a better parking spot, you’ll be able to freely navigate the aisles without people constantly trying to get around you, and you won’t have to wait in line for what seems like ages. Believe me, it will save you so much time!

4. To bring kids or not to bring kids?

I can’t talk too much about this one since I don’t actually have kids yet, but I’ve certainly made my fair share of observations. If you have to bring kids, then this choice doesn’t apply. But when presented with the option, you might want to weigh the pros and cons.

The pros? Kids can be great helpers, you can use the time to teach them things, and it can just be a fun adventure. The cons? The kids can be cranky, you can spend the entire trip trying to make them stop pulling items off the shelves, and they might irritate other shoppers. They’re your kids and you know best how they handle grocery shopping. You decide.

5. Plan an efficient in-store route

Those of you who have ever been to a Walmart Supercenter know that you really need a plan when you get there or you’ll end up crossing back and forth needlessly from one end of the vast expanse to the other. I made a plan early on and continue to follow that plan every time I go.

You know your favorite grocery store’s layout well, so you should capitalize. Follow a route that goes from one end of the store to the other, being careful to prevent the need to backtrack. If you have to retrace old steps, then you aren’t being as efficient as you can be.

6. List love

I’ve actually met people who refuse to make a list when they grocery shop. I don’t know how they can do it…good memory perhaps? I love lists and grocery lists are no exception. If you want your trip to the grocery store to be a good use of your time, then you need to cut out any time spent wondering what you need to buy while you’re there.

Making a list ahead of time helps you not only plan your route through the store, but it prevents excessive impulse buying. And if you plan meals like I now do, your list becomes even more important.

Coming up next week

Keeping on this topic of grocery store lists, I’d like to spend some time this week revamping my plain old system of just writing items down as they come to me. Check out this space next Wednesday to see what I come up with.

Reader Reflection

I’ve covered several methods today that I’m sure each person does just a little differently. How many stores do you stop at when you go grocery shopping? Do you bring your kids? Do you have a planned route through your favorite grocery store? How do you feel about lists?

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Say the word leftovers to a group of people and you usually end up with a wide variety of reactions ranging from, “we live off leftovers in our family” to the more dramatic “eeeew, leftovers are gross!” I fall into the first category of people—I don’t know what we’d do without leftovers at our house!

You see, I grew up eating leftovers regularly as a kid. It was a normal occurrence and I didn’t know of any other way. Then in college, leftovers became essential. There was no way I had time to cook every night (and sorry, but Ramen Noodles just weren’t appealing). My roommates and I enjoyed cooking massive feasts on Sunday nights and eating the leftovers during the rest of that following week.

Fast forward to the present and many of you have probably already noticed how many times per week I plan ‘leftovers’ into my Meal Plan Mondays posts. I haven’t lost my love of leftovers and today I’d like to share why.

leftovers

Why I think leftovers are so great

Leftovers save us time

Let’s get the obvious out the way right off the bat. Including leftovers as a meal one or more times per week just plain saves time. It normally doesn’t take any longer to cook your casserole or pasta bake slightly larger to ensure leftovers. But it does take time to have to cook a brand new meal every night!

I try to plan eating leftovers for those nights during the week when my husband and I have meetings and cooking is a little harder to squeeze in. In all, I usually only end up cooking new meals 2 to 3 nights out of any given week!

Leftovers prevent waste

Let’s face it. As hard as you might try to make the exact amount of food for any given night, it is downright impossible to achieve this feat for some recipes. Whether you have several servings or just a couple of bites left, it certainly doesn’t make any sense to throw it away!

You aren’t only throwing away your money, but in reality you are also throwing away your time—time you spent cooking that food in the first place and time you will have to spend cooking in the future because you aren’t saving that food for another meal. Pack it in your husband’s lunch the next day or find ways to creatively mix small amounts of leftovers into your next meal. Whatever you do, just don’t settle for tossing them in the trash.

Leftovers help us plan ahead

One additional reason I love leftovers is because of the potential to plan ahead and freeze food. For example, when I make large dishes like lasagna or enchiladas for just my husband and me, I often end up removing several servings and freezing them in small containers for a rainy day.

That ‘rainy day’ might come when you are scrambling last-minute before a meeting, or when you are too sick to cook. I actually find it quite fun to dig through the freezer and see what exciting food I can find from months before. When does lasagna ever take 5 minutes to prepare? When you pull it out of the freezer!

What to do if you can’t stand leftovers

If you fall into that latter category of people who make a face and say, “eeeew, leftovers are gross” then you might not be totally convinced by my three points above.  But all hope is not lost.  Here are a few tips to help you deal with dreaded leftovers:

  • Ensure you won’t end up with leftovers. As stated above, it can be tricky for certain recipes to make exact amounts. But once you figure out your family’s eating habits, you can tweak your recipes to achieve perfect or near-perfect results.
  • Change the way you prepare leftovers. If you hate leftover pizza because it gets all rubbery and gross in the microwave, then try reheating it in the oven. Another way you can change things up a bit is to try to take your leftovers and work them into something else. For example, we sometimes take leftover fajitas and fry them into quesadillas the next day.
  • Wait to eat your leftovers. I mentioned freezing leftovers above, but you can also just wait a few days to finish them off if the reason you don’t like leftovers is because you don’t want to eat the same food two days in a row. Variety is a good thing! Sometimes my husband and I wait several days to eat leftovers so that they end up feeling almost like a new meal when it’s finally time to eat them again. Just be careful not to wait too long as food obviously only has a limited time before it spoils.
  • Just give leftovers a chance. Perhaps your issue isn’t with eating the same food two days in a row, but with eating food that isn’t fresh. Have you actually ever tasted leftovers? While not everything tastes great re-heated, certain leftovers can actually taste even better than the first time around because flavors have time to meld in the refrigerator. Try leftovers sometime, you might be surprised.

Reader Reflection

I obviously love leftovers, but what about you?

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Before Christmas I wrote a post about questions you should ask yourself before buying a new planner for the upcoming year. Well, that upcoming year has arrived and it is now time to prepare our new planners to help us stay organized in 2009. Below I’d like to offer a comprehensive list of creative ways you can use your planners this year, whether you have a pocket planner, a desktop planner, a calendar, a notebook, or even a software program.

planner

Explore your planner’s potential for helping you get organized this year

  1. Record to-do lists
  2. Keep track of meal plans
  3. Schedule shopping trips
  4. Keep shopping lists
  5. Remind yourself of upcoming sales or deals
  6. Schedule houseplant care (watering, fertilizing, repotting, etc.)
  7. Schedule garden maintenance (planting, weeding, harvesting, etc.)
  8. Schedule home maintenance
  9. Schedule laundry
  10. Remind yourself of garbage pick-up days
  11. Schedule package deliveries
  12. Schedule pet care (appointments, litter box or cage cleaning, etc.)
  13. Schedule vehicle maintenance (oil change, tire rotation, etc.)
  14. Record regular meetings
  15. Record events you need to attend (weddings, parties, conferences, etc.)
  16. Record extra curricular activity schedules for you and your children (sports, music, clubs, etc.)
  17. Record upcoming travel plans (weekend getaways, vacations, family reunions, etc.)
  18. Keep handy standard packing lists
  19. Schedule regular computer hard drive backups
  20. Keep track of pending rebates or cash back
  21. Keep track of your budget
  22. Keep track of your paychecks
  23. Schedule bill payments
  24. Record medical appointments
  25. Remind yourself to make future medical appointments
  26. Keep track of television shows you want to watch or record
  27. Keep track of sports events you wish to watch or attend
  28. Keep a record of birthdays you need to remember
  29. Keep an ongoing list of gift ideas for birthdays and holidays
  30. Schedule exercise routines

Reader Reflection

How do you use your planner to help you stay organized?

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2009 is just around the corner, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about buying next year’s planner. I got mine a few weeks ago, but it certainly is not too late to choose a new one now. Planners are all about helping you organize your life, plan ahead, schedule events, and basically stay sane amidst chaos. But before springing for your next planner, there are a few things to consider to ensure you choose the style that is best for you.

calendar

1. Evaluate this past year’s planner

You want your planner to actually benefit you, not just sit on your desk collecting dust. So take a look at your trusty 2008 planner and ask yourself how useful it was. Did you use it for what you hoped to use it for? Was it ultimately beneficial in helping your organize your life? If so, then you might consider just sticking with the exact same style because you are used to it. That’s what I did, because I’ve found a planner that perfectly suits my needs. But if you didn’t find your 2008 planner particularly useful, then you might want to consider switching styles.

2. Choose a basic planner format

Whether you are switching styles because last year’s planner just didn’t cut it, or you are switching for a fresh change, the first decision you’ll need to make is what kind of format to go with. You could choose the basic wall calendar, a slightly more detailed monthly planner, a hefty weekly planner, or even a daily planner. What you decide on ultimately depends on your lifestyle, how busy you are, and how much you actually like to write things down.

If you have a daily planner, but you only end up writing in it every four or five days or so, then perhaps a weekly planner is better for you. In the same way, if you are trying to cram all your events and appointments onto a small wall calendar, then maybe you should switch to a more comprehensive monthly planner.

What do I use? I tend to write most things down, from my appointments to my meal plans. I would never fit everything onto a wall calendar (ya right!) or even a monthly calendar, so I went with a weekly planner, where each day has a space to write what I need to.

3. Pick a planner size

After choosing a planner format, you can next move on to choosing a planner size. Some people love to be able to throw their planners into their purse, while others would find that size far too small. Consider what size would work best for your lifestyle. Do you need to bring your planner with you wherever you go? Do you want your planner to be really obvious on your desk?

I use an 8.5X11 size weekly planner. It sits on my desk right underneath my computer monitor so I can basically glance at it almost constantly. I don’t need to bring my planner with me everywhere, so getting one to fit in my purse wasn’t necessary. However, I certainly still can throw it in my backpack or suitcase if need be.

4. Decide which features are important to you

Now that you’ve chosen a format and size, the last thing you need to consider as far as design goes is which special features you want to be included. Consider if note-taking areas, mini-calendars, time schedule breakdowns, or full month spreads are important to you. All planners are different in these ways, so be sure to page through your potentials before buying to see if they contain the features you desire.

5. Consider going digital

In this digital age, it’s important to consider the option of a digital planner, not just because going digital eliminates clutter. If you are comfortable with electronics, then it’s worth trying a digital planner because of its flexibility. You can keep a planner on your PDA and easily take it with you whenever you want, scheduling alarms and notices to remind you of appointments or events. Plus you could also keep other organizational materials in the same PDA, like your address book, phone book, grocery list, or gift list. Also consider having a planner on your computer or even online.

Stepping outside the planner box

If keeping a traditional planner is not your cup of tea, but you still want a way to be able to organize your schedule, to-do lists, events, and appointments, then consider an organization binder or something similar. For a great example, visit Simple Mom and read her excellent series of posts about Home Management Notebooks for some creative ideas.

Reader Reflection

Do you keep a planner? What style do you have?

What’s Next?

After the new year, I’ll explore creative ways we can use our planners to their full potential, so stay tuned!

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With only 22 days until Christmas, if you haven’t started decorating your house yet then I imagine you will soon. Whether you go all out and really deck the halls or just keep it simple and put up a small tree, there are several ways you can help reduce stress and better organize your time and space when it comes to decorating. Today I’d love to offer eight easy tips to help you survive and hopefully even enjoy this year’s Christmas decorating adventure.

christmas-decorations

1. Chip away at it little by little

There’s no reason to put up every last decoration you have in one sitting. That could be really overwhelming! Take a few minutes here or a few hours there and before you know it, you’ll have it all done, but without taking up such giant and inconvenient blocks of your time.

2. Involve family

Not only will you enjoy the process better, but you’ll probably get it all done faster if you make decorating a family affair. Invite your spouse or the kids to help you decorate and cherish the quality time you’ll get to spend together.

chrstimas-cookies

3. Make it festive

Do you find decorating a bit boring? Help yourself have more fun by playing festive music, setting out fun Christmas treats, or playing games.

4. Consider clutter

There’s a difference between really tasteful decorating and just plain cluttered decorating. Ask yourself, your family, or your friends to be honest about it. Cut back on your decorations if they detract more than they add to your home.

5. Evaluate your attitude

If thinking about decorating your home for Christmas just makes you want to pull your hair out, then maybe you have too many decorations or you have set your goals too high. You don’t want decorating to cause you stress.

6. Don’t use every last decoration

Perhaps you are particularly short on time or space this year. Or maybe you like the idea of rotating your decorations on a cycle so you have different things out each season without having to buy anything new. No matter your reason, it’s okay to not put everything out.

7. Keep in mind that everything you put out now has to be taken down later

Most people like the decorating process much more than the undecorating process. Knowing what’s ahead, you should be sure to consider carefully how much you decorate.

8. Safety first

Last but not least, keep safety in the front of your mind at all times. Don’t risk your life hanging treacherous Christmas lights on the front of your house during a blizzard and be careful not to create any fire hazards with your indoor decorations. It’s all common sense, but sometimes it’s easy to overlook.

Reader Reflection

Have you decorated your home yet for Christmas? Do you have any tips or special traditions you’d like to share?

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So far each installment of Houseplant Hacks has offered advice about various ways to save space and money when it comes to your houseplant collection, but we can’t forget about saving time. Plants require care and care requires time—it’s that simple. Today I’d like to outline some useful tips to help you better manage the care of your houseplant collection so that ultimately you can use your time wisely while trying to keep your plants healthy.

1. Know your plant’s needs

It’s one thing to bring home a plant from the store that’s healthy, thriving, and possibly even blooming. But it’s quite another thing to care for that plant, keep it healthy, and encourage it to re-bloom in the future. Before you even start taking the time to care for your houseplants, you need to understand their basic needs.

Back in an early installment of Houseplant Hacks, I talked about resources you could tap into to research your plant’s care requirements beyond what the tag says on the pot. Look on the Internet, skim through a book, or ask an expert friend. The more you learn about your plant, the better you will be able to care for it.

houseplant-needs

After learning light, temperature, fertilizer, soil, and water requirements of your green friends, you will need a way to help yourself remember it—especially if you have more than just a few plants. I keep a spreadsheet of all my various houseplants’ needs, but you could also jot notes down in a notebook, keep bookmarks in your web browser, or mark the pages of a guide book. Whichever way you do it, the point is to get the information you need, remember it, and be able to apply it.

2. Keep basic records

Experienced gardeners will be the first to tell you that keeping good records of your plants will not only help you remember what you did in the past, but will also help you plan care in the future. With our busy lives, it’s easy to forget when we might have repotted our orchid last year, or how long it’s been since our African Violet bloomed.

houseplant-records

Within the spreadsheet I mentioned above, I have a special section where I keep notes of major ‘milestones’ in my plant’s history, like when I repotted it last, what kind of soil I used, when and for how long it ever bloomed, and so on. This way I can keep track of special needs, understand basic cycles, and ultimately use my time more efficiently.

3. Schedule plant care

When it comes to regular and frequent plant care like watering or fertilizing, I cannot stress enough how useful it is to plan or schedule it! Although every person will have to do it a little differently depending on their actual houseplants and their lifestyle, it’s still important to realize that in general, planning or scheduling the care of your houseplants will be a big time saver.

fertilizing-schedule

Whether you pick a day and time slot during each week that will be your ‘plant watering’ day, or you keep a printed schedule of when you should fertilize various plants, it goes without saying that having any kind of schedule will be beneficial. Use a calendar or write notes in your daily or weekly planner. You’ll be glad you scheduled your houseplant care because you’ll never forget anything, your plants will be healthy, and you’ll maximize the use of your time.

Keeping a schedule will also help you plan ahead for when you know your life will be more hectic or you know you will be gone on vacation. I use my planner to schedule everything for my plants so I can keep on top of their needs and avoid any stress caused by last-minute planning.

Spotlight on the African Violet

So far in my spotlight series, I’ve talked about fairly forgiving plants in terms of care. african-violet-laughing-annaThis week I want to introduce the African Violet, a plant that despite its popularity can often be a little tricky to care for. If I am remembering correctly, I’ve actually killed three African Violets in the last two years. However, despite my failures with these finicky flowers, I’ve also managed to successfully raise and maintain about ten others. With a little trial and error, you too can grow this ever-blooming, space-saving, and all around beautiful houseplant.

  • Light: Bright indirect sunlight is best. Too much sunlight causes leaf burn (leaves turn yellow) and can lead to an unhealthy and stressed plant. Not enough sunlight can lead to root or crown rot and the plant will not likely re-bloom. I place my African Violets in a south-facing window, but I use a sheer curtain to block direct sun rays.
  • Temperature: Normal home temperatures are fine.
  • Water: Water when dry. Overwatering is the number one killer of African Violets so be careful! Watering from the bottom (pouring into the tray) is best since water splashing on leaves causes brown spots to form. Don’t leave water standing in the tray for too long.
  • Fertilizer: For strong, frequent blooms, fertilizer is recommended. Try to use fertilizer that contains no urea Nitrogen, as this is harmful to African Violets. Unfortunately, most commercial African Violet fertilizers contain urea. I use Optimara 14-12-14 African Violet Fertilizer and give my plants a diluted solution of it every other watering.
  • Soil: Regular potting soil is usually too heavy for African Violets. You can purchase premade African Violet soil (lighter) or make your own mix (peat moss with perlite and vermiculite is what I use).
  • Repotting: It is ideal to repot African Violets every 6 months to one year. Wait until the plant is finished blooming to repot it so the stress is minimized. When repotting, remove the large older leaves around the outside of the neck to help the plant have a fresher start. Then bury the exposed neck into the new soil.
  • Propagation: Take single healthy leaves and plant them into a very light soil mix. Do not fertilize or overwater. african-violet-cuttingsAfter a few months, babies will begin popping up through the soil surface. After some babies have reached a good size, you can detach them from the mother leaf and repot them into their own pot.
  • Toxicity: Considered non-toxic.
  • Pests: Powdery mildew can form on the leaves and blooms if there is not sufficient air flow or if the plants are too crowded. Spray plants with a fungicide if the problem persists.
  • Miscellaneous: Rotate plants regularly so they get an even amount of sun and can grow in a balanced symmetrical fashion. Also beware of commercial African Violet self-watering planters as these can often lead to root or crown rot due to overwatering.

What’s next?

Hopefully by now we’ve figured out how to organize our space, time, and money when it comes to our houseplants. Next week we’ll switch gears a little to talk about how we can save money buying the supplies necessary to care for our green friends.

Reader Reflection

How do you manage the care of your houseplants to use your time efficiently? Does anyone raise African Violets and want to offer any tricks of the trade?

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Last week in my introduction to Houseplant Hacks, I talked briefly about the benefits of houseplants and the reasons we might choose to invite them into our homes. If you plan to buy a houseplant for the first time or if you are looking to add a new plant to your existing collection, then today’s post will provide you with some useful pointers to consider before going out and buying anything.

Every plant has unique attributes that you need to know about and understand ahead of time so you don’t end up with a dead plant a few weeks later, or worse—a dead pet. Unfortunately it’s not as easy as just picking out the plant that you think is the prettiest. I’ve identified four questions you should ask yourself before buying a plant, followed by a few resources to help you get your questions answered.

1. Do you have room?

This is the first mistake I made when I went out and bought a bunch of plants for our new home—I didn’t consider the space! We had plenty of room in general, but when it came to space in front of windows, I quickly realized that I had a problem. Plants need light and usually that means they need to sit as close to a window as possible.houseplant-windows

In addition to considering the space you have in front of your windows, be sure to also consider the matter of clutter. Depending on the plant’s size, imagine adding it to a room in your house…is there a spot for it? Will it fit? Will it make the room look more cluttered? Will it be in the way? While a houseplant has its benefits, it can also quickly turn into something that just creates unsightly clutter. Perhaps you should settle for that little African violet instead of the large palm.

2. Do you have time?

Owning a houseplant takes time. You need to water it, repot it every once and a while, and possibly fertilize it. Neglecting the plant’s basic needs may cause it to die. So if you live an extremely busy and hectic life, then perhaps you should consider a low maintenance plant rather than, say, an orchid.

Another aspect of time you will want to consider is how often you go out of town. I’m not talking about a weekend here and there, rather long vacations or even whole seasons away. If you want to keep plants, then you’ll need to find someone who will take care of them while you are away. And if you are living in a home seasonally, then you’ll of course need to take the plants with you whenever you move.

3. Do you have children or pets?

Having children or pets in your home complicates the houseplant situation, but that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t have plants at all. However, it’s important to consider a few things first. Before you choose your plant, you need to find out whether it is poisonous to either children or pets (or both) because you will soon discover that curious children and animals might try to eat the plant when you are not looking.cat

Beyond making sure that the plant you buy is poison-free, you can also try to keep plants in rooms where the children or pets are not allowed or in areas they cannot reach. For example, we keep all our houseplants in rooms that our cat cannot access. We know he’d try to eat them if he could because whenever he escapes into these forbidden lands, the first things he goes for are the plants!

4. Do you have suitable conditions in your home?

Many outdoor plants do well indoors because our homes simulate the plants’ natural living conditions. For example, tropical plants tend to enjoy the same temperature and humidity levels as we do, so they live well in our houses. But not all plants are that adaptable, especially when it comes to certain characteristics. Before choosing a plant, consider the following:

  • Climate: While it’s true that your houseplant will live inside your house, it’s important to understand how your climate affects the conditions within. For example, if you live in a northern climate, you may have short winter days with little and possibly low-quality sunlight.
  • Light: Most plants need a lot of good sunlight, especially if you want to have a plant that blooms. Evaluate the sun exposure of your windows. South windows are best, but east and west are also good.
  • Temperature: Some plants like it warmer than others, so your home temperatures might not be ideal depending on the plant. Additionally, some plants need cooler nights to initiate blooming.
  • Humidity: Certain plants enjoy higher air moisture levels than others, while some plants love it dry. And consider that air conditioners and heaters tend to dry air.

A few useful resources

Most plants don’t come with very much information about how to care for them when you buy them, so you’ll need to find the answers to your questions elsewhere. Here are a few ideas:

  • Ask Google. Google your question and you will undoubtedly find your answer. For example, if you Google “are anthuriums poisonous?” you will find soon enough that the answer is yes.
  • Visit a forum. When I was trying to figure out the answers to all my questions early on I spent quite a bit of time on useful forums found on such websites as GardenWeb and the UBC Botanical Garden. These sorts of communities have experts that are willing to share their wealth of information with you.

Spotlight on the Golden Pothos

Each week I will spotlight a specific houseplant at the end of the post and this week it is the Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum). I have four of these in my house and let me just say that if you are looking for an easy-going plant that will tolerate neglect, this is a great choice! Here is some quick information regarding the care of this popular houseplant:golden-pothos

  • Light: Moderate light, but will tolerate low light (I keep some of mine fairly far from any windows and they do very well).
  • Temperature: Normal house conditions are fine.
  • Water: Water when dry. This plant prefers to be dry rather than overwatered.
  • Fertilizer: You can fertilize pothos, but it is not necessary. I do not fertilize mine.
  • Soil: Regular houseplant soil is fine.
  • Repotting: Repot every few years when the plant appears to be growing out of the pot or the soil begins breaking down.
  • Propagation: Very easy to propagate—simply take cuttings of any healthy stem, place them in water, and wait for roots to begin growing. golden-pothos-cuttingsAfter roots appear, plant the cuttings in soil.
  • Toxicity: Poisonous (non-lethal) to pets. Sap causes burning sensation in the mouth and may lead to digestive problems.
  • Pests: Uncommon.
  • Miscellaneous: You can trim back a large plant’s vines to produce a fuller look. These plants work very well on high shelves where you can run the lengthy vines around and along the edges for decorative accents. Keeping them up high and out of reach also prevents your pets from accessing them (see toxicity warning above).

What’s next?

If you’ve determined that you’ve got suitable conditions for houseplants in your home, then you are ready to buy! Next Monday I’ll offer a few money-saving tips when it comes time to make your houseplant purchase.

Reader Reflection

Do you have any creative solutions to some of the problems one might have raising houseplants?

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