Tag Archives: Tropicals

House Plants and Water

So many times when talking, about houseplants, I’m asked “how much water does it need?” or “how often do you need to water it?”

Unfortunately, the easy answer is never the most satisfying, as the easy answer is “it depends”.  It depends on the type of plant.  It depends on the amount of sunlight it receives.  It depends on the temperature of the room. It depends on the size of the plant.

In one of my kids bedrooms, there is two Pothos plants.  Both are in identical 6-inch grey ceramic pots.  Both are the same distance away from their respective windows.  Both are watered on the same day, with approximately the same amount of water.  However, when I went in this week to vacuum and water, this is what I saw:

pothos

To clarify, or complicate matters, the plant on the left is in an east-facing dormer window, the one on the right is in a south-facing dormer window.  The south window is shaded by a large tree, and generally seems darker, and the east-facing window seems to be the sunnier warmer location for the entire day.

Luckily, most of my houseplants benefit more from neglect, than from over-watering, and now both are thriving again. My best suggestion, as un-helpful as it may seem: water your houseplants when it seems like they need it.

To keep things green and healthy in your home, here are some other great options:

 

http://www.daviddomoney.com/2015/01/14/top-10-cant-kill-houseplants-lazy-gardeners/

All About Air Plants

After Gardening Saturday, an Air Plant (Tilandsia), made its way home, and landed on the kitchen counter, and there it stayed. My plan is to gather a few friends for this one, and hang them in glass terrariums that I have been eyeballing for years.  We have a bit of an abusive relationship with houseplants at our house, due to a cat that will eat anything stringy, a toddler that will pull off anything hanging, and two older kids who will make dinosaur jungles around the base of any plant that’s available (we do have several great options that thrive despite their enviroments).  I’m hoping that these Air Plants, hung up high will be safe from everyone!

Air Plants are so named because their roots do not need to be planted in soil; the leaves draw necessary nutrients from the air.  In the wild, they can be found clinging to rocks and trees with their roots.

Air plants need air, water and light to thrive, just as any other house plant. They can live in a container (like my future terrarium!) as long as that container is not sealed, and air can circulate around the plant.

Most plants draw moisture from the soil with their roots; since Tilandsia draws water from the air, it needs to be misted regularly.  Like any other houseplant it is important to consider that a plants hydration needs will vary drastically depending on its environment.  One article recommended bathing the plant once/week in the summer, and once every three weeks in the more humid winter.  Obviously in Manitoba, our dry winters and more humid summers would have us reverse that schedule!  Most Garden Centres recommend misting Tilandsia a few times a week.  Our Air Plant is eagerly misted every day, with reminders from our little gardeners!

Tilandsia likes to be in bright, indirect light.  Placing it in front of a south-facing window would probably not be the best option, but in a bright room without a direct sunbeam will allow it to thrive!

It is possible for Air Plants to bloom, but is tricky (not this tricky ).  They only bloom once in their life cycle, just as they reach maturity.  If you see one that is starting to produce baby plants (“pups”), treat it to a bit of fertilizer in its bath or water mist, and you may be able to see it!

Air Plants are so versatile in their ability to be displayed and grown. At an affordable price, they can be replaced in the same manner as cut flowers, and can also be displayed in a wide variety of ways to suit your own home’s style and personality!

collage

 

Fall Garden Clean-up Checklist

We can certainly all remember the joy of jumping into a pile of freshly raked up leaves, and perhaps we can also remember the frustration of having to rake up that pile again and again and again.  However there is more to fall clean-up than simply raking.  A bit of searching around online, I’ve compiled this list which will hopefully assist in your end-of season tasks!

Not included in the list is of course, the fact that you should be rewarded at the end of all the work with a bonfire with friends, while drinking some warm apple cider (or Pumpkin Spice Latte, if that’s your style ;))

Bulbs

*Fall is the time to plant many favourite spring flowers.  Crocuses, tulips, allium and daffodils are all planted in the fall.

*Dig up tender bulbs (Canna Lilies, Calla Lilies)

Trees

*Rake leaves

*Rabbits love to chew the bark off of newly planted trees, but damage is easily prevented by wrapping the trunks.

*Springtime damage from cankerworms is also easily prevented by banding with Tanglefoot

Perennials

* Fall is a great time to both divide and plant new perennials.

* As perennials finish, trim off the dead foliage. You can compost the healthy trimmings to continue the cycle of nature.  Alternatively, some perennials, if left alone, look great as winter interest and can provide winter food for wildlife. Leaving the perennials can also ensure greater snow cover, which can help protect tender perennials against winter kill.

*covering any marginal (tender) perennials with mulch will also protect these plants from exposure to the elements

* Clean away any and all diseased plants and dropped leaves.

Vegetables

* Vegetable gardens are best completely cleared up to prevent any disease or pest overwintering.

Tropical Plants

* Tropical plants should be brought inside before the first frost

Miscellaneous

* Tools should be cleaned and sharpened so they are ready for action in the spring

* Containers should be emptied, at least partially and covered to prevent cracking

* Even the best quality cushions on lawn furniture need to be dried and stored inside

Lacoste’s Favourite Plants

Hibiscus

A hibiscus is (to me at least) a definitively tropical flower.  Fortunately, even though we don’t live in Hawaii, we can at least grow these beauties through the spring and summer.  The gorgeous flowers are one of my very favourites!

Scientific Name: Hibiscus

Plant: Sun to Part Shade (Hibiscus will bloom more profusely in a sunnier spot)

Grows: 6″ (180cm) tall by 3″ (90cm) wide

Keep soil moist, but do not let the plant stand in water or let the soil dry out

Tropical hibiscuses are considered heavy feeders: Fertilize monthly in spring and summer with a general-purpose fertilizer.

 

Tropical Plants

We received a shipment of tropicals in from Florida yesterday, which got me thinking about the whole concept of tropical plants.  When we travel outside of Manitoba, often what strikes me is the difference in plants.  We recently went to a wedding in Hawaii, when we returned and were showing pictures to family, people were struck by what we consider to be smallish houseplants, growing huge, and outside in the ground! There were hedges of bougainvillea, and hibiscus!

When we plant our gardens and planters, even using so-called “traditional” plants (petunias and geraniums for example), I often don’t stop to consider that these plants grow wild in other parts of the world.  While many plants may be arbitrarily classified as tropical, houseplant, bedding plant, or basket-stuffer, when you look beyond those categories, the results can be stunning!

 

Sanseveria, Geraniums, Lobelia, Verbena

Banana plant, Kangaroo Paw, Dahlia, New Guinea Impatiens

Areca Palm with Lotus Vine

Gardenmeister Fuscia, Million Kisses Begonia, Boston Fern, Spider Plant

India Rubber Plant, Spider Plant, and Palm