Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The Sweet Wire Vine

Muehlenbeckia complexa


I was invited by my neighbor to come over and look at her plants to see if I could offer any suggestions. She recently bought several at a local plant store. This small and sweet slice of life was sitting on her kitchen counter. 

It's called a Wire vine or Maidenhair vine. With tiny soft green leaves on creeping, twining reddish-brown stems, this smallish plant can add a touch of freshness wherever it is placed. It can be pruned as needed to keep it compact. It should divide quite easily if it's root-bound and you still want a small plant.

This is one of the 'forgiving' plants, as I call them, meaning they can recover from setbacks beautifully. If they have a setback or are doing poorly, cut them back quite a bit, remove dead leaves and stems, and it will grow into a lovely plant again, if their care is corrected.  

This can become a lovely hanging basket if you'd like. I hope that it blooms for you! It has greenish white flowers that show up as small spikes. 

Botanically known as Muehlenbeckia complexa, its natural habitat is New Zealand. It can become quite the thicket, if not managed. It is used decoratively to cover walls and fences outdoors.  

Care Instructions:

  • Bright indirect light, direct morning sun or some late afternoon will be best. Full sun may bleach the leaves. 
  • Water thoroughly when the soil surface is good and dry on top. 
  • A plant in a 4" diameter pot should require about 1/2-3/4 cup of water. Test to see how much your plant needs by observing how much water comes out of the bottom of the pot. A little bit of water should drain out of the bottom hole to show that it was thoroughly soaked. 
  • A plant in a 6" (15cm) diameter pot should be watered with about a pint (or almost a half liter) of water
  • A plant in an 8" (20cm) diameter pot or 10" (25cm) diameter hanging basket, will use about a quart of water, when necessary.
  • Regular fertilizing keeps them looking their best and may induce them to flower more than without it. 
  • If they are trimmed back some, from time to time, you will have a fuller, lusher looking plant. Every few months, cut a few of the vines back a little, just below a leaf.
  • Longer vines can be cut back to the length you desire.  
  • They do appreciate some humidity. A daily water misting can be helpful. With the right light, a bathroom or kitchen can be a great room to keep them in.  

~~~~~

***To watch short video clips from the 1990's "The Indoor Garden" TV series, click below:

 
 
©2021



The Fascinating ZZ plant


My newest neighbor was graciously showing me around her house when I saw this. She had  recently purchased this healthy specimen of the curious ZZ plant. She has it in a perfect spot. It's in bright indirect light and with minimal attention, it should be living with her for years. 

Although the soil should dry out quite a bit between waterings, it should not be neglected. ZZ's are tolerant of sitting pretty dry for awhile but watering it as soon as it's ready is best. 

This is a fairly new specimen on the houseplant market and has turned out to be very popular. I've seen this often labelled as a Zamioculcus zamifolia. My most trusted source for houseplant information, when I've been unsure is Alfred Byrd Graf's comprehensive "Exotic Plant Manual". His picture of the Zamioculcus zamifolia, an African native, is different and shows a plant similar to this with more yellow showing in its veins.

If I ever find out for sure, I will list this plant's official last name. Even experts don't know all the answers every time but should develop a good sense about their subject. They should also have good and reliable resources when questions come up.

I do believe this is a Zamioculcus because of the bloom I've seen on one. This species does have a reputation for being a very hardy houseplant and I hope your's lives with you for a long time!  

Care Instructions--

  • Bright indirect light, direct morning sun or a touch of direct afternoon sun should be best for it.
  • Water thoroughly when the soil is dry is about 1" (2.5 cm) or more below the soil surface. The ZZ plant pictured here is in a 8" (20 cm) diameter pot and should take about a quart of water when necessary. 
  • In a 6" (15 cm) diameter pot, water with about 1 pint of water, when necessary. 
  • In a 10" (25cm) diameter pot, water with about 2 quarts of water, when necessary. 
  • Fertilize regularly for best growth.  

~~~~~

 

***To watch short video clips from the 1990's "The Indoor Garden" TV series, click below:

 
 
©2021

Monday, August 24, 2020

Aglaonema Schismatoglottis roebellini

Aglaonema Schismatoglottis roebellini

This particular Chinese Evergreen has a name that we always enjoyed pronouncing for curious plant buyers at the first plant store I worked at in the 1970's. We pronounced it as Shish-mu-glottis. That is the horticultural name of this plant. Its botanical name is Aglaonema crispum. 

Most plants are sold under their botanical name. I do not why official names in botany and horticulture sometimes vary. Scientists often disagree on things. Common names sometimes vary from area to area and it is up to the discretion of the grower which common name to use. You can call this a Chinese evergreen. Quite a long time ago, one of its common names was Painted droptongue!

What is most helpful to a plant owner is how to care for it so that it will live with you for a long time. The family of Chinese evergreens has the reputation of being among the hardiest of houseplants. With regular good care they rarely have problems. If their care is off-track for awhile, they usually recover well. 

My friend, Suzy, graciously allowed me to take this picture of her plant when I stopped by for a visit. 


Care Instructions:

  • Chinese evergreens tolerate fairly low light but bright indirect light or right in front of a north-facing window is best. Some direct morning sun is good; full afternoon sun is too much. The leaves will fade in color with too much light.
  • Aglaonemas in 8" (20cm) diameter or smaller pots should be very dry on the top of soil or up to about 1" below the soil line before watering.
  • Water with up to a pint of water for 6" (15cm) diameter containers.Use about 1 quart of water for Aglaonemas in an 8" (20cm) diameter pot 
  • Plants in 10" (30cm) diameter containers or larger can dry out up to about 2" below the soil surface. Water with about 1-1/2 to 2 quarts for a chinese evergreen in a 10" (25cm) or 12" (30cm) diameter pot.
  • Plants in a 14" (35 cm) diameter pot should dry out about 2" or more below the soil surface, then water with about 1 gallon of water.
  • Fertilize regularly for best growth.
  • Dust or clean the leaves with water occasionally. The spring can be a great time to get houseplants outdoors for a gently washing. A shower in the bathtub works, too.
Propagation:
  • The stems root well in water.
  • The plant can also be divided by taking the plant out or the pot, and gently pulling apart and separating the root ball into two new plants.Repot each plant section into separate containers..
~~~~~

**Be sure to see the video clip about the Aglaonema 'Maria' on The Indoor Garden TV YouTube Channel:

***To watch short video clips from the 1990's "The Indoor Garden" TV series, click below:

 
 
©2020


 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

A Tribute to the Plants of the Amazon



The link above will take you to YouTube for this short poem I wrote for a show we taped at the National Zoo's Amazonia exhibit. I think you will enjoy it. 

This clip was videotaped in 1992.




 ©2020

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Succulent Lamb's Tail

Sedum x orpetti

 
This is my friend, Suzy's Lamb's tail. I just had to snap a picture of this great specimen! Her care for it is impeccable and it has thrived for quite a while in a very bright spot in her home. It's a hybrid of the more common Mexican native, the Burro's tail. Both are fairly easy to grow with consistent attention.
 
The Lamb's tail is distinguished from the Burro's tail by its fatter leaves that are spaced a little farther apart along their tasseled branches. This can also be grown beautifully as a hanging basket.


Care Instructions-- 
  • Direct sun indoors. They will probably do well with only an hour or so of direct sun.
  • Let them dry out some below the soil line. If they sit dry for too long, they will begin to lose lower leaves. Even though they are succulent a thorough watering when necessary is best so that all of the roots are moistened.
  • A plant in a 4" (10 cm) diameter pot should dry out slightly below the soil line, then water with about 1/2-3/4 cup, (enough so the water seeps through the bottom of the pot.)
  • A plant in a 6" (15cm) diameter pot should dry out about 1/2"'-1" (about 2cm) below the soil line before watering with about a pint of water.
  • In an 8" (20cm) hanging basket, let it dry out about 1" (2 1/2 cm) below the soil line and water with up to a quart of water.    
  • Fertilize regularly for best growth and blooming.
~~~~~

 *If you can't find your plant on this blog, here is a link to some other great blogs on houseplants:

Top 25 Houseplant blogs

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

   The Indoor Garden TV show



©2020


Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Graceful Variegated Algerian Ivy



This is the largest-leafed English Ivy variety that I've seen sold as a houseplant. This is the very handsome variegated Algerian Ivy and it is quite easy to grow. It can be grown as a hanging basket or kept trimmed as a shelf plant.  

Its botanical name is Hedera canariensis 'Variegata' and naturally lives in the Western Mediterranean, in North Africa,the Azores, Canary Islands and Madeira. 

This Algerian Ivy was awaiting its new home at the lovely florist below. You can send indoor plants and floral arrangements just about anywhere in the world from this florist:



 Care instructions--
  • Prefers bright indirect light or some direct morning sun. Full afternoon sun will bleach the leaves. Its new leaves will be smaller in low light.
  • Water thoroughly when the soil surface is good and dry on top. 
  • A plant in a 6" (15cm) diameter pot should be watered with about a pint (or almost a half liter) of water
  • A plant in an 8" (20cm) diameter pot or 10" (25cm) diameter hanging basket, will use about a quart of water, when necessary.
  • Regular fertilizing keeps them looking robust. 
  • If they are trimmed back some, from time to time, you will have a fuller, lusher looking plant. Every few months, cut a few of the vines back a little, just below a leaf.
  • Longer vines can be cut back to the length you desire.  
Propagation--
  • This is the easiest way: Stem cuttings root very easily in water and can be planted in potting soil when the roots have grown to be about 2" long or longer.
  • They grow well in water or hydroponically, too. Refresh the water weekly. When you mix up some fertilizer for your other plants add a little of the fertilized water to any container of plants that are growing in water. 
 
~~~~~

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

The Indoor Garden TV show



©2020

Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Peruvian Old Man Cactus


This is the Peruvian Old Man cactus, Espositoa lanata, not to be confused with The Old Man cactus, Cephalocereus senilis. The old man cactus has stiffer "hairs" that stick out and give it a more unkempt appearance in contrast to the soft whispiness that surrounds the Peruvian Old Man cactus.

I spotted this sitting on the windowsill while visiting my friend and plant-appreciator, Suzy. at her house the other day. It is growing well in its own naturally amusing way. She's had for a long time in great light and allows it to dry out thoroughly before watering it.That's the recipe for successful cacti growing!

This living wonder with its snow-white cottony hair is indigenous to Columbia and Peru. It will eventually grow to about 3 ft. (or 1 meter) high. I will have to remember remember to let Suzy know that.  

 Care Instructions---
  • Direct sun.
  • Water when dry 1" (about 2-3 cm) below the soil surface for plants in a 6" (15 cm) diameter pot.
  • Water when dry about 2" (5 cm) below the soil surface in an  8" (20 cm) diameter pot. 
  • A moisture meter for indoor plants van be a great way to monitor when your plant will need water. The meters should be easy to find online or at your nearest garden center.
  • It is tolerant of drying out more, if you should forget.
  • Fertilize occasionally.
~~~~~

To see video clips on plant care from my 90's TV series, click below

 The Indoor Garden TV Show


 ©2019