Category Archives: Houseplants

Houseplant of the Week: Cyclamen

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There’s something very romantic about cyclamen, one of our favorite winter houseplants.

Maybe it’s the petite blooms on long stems that stretch up above its green and silver foliage. Or the colors – cyclamen flowers come in shades of pink, violet, red and white and have a pleasing, sweet scent. Or those heart-shaped leaves.

We mention that they are our favorite winter houseplant, because unlike most indoor plants, their dormancy period is in the summer. Cyclamen are “tuberous perennials,” meaning they die down to their thick roots (tubers) in the heat of summer, then re-emerge and bloom again as the temperatures cool in fall.

Here are some tips for cyclamen care:

Light: Bright and indirect light in winter when the plant is actively growing. When dormant, keep your cyclamen in a cool, dark area with good ventilation.

Soil: These pretty plants like organically rich soil that drains well. Potting soil does well, but you might want to add some peat in to increase the acidity slightly.

Water: When leaves are present, the plant is actively growing and you should water when the first inch of soil below the surface feels dry. Do not overwater! It’s a common way to kill these plants. Don’t get the leaves or crown of the plant wet, which can lead to rot.

When the plant is dormant during the summer, reduce watering. All you are trying to do during this time is prevent the soil from entirely drying out.

Temperature and Humidity – Cyclamen plants don’t like extreme heat or dry air. Keep them away from drafts too. During the winter, when our air is so dry, cyclamen really want high humidity. Our suggestion would be keeping your cyclamen on a tray with pebbles and water. Just make sure that it isn’t sitting in the water, as that can cause root rot.

Feeding Time – Your cyclamen would appreciate some diluted liquid low-nitrogen fertilizer every couple of weeks while in full leaf. You don’t need to feed your cyclamen while it’s dormant.

Houseplant of the Week: Princess Philodendron

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The Philodendron ‘Princess’ is a beautiful and popular houseplant known for its stunning variegated leaves which have splashes of pink, white, and green.

This plant is relatively easy to care for, but it does have a few specific needs.

Caring for Your Princess

  • Light: The ‘Pink Princess’ needs bright, indirect light. Light plays a large role in the amount of variegation you’ll see in the leaves, but placing it in in direct sunlight risks scorching the leaves.
  • Water: You can allow the top half of your plants soil to dry out between waterings and then you should water well. This typically translates into watering once a week in the spring and summer and every two weeks in the fall and winter.
  • Humidity: The Philodendron Princess prefers warm (65 to 79 degrees) and humid conditions. If the air in your home is dry, you can place the pot on a pebble tray filled with water. Avoid placing this plant in drafty areas or near vents.
  • Soil: Use a well-draining potting mix. A mixture of equal parts potting soil, perlite, and peat moss is ideal.

Houseplant of the Week: Dracaena Kiwi

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We’d understand if you think the Dracaena is an intimidating plant. 

It’s name comes from the Greek and roughly translates to “Female Dragon,” because of the red gummy resin that can be produced by the stems of the plant resembling, it’s said, dragon’s blood.

Fortunately, the Dracaena doesn’t breathe fire. It’s even pretty easy to maintain.

The ‘Kiwi’ Dracaena marginata species has a slightly thinner leaf than the classic dracaena, with banding of lemon cream in the center and darker green towards the margin. 

These plants like filtered light or semi-shady spots. Never place a Dracaena in direct sunlight. It’s ironic, but the dragon plant actually has leaves that will burn in direct light.

Dracaenas also require less water than most indoor plants. Mist their leaves, keep the soil slightly moist but also make sure it has good drainage (Dracaenas hate soggy soil as it can create root rot). A good rule of thumb? Let the top couple of inches of soil dry out before watering.

Dracaenas are sensitive to temperature, preferring it to be about 65-78 degrees during the day and no colder than 55 degrees at night.

Houseplant of the Week: Schefflera

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Better known as the umbrella or parasol plant, the Schefflera is yet another example of a houseplant that will lend beauty to your home while being relatively easy to grow. 

Available in both solid green and variegated varieties, the Schefflera likes “medium” light, which basically means good light without being in direct sunlight, which can scorch its leaves. It will tolerate a darker house, but you’ll want to rotate your plant, because it will lean towards the light source.

Schefflera likes nice moist soil, but it’s forgiving if you forget to water it for a week or two. On the other hand, you definitely don’t want to overwater as this will eventually kill it. A good rule of thumb is to water it when the first inch of soil dries out. Get rid of any excess water lying in the drip tray to avoid problems like root rot.

You also may need to prune your schefflera periodically, particularly when it is being grown in lower light situations, which can lead the plants growth to be “leggy” or floppy. Just cut away the overgrowth until the plant regains it shape.

Schefflera is occasionally susceptible to spider mites, mealy bugs and other scale insects. Insecticidal soap can usually take care of it, but if you have a persistent infestation of bugs, you might need to break out the neem oil or possibly use a systemic insecticide for houseplants.

Houseplant of the Week: Coleus

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Most people know about Coleus as an outdoor plant. Its bright array of foliage colors (red, pink, orange yellow, burgundy and purple), are patterned on leaves that can be pointed, oval or scalloped. The almost endless varieties have made Coleus a popular bedding plant for decades.

But it is also a wonderful indoor plant. It is a relatively easy plant to care for, making it a good choice for both novice and experienced gardeners.

Caring for Your Coleus

  • Light – Coleus plants need bright light, but they should be protected from direct sunlight, which can scorch their delicate leaves.
  • Watering – Coleus plants need moist soil, but they should not be soggy. Water the plant regularly, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Be sure to empty any saucers or drip trays after watering to prevent the roots from rotting.
  • Fertilizer – Coleus plants should be fed about once a month.
  • Temperature and humidity – Coleus plants prefer warm temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They are also tolerant of high humidity, but they can tolerate lower humidity levels if necessary.

Houseplant of the Week: Echeveria

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Is it any surprise that a houseplant this beautiful is named after an artist?

In 1787, Atanasio Echeverría y Godoy was part of the Royal Botanical Expedition to New Spain, an exploration of areas throughout what is now California, Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico. He created hundreds of drawings of the plants they discovered and cataloged, including this group of succulents.

There are about 150 species of Echeveria, most of which feature the beautiful rosette design. They are sturdy plants that can be grown in the shade, but can also take some frost. All the species are drought-resistant, but they tend to grow better with regular watering and fertilizing.

Most species lose their lower leaves in winter. Since these droppings can be fertile ground for a fungus that can then attack the plant, you should remove them regularly.

Caring for Your Echiveria

  • Light: Echeverias prefer full sun to partial shade. However, avoid direct afternoon sun, particularly in the summer, as your plant can actually get sunburnt. In the winter, get them to the brightest window in your home, so they can get their fill of sunlight.
  • Watering: Moderate amounts of water are needed from spring through fall. (Wrinkled leaves? That’s your plant telling you it needs more water.) The plants biggest issues tend to come from overwater, so be careful not to soak your plant too much.
  • Feeding: Not required but, as we mentioned above, they will grow better with some extra nutrients. It’s easy to overfertilize an Echeverias, so dilute your fertilize more than usual and use less often than recommended for other plants.

Houseplant of the Week: Dieffenbachia

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Showy, beautiful and easy to care for, Dieffenbachia can make a super indoor plant.

Its tolerance for low light and numerous varieties make it a favorite houseplant for homes and offices. 

One word of caution, however. If you have small kids or pets, you’ll probably want to make sure you place this plant out of reach. Diffenbachia’s milky sap is a mild irritant and should be kept from bare skin. The sap can even result in temporary loss of speech if ingested by causing swelling of the tongue and throat! That’s how Dieffenbachia came by it’s other name, “dumb cane.”

Caring for Your Dieffenbachia

  • Light: It likes bright but filtered light, particularly in the spring, when it’s tender new leaves can get easily burned. Make sure to rotate your dieffenbachia so they don’t pull to one side of the planter.
  • Water: Keep your Dieffenbachia moist, but be careful not to overwater.
  • Fertilizer: Feed every couple of weeks with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to encourage growth

Houseplant of the Week: Philodendron ‘Atom’

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It feels like every few months we get a new cultivar from the philodendron family that is more beautiful than the last. You can certainly say that of the newest arrival in our nursery, the ‘Atom.’

As a dwarf cultivar, it is compact and will only grow about 12 inches high. It also has a bushy appearance with gorgeous, deep-green leaves that are ruffled, which is why it’s also known as the “lacy” philodendron.

Here are some pointers for taking care of Philodendron Atom:

Light: This plant is native to the rainforests of Brazil and Paraguay, where it grew under tree canopies in relatively high humidity. You can replicate this by placing your plant in a warm, bright area away from direct sunlight, air conditioners, and heaters.

Water: Let the top inch of the soil dry off in between waterings. Your Atom would love frequent misting to remind it of its rainforest homeland. (In fact, it would be thrilled if you put it in a steamy bathroom!)

Fertilizing: Feed Atom with an all-purpose fertilizer about once a month during warmer months.

Soil: A good, fast-draining soil is best. You don’t want your plant sitting in water.

Houseplant of the Week: Syngonium ‘Maria Allusion’

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Syngonium ‘Maria Allusion’ plant in a 4-inch pot in the nursery

The unique Syngonium ‘Maria Allusion’ is a beautiful and easy to care for houseplant native to Central and South America. What make’s this plant striking is it’s new leaves, which will come in pink and red before fading into green.

This plant tends to be compact with lovely arrowhead-shaped leaves.

Maria Allusion is tolerant of a wide range of conditions, making it perfect for new houseplant owners.

Caring for your Maria Allusion Syngonium:

Although relatively easy to grow – and resistant to most pests and diseases – it does have some specific requirements. It prefers bright, indirect light and should be watered when the top inch of soil is dry. Maria Allusion doesn’t require frequent feeding, but you should fertilize every 6-8 weeks.

Houseplant of the Week: Rabbit’s Foot Fern

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Fronds of rabbit's foot fern plant

The rabbit’s foot fern (Davallia fejeensis) is a beautiful and easy-to-grow tropical fern that was originally found in Fiji, but is cultivated all over the world. Like many ferns, it has lacy, graceful fronds, but what makes this fern unique is its rhizomes, which are covered with a fine, fur-like mat of hairs.

Rabbit’s foot ferns are epiphytic, which means they grow on other plants and absorb nutrients and moisture from the air in the wild. They are adaptable enough, however, that they can be grown in containers or hanging baskets, and they make a great addition to any indoor plant collection.

Growing Rabbit’s Foot Ferns

Although rabbit’s foot ferns are relatively easy to grow, they do have some specific requirements.

Light: Your fern will need bright, indirect light.

Soil: Rabbit’s foot ferns like a loamy, rich soil with plenty of peat. Look for a peat-based potting mix, which will also have a slightly acidic pH that these plants like.

Watering: Rabbit’s foot ferns need to be watered regularly, but the soil should not be soggy.

Fertilize: Feed with liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks throughout the growing season (April through September). In the fall and winter, feeding can be reduced.