Showing posts with label Houseplants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Houseplants. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Air Plant As A House Plant Reviewed

 

Air Plant


Air plants are really fascinating and beautiful houseplants. We love having ours, it is such a pretty and unusual little plant. We bought one air plant and were delighted when it grew a baby airplant or delightfully named  "pup". Now as you can see in the photos, the "pup" is nearly as big as its parent !  

Their ability to survive and thrive with little or no soil is amazing and really beautiful, unusual varieties are now easily available. 

They truly adapted beautifully to their natural environment and with a few care needs we can enjoy them close up as house plants. They originate mainly from Mexico and South America. They do not root in the soil like most plants but instead use their wiry roots to attach themselves to tree branches or rocks or even man made structures like telephone wires. In their natural environment air provides them with all they require. 

Their official name as a group is Tillandsia but most of us will know them as Air plants which so aptly describes them. 

There are over 600 different species of air plants, each exhibiting its own distinctive shape, size, and color. Some common varieties include Tillandsia ionantha, Tillandsia cyanea, and Tillandsia xerographica. All are really fascinating. 

 

Air Plant
Air Plant

 Care Of Air Plants

Air plants, live with no soil to sustain them and obtain all their nutrients and moisture from the air around them. 

I find them quite easy care plants but there are a few vital needs that must be met to ensure the plants stay healthy. 

 

1. Light

Air plants need bright but indirect light. So near a windowsill or in a well lit room would be a good place. These are not plants for shady dark rooms. 

We need to avoid placing them in direct sunlight. This will burn or scorch the leaves so make sure that any light is diffused by the gentle light shade of other plants or a window covering. 


2. Soil And Humidity

There are no soil requirements for Airplants.

All the water and nutrients are absorbed via special scales called trichomes which cover their leaves.

In their original natural habitat it would have been humid so it is important that we give them a mainly humid environment. 

Misting them with water every few days or placing them in a tray filled with water and pebbles will increase localised humidity for them and they will appreciate it. They cannot tolerate soaking for days at a time though. 

Just misting will not be enough though, they must also be watered.  


3. Watering Air Plants

Watering is necessary but it must be done with extreme caution to prevent root rot.  

 It is best to submerge the plants in water upside down for  thirty minutes every one to two weeks. I try to do it every week but if I forget the air plant does not seem to mind too much. I would not leave it any longer than 2 weeks though or the plants may start to suffer. In very warm weather you can water them in this way more often.  

 I simply turn mine upside down so that the water will not collect in the crown of the plant and submerge in a glass of warm water for about half an hour. I do find room temperature water is best, as I feel that ice cold water might be a bit of a shock. Also it is preferable to use rainwater rather than tap water due to the chemicals in tap water. 

It's important to shake off any excess water to prevent moisture from pooling in their base. Once dry I gently place back in its holder. They should be allowed to dry completely before being placed back in their display area or container. 


Air Plant Submerged In Glass of Water
Air Plant Submerged In Glass Of Water Upside Down


 

4. Air Circulation

The main risk to air plants is rot. Air plants benefit from proper air circulation which prevents stagnant moisture  from accumulating on their leaves, reducing the risk of rot. 

To enable this process we must position them in places that are well-ventilated.

Alternatively you can use a small fan to create an artificial air current but it should be possible in most situations to give good natural ventilation.

In the summer it is fine to place the air plants outside on a warm day, especially if it is a humid day. I do always being them in at night. 


5. Feeding Air Plants 

Air plants in our homes appreciate a balanced, diluted fertilizer every few weeks. I find once a month is fine and enables me to remember to do it on the first of each month. 

We need to buy a specialised fertiliser specifically for air plants to provide them with the necessary food to thrive.

 


How To Display Air Plants. 

Due to their versatile nature, air plants can be displayed in various creative ways. You can get quite artistic with them to suit the style and decor of your own home or workplace.


          

They can be grown in plant frames, glass terrariums, mounted on driftwood or stones, grown on ornamental shells or placed in hanging plant holders. I currently have mine in a glass holder filled with white perlite.

 As I get more I would like to have them displayed in hanging baskets and placed on driftwood as I think that is healthy for the plants and they look very beautiful and quite stunning that way. 

Air plants  are very low maintenance plants once we understand their needs and how to meet them. I feel with a little guidance they are suitable for a beginner with house plants or any garden plants. 

Their stunning appearance and unusual habit also makes them a lovely choice for house plant collectors or anyone who likes a more unusual house plant display.

As it is easy to buy small specimens it means that you can have quite a lot in one room and they do not take up much space. In fact I think they add to the decor and ambiance of a room. 

 

        

 More House Plant Reviews

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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, July 25, 2023

The Sarracenia Or Pitcher Plant Reviewed

 

Sarracenia Or Pitcher Plant

 

My husband and I have recently developed a fascination for these carnivorous plants. 

I have been gardening and owning house plants for decades yet it has only been in the last few years that I became interested in these plants. It just shows that when it comes to gardening you never stop learning! 

I knew nothing about these carnivorous plants and each one is slightly different so I applied the same methods I do when first growing any plant to learn about its habits, origin, position, water, feed and soil needs and do my best to help it thrive. 

For me the introduction to Sarracenia came when talking to a very knowledgeable man at a plant fair with a huge display of carnivorous plants from his nursery. As I have said before most gardeners are only too happy to discuss plants with anyone who will listen, so I listened, asked questions and gained a huge amount of insight and knowledge and then I bought a plant from him. 


The Sarracenia is also commonly known as the Pitcher plant, most likely due to the shape of its leaves. It is a fascinating plant and at the plant fair both adults and children were crowding around to see and understand more about these plants.

Sarracenia Or Pitcher Plant Outside

 

Characteristics of the Sarracenia Plant

Native to North America, this quite beautiful and striking carnivorous plant is known for trapping insects in its distinctive pitcher shaped leaves.

The Sarracenia plant possesses several distinctive features. The most striking trait is its pitchers, which are modified leaves that form long, tube-like structures. They come in various colours such as green, red and yellow which gives it a quite pretty appearance.  

 The inside of these pitchers secretes a compelling nectar that attracts insects. Once they land on it the slippery surfaces make escape very difficult and the hairs that point downward prevent insects from climbing out. Hence the insects are trapped and cannot escape and without delving into the gory details, become nutrients for the plant. 

It is worth mentioning that the Sarracenia plant’s pitchers are not only used for carnivorous purposes, they also act as water collectors. They accumulate rainwater, which not only provides hydration  but also serves as a habitat for beneficial organisms such as mosquito larvae-eating aquatic species.


Care and Growing Conditions For The Pitcher Plant

To ensure the healthy growth of your Sarracenia plant, it is essential to provide it with the appropriate care and growing conditions. Here are some very important factors to take account of for the plant to survive.

Sarracenia Or Pitcher Plant on windowsill

 

Position Of Sarracenia Plant

Sarracenia plants thrive in bright, indirect sunlight and need about five hours sunlight each day. However we need to be careful as too much strong sun can burn the leaves

 So in the house somewhere that is a sunny windowsill but has filtered light would be perfect.

 In the summer time we also take our pitcher plant outside during the day onto the patio on a saucer filled with rainwater to enjoy the semi shade semi sun conditions we have there. We do leave it out in light rain so it can naturally collect its rainwater but we do bring it in if we get heavy downpours and always bring it back inside in the evening. 


Sarracenia Ideal Temperatures

Sarracenia plants are generally cold hardy and can tolerate quite a wide range of temperatures. However, they prefer cooler conditions, with a temperature range of between 60-85°F (15-29°C) during the day and about 45-55°F (7-13°C) at night. 

 So if you know that your house gets hotter than this do provide shelter for partial shade. This could be a simple piece of cardboard, other plants around the Pitcher plant or a screen of some kind.  


Watering Needs of Sarracenia

Pitcher plants must have moist soil. They must not be allowed to dry out. However, it is very important we never use tap water on a Sarracenia, it can and does kill the plant. 

Rather than tap water always use rainwater ideally, or if you cannot get that, then distilled water.

We do get periods of drought here now, so when it does rain we gather up the rainwater into bottles to save for use on our carnivorous plants.

  

             

Preferred Humidity For Pitcher Plants

 Sarracenia plants prefer higher humidity levels, ideally between 50 to 70%. It is not always easy to give the plants this level of humidity all year round and I find can be one of the most difficult things to get right. 

 However the most inexpensive solution is to put a saucer full of pebbles filled with rainwater under the plant to help increase levels of humidity. This way the plant is not waterlogged but gets the benefit of localised humidity. 

It is often good for plants to live together so that they benefit each other so your pitcher plant can live next to say a Spider Plant or a Banana plant or any houseplant as long as they are in separate pots.

If you can afford a humidifier then that is a great solution. We do not have one and the saucer of water works well enough, but you have to remember to keep it topped up with rainwater.

 

Sarracenia Or Pitcher Plant with houseplants


Soil Requirements for  Sarracenia

Most of us will grow Sarracenia as a houseplant indoors most of the year, so it will be growing in a pot. 

The soil we use is crucial for the health and vitality of the Sarracenia plant and it is very particular. If you have one of these plants it is important not to deviate away from these soil requirements. 

Sarracenia plants must have acidic soil to grow well and thrive. So the soil must be pH of 4.0 to 5.0.

 This acidic ph level replicates their original natural habitat, which is often boggy and acidic due to decaying organic matter.

The soil must be acidic and very well drained, porous and loose with good aeration. Ideally it will be a mix of sphagnum peat moss, sand and perlite. This helps to prevent the plant becoming waterlogged which it dislikes and helps toward good root formation. 

We do not need to use any fertilisers, in fact it would be detrimental to the Sarracenia. Fertilisers often contain chemicals and minerals that will harm or even kill the plant. 

Due to the fact they are carnivorous plants, Sarracenia plants do not require any additional fertilisation, all the nutrients they require come from the insects they attract and capture.

Do not worry if your pitcher plant leaves goes thin. We were told that this is when they have insects inside the pitcher and are digesting them! A little gruesome but equally fascinating. 

Ours is pretty thin at present as it has recently been eating very well! Makes me wish that I went thin when I ate! 

Sarracenia Or Pitcher Plant tubes


So while there is a lot to learn to successfully grow these plants and I am certainly still on a steep learning cure myself, they are truly fascinating. 

They also do a wonderful job of keeping down the insects and recently ours was extremely helpful in dealing with an infestation of a type of whitefly on my new strawberry mint. We simply placed the Sarracenia next to the mint plant and within 2 days all the flies were gone! 

I know of people who keep a host of carnivorous plants in their greenhouses in order to keep insect pests at bay and apparently they work really well.  


 

The Sarracenia plant, with its fascinating characteristics, quite pretty coloured tubes and carnivorous nature, is an intriguing addition to our house plant collection. With care and attention it will reward us with an unusual and intriguing plant for many years. While maybe not a complete beginners houseplant, if you are prepared to learn it is certainly a wonderful plant to own. It was our first pitcher plant but I do not think it will be the last ! 


More House Plant Reviews

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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Monday, April 3, 2023

Easter Cactus: Enjoy Early Spring Blooms with this Easy Care Houseplant

I have only just learned that there are beautiful houseplants currently in bloom called Easter (Spring) Cactus. The blooms of this plant can range from white, red, orange, peach, purple, and pink. The one I chose to bring home has delicate, light pink petals with dark pink and light yellow stamens. During this time of year, when forsythia are in bloom and not much else, it is wonderful to have a bright splash of color announcing spring.


Easter Cactus

Easter (Spring) Cactus

The Rhipsalidopsis is a red-flowered native to southeastern forests of Brazil in altitudes of 1,100 - 4,300 feet. It seems that at some point, the Rhipsalidopsis was crossed with the R.rosea which resulted in the popular Rhipsaldopsis gaertneri which created the variety of flower colors. These colors include pink, orange, purple, white, and orange.

Plant Care

The Easter (Spring) Cactus does well in temperatures of around 77 degrees fahrenheit in the summer and around 45 - 55 degrees fahrenheit in the winter (November to January) to help with bud formation.

From their origin in Brazilian forests, they are plants that do not prefer strong sunlight. They prefer partial sunlight. 

Easter (Spring) Cactus does not like over-watering. It is best to allow the soil to dry between waterings then water so that it drains out of the bottom of the planter. It needs loose, nutrient-rich potting mix soil. Soil mixes with coco coir, peat moss, perlite, or orchid bark are preferred.

Easter (Spring) Cactus propagation can be done by removing stem segments in the late spring, allowing the cut surface to dry a bit, and placing the stem in moist soil. Another method of propagation is removing a single leaf from the plant, place the end of the leaf into moist soil, place bags over the plant in order to hold moisture in until the roots begin to sprout.

What I Wanted was a Christmas Cactus but I'm Thrilled with this Easter Cactus

I had the most beautiful, prolifically blooming Christmas Cactus at my previous office.  For the past year, including over the holidays, I watched for a Christmas Cactus to replace the one I left behind when I moved. I did not see any at the usual stores where I usually find a large selection of seasonal plants.

This past week I was at a nursery to look for Crape Myrtle trees and there I spotted a large selection of what appeared to be Christmas Cactus. But they were labeled Spring Cactus. I loved them and brought one home without knowing quite what they were. 

It seems that the Christmas Cactus, a different species than the Easter Cactus, is called Schlumbergera and is also native to Brazil. There are two cultivar groups called Truncata and Buckleyi. And that is about the extent of my new knowledge of the taxonomy of these plants.

I still hope to find a Christmas Cactus to add to my household plants. Blooms during the dreary, cold winter months add something wonderful to a northern indoor space. In the meantime, I will enjoy the gorgeous pink blossoms of my Easter Cactus while I wait for Mother Nature to allow other plants to show off their flowers.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Do House Plants Make Good Gifts Reviewed

 

House plants

I love to give Houseplants as gifts. I find they are a personal and living gift that shows you have given some thought to the person you are giving them to. 

There are many occasions that are suitable for giving a houseplant. They are perfect for a housewarming gift, Birthdays, anniversaries and to mark special occasions and are very memorable.

They also last a lot longer than cut flowers, lovely as they are if you wish to give them as a Thankyou or get well gift. 

Houseplants do so much to clean and purify the air and beautify our homes. Whether it is a fern-like plant, a flowering plant, a cactus type, one with an interesting or unusual habit or form or a beautiful leaf shape, it will be a gorgeous gift for any style of home.

You do not need to know the person's decor and the houseplant will be suitable however they change the decor over the years. House plants are very popular, even trendy now, so for people of all ages, your thoughtful gift will be well received. 


Pink flower cactus



What To Bear In Mind When Giving A Houseplant As A Gift.

There are just a few things to bear in mind when giving an indoor plant as a gift.

  • They are living plants and do need to be treated with care. 
  • If you know the person is good with indoor plants but it's a new plant to them please include a short note to let them know how to look after it along with its common and Latin name. That way if they want to learn more they can. 
  • If it's a person who knows little about houseplants then a brief sheet of care instructions will be helpful.
  • When giving a houseplant it is also always useful to provide a pot to put the houseplant in and if they are very new to indoor gardening a small watering can and a bottle of houseplant feed is always appreciated to get them started. 
  • You do need to be aware if the person you are giving the gift to has young children or pets as you need to be careful the houseplant you choose is not toxic to them. 
  • If you know the person has allergies it is best to avoid flowering plants or those with strongly scented flowers, to be on the safe side.  
  • Avoid very spiky plants where there are young children or pets to avoid any accidents. 


Polka dot houseplant

Things To Bear In Mind For the Plants 

  • If you know the house the person is living in try to buy a plant that will suit the conditions.
  • So if it is a shady basement flat choose a shade loving plant rather than one that needs sunlight. 
  • If their main room faces south and gets sunshine all day long avoid ferns and other shade loving plants.  
  • Purchase a plant for them that will not outgrow the available space. A big plant can look amazing in a small room but not if in a couple of years they will be struggling to get through the door because of it or the plant is squashed in a corner.
  • I do tend to avoid buying houseplants as gifts in the depths of winter just due to the transportation of them from shop to car or delivery to my home and then onto the person I am giving the gift to when it is freezing cold is not really great for the health of a plant that likes to be warm. 
  • My other caveat is that if you know the person is short on time and has a hectic life or that they will not be able to devote much energy to looking after a plant choose a very easy care one like a spider plant or mother in laws tongue or an easy care cactus type.   

 

Dracena houseplant


 Examples of Easy Care House Plants

Always give a learner an easy-care houseplant, even one that can take some inconsistencies, neglect, or be easily revived. 

Likewise, if you are gifting to a busy family or someone with a hectic lifestyle or who travels away a lot easy care forgiving houseplants are best.  


The Asparagus Fern As A Houseplant Reviewed

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Reviewing Growing And Care Of Dracaena As A Houseplant

Caring For Mother In Laws Tongue As A Houseplant Reviewed

The Spider Plant As A Houseplant Reviewed 

  

Swiss Cheese Plant

 

 Examples Of More Advanced Care House Plants  

These beautiful and amazing plants look great but do need a little more knowledge and care.

They do however make beautiful gifts for anyone who would be willing to learn or who loves houseplants already. 

As a child, I remember being given a living stone plant that I knew nothing about and was completely fascinated by and I learned to care for it. 


Stone Flower plant
 

Care Of The Intriguing Carnivorous Venus Fly Trap House Plant Reviewed

Reviewing Caring For The Stunning Polka Dot Begonia House Plant

Reviewing The Care Of Living Stone Flowers or Lithops As Houseplants

Reviewing the Care Of Beautiful Anthurium Or Flamingo Flower House Plants 

 

Flamingo flower

 
 

 Useful Care Of House Plant Reviews

Here are a few articles that are useful to anyone looking after houseplants.   

Reviewing How To Take Care Of Your House Plants On Vacation

All House Plant Reviews On Review This Reviews

 

Spider plant

I have house plants that were given to me many years ago and they are so treasured and always remind me of the person who gave them to me. 

I think given the caveats above that houseplants can be a beautiful, thoughtful gift for many special occasions and there is a gorgeous houseplant for most people and situations. 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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