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Winter Warming

Just because it's winter outside doesn't mean that your interior greenery choices have to reflect the chilly temperatures.

If you're looking for greenery to brighten your home now and through winter, you have plenty of options to choose from. Here are some ideas from the garden pros.

Orchids, which thrive in hot weather, can warm up your surroundings. What's more, the beautiful blooms aren't challenging to cultivate, says garden expert Rick Hotchkiss.

"Keep the plants in a well-lit environment with more humidity, such as a kitchen or bathroom," says Hotchkiss, a manager at The Greenery Nursery and Garden Shop, Turlock, Calif. To enjoy orchids through the winter, water and fertilize the plant after blooming time, he says.

Rosemary, another plant that evokes balmy climates, is very popular now, says Eva Monheim, a lecturer at Temple University.

"Rosemary plants are great for a shorter time. If you want them to have a longer life, set them in a cooler room," she says Monheim.

You may think of roses as a summer outdoor plant, but you'll find new lines of indoor table roses available in garden shops. Monheim likes table roses because the plants do well in a sunny window and can tolerate an overheated home. "Even if they wane after a few weeks, they lifts peoples' spirits," says Monheim.

Scent and color your surroundings with paperwhites (Narcissus), says Hotchkiss. You can buy the tall-stemmed plant with a heady perfume when it's in bloom or as bulbs.

For forcing, place paperwhite bulbs nose-up in the bottom of a bowl (without drainage holes) lined with marbles or small stones. The marbles should hold the bulbs in place but not cover them. Add water just below, though not touching the bulbs. Set the bulbs in a dark closet for five to seven days. The plant will turn green as it grows. By starting the bulbs in the dark the plant is stronger, according to Hotchkiss.

With effort and luck your plant may flourish well enough to add to your outdoor garden in the spring. But don't assume your plant will survive, says Hotchkiss. He suggests adjusting your expectations so you get pleasure from your plant this winter and anticipate a new variety next year.

Winter Warming