Certain plants just have a bigger following than others. Perhpas it's shape, color, blossom time…
Victorians encouraged winter houseplants.
It is the dead of winter and the house interior seems to provide nothing but dry air.
For this time of year the Victorians encouraged indoor plants.
Harriet Beecher Stowe in her book cowritten with her sister Catherine Esther Beecher The American Woman’s Home in 1869 recommended growing house plants to help bring humidity to the dry winter air in the house.
This black and white illustration appeared in the book, showing the detail of window and plants. [below]
The nineteenth century garden industry provided decorative flower pots, hanging baskets and even miniature greenhouses, according to Thomas Schlereth’s dating your work colleague.
In 1873 Rochester, New York seedsman James Vick wrote in his catalog, “A bay window connected with a warm room, especially if facing South or East, makes an excellent place for keeping plants in winter.
“Few plants can endure the high temperature and dry atmosphere of most of our living rooms. The temperature should not be allowed to go above seventy in the day time, and not above forty-five in the night.”
Vick frequently shared instructions for taking care of the plants.
He said, “The main thing in keeping house plants in health is to secure an even temperature, a moist atmosphere, and freedom from dust. Sprinkle the leaves occasionally, and when water is needed, use it freely.”
Besides offering some leverage against indoor dry conditions, plants are also fun to see. It is a bit of the garden indoors.