The kitchen offers excellent growing conditions for houseplants. Steam from cooking and running water at the sink add moisture to the air which results in favorable humidity for plants.
IN the kitchen, as elasewhere, the amount of light influences the choice of plants. Natural light from a window may be adequate, but may need to be supplemented with artificial light. An improvement in efficiency and economy of lightning can be achieved by adding flurescent light fixtures to replace incandescent bulbs.
In many kitchens the sink is in front of a window. Brackets on the window frame can be spaced one, two or three glass sheleves for plants; glass does nit obstruct the passage of light to plants on lower sheleves. A single shallow plastic plant tray disigned for windowsills also can be used and will hold several small pots.
Plants displayed behind a sink should be unobtrusive; danging foliage ia a nuisance; overlarge leaves are in danger of being splashed. Be certain of your choice of plants for an uncurtained window; many foliage plants prefer filtered lught.
Tiered sheleves at the sides of an east-facing window afford a setting for dramatic African violets. Or let the clover-like red foliage of Oxalis siliquosa trail its yellow blossoms from the top shelf. In a less warm and bright exposure, use plants grown noly for foliage, such as grape ivy or piectranthus.
A sunny windowsill is the place for your herb garden - chives, thyme, basil, parsel. Buy herb plants (father tha growing from seed) and keep pinching them to thwart their urge to flower and seed. Scented geraniums are sources of flavor fragrance and as such belong in your sunny herb window.
Remember to keep a "burn plant" (Aloe vera) near the stove for use as emergency treatment of burns, apply the pulp to a burn immediately after it has occurred.
Assign space on top of the refrigerator for a waterproof box or pebble tray for pots of philodendrom or pothos. If space is sufficient, here as a chance to use a fern hanging basket.
The windowless enclave called kitchenette can be given distinction by adding a plant or two. Its chief short-coming, lack of light has to be corrected first. One ceiling fixture is sacrely enough to read a receipe by, let along to give encouragement to plant life.
If there is as much a foot or space between the top of the refrigerator and the ceiling, install a fliorescent light fixture and grow African violets or an assortment of low-growing herbs.
Substitue a fluoresent tube for an incandescent bulb over the sink, hang a pottery bowl of grape ivy on a swived bracket at one side of swing over and bask in the unreal sunlight when you are not using the sink.
Tillandsia, the tiny relative of the pineapple, growing in a shell or stapled to a piece of bark of dirtwood,. is almost weightless; hang it near the sink where you'll remember to dip it or mist it to encourage blooming or prop it on any shelf among small ornament or untensils.
Today's kitchens often include or adfjoin a dining area a breakfast counter. Plants can be effectively used to help divide the working part from the dining part.
Built-in-dividers such as a bookshelf or china cabinet, are ready-made, above-eye-level pedestals for a special plants, such as spathiphyllum, indoor bonsai or trailing type peperomia. The serving and eating counter itself may be the divider, hanging baskets of ferns over it will help define the separetion.
Where it is not feasible to install fluoresent lighting, table, floor, or hanging lambs desinges for illuminating plants may be used. Plant growth bulbs require a ceramicsocket to disperse the heat, so be sure that any lamp purchase for this use is so equipped.
Inspect all your plants least once a month for insect pests. Use the spray attachment of the kitchen water faucet fro forcefull insect removal, or wash plants with mild soap and water and then rinse. Always wash any herbs to be used in cooking.
If insect infestation calls for treatment with an insecticidal spray, take tha plants out of the kitchen or out of the house for treatment.