Thursday, October 26, 2017

About the Birdnest Fern

As I walked into the florist, this splendid Birdnest fern was sitting on the the penny floor right next to the front door. If growing ferns interests you, the Birdnest fern is one of the easiest ferns to keep indoors. I'd really recommend this for a beginner.

It's called a Birdnest fern because its center crown looks very much like it could be a home for birds, although in miniature. It has stiffly spreading fresh green leaves that emanate from its center. The fronds can eventually grow 3 feet (or 90cm) long so make sure you'll have the space for it. !t will take a few years, at least, for this one to grow that large. 

Its botanical name is Asplenium nidus and if you are walking through Queensland, Australia or parts of Japan you just may happen upon on one growing naturally there. 

~~You can send plants or floral arrangements as a gift, almost anywhere in the world from this great florist:  Flowers and Plants Etc.

Care Instructions--
  • Bright indirect light or some morning sun is perfect. Sitting in a north-facing window is ideal. 
  • Ferns must stay on the moist side so give them some water as soon as the top is dry. A plant in a 6" (15cm) pot should take about 1 pint (almost 1/2 liter) of water when necessary. In an 8" diameter pot (20cm), use about 1 quart of water to thoroughly moisten it.
  • Provide humidity for your fern. A daily misting is recommended. 
  • You can also put pebbles in their saucer and keep water in the saucer so that the bottom of the pot sits just above water, not in it. The evaporating water does provide some humidity. The Birdnest fern is tolerant of less humidity than some other ferns.
  • Normal indoor temperatures should suit them just fine.
  • Fertilize regularly for best growth

***For a variety of  video clips on houseplant care from my 90's TV series, click below:

Friday, July 28, 2017

How to keep your Phalaenopsis Orchid Blooming for Months

I took a picture of these two Phalaenopsis orchids just the other day. They have bloomed from January to July this year. If they are given regular care those flowers will last! As long as the orchid bark does not dry out completely and they are in bright light but not full sun, you will be able to enjoy their blooms for many months.These are the instructions I use: 

               Care Instructions:
  • Because of the bark media that they grow in, I've found the best way to water orchids is to,first, put them in the sink. A good thorough soak will make sure they are evenly watered. Let the water drain for a few minutes. Watering this way makes a big difference.
  • You can also spray their leaves when you do this, keeping them clean and giving them some instant humidity. It's best to let them dry out about 1/2" from the top of the media before watering. I do prefer using touch rather than time to decide when plants are ready to be watered. 
  • If you keep the temperature in your house below 70°F (or 21°C) in the winter, you shouldn't have to be concerned about the humidity levels, although a daily mist would always be appreciated. If your house temperature is over 70°F (or 21°C )in the winter, and if you keep your air conditioning below 75°F (or 24°C), you may want to place your orchid on a tray with pebbles in it and keep water in the tray just to the top of the pebbles so that the plant is not sitting in water. The evaporating water and a daily mist will definitely help.
  • Fertilize them regularly, except when they are blooming. You can use a specific orchid fertilizer or a general houseplant food, which works well, too.
  • Please click on comments, if you need any more information or have any questions about orchid care.  

**To see other plants on this blog click here:   The Indoor Garden blog
***For a variety of  video clips on houseplant care from my 90's TV series, click below:

The Indoor Garden TV show

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Mighty Majesty Palm aka Ravenea rivularis

Ravenea rivularis
Someone let me know today that they were having trouble with their Majesty Palm so I thought I'd write out the correct care for it here. I did a short segment on this palm in one of the episodes of the TV series, "The Indoor Garden" in the 90's. 

This is a tall and lovely palm that can bring some peacefulness to your home. It's not as wide as most of the other palms with large fronds and you may find you have just right the place for it even in a smaller room.There is something about palms that is so soothing. With just the right care the Majesty palm can grace a space for years.

Palms can be dust collectors so it would be wise to own a feather duster to gently use on it once in awhile. A gentle shower with a garden hose from time to time would be helpful too.  

Care Instructions--
  • Bright indirect light or some direct sun. Full afternoon sun is too much.
  • I've only seen these sold in a 10" (25 cm) diameter sized pot. In that size, it should be watered when it is quite dry on the soil surface or up to an inch or 2 (2.5-5 cm)  below the soil surface. 
  • Water with up to 2 quarts ( 2 liters of water), when necessary.
  • Soil moisture meters are helpful for some and available at many garden centers and online
  • Fertilize at 1/2 strength regularly for best color and growth.
  • Dust the leaves when necessary
  • Some extra humidity would be appreciated. A daily misting would be helpful.
To see the clip on YouTube from "The Indoor Garden" TV about the Majesty Palm click here:


Friday, December 23, 2016

A Frilly Hybrid for Christmas

The cyclamen has become a traditional Christmas houseplant. Its abundance of blooms in wintertime are suited perfectly for the holidays. Last year was the first time I ever saw a hybrid of this very lovely plant and I was delighted. Its flowers appear fluffier and its heart shaped leaves are more frilly around the edge than the original plant. With the right care, it should continue blooming through the winter.
I saw this splendid plant when stopping by a great florist in McLean, VA. You can order plants and flowers from them and send them almost anywhere in the world.


Full Care Instructions--
  • It requires direct sun to do its very best. It will tolerate less than that for a week or so, if you have a special place that you would like to show it off, during the holidays. 
  • Water it as soon as the top feel dry. If it is in a 6"(15cm) diameter pot it should take about 2 cups (about 1/2 liter) of water. If it wilts on you ,don't worry, just put it in the sink and thoroughly soak it, then let it drain for a few minutes. It will perk back up
  • It does seem to appreciate some humidity which a daily misting can help provide, especially if your place is quite warm. 
  • After it stops blooming,fertilize it regularly until the end of April. 
  • As the weather becomes warmer, it should start looking forward to a dormancy period. he hot weather is a signal to the cyclamen, that it is time for a rest. You can water it less and less and let it "die" back by until the end of June or so. 
  • The pot can then be stored in a dark, cool place such as the basement or even the refrigerator, for a few months.
  • Do give it a little water from time to time.
  • Around the end of September you can bring it out, then soak it thoroughly, put it in a sunny window and it should start growing again. Fertilize it regularly and you should have a lovely blooming cyclamen by Christmastime. 

**To see other plants on this blog click here:   The Indoor Garden blog
***For a variety of  video clips on houseplant care from my 90's TV series, click here:
The Indoor Garden TV show

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Split Leaf Philodendron

I often stop by this great florist near me because they always have a good variety of healthy plants. I hadn't seen one of these for years! This was a favorite house plant for a long time and I do remembering seeing more of these when I  was growing up. 

The particular plant pictured here is a youngster and if you care for it well it will produce larger leaves with more distinctive splits and become a magnificent specimen. It is commonly known as a split-leaf philodendron. It was often horticulturally known as Philodendron pertussum and I do recall using that name for it. Officially, it's true latin name is Monstera deliciosa. Philodendrons and Monsteras are close relatives in the Aroid family of tropical plants.

It does to need climb and is often sold with a tall piece of bark to cling to. You can find other things such as a thick branch or osmunda bark for it, but it must have something to grow up with.

The Split-Leaf Philodendron is a native of the South American tropics close to the equator. It's a great plant for a beginner that is interested in keeping a plant for a long time.   

To send plants or flowers to anyone just about anywhere in the world click here:

Care Instructions--- 
  • Bright indirect light or some direct sun.  Full morning sun is good but only an hour or so of afternoon sun would be recommended. 
  • Water thoroughly when the top of the soil is very dry. It's ok if it dries out up to an inch or 2" below the soil surface. A plant in a 10" (25cm) diameter pot, like the one in this picture, could use up to 2 quarts (or almost 2 liters of water).
  • Fertilize regularly.
  • Clean the leaves occasionally. A feather duster works well as does an occasional shower with the garden hose or in the bathtub.
**To see other plants on this blog click here:  The Indoor Garden blog
***For a variety of  video clips on houseplant care from my 90's TV series, click below:
The Indoor Garden TV show

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Small Palm not Often Found; the Miniature Fishtail palm

Chamaedorea metallica

I've rarely seen this palm for sale although its relatives should be easy to find. This is Chamaedorea (pronounced sham a dorea) metallica. It is related to the easy-to-grow Bamboo palm and Neanthe Bella Palm. It's commonly known as a "Miniature fishtail palm" and if you look at its leaves for just a moment, it should be easy to figure out why it was given that name.

This sturdy and calm-green palm is a Mexican native and just about the smallest palm you can buy. It grows slowly and will only grow to a height of about 3 feet (1 meter) or so. From time to time, you should see it produce an unusual-looking cluster that is its flower and fruit. The Miniature fishtail palm is a great choice for a beginner who is interested in learning to cultivate plants from the relaxed Palm family. 

There is another palm that is called a Fishtail palm, too, botanically known as Caryota mitis. (I'll talk about that one on another day.) Common names of plants aren't always a reliable way to find what you are looking for. Some plants may have different common names in different areas of the world. Their botanical name should always be the same throughout the world.

I was delighted to find this palm, which I've rarely seen, at one of my favorite florists. You can send plants and floral arrangements almost anywhere in the world from:

Care Instructions--
  • Bright indirect light or some morning sun is just right. Too much afternoon sun will bleach out the leaves. It will tolerate low light for quite a while. 
  • Water when the top of the soil is dry about 1/2" down in 6"(15cm) diameter pot. Let it dry out a little more in a plant that is in a 10" (25cm) diameter pot. 
  • For a plant that is in a 6" (15cm) diameter container, water with about a pint or half liter, when necessary. 
  •  A Miniature fishtail palm in a 10" diameter (25 cm) container should use about 2 quarts or almost 1 liter of water, when necessary. 
  • They would appreciate misting but adapt very well to normal house humidity.
  • An occasional dusting and cleaning with fresh water is helpful.
  • Fertilize regularly for best color and growth.

***View a short video on the Neanthe Bella palm (a relative of the Fishtail palm) that shows its fruit, on the "The Indoor Garden" TV channel on YouTube:   The Indoor Garden TV show/Water a Neanthe Bella palm

**To see more plants on this blog, click here:   The Indoor Garden blog
***To watch short video clips from my 90's TV series, click here:   The Indoor Garden TV show

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

About the Yucca Plant (for indoors)

I have been working today on You Tube and just posted a clip on the glorious Yucca. I realized that I've not yet written about this sturdy and handsome houseplant. It's very easy to grow this plant, if you have a place for it that receives bright indirect light or direct sunshine. Yuccas are a wonderful choice as houseplant for someone who is just beginning to grow and appreciate plants indoors. 

It's also a great choice for someone who does not have a lot of time to devote to plant care. A large specimen will not need water often. They are slow growers so you won't have much concern about repotting them since the need for that happens rarely. 

The yucca species that is grown as a houseplant is Yucca elephantipes. they can be naturally found in the United States in southern California as well as along the Carolina coasts and Florida. Yucca species are also indigenous to parts of South America and Central America.

There is a species that landscapers use here in the Washington, DC area. It grows well and blooms with a large spike of white bell-shaped flowers in the summer. You shouldn't try to grow your houseplant Yucca outside, if it freezes in your area. It is not winter hardy. It is possible though, for it to bloom indoors with a large spike of white flowers, but I've not seen that for myself, yet.

Care Instructions:
  • Some direct sun is best. They are tolerant of less light but as bright a spot as possible, is best.
  • For a  6" (15cm) diameter pot, water when the soil is dry about 1" (2.5cm) below the soil surface with about a pint (1/2 liter) of water
  • For an 8"diameter pot, water when the soil is very dry up to about 2" (5cm) below the soil surface with about a quart (almost 1 liter) of water   
  • For a 10" diameter pot, water when the soil is dry up to 3" (cm) inches below the soil surface. If it's very dry on top, it can be watered.  Use 2 quarts or almost a liter of water when it's ready.
  • Fertilize regularly for best growth
  • Soil moisture meters made to test the moisture level of an indoor plant's soil are readily available at your hardware store, nursery or garden center.

***For a variety of  video clips on houseplant care from my 90's TV series, now on YouTube, click here: