Late winter is houseplant maintenance time. We all love the lush, tropical feel houseplants provide in the home. Not only do houseplants make the air more humid in winter, some, such as dracena, aloe and spider plants, remove harmful volatile compounds, such as benzene, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide, from our indoor air.

Many of these gasses are emitted from carpeting, paint, and furniture. The result is cleaner air in the house and healthier bodies.

But houseplants do need annual care and now is a good time to spruce them up.

Repot houseplants that haven't had fresh soil in a couple of years. Remove the plant, knock the old potting soil off the roots, compost the old soil and wash out the pot with a solution of soapy water. Try to remove any white residue of fertilizer that has built up over the years on the pots. Repot with fresh potting soil.

Prune back houseplants that are growing out of bounds. Many, such as schefflera, will send out new shoots and become bushier plants after pruning.

Train your houseplants to create an attractive indoor design in your home. Use VELCRO® Brand Ties and Straps and VELCRO® Brand Garden Ties to tie trailing vines, such as pothos and ivy, over a doorway, around a window or along a wall. This can add to the tropical feel to your home and provide a green, living decoration.

Late winter is also time to propagate houseplants. Take cuttings of pothos, spider plants and African violets stems or leaves. Dip the cut end in a rooting hormone powder and stick the stems or leaves in a pot filled with moistened potting soil. Cover the pot with a perforated, clear plastic bag and place it in bright light out of direct sun. In a few weeks you should have new plants.