I Just Wet My Houseplants

By on Feb 6, 2020 in Houseplants |

In my book ‘I Just Wet My Plants’ I note that water is the number one killer of houseplants. Usually too much. We kill them with kindness. I took the following pictures to illustrate a couple of easy tips to improve your watering practices that maybe you haven’t considered.   It is a popular practice to put a houseplant in a coffee mug for desk, office or kitchen counter. Avoid planting directly into the coffee mug.  Coffee is hot.The coffee mug for obvious reasons has no drainage holes. Good for coffee but no so much for your plant.   A cache pot is a decorative container that holds a potted houseplant. Think of it as a pot inside a pot. The cache pot does not have drainage. The “grower pot” inside the decorative pot has drainage holes. By using a cache pot combined with a grower pot with drainage holes the plant will be healthier and it will make...

Tough as nails

By on Aug 23, 2019 in Houseplants |

As the day length begins to shorten, kids head back to school and the outdoor air temperature cools, we begin to think about moving plants indoors again. Without proper care these plants can feel they are under house arrest. Never fear. There are two foliage houseplants that are as tough as nails. As always some stress will reveal character and in the case of plants show how well grounded they are. Plants with fibrous and shallow roots tend to be less adaptable or easy to grow than those with tuberous, thick or rhizomatous roots. Both ZZ and Sanseveria plants have tuberous thick roots. Both are native to Africa. If you’re the type to over nurture these plants might not be for you. If you lean towards neglect they might be perfect.  Sure they need care but are a couple of houseplants that are the closest living thing to plastic known to man. The Zamioculcas zamifolia and the...

A Garden You will Love

By on Feb 10, 2018 in Houseplants |

A GARDEN YOU WILL LOVE Time spent in a garden is a metaphor on life. The objective is not to “prove” yourself. Your intent should be to “improve” yourself and the quality of your environment. A garden by definition is a space, a plot, a pot, a place where plants are cultivated. This can be just about anywhere and size does not matter. It’s the cultivation part that matters. It is projected that in the coming years the percentage of city dwellers will increase from 54% to 66% of the world’s population. A move from the rural to the accessibility of city life. Older generations like the convenience of walking distance and younger generations like the opportunities for experience and lifestyle. This move will change how we love our gardens and we will use plant material in tighter or smaller spaces. It has also produced a resurgence in indoor foliage plants for “breathing” rooms. Cultivate...

Two Plants with a lot of character

By on Jan 27, 2018 in Houseplants |

As always some stress will reveal character and in the case of plants show how well grounded they are. Plants with fibrous and shallow roots tend to be less adaptable or easy to grow than those with tuberous, thick or rhizomatous roots. When people complain of their vines not blooming or their houseplant’s demise the root of the problem is exactly that, the roots. Take as an example a couple of houseplants that are the closest living thing to plastic known to man. The Zamioculcas zamifolia and the Sanseveria plant. Often seen in office environments or airport terminals these two seem to thrive on neglect. Both have thick waxy leaves and low rates of transpiration. You have to however look at the business end of these plants to see thick roots, in the case of a ZZ plant tubers allowing it to go long lengths without water. Adaptable to harsh environments the ZZ plant is native to Africa...

A lesson from a Ficus tree

By on Jan 27, 2018 in Houseplants |

I watch the Ficus benjamina trees that are shipped from Florida to Michigan. When they arrive their glossy leaves have a very pronounced midrib. That’s the visible line right down the middle of the leaf from petiole to the tip. Over time as they endure the cloudy low light seasons of Michigan weather, that midrib begins to disappear on the foliage. Important when it lived in the Florida sun, the midrib would cause the foliage to fold up in half to conserve moisture. Not needed in Michigan the foliage indoors becomes flat trying to absorb what light it can. In addition seasonally up to half the foliage drops off the plant as a defensive mechanism. When that happens if you run for the watering to can and apply more water you simply rot the roots and speed the decline. Here too I see a correlation between the landscape and our lives. When plants are situated in a shaded or dark place they...

The Gift that keeps giving

By on Dec 7, 2015 in Houseplants |

The Gift that keeps Giving Indoor plants today provide style to the home. Indoor plants provide a transition from nature to our domestic living space. Indoor plant arrangements in diverse and creative containers have gained popularity. As opposed to being innocent living defenseless and sympathetic individuals stuck in a corner, today’s indoor foliage breathes life into a home. Indoor plants help clean the air, provide oxygen and brighten our spirits. This can be done in a stylish way. It wasn’t always that way. Years ago indoor gardening meant a Ficus, Dieffenbachia or Dracaena plant stuck in a corner losing half its leaves in winter. A token Fern basket would hang deprived of the humidity it needed because of dry furnace air and then maybe a Christmas cactus and an African violet on the windowsill. Today Orchids, Tillandsia, Succulents, Herbs, Fiddle leaf Fig, Sanseveria, Palms and...