July 21st, 2009

Stephanotis Floribunda

“Madagascar Jasmine”

Stephanotis is one of the most coveted house plants because of its intensely powerful, sweet smelling blossoms.  However, the rewards of a thriving stephanotis plant are not easily earned.  The plant is a climber and is usually trained to grow around a wire or trellis inside its pot.   It’s leaves are dark green, smooth and thick; its stem is woody and the white star-shaped flowers are tubular as buds, opening into 5 pointed stars.  If you have a blooming stephanotis plant in a room in your house, you will smell its sweet scent everywhere.  The fragrant waxy blossoms are also much desired by florists for use in weddings.

How to Grow a Healthy Stephanotis House Plant:

Keep your stephanotis plant humid:

Stephanotis is native to the tropical island, Madagascar, and is accustomed to that humid environment. Keep your Stephanotis humid and happy by:

  1. Misting it regularly with a fine-headed spray
  2. Place the stephanotis pot in a tray of water and gravel, preventing the roots from sitting directly in the water, but allowing the plant to receive the humidity as the water evaporates.
  3. Place your Stephanotis in a naturally humid place, such as near the kitchen sink or the shower.

Grow the Stephanotis in the right Medium:

Stephanotis grows in the ground in its natural environment and therefore, will appreciate a soil based potting mix or a half peat moss, half soil mix.

Maintain a constant, still environment

The delicate stephanotis plant will be disturbed by drastic changes in the temperature, strong drafts or anything that moves it or shakes it.  This is especially relevant when the plant is carrying flower buds.  These kinds of disruptions will cause the buds to fall off, before getting the chance to flower and enchant us humans with its fragrance.

Keep the Stephanotis in Bright, indirect light.

Stephanotis are used to growing in the jungle near the equator.  Here the light is strong and bright, but filtered by the tall rainforest trees’ leaves above.  Replicate this for your stephanotis by putting it in a bright window with a light sheer curtain.

Fertilize the Stephanotis plant in the spring and Summer:

To encourage blossoming and growth, provide your stephanotis with a diluted high potash liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks in the spring and summer.

Flowering House Plants, Other House Plants

Peace Lily

July 21st, 2009

Spathiphyllum wallash

The Peace Lily is one of the most popular house plants of all time.  It has achieved such placement in our homes for many reasons.  First, it is beautiful.  It’s large glossy dark green foliage gives a luxurious, tropical feeling.  And when conditions are right, it will also produce alluring white blossoms. As the leaves mature, they have a tendency to arch outward in a very elegant, attractive way.

But perhaps the main reason that the peace lily is such a desired house plant is its ability to flourish in low light areas, where so few house plants will grow.

How to Grow healthy Peace Lilies:

Keep the Peace Lily humid:

For a peace lily to thrive, it needs to be in a humid environment.  It is especially important to create humidity around the peace lily in the summer or whenever it is apt to be in hot, dry air.  The Peace Lily is native to the rainforests of South America, a warm and extremely humid place.  If the peace lily gets too dry, it will become vulnerable to disease and pest infestation, especially red spider mites. Tips on how to create the necessary humidity for your peace lily:

  1. Mist the peace lily foliage 2 or 3 times a day with a fine mister
  2. Place the peace lily pot on top of a tray of water and gravel: this way the roots do not sit directly in the water and rot, but they do receive the humidity as the water evaporates.
  3. Place your Peace Lily in a naturally humid place, such as near the kitchen sink or the shower.

Plant the Peace Lily in the right potting medium:

Peace lilies will grow best in a peat moss based potting mix.  This mix will hold moisture without getting soggy , and most closely resembles the rainforest floor, rich in organic matter.  Do not plant your peace lily in soil from the back yard or any other clay or sand based medium.

How to fertilize a peace lily:

Your peace lily only needs to be fertilized during its growth season, in the spring and summer. During this time, it’s best to use a balanced liquid fertilizer once every two weeks.

Keep the Peace Lily out of strong sunlight

Just as the peace lily is an excellent house plant because it will grow in low light areas, it will get damaged by high intensity sunlight.  Keep the peace lily away from very bright or hot windows.

Peace Lily Propagation:

In the spring time, remove the mature peace Lily from its pot and shake off all loose soil.  Pull the rhizomes apart very carefully, making sure that each clump of leaves has at least on rhizome.  Then plant the individual clumps in new pots of peat moss based potting mix.

Low Light Plants, Office Plants, Other House Plants

Houseplant basics

July 20th, 2009

There are two key factors involved in raising healthy house plants:

  1. Water
  2. Light

1. The main reason that house plants die is from being over-watered.

The soil in the pot should have the chance to thoroughly dry in between waterings. If the plant is perepetually soggy, it can cause rotting, fungus and disease.

The best trick to keep from overwatering your plants is to stick your finger in the soil up to about your knuckle and feel for moisture. If the soil sticks to your finger, it is still too wet to be watered again. If the soil falls like dust off your finger, it is ready to be watered. Most house plants don’t need to be watered more than twice a week.

Another problem people have with watering their plants is that they water too little at a time. Ideally, every bit of soil should get moisture during watering. If you put only a small amount of water each time, only the top layer of soil is being thoroughly moistened. This encourages shallow root growth, since the majority of roots needing water are deep toward the bottom of the pot.

In Sum: water your plants thoroughly and not too often.

2.The second most common reason that houseplants die is that they don’t get enough light.

Many plants that are suitable for the indoors are plants that, in nature, grow in rainforest undergrowth. This means they are used to intense, highly filtered light. Light through a window can be a very good substitiute for the light these plants are used to. You will have best results if you place the plant where it receives strong light through the window, without being right next to the window, since it can get too hot there sometimes.

Other House Plants