Houseplant of the Week: Devil’s Backbone

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Devil's Backbone plant

In summer, the slow-growing Devil’s Backbone will sometimes develop “flowers” (really leaf bracts) that are pink or red, which gives this lovely houseplant some of its more colorful nickname’s – red bird flower and Persian lady’s slipper among them.

But most of the time, this houseplant sports variegated white and green leaves up its “spine.” Easy to grow and propagate, this plant has basic requirements and an aversion to cold.

Caring for Your Devil’s Backbone

Soil/Watering: This plant likes a nice even moisture, so in addition to a good potting mix, you might want to add a little peat most that will help spread out the water but keep the soil from being too wet. Make sure your Devil’s Backbone is in a pot with drainage holes so the soil drains well.

Light/Temperature: Room temperature and a spot out of the way of drafts is perfect. As with many tropical houseplants, Devil’s Backbone does not like the cold, but loves bright, indirect sunlight.

Food: Fertilize in the spring about every three weeks. This will help it produce those nice colorful bracts in the summer. Devil’s Backbone goes dormant in the fall and winter, so discontinue feeding at that time.