Flowers & Garden


A little neglect is best for begonias

I've never thought of houseplants as being in or out of fashion, because I grew up with them: angel-wing begonias with silver dots on their dark green leaves, fragrant geraniums that filled the air with lemon or mint, orchids and cacti that obediently bloomed, under my grandmother's fierce green thumb.

Like dogs, they accompanied me through my childhood, on through college and to every apartment or house I ever occupied.
Through the years, the role of houseplants changed. Remember the 1970s, when living rooms were full of avocado trees planted from pits, shower curtain rods were for ferns, and orchids and marijuana grew under lights in the attic? It was actually a relief, in the 1990s, to walk into one of those minimalist rooms with no plants, except for say, one long tropical leaf set in a tall vase.
Some of us, though, held onto our potted friends, oblivious to which exotic species was in or out. But now, it's fashionable to be nesting again, especially with begonias.

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