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Daniel Dalton, founder and director of Dalton Conservatory, an up-and-coming nonprofit that hopes to build a modern conservatory in Colorado Springs by 2030, will address all your houseplant issues at classes on Sunday and May 2. Courtesy Daniel Dalton

Stocking up on houseplants apparently made a lot of us feel better over the past year.

The houseplant industry is booming, according to Daniel Dalton, founder and director of Dalton Conservatory, an up-and-coming nonprofit that hopes to build a modern conservatory in Colorado Springs by 2030. 

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"A lot of people caught the bug," the former high school physics and science teacher says. "Being stuck indoors for so long and without the normal amount of human contact has prompted many of us to get a little houseplant happy, as in perhaps we're buying too many. And now you have maybe dozens of living, breathing organisms that need the proper care, and sometimes we don't know what we're doing with these green things."

Could this be you? Maybe your little green friend has yellow spots or its leaves keep dropping. Perhaps those annoying gnats buzz your head all day long.

You don't get it. You've watered it daily for weeks because Colorado is so dry. Or maybe you've heard how deadly it can be to overwater a plant so you've put it on a weeks-long water diet. 

Whatever your plant dilemma, Dalton is here for it. He'll address your issues during two "What's wrong with my plant?!" classes at The Living Room. The first event is Sunday, April 18, at the nursery's downtown location, 22 E. Rio Grande St., and the second is Sunday, May 2, at the nursery's new second location, 12229 Voyager Parkway. The last 20 minutes of each class is a chance for attendees to shop using a special discount.

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If you've already gone and bought dozens of plants, Dalton encourages you to check yourself before you buy again: "In the classes I teach, I do surveys: How many plants have you collected since COVID started? Ten or more? Most hands are up. Twenty or more? Hands are still up."

He compares buying plants to buying chicks, which, of course, turn into full-fledged chickens.

"Would I buy 20 chicks?" he says. "Am I OK with having 20 plants that in three years time will be double, maybe quadruple the size? What will I do then?"

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Instead of going about it willy-nilly, do some research and set some goals and limits. Connect with other plant lovers, says Dalton, and learn how to share cuttings. You don't want to wind up with a bunch of plants you don't know how to care for.

"Everybody has killed a plant. That’s how we learn about the cycle of life," Dalton says. "I’m a big fan of people starting out slow and grow, grow, grow. Start out fast, just won’t last."

Contact the writer: 636-0270

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