Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Growing a Wax Begonia Indoors during Wintertime

How wonderful it is to have a plant blooming indoors during winter! This one was in a small pot and lived outside from spring to summer. I re-potted it into a 6" diameter pot and it has grown and continued to bloom ever since I brought it inside. It has been quite content sitting in this south-facing kitchen window since early fall.  

The wax begonia is probably the easiest begonia to keep alive indoors. And they can bloom almost constantly. There are many plants that will bloom indoors during the winter and they really do help keep a place cheerier, which is always a good thing!  

If you'd like to use them as houseplants throughout the winter, your outdoor wax begonias or impatiens should adapt well. If you have larger plants that won't work inside, take cuttings from them, about 4-6" in length at the end of the summer or early fall before a frost. They root easily in water.

Care Instructions:
  • Some direct sun; at least a few hours per day
  • Water thoroughly as soon as the top of the soil is dry..
  • Plants in a 4" diameter pot (10 cm) should use about 1/2 cup of water when ready. In a 6" (15cm) pot, use about 1 pint (almost 1/2 liter) of water. 
  • Fertilize regularly for best growth and blooming.
  • A daily mist of water would be helpful. 

***To watch short video clips from my 1990's TV series, click below:


Friday, November 24, 2017

About the Parsley Aralia

Polyscias fruticosa 'Elegans'

This Parsley Aralia was just picture-perfect and awaiting its new owner that will walk into this florist, sooner or later. This graceful, easy to grow plant is at a stage of growth where it would be best as a table plant but it can become a showy and elegant floor plants as it grows up. 

This one is great for a narrow space and does not grow nearly as wide as many other floor plants. I own a few Aralias, one is over forty years old now, and rarely have had trouble with them. The secret to keeping them going is to give them a good soak when they need water and find a bright indirect or sunny spot for them.

If you ever visit the Polynesian Islands you may come upon one that is living there, naturally.

You can send houseplants and flowers from this delightful florist, anywhere in the world:

Care Instructions---
  • Bright indirect light to some direct sun. Full afternoon sun may prove to be too strong.   Directly in front of a north or east facing window will work out well.
  • For all Aralias:  Water when the top of the soil is dry. They like a good soak but not to sit in water for long.
  • -- in a 6" (15 cm) diameter pot, water with 1 pint of water (almost 1/2 liter)
  • --in a 10"(25 cm) diameter pot will use about 2 quarts of water (or 2 liters) when necessary
  • -- in a 14" (35 cm) diameter pot, use 1 gallon of water (almost 4 liters)
  • Fertilize regularly for best growth.
  • Misting daily with water would be appreciated but is not necessary. 
  • Once in awhile clean the leaves in the shower or outdoors with a hose on gentle spray. You can mix up about a tsp. of mild dishwashing soap in a pint bottle and soap up the leaves first.   
**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 below:


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