Category: Houseplants (page 1 of 2)

Have a garden question? There’s an app for that.

This is a completely unsponsored post. I’ve just found this app useful and wanted to share it with you.

It’s no secret that I love podcasts. I listen to them while I clean the house, do the laundry, make dinner, and work on the computer. If you were to look at the podcasts I’ve subscribed to, you’d notice the topics range from science news to money and business to motherhood. And, of course, gardening.

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Houseplants: Aloe (Aloe vera)

There’s a good chance you know the plant being highlighted today (and you probably even know it’s scientific name, you smarty-pants): Aloe vera. In the past it has also gone by the name Aloe barbadensis, but the most recent information I could find has grouped Aloe vera and Aloe barbadensis back together under the Aloe vera name.

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Hardening Off Plants

A common complaint among novice gardeners is that they buy a beautiful looking tomato (or pepper or what-have-you) plant from the garden center, they bring it home to their own garden, and it seems to suffer. The plant, not necessarily the gardener. It gets brown leaves, maybe. Or doesn’t seem to grow. Or a myriad of other problems, and the gardener concludes they just don’t have a “green thumb”. Continue reading

Houseplants: African violet (Saintpaulia sp.)

Chances are you or someone you know (your grandma, maybe?) owns or has owned an African violet. They’re the standbys and workhorses of every garden center – and perhaps the most well-known of all the houseplants. But, they’re lovely, so it’s a well-earned place. And there are so many varieties and hybrids available that you could amass quite a collection of them – and then join the African Violet Society of America (or a local chapter) so you can show them off and collect more! Continue reading

How-To: Forcing Bulbs Indoors

Over the years, a question I often get is “can I make these bulbs bloom indoors?” In the past, I’ve given an answer along the lines of, “Yeah, I think you should be able to. I mean, I know it can be done.” But because I had never done it myself, and didn’t really know the specifics, that was about as helpful as I could be. Sure, I had read that it could be done…but reading and doing are two quite different things. Especially when it comes to gardening.

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Houseplants: Zz plant (Zamioculcas zamifolia)

Ok guys, I’m really excited to introduce you to this next houseplant. My favorite houseplant. Maybe you think I say that about all my houseplants – and, there are definitely a lot on the list of “one of my favorites” – but, for real, this is one great plant. And if you’re looking for a plant that will really help your brown thumb get a little greener, then this is the plant for you. Continue reading

Houseplants: Pepperomia (Pepperomia incana)

I hesitated about whether or not I should introduce you to this plant. Not because it’s hard to care for, or because it’s ugly or something. It’s actually quite a laid back houseplant, and I think it looks very nice. But I hesitated because it is so different than the other peperomias you’re more likely to find. (Unless you have cooler plant stores in town than I do, which in that case, I want to come visit.) And mine seems to be quite different in growth than any of the ones you’re more likely to see on an internet image search. Continue reading

Houseplants: Dragon tree (Dracaena marginata)

My husband says that “car-guys” don’t name their cars; they call them what they are. Which is why my car is named “Hector-the-Adventure-Car”, and his is just “the Hyundai” (except that I’ve taken to calling it “the Vanilla Bean”, a name bestowed by a friend and former roommate of my husband, so there’s that).

Well, in my opinion, the same goes for “plant-people”; we call our plants by their rightful names. Which is why his plant is named Wilson, and mine, of the same variety, is “the dracaena”.

dracaena marginata

This is Wilson. He’s grown quite a lot (like probably a foot) over the last couple years that he’s lived here. I’m sorry I don’t have a “before” and “after” photo, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

I suppose we complement each other well.

Wilson and the dracaena came to us through similar means – he was given his plant as a house-warming gift and I inherited mine from a friend who was moving across the country. If there’s anything I love more than a good houseplant it’s a free houseplant.

dracaena marginata

This is “the dracaena”. It too, has grown a bit since I acquired it. But, our bedroom gets less light than the kitchen, so its growth hasn’t been quite as noteworthy. I’ve had it for almost three years, though, so I should probably repot it soon.

Dracaena marginata is the technical name for what is commonly called the Madagascar dragon tree, or just simply: the dragon tree. It’s an incredibly low maintenance plant, and with it’s multi-colored (variegated) leaves its really quite attractive. To keep it looking its best, there are some things you’ll want to remember:

  1. The dragon tree needs bright, indirect light. If it’s in an area that doesn’t get enough light, you’ll know because the leaves will become pale rather than the vibrant colors it once was. If it’s getting too much light, the leaves can become scorched (brown, crispy spots will appear).
  2. It doesn’t like to be soggy – so water it well once a week (or when the top inch or so of potting mix is dry) and don’t let it sit in standing water.
  3. To really thrive, feed it once a month (or up to twice a month in the spring and early summer) with a general houseplant fertilizer.

If your growing conditions are just right, the dracaena can grow quite tall (10-15 feet, indoors). As it grows taller, you’ll be able to see more of the pale, gray stem with the leaves bunched at the top. If it is growing quickly (as it can during the first few years) you may need to re-pot it every year into a larger pot. As the growth slows, you can delay repotting for every 2-3 years, keeping the same size of pot (really just to refresh the potting mix).

dracaena marginata

Here are Wilson and the dracaena together. Wilson is definitely catching up in height – but still has leaves along most of the stem, while the dracaena (which is considerably older) is showing a lot of stem.

How about you? Do you name your plants? (or cars?)

Houseplants: Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Today I want to introduce you to one of my oldest houseplants. Except that actually, the ones pictured here aren’t the original; they are clones of it, however. Confused? Don’t worry – I’ll explain it all. Continue reading

Houseplants: Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)

Do you remember the old Frosty the Snowman movie, where Frosty and Karen are trying to get to the North Pole and escape the evil magician, but Karen gets really cold (she really wasn’t dressed for an expedition to the North Pole) and they suddenly discover a greenhouse in the middle of the forest that’s growing Christmas Poinsettias? No? Well, that might be one of my favorite parts of the movie. The thought of a greenhouse full of tropical plants in the middle of a winter-y woods sounds very cozy.

The point of this trip down memory lane: the Christmas poinsettias.

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