WAIT! Don't go away. I know some of you will see the headline and think, "I don't do houseplants. This won't apply to me." But don't be so sure.

You could be one of those people that I just talked to the other day who told me they had a black thumb. It might come as a surprise to you, but there's no such thing as a black thumb. You just haven't met the right plant yet. (I tell people who hate cats the same thing - you just haven't met the right cat.)

The growing of houseplants is on the rise, and there are several reasons to account for that. With these reasons, you no longer have an excuse for not growing them (unless of course, you simply don't like plants).

1. Houseplants make a home look lived-in and cozy. They don't if they're half-dead of course, but a healthy houseplant gives the illusion that this is a home, not just a house.

2. Houseplants improve the quality of the air around them. NASA did some studies on this, to see if plants could help improve the air in space. It turns out that not only do plants turn carbon dioxide into oxygen (which we've known), some actually filter the air and rid it of toxins.

3. Houseplants improve your mood. Think about it. When we're stressed, we often go outside and take a walk in the park, the woods, the garden, and poof! Just like that, we feel a little better. Some have suggested that we are born with an innate desire to commune with nature.

Here's the thing - plants weren't made to grow in the house. They like sunshine, fresh air, rain, and plenty of room to spread their roots in the soil. So when you compromise all those things by forcing them to live in pots in the house with you, it's not surprising some of them sulk and pout and finally give up. But that doesn't mean you have to.

There are several plants that do well inside with minimal care. Succulents of various types are easy to grow, but they do generally need very bright light. If you have a well-lit spot, try a jade plant, an aloe, or one of the various cacti.

If you have a lower light situation in your house, look on the plant tags and choose one that has low light requirements. There are many, such as Zeezee plant, snake plant (Sansevieria), or peace lily (Spathiphyllum), just to name a few.

Some can survive erratic watering from people who forget to do it, for example, the succulents, which store water in their chubby leaves. Don't overwater these, or they'll turn to mush. Others such as Chinese evergreens (Aglaonema) and prayer plants (Maranta leuconeura) can be brought back from droopiness with ease.

Overwatering is the number one killer of houseplants and let's be clear about just what that is. All plants need some water, even the so-called air plants (Tillandsia sp.) But what overwatering means is the frequency with which we do it.

It's perfectly fine to flood a plant when you water it, in fact, you should water until it's running out the drainage holes. But don't water again until the top inch or so of potting soil is dry to the touch. This will be true of most houseplants. And if you really can't tell by poking your finger in the soil, an inexpensive water meter can be a big help. Otherwise, the rule of thumb when it comes to watering is "when in doubt, don't."

But let's just say you feel like you've done everything right and the plant eventually dies. Stop fretting so much about it! Not all plants are meant to live a long life. And even if it only lives six months for you, chances are pretty good that you didn't pay much more for it than you would for a nice meal. Go buy another one and try something else. You don't get that upset when your annual plants get zapped by frost in the fall, do you?

Winter is a great time to have some fun with new plants, creative containers, and using houseplants as a design element in your home. Need some more ideas? My book, Indoor Plant Decor: The Design Stylebook for Houseplants was written just for this. It has eight DIY projects in it, too.

The Paulding library has copies to lend, Amazon has it, and signed copies are available from me, either on my website (by mail), or let me know via e-mail or Facebook. If you don't need one for yourself, it's a nice little gift idea too.

Read more at Kylee's blog, Our Little Acre, at www.ourlittleacre.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OurLittleAcre. Contact her at PauldingProgressGardener@gmail.com.