Monday, December 30, 2013

One of My Favorite Houseplants, Marginata

New Marginata

A Favorite Houseplant, Dracaena Marginata

Dracaena Marginata is one of my favorite houseplants. That might be because it is one of the first large indoor plants that I ever owned.
I was the Plant Lady at the huge Xerox Research Center in Palo Alto, California. They had a 6 foot tall Dracaena Marginata in lower light that was getting a little leggy and it was decided with my contact person, Gary, that it would be replaced with a brand new plant.
He did not want to keep the old plant and told me that if I wanted it, I should take it home. That is exactly what I did! 
The Marginata did quite well at my house, placed next to a large sliding glass door in bright light. Ever since that time, Marginata has been one of my favorite houseplants.
They are really easy to care for once you know how. And they are very beautiful and graceful plants when they are grown in the home. You can let them grow large or easily keep them at the size you want them.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

If You Like Your Plant, You Can Keep Your Plant. Period!

Birds Nest fern

Birds Nest Fern The Clean & Easy Fern

Well, its my blog and I can use whatever title I like. I have heard the words, "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period" so many times over the past year, it has kind of stuck in my head and morphed into "if you like your plant, you can keep your plant! Maybe this will get it out of there. (Out of my head that is). By the way, I did not get to keep my plan.(Insurance, that is...but that is another story for another blog)

However, I did get to keep my plants! This post is about Asplenium nidus, or Birds Nest Fern. There are a few types, the two most common being the Japanese and Victoria Birds Nest Fern. The Victoria has thinner, more ruffled fronds than the Japanese. As far as ferns go, this is one of my favorites, along with Button Ferns and Pteris fern.

One of the easiest ferns to care for as a houseplant is the Birds Nest Fern or Asplenium Nidus. It is more likely to let you get away with a few mistakes than many other ferns. An added attraction is the leaflets that often fall from other ferns, creating quite a mess, are not present on Birds Nest Fern. This makes it a clean fern in my book, unlike the messy Boston Fern. With a Boston Fern, you spend more time cleaning up after it than you do taking care of it! Not so the Birds Nest Fern.

Light green fronds surround a fibrous nest, explaining the name Birds Nest Fern. The fronds are long and blade shaped with a dark midrib. Birds Nest Ferns can grow quite large and the plant pictured here was well over 3 feet tall!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Houseplant Care Ficus Trees

Ficus tree braided trunk

Fickle Ficus Losing Leaves...Help!

#Ficus trees are fantastic #houseplants and very easy to care for after the initial trauma of  being moved to a new location. They have a tendency to drop all of their pretty green leaves on the floor when you first bring them home.
Ficus are notorious for being difficult to acclimate to a new environment. In fact, I would have included it on the list of best house plants if it were not for the problems many people have bringing a Ficus tree successfully through its transition to a new and different environment.
Even those that work in the interior landscape business know what a pain in the fig a Ficus tree can be. However, on the positive side, if you know that it will most likely happen (some Ficus trees barely lose a leaf), you may be a little more prepared to deal with it when it does happen.

I find that houseplants are very adaptable as long as changes are made slowly. This even applies to the fickle Ficus treeFicus trees are often difficult to acclimate because they are quite sensitive to environmental changes and will often react by dropping most of their still green leaves quite suddenly.
Read more about Ficus plant care and acclimation...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Houseplants and Flowers For Christmas

Best Wishes To All - Christmas Plants

First of all, just want to wish everyone, around the world, a happy holiday season! Merry Christmas and Happy 2014...
Just wanted to remind any of you that know folks with a Plant Passion, that indoor plants and flowering houseplants make great gifts for Christmas. They are also gifts that last (unlike that Fruitcake) and NO extra pounds (unlike those chocolates)!!!
So, if you need a gift for the Plant Person in your life, I have compiled some of my favorites from an affiliate and put them together on my website. These are gifts that can be delivered for you and any person that you know who enjoys indoor plants would love one of these!
And I receive a small commission to help keep my site running and me eating!
Thanks and have a happy and safe Christmas and New Year! And don't eat too much!


Monday, December 16, 2013

Great Plant for Your Office - Chinese Evergreen

Silver Queen

Question: What type of indoor tropical plant would be suitable to use in an office environment?

The answer to that question is easy. Try an Aglaonema or Chinese Evergreen. They do well under artificial lighting or natural light and can be found in sizes from 8-12 inches tall to a few feet tall. That means you can use an Aglaonema as a table plant or a floor plant.
Chinese Evergreen is one of the most commonly used interior landscape plants. Attractive and easy to care for, it can be maintained at the lower light levels often found in the home or office environment.
The most common varieties are the Aglaonema Emerald Beauty or Maria, the Aglaonema Silver Queen and the Aglaonema Silver Bay. Read more about Chinese Evergreen plants and their care...

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Hardy Houseplants - Aspidistra or Cast Iron Plant

Aspidistra Care Cast Iron Plant

#Aspidistra Elatior, or #Cast #Iron #plant, is commonly used in interior #landscaping and also makes a great #houseplant. There are a few variegated types also if you have a sun room or solarium, one of these might be right for you. I have not seen many Aspidistra available at the corner store and if you cannot find one of these plants locally, you might try contacting an interior landscaping company in your area as they will often order plants for individuals unable to find plants at retailers.
Aspidistra is a great indoor plant as it is hardy and will survive in a variety of environments, even outdoors. A durable and tough indoor plant, Aspidistra can be maintained in low light to bright light situations.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

English Ivy Houseplants Care

English Ivy - Hedera helix

To Feed or Not to Feed, That is the Question

From Wanda:
I just purchased the Hedera helix #Ivy #plant. It is in a plastic planter that measures about 7" across. It is very healthy looking, and I am wondering how I can keep moisture around the plant, as I plan to hang it from my livingroom ceiling. I don't want to have to mist it every day, and I was told that putting the potted plant into another bigger pot with moss will hold in the moisture so I won't need to mist it so often. Also, I read that I may need to use a high-nitrogen liquid fertilizer monthly for the Ivy plant. Do you have any suggestions as to which brand to use? I have been using Jack's Classic basic indoor plant fertilizer for all my other plants, but did not know if this would be ok to use for the Ivy. Please get back to me and let me know, as I want to take the very best care of my plants as possible. Thank you, and have a great day.

Hi Wanda,

Thanks for the question. The suggestion to "double pot" your ivy in a moss basket is a good idea and an easy way to increase the humidity for your English Ivy. A hanging plant is subject to quite a bit more heat and dry air than a plant on the floor or table.
As for the fertilizer, it should not be necessary to feed any new plants as there should be sufficient nutrients in the potting media to last for a year or more. I personally don't use any type of plant food unless my plant starts showing signs of nutrient deficiency (which never happens) and after making sure that any problems are not caused by improper watering, insect problems, etc. I prefer to add fresh soil to the plant as it is potted up or depleted.
I know that the companies that promote (and produce) fertilizers are trying to make money but I have found they often do more harm over time (for houseplants in particular). Plants have been growing on their own for millions of years without humans giving them chemical fertilizers.
That, of course, is your own decision and you may find it is beneficial to your plants. Any other thoughts on the subject of fertilizing houseplants? Feel free to post any opinions.
And good luck with your Ivy plant.
Thanks again...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Indoor Foliage and Flowering Plant Photo Submissions

Orchid Flowers Oncidium

Plant And Flower Photo Submissions Wanted

A great way to add a touch of green to your home is to use elegant and beautiful indoor #foliage and #flowering #plants. Most tropical plants commonly used today are fairly tolerant of indoor environments as long as they have good lighting, watering and temperatures.
I have recently posted a pictures of Orchids and plants pictures page page to my website. I would love to have additional pictures that others have taken to add to the flowering indoor plants pictures, Orchid picture gallery or my indoor plants gallery. If any readers have some favorite Orchid pictures, houseplant pictures or tropical plant pictures that they would allow me to post to my plant pictures page, I would love to have them. If provided, I will also post pictures with a link to your own plant related website. This can be beneficial to help in building up some extra traffic to your site. A reciprocal link would be appreciated.
You can email information and upload photos by visiting my website contact page. Please note that pictures should be under 1000 x 1000 pixels in size. Information about your plant type, variety, etc. will help in adding a page and picture description. And your name, website link information if you would like that to be included. I hope to see some great Orchid and houseplant photographs...Thanks all of you Plant People!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pothos Plant Care

My Pothos Plant

Pothos House Plant (A Plant by Any Other Name)

Hi Plant People! 

While there really are NOT very many different types of Pothos plants, there does seem to be quite a few different names given to this particularly popular houseplant.

Let's see...I call it a 'Pothos', its botanical name is Epipremnum aureum, some call it a Scindapsus aureus and I know that in some areas of the world, Pothos are called the 'Devil's Ivy'. I am curious to know why you would call this innocent looking plant 'Devil's Ivy'. Anyone know? My understanding is that this name is most often used in #Britain. Are there any #British folks out there that know how or why the name "Devil's Ivy" originated? Post in comments below, if you do, I really do wonder...

Pearls and Jade

Okay, I know this is a really popular plant because I work in the interior landscape business and this plant, the Pothos plant, is the one I see most often as the personal plant people bring to work to decorate their cubicles, reception desks and offices.

The varieties of Pothos most common are the Golden Pothos, Marble Queen Pothos (my favorite, a picture of my Marble Queen here in the post) and Jade Pothos. The is also a Neon Pothos, Pearls and Jade Pothos, the Silver Satin and Silver Splash Pothos. These last four are less common.

This is really an easy plant to keep looking good but often they become thin, pale and leggy looking. The trick to keeping your Pothos plants looking great is simply correct watering, lighting and a little bit of pruning now and again.

Read more about how to keep your Pothos houseplants looking great...
#houseplant #Pothos #plants #Epipremnum #aureum #Scindapsus #aureus #Devil's #Ivy #plant #care

Monday, November 25, 2013

Oh My It's A Spider! Spider Plant Care

Spider Plant - Chlorophytum

Spider Plant Wins Starring Role in Showtime Series "Homeland"

Do you think this great little #houseplant, the #Spider #Plant, could win an award for "Best Plant of the Year"?

Well, yes, I am being a bit humorous, or trying to be, anyway. But read on, #Plant #Lovers, as you just might see this popular #indoor #plant as a bit player in the Showtime Series, Homeland....

I have often had the opportunity to totally remake interior landscaping accounts as an interior plant care professional. A recent account gave me the chance to redesign an indoor container garden that needed a fresh look to make it a show stopper! It was a big indoor atrium with great lighting, twenty-foot tall Ficus trees, towering Norfolk Island Pines and some bed-like containers needing low-growing  plants that would fill out quickly. I also wanted to add some contrast to the all-green foliage in the atrium and minimize the stark container lines. Variegated Spider Plants fit the bill perfectly. They performed exactly as I had hoped. 
Today, that account in Charlotte, North Carolina is being used to film some of the indoor scenes in the Showtime series "Homeland". If you watch the series, keep an eye out and you may catch a glimpse of those Spider Plants, Ficus trees and Norfolk Island Pines.
 See, I wasn't just making stuff up! Read more about my Spider Plant story and about Spider Plant care...

Orchids How To: Psygmorchis pusilla, finally a blooming in my mini orchidarium

Orchids How To: Psygmorchis pusilla, finally a blooming in my mini orchidarium
Interesting little Orchid, the Psygmorchis pusilla....anyone else out there have any knowledge or experience with this wonderful looking tiny plant?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Poinsettia - Holiday Plant Care

Euphorbia pulcherrima - Poinsettia

Pretty Poinsettia Plant Care

Your pretty #holiday flowering #Poinsettia #plant will need some TLC or maybe I should say TLPC. Yes, that is tender loving #plant #care! It is the holiday season once again and Poinsettias usually start to appear just after Thanksgiving week. When the Poinsettias, or Euphorbia Pulcherrima, are put out, the Christmas trees and decorations start going up.
Poinsettia is most commonly used as an indoor potted plant at Christmas time, at least in the United States. In some of our milder climates, it can also be found in exterior landscapes. A member of the Euphorbia family, Poinsettia is a succulent plant. That tells you something about your beautiful Poinsettia flower. These native plants from south of the border do best if placed in bright lighting and average room temperatures. Poinsettias are not difficult to care for it you just use common sense watering practices. Do not expose them to the cold as it will quickly damage the leaves and bracts. For information on re-blooming your Poinsettia when the holiday season is over and plant care for your Poinsettia flowers read more...
Have a Great Holiday Season! May God Bless Everyone Around the World with Peace and Happiness...

Friday, November 22, 2013

Norfolk Island Pine - Some Like It Cold?

Norfolk Island Pine Care
Araucaria heterophylla

Question from Alex: Hello, I have a small about 7 foot Tall and 5 feet in width Greenhouse. Its place outside next to my camper and we live in southern IL. It does get cold and windy outside here. I was wondering if I should put my Larger Norfolk Pine along with the plants inside the greenhouse? It gets humid in there and never goes under 40 degrees inside. Would that be safe? The greenhouse kept 30 degrees in 17 Degree weather a few days ago. None of my plants froze or anything.

Norfolk Island Pine


Hi Alex, Recommended low temps for the Norfolk Island Pine are about 40 to 45 degrees F. You may see some damage or growth problems at lower temps but it should survive okay. If you think it may get colder in your greenhouse, you can help protect your tree by covering with clear plastic to let in light and keep in some warmth. Then place in your greenhouse. That should give it enough protection from the cold weather you have in your state. Hope your Araucaria does well. Thanks!
Read more about houseplant care and Norfolk Island Pine...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Peace Lily, an Easy Flowering Indoor Plant

Peace Lily Plant

Peace Lily A Great Flowering Houseplant

One of the most common houseplants, other than Pothos, is the Spathiphyllum. Also known as Peace Lily or White Flag, these plants are often given as gift plants.

While it does not offer a lot in the way of color because the flower is white, it is still one of the few houseplants that will tolerate average indoor conditions and still produce flowers throughout the year.

Bring home a Mum or Begonia and chances are, unless you have a sun room, skylight or atrium, the flowers won't last more than a week or two and still look good.

Peace Lily will flower for a good part of the year and when it is not in bloom you will have a lovely foliage plant to enhance your home.

If you have ever owned one of these plants, you know that if you let it dry completely, it will lay down on the floor in a full faint! While they do not need to be kept constantly wet, Spathiphyllums also do not like to be treated as a cactus, either!
Read more about Peace Lily and their care..
#Peace #Lily #plant #care #flowers #plants

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Best Houseplants - Great Indoor Plants

Best Houseplants, Snake Plant
Snake Plant - Black Gold
Question: I have been looking for a houseplant that is easy to care for and hard to kill. I am not very experienced with indoor plants and I have only owned a couple. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer: If you don't have very much experience with houseplants, I have created list of best houseplants for anyone on my website. These are plants that just about anyone can grow and keep indoors as they are tolerant of average household conditions and are not exceptionally hard to maintain.
Of course, if you really don't have any time to give to living plants, you may want to go with artificial plants.
However, the plants on this list require minimal attention. Some of the plants on this list are the Snake Plant, the Pothos and various Dracaenas. These are some of the easiest to care for plants that are available. Snake Plants are really at the top of the list as they will get by with infrequent watering. Of course, if you have a problem with watering your plants properly, you won't be able to keep many houseplants alive for too long. Read more about the best houseplants and watering your indoor plants at

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Snake Plant Care - Sansevieria trifasciata

Question: I need to find a houseplant that is nearly impossible to kill! I am away often and forget to water my poor houseplants...I feel so bad when they die. Any suggestions?


I don't know of any houseplants that are literally impossible to kill except, perhaps, those that are made out of silk! However, there is some good news in that the Snake Plant comes pretty close to that description. It is on my list of best houseplants for anyone for that very reason.
Sansevieria is also known by some as Snake Plant or Mother-in-Laws-Tongue. While no houseplant is totally indestructible, the Snake Plant is very forgiving if you are not good about remembering to water your houseplants.
You will need to make sure that your Snake Plant is not exposed to temperatures below 50°F as they will be damaged by cold temps.
Read more about Snake Plant and proper plant care...

Friday, November 15, 2013

English Ivy - A HousePlant for All Seasons

My Indoor English Ivy

Question: I need a low growing ground cover type of plant that will do well in lower light and can be kept in a container on the patio or indoors. What type of plant would work?


English Ivy, or Hedera helix, is a great indoor or outdoor plant. It generally requires little care if given the right conditions, preferring bright, indirect light, cooler temperatures and some humidity. It doesn't mind very cold temperatures if "hardened off" first. It will survive temperatures below freezing.
You have, no doubt, often seen English Ivy growing outside on the side of a house or on a fence. There is some English Ivy planted in a clay pot outside my front door and it has survived snow, ice and drought without much care. It is much easier to grow outside than inside but can be kept inside with some TLC. 
English Ivy tends to be more difficult when you first bring it home, especially if it is an immature plant with a weak root system. Read more about English Ivy plant care...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Orchid and Houseplant Photo Submissions Wanted

Orchids, US Botanical Gardens
Elegant and beautiful flowering #plants, #Orchids are a great way to add a touch of color and class to any interior design. #Phalaenopsis Orchids are readily available in almost any store that sells indoor plants. One of the easier to care for Orchids, Phalaenopsis , or Moth Orchids, are tolerant of most indoor environments as long as they have good lighting and temperatures. Read more about Orchids care...
When I visit a botanical garden or greenhouse, I love to take photographs, especially of flowers. I have recently posted a pictures of Orchids page to my website along with other houseplant and flower pictures. I would love to have pictures that others have taken to add to the gallery. If any readers have some favorite Orchid pictures or even houseplant pictures that they would allow me to post to my plant pictures page, I would love to have them.

 If you have any photos you would like to submit, you can email information and upload photos by visiting my website and going to the contact page. Please note that pictures must be under a certain size or they will not upload. Information about your plants type, variety, etc. will help in adding a page and picture description.  And your name, website link information if you would like that to be included. As an alternative, you can visit the Facebook Page for PlantAndFlowerInfo and post pictures with information about the plants or flowers and your own website information, if you have a plant and flower related site. I hope to see some great Orchid and houseplant photographs...Thanks

Monday, November 11, 2013

Blooming Bromeliads

Aechmea bromeliad

Question from Carol: 

Is there a way to get the Aechmea Fasciata to come into flower, I have had mine from a pup and now perhaps 3 to 4 years old, it has 4 pups on it well grown but has not flowered yet, I wonder if to treat it like cacti and with hold watering from September to march to force it to flower?
What I can tell you is that if your Aechmea Bromeliad is in your home, in average indoor conditions, you will have a hard time getting it to #flower. They really need to be in a greenhouse type of environment. I have done this before and it only worked when I raised my plant in my greenhouse. I did not withhold water and am not sure that would work. Try putting it in a greenhouse type of situation. Very bright indirect lighting, high humidity. Ethylene gas can help induce flowering and is produced by ripening apples.
Perhaps you can create a greenhouse atmosphere using a large clear plastic bag and close it around your Bromeliad. Place a cut apple inside with the plant. Let me know if you get your plant to perform! Thanks for visiting

Friday, November 8, 2013

Plants and the Xerox Research Center Palo Alto California

My English Ivy-Hedera Helix

Interior Landscapes and Indoor Plant Care

I started in the interior landscape industry as an interior landscape technician in 1985, working for Tiffany's Decorative Plants in Fremont, California. One of my first accounts was the Xerox Research Center in Palo Alto, CA. It was such a big account that it took an entire day to complete all of the work caring for the plants. Not long after I started this job, my supervisor at Tiffany's (then the 2nd largest interior landscape company in the San Francisco Bay Area) let me know she had received the first ever compliment from one of their clients, my contact at Xerox. What a surprise that was, it got me a small promotion and, of course, more work! Indoor plant care seemed pretty easy to me but maybe it is mother and grandmother were always avid gardeners but they never really ventured into the world of indoor plants. I have always enjoyed the job because I never had to stay in one place for very long. Days are never boring in the interior landscaping world, that's for sure. Anyway, that is the beginning of the story of my interior landscape career. In other words, I have a lot of experience taking care of indoor tropical plants! I have always enjoyed helping customers on accounts with their personal plants when they had problems.
Visit my website for houseplant care and help and feel free to contact me if you need some assistance. Thanks!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Beautiful Easy Care Houseplant, Aglaonema Silver Queen

Aglaonema Silver Queen

Question: I need an easy to care for houseplant that has some variegation and light coloring but will do well in lower light. What is the best houseplant to use?


One of the best houseplants to use for a beautiful look is the visually appealing and easy to care for Aglaonema Silver Queen. Also known as Chinese Evergreens, most Aglaonemas are tolerant of lower light levels and do well in the conditions of the average home or office. For these reasons, they make great additions to any home or professional space.
Aglaonema Silver Queen is one of the standards of the interior landscape industry. With its fantastic coloring it will brighten up any indoor area and can be grown in medium to bright indirect light, no direct sun, please! It is one of my favorite Chinese Evergreens.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cast Iron Plant Care, Aspidistra Elatior

Cast Iron Plant - Aspidistra

Question: I need to find a tough indoor plant that can double as an outdoor patio plant for a shaded area. What kind of plant would work?

Answer: A great plant for both indoor and outdoor areas is the Aspidistra. Also known as Cast Iron plant, this plant will survive in lower light but will flourish in bright, shaded areas, even out of doors. These plants can withstand temperatures below freezing and they have earned the name of Cast Iron Plants.
Aspidistra elatior is the variety generally used as a houseplant. Most often found is the all-green foliage but you may also be able to locate a variegated type of this plant, Aspidistra Milky Way, from specialty plant shops or special order through an interior landscape company.
They can be used outdoors but should be kept out of the sun as the leaves will tend to become pale and scorched looking.
Read more about Cast Iron plant, Aspidistra plant care... 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Croton A Colorful Foliage Houseplant

Croton Petra Plant

Question: I would like to find a colorful, indoor plant. What kind of houseplant fits that description?


If you are looking for an indoor plant with lots of color, Croton may be the plant for you. Croton, or Codiaeum variegatum, is also called Joseph's Coat because it is a plant of many colors. Some of the varieties are simply yellow and green while others have many different colors of foliage, including red, yellow, green, white, cream and many variations of these colors.
Croton is a visually attractive plant but be forwarned that the Croton needs a good light situation to retain its beautiful, vibrant colors and full, lush foliage. In addition, this pretty plant requires warm temperatures above 60° F and a relatively high humidity level.
Read more information about Croton and Croton plant care...

Orchids Flowers - Photo Submission

Cattleya Orchid Flowers
A great way to add a touch of color to your home is to use elegant and beautiful Orchids. Phalaenopsis Orchids are quite easy to find as they are one of the easier to care for Orchids and they are usually tolerant of most indoor environments as long as they have good lighting and temperatures. Read more about Orchids care...
I have recently posted a pictures of Orchids page to my website. I would love to have pictures that others have taken to add to the gallery. If any readers have some favorite Orchid pictures or even houseplant pictures that they would allow me to post to my plant pictures page, I would love to have them.
You can email information and upload photos by visiting my website and going to the contact page. Please note that pictures must be under a certain size or they will not upload. Information about your plants type, variety, etc. will help in adding a page and picture description. And your name, website link information if you would like that to be included. I hope to see some great Orchid and houseplant photographs...Thanks

Friday, November 1, 2013

Colorful Flowering Houseplants Bromeliads

Bromeliad Guzmania
Bromeliads are indoor flowering house plants that add great color and texture to your indoor garden. Two favorites are the Aechmea Fasciata and the Vriesea.
However, the Guzmania is by far the more common and they are grown in many colors. Bromeliads used for their colorful flower should be in a good bloom stage when you purchase them as they require special conditions to reach this stage.
You can have fun with these tropical plants and propagate by removing and planting the "pups" or shoots that grow from the base of a mature specimen. It generally takes about 1-1/2 to 2 years for these plants to reach maturity and produce a bloom.

Vriesea ospinae

Interior landscapers use these plants as a way to add contrast, color and texture to an interior design. Their secret to keeping them looking great, other than  proper watering and good lighting, is that they are replaced on a regular schedule. This is usually every 8 to 12 weeks, depending on the bromeliad variety, the growing environment and the bloom stage when installed.
Read more about bromeliads and houseplant care...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pothos Plant Damaged by Wind

Question from Michele: Please help, I just received a 25 year old Pothos with very long vines. I left it outside the first night I got it and it was very windy. Every leaf on the vines are gone. Will they grow back?

Answer: Thanks for your question, sorry to hear about your Pothos losing all of its leaves. However, as long as there was no tissue damage to roots or stems from excessively cold temperatures or the wind, your plant should regrow, if cared for properly. It may be a good idea to cut back some of the longer stem to help your plant fill out faster but it should regrow even if you don't prune it back. Read more about Pothos plant care...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Aechmea Fasciata Bromeliad Mother and Children

Question from Penny:

  I have an Aechmea Fasciata. Arrived August as a single plant, has now thrown 3 offspring still in the same! I keep her in the conservatory, feed a little, water with rain water down the leaves and spray.


Your Aechmea has had triplets! can leave them be until the "mother" plant starts to die. Then you pull the whole thing out of the grow pot, remove your babies and some roots with a sharp knife and replant in their own grow pots. Go with a small size grow pot (4 - 6" diameter) for each new plant. Water well, then it would be best to place them in a shaded spot for a little while as they recover from surgery. Then return to their usual spot and continue normal care. The last time I did this it took something in between 1-2 years for the new plant(s) to produce a flower. That was in a greenhouse. It may take less or more time depending on where you keep your bromeliad, but I would say you would be closer to the 2 years before it matures. Hope this helps, thanks! To read more about Aechmea fasciata plants and care, click here...>

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ficus Plant Care

Question: Help! My finicky ficus has lost all of its leaves...What is going on?


Ficus trees are fantastic plants and so very easy to care for ... that is if you can prevent them from dropping all of their pretty green leaves all over the floor when you first bring them home. Ficus are notorious for being difficult to acclimate to a new environment. In fact, I would have included it on the list of best house plants if it were not for the problems many people have bringing a Ficus tree successfully through its transition to a new and different environment. Even those of us that work in the interior landscape business know what a pain in the ivy a Ficus tree can be. However, on the positive side, if you know that it will most likely happen (some Ficus trees barely lose a leaf), you may be a little more prepared to deal with it when it does happen.

As an indoor plant care professional for more than twenty years, I have found that houseplants are very adaptable as long as changes are made slowly. This even applies to the fickle Ficus tree. Ficus trees are often difficult to acclimate because they are quite sensitive to environmental changes and will often react by dropping most of their still green leaves quite suddenly. Read more about Ficus plant care and acclimation...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dracaena Marginata Houseplants
Pruning and Rooting

My Little Dracaena Marginata

Question from Gilbert:

  I have a marginata house plant, It's about 2 1/2 feet tall, my question is: can I cut it in half and if I do will It continue to grow or will it die? And can I replant the top half? Also, will the trunk grow in diameter? 


Yes you can cut back the trunk of your Dracaena Marginata. It will put out at least one new shoot, if not three to four or more new shoots. It will not die as long as you are taking good care of it.
You can re-plant the cut-off top, but Dracaena can be a little harder to root than say, a Pothos plant that you can just leave in water and it will grow forever.
Another option is to root in moist sand. You can lay the piece of Marginata trunk down on its side in moist sand and it should eventually root, although it may take some time. This has worked for me before. If you want to root it in its upright position, try some rooting hormone. It is a little more difficult to keep the piece standing upright but it can be done. Just use your imagination. Don't let the roots get too long before planting permanently.
Yes, the trunk of your Dracaena plant will grow in diameter. I recently saw some Dracaenas in Hawaii with trunks as big as the foot of an elephant! They were, of course, growing outside and were quite old. Thanks for your question, hope this is helpful! Read more about Dracaena Marginata....

Monday, October 14, 2013

Houseplants, A Pretty Flowering Indoor Plant and It Is Easy Care

Question: What kind of houseplant is easy to care for and flowers too?


One easy houseplant that many are familiar with is the Peace Lily or Spathiphyllum. These are nice plants but they produce a white flower and it is not very colorful. If you are looking for a plant that will add some color to your interior decor, try an Anthurium Andreanum. These nice little plants can double as flowering plants and foliage plants. The Anthurium can be found with a red flower, pink flower, orange flower or even white if that is what you like. They require more moisture and humidity than some plants but are generally fairly easy care. Anthuriums are pretty, flowering indoor plants, read more about Anthuriums...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

How to Have Healthy Houseplants

My English Ivy

Question: I have a black thumb with plants, what am I doing wrong?

Answer: Without a healthy and vigorous root system no plant will do well. Roots hold the plant in the soil and absorb the necessary water and nutrients through the root hairs that are located on the root tips. Plants help clean the atmosphere by filtering air through the soil.  The  roots exchange gases and also store carbohydrates for use by the plant when needed. Learn more about how to have healthy thriving houseplants...

Friday, October 11, 2013

Poinsettia for the Holiday Season

Pretty Poinsettia Plant Care

That pretty Poinsettia plant will need some great plant care. Yes! The holidays are here again, or almost anyway. It will soon be that time of year when the Poinsettias, Euphorbia Pulcherrima, are out and the Christmas trees and decorations start going up. Poinsettia is most commonly used at Christmas time, at least in the United States. It is a member of the Euphorbia family, a group of succulents. That tells you something about your beautiful Poinsettia. They are native plants from south of the border and do best with bright lighting, average room temperatures and common sense watering. Do not expose them to the cold as it will quickly damage the leaves and bracts. For information on re-blooming your Poinsettia and for plant care for your Poinsettia flowers read more...
Have a Great Holiday Season! May God Bless Us All...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pothos Plant Care About Houseplants

My Pothos Marble Queen
Pothos plant is a household favorite and is on my list of the ten best houseplants, for their easy care and durability.  Also called Scindapsus Aureus or Epipremnum Aureum, they are known in some places as "Devil's Ivy". The Golden Pothos is the most common varieties. It has a glossy green leaf "painted" with yellow. It should stay that way in bright light but if kept in lower light it may start to lose some of the yellow in the leaf and show more of the green. Lower light will also mean less frequent watering of indoor plants. Other common Pothos are the Marble Queen Pothos, which is marbled with white and green with picture at bottom of page and the all green Jade PothosRead more...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Live Holiday Tree Norfolk Island Pine

A Living Holiday Tree

If you are a Plant Person and you celebrate the holiday season, you might want to consider using a Norfolk Island Pine for your holiday tree this year. They are great little evergreen trees with strong branches that can hold some cherished ornaments, a silver strand of glittery garland or strings of popcorn! These great little trees can also double as an unusual houseplant throughout the remainder of the year and can also be used as an exterior patio plant in milder climates. Talk about reuse and more old tree to throw away, pine needles in the carpet or sap on the floor.
Norfolk Island Pine, or Araucaria heterophylla, is an evergreen tree native to Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean. 
These plants can be found almost everywhere during the holidays, ranging in size from about 1 foot tall to 4 feet tall. If you purchase one make sure it is healthy looking and green. You can visit my website for more information on Norfolk Island Pine, so you can care for it properly. Make sure you pick up a few pretty Poinsettias while you are out shopping! Have a happy and safe holiday season!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Re-Blooming Your Poinsettia-It's Almost Christmas!

Start Poinsettia Around the End of September...

Re-Blooming Your Poinsettia - When the holidays are over and your Poinsettia starts to decline, it is best to add it to the compost pile. If you can't bring yourself to toss it or you just enjoy a challenge, you might want to try re-blooming Euphorbia for the next holiday season. Cut stems back to just above a leaf node, about 3 to 4 inches high. Place the plant out of the sun and allow potting soil to dry between watering. When new growth starts to appear, you can begin monthly feeding. As a note, never feed or fertilize a potted plant when the soil is dry, always water first, then feed. Beginning around the end of September you will need to carefully control the light your Poinsettia receives. The plant will need to be kept in total darkness for 14 hours every night, continuing daily (or nightly) for 8 weeks. You can cover with black plastic and place in a dark area, returning it to its normal location during the day. After the 8 weeks of controlled lighting, return your Poinsettia to its place in bright, indirect light and continue normal care.
For more information on Poinsettia or houseplants in general visit Plant And Flower
Thanks and have a great holiday season!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Indoor Plant Has Yellow Leaves... What is the Problem?

Question: My indoor plant has yellow leaves, what is the problem?


People have often asked me that question as I was working through an account taking care of the interior plants in their office. Sounds like a simple question, right? It's not and there is not a simple fact, there are many things that can cause yellow leaves on your indoor tropical plants. I will give the short list here on what I have found to be the most common cause of yellow leaves on interior plants and I have seen lots of yellow leaves in the twenty plus years I have been on the job, taking care of interior and exterior plants.
First let me say that if you just find a yellow leaf or two every once in awhile, don't worry about it. These should be the oldest leaves and it is normal for a leaf to eventually find its way to plant heaven, just like everything else, plants and their leaves age!
Reason Number 1 - If you seldom take care of your plants, leaving them to their own devices until you find them laid out on the floor...Well shame on you! That will cause yellow leaves, lots of them. Unless your plant is a cactus it will need to be watered on some kind of a schedule that you two work out between yourselves...You need some advice, click here!
Next reason...let me tell you a story, don't worry, it's really short. One day, while caring for plants on a big account, a woman came up to me and said she needed advice on a plant problem she was having at home. She said that her plant was turning yellow and she couldn't understand why because she was watering it everyday! I kind of laugh at things like this because it almost seems silly but sometimes folks don't realize you don't need to and you can't water your indoor plants everyday... Unless you want to kill them! If you are one of those people that believes the cure for what ails any plant must be MORE WATER....You need some advice, click here!
You get the point, don't be too extreme when caring for your plants, they will appreciate it.
Very low light can cause a plant, especially a fairly new plant, to turn yellow and lose foliage because a plant can support only a certain amount of foliage with limited light. The response to inadequate lighting is going to be turn yellow, turn brown and then...well you know what happens next. A plant will naturally thin itself until it has the amount of foliage it can support in the light it receives. PS...this doesn't mean you should put your indoor plants out on the patio to fry!  Click here if you want to!
These are really the main reasons that indoor plants turn yellow, believe it or not. If your plant has insect problems, you would most likely be able to see that and that is another reason too but not as big a problem as the other three listed above. 
Anyway, keep those indoor plants alive and growing because plants are good for us all...Thanks!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Potting Up Your Houseplants


An email sent by a reader asked about re-potting an indoor plant properly


Regarding your comment/question on "how to repot to a new pot and how to trim without causing problems to the plant".

Since I don't have any information on the plant type, size etc. I can give you only general information on this.

First only repot if your plant really needs to be repotted. That is the roots have filled the grow pot and the plant no longer holds enough water for it to make it through at least a week before needing to be watered again. If these things are true then you should be able to repot your plant into a new grow pot of a size no larger than 2-4 inches in diameter than the pot your plant is now in. Only pot into pots that have drainage holes in the bottom and do not size up more than a few inches.
Remove the plant from the existing grow pot. This is easiest to do if the soil has been allowed to dry out most of the way. If it won't come out of its pot easily, lay it down on its side and push down on the side of the pot, this should loosen it so you can remove it. If not, you may have to cut if off.
Put enough sterilized potting mix in the bottom of the new grow pot so when you set your plant in, the top of the soil/root ball is about 1/2 to 1 inch below the edge of the pot. Take your plant and loosen the root mass with your fingers then place back in the new pot, centering it.
Slowly add soil around the sides of the root ball, firming it down as you go, until the new soil is even with the top of your plants root ball. Then water well to remove air pockets from the new soil. No plant food, just water.
Place your plant in a well lit spot, but out of direct sun and heat for a week or so and then, if you see no problems, move it back to its original location.
That should do it for repotting. As for trimming your plant, it really depends what kind of plant you have. If you can tell me that I can give you some information. If you don't know, you can attach a picture. Hope this helps. Thanks for visiting the website.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Watering Your Tropical Houseplants

The amount and interval of watering for each plant is different and depends on a variety of factors. These include the type of plant, the grow pot size, the light intensity, the time of year, the amount of foliage, the growing medium, the micro environment and the overall health of the plant. For instance, a plant set next to an air vent is going to require more frequent watering than one that is not. Plants that have been moved to a new environment often use more water as they acclimate to new conditions. A plant with an abundance of foliage is going to require much more moisture than a very sparse plant. If your plant is in a plastic container, it will stay moist much longer than a plant in a clay or wood container. The clay and wood are porous and allow for good air circulation and therefore the soil will dry more quickly. All of these things should be considered as you make the decision on whether to water or not. To read more about indoor tropical plants and watering properly....Click here

Monday, August 12, 2013

Rhapis Excelsa Palms in Florida

I recently received this comment/question from a reader. I have an email form for questions and comments, but often there is no return email address so I will post them here with my best answer and others may have additional information to add. Thanks Florida reader, I hope this helps!

Palm Rhapis excelsa


 Four months ago, I relocated within Central Florida. I uprooted some of my 10'-12' tall Rhapis excelsa palms to take with me & potted them in 24" wide pots, using Miracle Gro's Moisture Control Potting Soil. I planted 12 plants, at a rate of 4 per pot. Unfortunately, they didn't do well during the move & only 4(in 1 pot) seem to have survived. The others wilted & seem to be rotting from the top down, though 5'-7' of each trunk from the ground up are still green. I cut off the dead fronds and there's been no new growth from the tips, which are now rotted. What can I do to try to save them? Please, advise? Thanks!


I have had Rhapis palms that were in similar condition that I was able to regrow into healthy, vigorous plants but since I don't know much about how you plan to use the palms, what kind of light they are in, etc. I can only give a general answer to this. If the roots of your palms are still somewhat healthy, you should cut any stalks that have started to die back off just above soil level. This will help the plant direct energy to growing new healthy stalks. Given some time, the plant should put out many new shoots and, if you give it proper light and watering, it should be a nice full plant, if somewhat shorter than you started with, in no time at all. Read more about Rhapis palm care....