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

Monday, August 2, 2021

Reviewing How To Take Care Of Your House Plants On Vacation



So we have all these gorgeous houseplants that look beautiful in our homes and purify the air for us. All year long we look after them and water, feed and give them the correct position in our homes for their wellbeing. 

Now the time comes when we go away on holiday, maybe it's just a short break or maybe it's for 2 or 3 weeks even longer. Our houseplants still need the same care so how can we go away on our well deserved break and still have healthy houseplants to come home to?

Many of these methods also work for if you know you will have a time you cannot take care of your houseplants for example the birth of a baby, a period of planned hospitalization or surgery. Or if you need to be away for work reasons.

I have left my houseplants for usually about two weeks successfully using these methods but once or twice I have left them for a month and they have all been fine. 

Some house plants are undoubtedly much hardier than others when it comes to being left without care for a few weeks. In general my spider plants, mother in laws tongue, all cacti, succulents and swiss cheese plant are just as good as the day I leave them. 

Other more delicate plants require more considered care and may not be quite so good at being left a long time. All of mine have survived but just needed a bit more care on my return.  

https://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2021/06/reviewing-growing-and-care-of-dracena.html

 The Growing And Care Of Dracaena As A Houseplant



Check Over Your Houseplants

First, at least a couple of weeks before your vacation do check over your plants for any signs of damage, pests and diseases and rectify anything that is wrong. You will want your plants to be as healthy as they possibly can be before they are left. 

Bird Of Paradise Flower


Ask For Help From Friends

Ask a friend or neighbour to come into your house to look after them for you. If they are not used to looking after houseplants, especially the more specialised ones, you may need to leave a checklist of what to do or even take them through it before you leave. If you only have a couple of plants you might want to take them to your friend's house and put them in the correct position for them to take care of but for most of us, there will be too many plants to do that. 

Personally, I would always leave instructions for the plants and also label the plants so the person knows which is which. It is helpful to group plants that need the same watering regime together as well so that it is quicker and easier for friends to do that task. My advice is to not assume they know how to look after your houseplants. Leave concise and clear instructions.

 A lovely gift to say thank you when you return is always appreciated. You may wish to offer to reciprocate for your friend when they go away. 

https://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2021/02/the-spider-plant-as-houseplant-reviewed.html

The Spider Plant As A Houseplant Reviewed


 Group House Plants Together

Group houseplants of the same needs together in your home before you leave. For example, those who like shade in a shadier cooler part of your home and those who like dry conditions so that the friend helping you can know these are to be watered as much. That way they can derive benefits from each other and it's easier to help them survive.

Bottlebrush Flower


Methods of Watering Indoor Plants

For those plants that do not mind added moisture make sure each one has a saucer or outer container and give them a really good drink before you go. There will be excess water that pools into the container but if the plant can cope with standing water then it should be Ok. Over the time you are gone they will drink up that excess water. 

Do not use this method for any plants that hate being in standing water as it will certainly damage and likely kill them. 

For plants that will not cope with being in standing water but who like being well watered place them in a tub or bucket or even a bath a few inches deep of water and leave them there for up to about 20 minutes. Then place them on a draining area for another hour to let any excess water drain away. After that, they can go back to their outer pots. 

Swiss Cheese Plant

If you have plants that like being moist, then they can be left in the bath or sink with a small amount of water so that the roots can access water at all times. Only use this for plants that can cope with being in a wet environment. 

For others that like humidity, you can place them on a tray of pebbles and water the tray so that all the pebbles are covered. If the plants are well watered just before you leave, this should be enough moisture to enable them to be alright for about two weeks. 

Move Houseplants 

For most plants, I would suggest moving them out of areas where they get direct sunlight. A partial shady cooler spot is best if you cannot water them regularly, even for sun loving plants. 

I would also remove any away from near radiators or heat sources and out of very hot windowsills. If you cannot move them all give them shade by drawing blinds or partially closing curtains. 


https://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2021/03/reviewing-care-of-living-stone-flowers.html

Reviewing The Care Of Living Stone Flowers or Lithops As Houseplants


Plant Watering Spikes Devices

For plants where you really need to keep them regularly watered you can buy water drips which I have used effectively for specific plants. You put them deep into the compost and use with a wine bottle or a plastic bottle that fits the end of the spike. You may need to support the bottle in the pot. 

You can make home made versions with holes in plastic bottles, but I have not had the same success with them. I always seem to get too much or too little water dripping so I just find it easier to stick with these.

I prefer the terracotta ones as they just seem to work better, get less clogged with soil and also are reducing our plastic use. Water is absorbed through the terracotta and into the soil. However, they are much more breakable so need to be used with more care. 

Rather than just forcing them into the plant pot it is best to dig out a specific hole for it first. That way you can ease it in without hopefully breaking the terracotta and causing possible damage to roots. You do need to make sure that most of the spike is under the soil as it helps with stability and less risk of breakage. Check the bottle fits neatly and easily into the spike as a trial run. Wine bottles will be heavier than plastic bottles so bear that in mind also. Then carefully place the bottle into the spike. It is better if the soil is moist before you go away as it will last longer.  

Do test out this method a few weeks before you go away to make sure it works for you and that your plants receive the water they require. Some plants may need one spike, others may need two to get sufficient water. You may also need to experiment with how much water you put in the bottle for the plant to be happy


Cacti And Succulents

To avoid this issue altogether, or simply feel it will be too much, too often to cope with the watering methods suggested here the solution is to choose plants to suit you and your life.

In general cacti and other succulent plants will cope just fine without being watered while you are away up to about a month, as long as they are healthy and well looked after before you leave them. 

These plants do need water but not as much as most other plants and do very well if you are away a lot or for a long time. Do take account of their individual needs and take care with the siting in your home so they do not get scorched by sun or too shaded.

I think they are really interesting and attractive plants to have in our homes. If you travel often for more than a week or go away for very long vacations or work trips, these will be the easiest and most successful plants for you to keep as your houseplants.

Cacti


Capillary Matting Or Rope For Watering

Another suitable method for watering plants is to use capillary matting or a cord. Simply attach the cord or matting to a water source like a tray or bucket filled with fresh clean water and pop the other end into the houseplant. 

A tip is to thoroughly wet the cord or material before attaching it to the water and the houseplant.  You will find it best to bury the cord firmly into the soil. Also, I find it better if the water source is slightly higher than the plant pot. 

Do be aware that the cord can drip water onto the floor or surface between the water source and the plant so either put down a drip tray or put the arrangement somewhere it will not matter so much like on a sink, in the bath or on a waterproof surface. This is a good method of watering but can take up a bit of space. 

This will be perfectly adequate while you are on holiday. Again do test out before you need it. Experiment with how much water you need at the source and how much capillary rope or matting you need per plant. 

I tend to use a mix of the capillary rope and the plant watering spikes for my plants that need a constant water source.   


Taking Indoor Plants Outside?

You can consider taking some hardy houseplants outside in a sheltered spot, though I think this is the riskiest strategy. I have not done this with most of my houseplants, except for the Bottlebrush as it lives on our warm and sheltered porch most of the year so is hardier but does like to be outside in the summer. Our weather is too unpredictable even in the summer ranging from very sunny, hot and dry to rainy downpours, windy and cold snaps, to risk it with my other indoor plants, but it may suit your climate.

Personally, if I was going to do this I would try it out first while I was there for a few days or a week to see how the plants coped. That way if any of them looked unhappy you can bring them in immediately. 

I would also be very careful which plants I put outside, only the healthiest and most hardy, who could cope with the potential weather changes.  

https://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2020/12/reviewing-growing-and-care-of.html

Reviewing The Growing And Care Of Bottlebrush Plant



When You Return, Check Your House Plants

Once you are back home do check every one of your plants over for any signs of ill health, pests, or disease and treat them as needed. For those that have not had access to water do give them a good drink. Move all the plants back to their optimal conditions in your home.

I have used pretty much all these methods to some degree over the years and most of my house plants have been healthy and survived while I have been away on my holidays. They will thank you for the time and care you took over their well-being and give you pleasure and joy for the rest of the year. 


More Houseplant And Gardening Articles








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Sunday, June 27, 2021

Reviewing The Growing And Care Of Dracaena As A Houseplant

Dracena House Plant

I rescued two lovely Dracaena houseplants recently. It was a spur of the moment decision, I had gone into the shop for compost!! Anyone who knows me will understand that I cannot resist a beautiful plant let alone two sitting unloved on a shelf. They were a quarter of the original price so an extremely good bargain, as long as I can keep them alive.

I do like to buy or rescue outdoor plants this way as bargains and bringing back to life the unloved and unwanted, but I have never bought a houseplant in need of rescue. Houseplants can be a little harder to restore to full health once they have been very neglected, but I wanted to give it a go. 

So this Dracaena is a stunning-looking plant. Both were sadly completely dried out and shrinking from their pots which is not good. So the first thing I did was to put the pots into a bowl of water and allow the plant to drink what it wanted for an hour. This way I did not overwhelm it with water but it could quench its undoubted thirst.

Next was to give it the very best of treatment. This means the correct position in the house, the food, water and environment it needs. It also means the correct soil, but on this, I am waiting as it is always stressful for a plant to be repotted and they had enough stress so far. So I will repot in a month or so when they are more settled.

Dracaena House Plant In Kitchen

The Name Dracaena

This plant is named Dracaena which means female dragon in ancient greek. Apparently, the red stems that are found in many of these houseplants are like the colour of dragons blood! Sometimes it is also referred to as the Dragon Plant which I like.

Dracaena Are Good For Us! 

The Dragon plant is also a great air purifier and therefore very good to have in our homes. It is a lovely thing to have a plant that is beautiful in our homes and this one is stunning especially as it grows tall, but quite another when it benefits us directly. 

Our homes are surprisingly full of toxins and pollutants from our furniture, paint, materials for building, clothing and cleaning chemicals we use every day.

If we can help to offset at least some of this pollution with beautiful houseplants we are doing our health good. Dracaena is one of the most effective plants for air purification and so deserves a place in every home.  

Generally, for the majority of people this plant is safe to be around. For most people, this plants leaves are not toxic if touched and handled, but clearly as with any houseplant avoid anyone eating them. If anyone has especially sensitive skin or allergies to plants then direct contact with the plant is best avoided.  

Dracaena Is Toxic If Eaten By Pets

It must be noted that beautiful as it is, Dracaena is toxic if our pets eat it. It is the chemical in the plant, saponin that causes the issue. This will result in vomiting and diarrhea and if that occurs get your pet to a vet immediately for treatment. 

If you have pets it is wise to keep this houseplant out of their reach. 


Dracaena House Plant In Bathroom With Filtered Light

Where to Position Dracaena

Dracaena comes from the floor level of tropical rainforests and arid deserts. I know mine came from Costa Rica. Dracaena like humidity so unlike the houseplants I have reviewed previously this one loves being in a bathroom or kitchen.

This is great news as I love houseplants in these rooms. To keep them happy and in good condition, they appreciate regular misting of the leaves and a humid environment so placing them on a dish of pebbles topped up with water is also helpful.

The dragon plant likes to keep warm so heat of about 15 to 20 degrees celsius is good, but it hates direct bright light so after some thought I have positioned one in the bathroom window that is south facing but the window is opaque so it filters the suns rays very well which is just what this plant requires, filtered sunlight.

This plant is currently quite small but it will grow much taller which is not a problem here as the window is quite tall as well. The taller one is in the kitchen again by a window this time east facing but quite sheltered from the sun by the foliage in the garden. So I will see if it likes it there.


Leaves Of Dracaena House Plant 



Water And Food Requirements For Dracaena


The soil must always be moist for this houseplant but it does not like to sit in soggy wet conditions. The best soil is free draining so compost mixed with perlite would be a good combination. It allows for generous watering but permits good drainage to let excess water through. Always make sure there is an inch or to at the top of the pot to allow for easy watering. 

Once watered allow the plant to drain through before you site back in its outer container. I would recommend having the plant in a plastic or terracotta pot then putting that pot inside a slightly larger decorative pot. That way you can water thoroughly but allow it all to drain off before repositioning.

If the leaves go yellow and droop then it has been overwatered and we must cut down on the watering and ideally repot into fresh compost to give it the best chance of recovery.

My two both need repotting and then placing into proper decorative pots but that will wait until they have settled down.

Feeding is quite important and a task we need to do every fortnight during spring and summer, reducing to once a month in autumn/fall and no feeding is necessary during winter. You can buy Dracaena feed or any usual houseplant fertilizer is fine.





Pruning Dracaena

It is not necessary to do any pruning of this houseplant. The only reason I can see to prune is if it grows too tall for the space. It grows in an upright habit so actually occupies only a small space on any surface. 

However, if you need to prune the canes or stems to reduce the height you can simply cut them with secateurs like these Wolf By Pass Garden Secateurs and then in time new growth will shoot from the pruning cut.

I am going to allow these two to grow pretty tall as I think they look especially stunning as a huge plant and I love having them in our home.

Dracaena House Plant 

So in summary Dracaena is a stunning plant that takes up little room on a surface, but can grow quite tall. It is beautiful and requires filtered sunlight, warmth and steady watering and feeding.

Do be careful where you place it if you have pets as it is toxic to them. Keep it out of the way of any person who is especially sensitive or allergic to plants. 

It is a very easy care plant overall and has air purification qualities to help us be more healthy in our homes. Overall a very deserving plant and one I am glad I rescued.
 
 

More Garden And Houseplant Reviews




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Sunday, June 20, 2021

Caring for A Mother In Laws Tongue As A Houseplant Reviewed

 


A Houseplant With Many Common Names

This striking plant has a prolific number of strange common names which include Mother In Laws Tongue- supposedly the ends of the leaves looking like the sharp tongue of the mother in law. Now I loved my Mum in law to bits so this does not hold true, but that is folklore...

Its other commons names are Snake plant as it could look a little like a snake and St Georges Sword due to its sword like look. 

In addition it is known as Viper's Bowstring Hemp due to it being one of the sources for plant fibers used to make bowstrings. 

It is also known as the good luck plant! There may well be many more names but that is enough names for one plant!

Its Scientific name is Sansevieria trifasciata. In our home it was always known as Mother In laws Tongue. In this article I will refer to it as the Mother In Laws Tongue or the Snake Plant.

It is a rather bold, striking houseplant with smooth thick sword like leaves hence I can see the St Georges Sword common name. 

The leaves are not soft but neither are they spiky rather firm and bold to the touch. They have I think rather beautiful individual markings which are worth apprecaiting close up and I can totally see why they are given the common name of Snake Plant. 


Markings that give "Snake Plant" its common name.  


I can tend to these plants without gloves though I would wear gloves to repot. It can grow up to 3 or 4 feet high.  

It does flower but the flowers are insignificant and few people would grow it for its flowers. Neither is it scented. You need to like the shape and colour of the leaves to have this plant in your home. 

We always had two or three of these indoor plants around our home and the ones I have now are decendants or the original from my parents home. I find these house plants to be long lived and trouble free. 

It is essentially a succulent and as such needs a few care pointers which I cover below but is essentially a very easy houseplant to look after. 

 

Watering And Feeding The Mother In Laws Tongue. 

This plant has adapted to thrive on little water. All I do is to give it a good watering when I remember and let the soil dry out in between waterings. We need to water the soil, never the leaves or the space between the leaves as this will not be good for the plant.  

If we overwater or get too much water into the base of the leaves the signs are obvious. You will see the leaves go soggy to the touch and look damp and with possibly fungal or mold infections. If this plant is in standing water or overwatered for too long it will rot and then be more difficult to save. 

If we underwater and keep in a too sunny position as you can see in this photo the leaves shrivel up and may go brown or a pale sickly yellow. I have found it is a lot easier to rescue this plant if it is suffering underwatering simply by gradually increasing the water given and taking it a few inches away from the window. This is exactly what I will now do with this poorly underwatered plant and it will recover just fine.


Underwatered Mother In Laws Tongue In Wrong Position

If it is overwatered but not yet rotting, you can try to save it by totally repotting with fresh light well drained compost, leaving it in a light but not too sunny spot and watering lightly.  

We need to fertilise once a month in Spring and summer, but it is not necessary to fertilise in autumn or winter at all. 

Positioning A Snake Plant

It originates from areas of South Africa and Asia where the air is very dry and sunny with a desert like climate. Therefore it likes a light position and can even cope in strong sunlight though I think it does much better with a light spot out of direct sun.

The leaves on mine scorched a little and it never looked very happy when in a very sunny spot on a hot west facing windowsill. Positioned a few inches away from  the window on a table and it was quickly a different much happier plant. 

It needs to be in a dry room, not a bathroom or a kitchen or anywhere that is moist or damp. Perhaps a living or dining area or a study would be best. 


Beautiful Healthy Mother In Laws Tongue Houseplant

 

Division And Repotting

To make more plants I usually divide the plant in Spring and repot the separate parts. You can also grow from cuttings but I do find division easier and more instantly effective. 

You will know when the plant needs repotting as it will be pushing up against the sides of the pot and roots appearing through the end of th epot. I would advise repotting before you get to this stage as one of mine actually cracked the container it was growing in! 

Soil should be light and free draining so any good compost mixed with pearlight is a good choice for this plant. 


Mother In Laws Tongue Houseplant Sword Like Leaves

Care Around This Snake Houseplant

Do be careful if you have pets or young children, as it is toxic and if they eat it can cause vomiting and diarrhea and you may need a vet or doctor. We always kept ours in a room the dogs did not go into or higher up on a surface so that no one could not easily reach it. 

To be honest we never had any problems. I was raised in a house where we had many houseplants which could have been toxic but my perents just kept them out of my reach and I learned not to handle them. 

None of our dogs have ever shown the slightest interest in this plant either, but I would still be cautious and exercise common sense, especially with puppies, young pets or children just in case. 


Varieties Of Sansevieria Trifasciata 

There are a few different varieties of the mother in laws tongue. I just have the one variety I inherited years ago from my Mum but more are now available. 

The usual variety is Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’, which has very long dark green leaves with golden yellow edges.

There are also other variants  with different leaf colours and shapes such as those variagated with gold or silver. There is one which is almost white ghost like  and one that is verging on black. 

Some have a shorter length of leaf and some have rounder or more fan shaped leaves. Then there are those with smaller slimmer leaf shapes. 


 

Displaying Your Houseplant

 As this plant grows quite tall and fairly compact it is very useful for light areas of the home where you want some height and grandeur to a display.

 They good on their own but lovely when they are displayed together with other plants with different leaf shapes. If you have several of the different varieties of this plant it can look really stunning. I find this gives a lively, companion like social atmosphere to the display. 

 Another striking and possibly more modern way to display them is to have three or four in a row of the same variety, that can look very effective in its simplicity. I think this looks especially good in a minamilist white room where the shape and dark green colour really stands out as a feature. 

 As with many houseplants this one is very helpful and beneficial to us as it helps to purify and humidify the air thus providing a very useful service in our homes.


  

 

It is an excellent  houseplant and an easy guest.I think it is a great gift for a housewarming present or for a student or young professional who likes houseplants but perhaps does not have time to do a lot of caring for them.

It is arguably one of the best houseplants for beginners and busy people and thrives on very little care while still looking good. 


More Gardening Articles

Reviewing The Care Of Living Stone Flowers or Lithops As Houseplants




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, May 16, 2021

An Affordable Set of 10 Indoor Flower or Herb Planters


We don't have an outdoor garden and wanted a simple solution for naturally grown herbs for cooking.

I wasn't into getting an outside garden box or leaving planters with herbs on the outside patio table. 

Several years ago I had an outside planter with herbs, and just the mere fact that it was outdoors was inconvenient enough that I rarely went outside to gather them up for cooking. Mostly, I forgot it was there.

Kitchen Window Ledge Featuring Potted Herbs

When cooking, I prefer the grab-and-go solution for using herbs. Grab some parsley, grab some thyme, rinse, and add it to your sauce.

At Costco, we picked up four herb plants in simple black 4.5-inch pots. The herb containers needed a vase with something to catch the water on the bottom.

The above black planter pot fits perfectly inside this vase.

I had no intention of repotting them directly inside the pots. I simply slipped the potted herbs inside the vase.

Since the herbs are positioned on the kitchen window ledge, I didn't want anything made of ceramic or glass. 

Also, I didn't want anything expensive!


Above, four of the plaster planter pots are featured. 

This set of ten planter pots come in various colors.


The two flowers featured above are NOT part of the colored plastic planter pots. There are ten planter pots all in different colors. Above are the extras I'm currently not using. When I get tired of the colors featured on the window, I switch them up.


So there you have it, an inexpensive easy way to have your favorite herbs easily accessible in the kitchen. The four herbs we're using are parsley, basil, rosemary, and oregano. We went with the 5.1 inch vases.

We purchased these plastic vases from Amazon Canada - here. This particular set is showing unavailable on Amazon USA, however I've included a link to another set similar in price and design from Amazon USA here. Note that the vases from Amazon USA are an 8 piece set, versus the 10 piece set I purchased.




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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Reviewing The Care Of Living Stone Flowers or Lithops As Houseplants

My Little Living Stone Plant

I bought a living stone flower or Lithop a few months ago and it is so beautiful! I used to grow these as a child from little plants and from seeds, but most of my adult life since I got my own garden has concentrated on outdoor gardening.

However last winter and this winter I have felt frustrated at not being able to get out in the garden due to poor weather conditions and leaned more towards learning about houseplants -so that I can still garden - even in winter  :)

I now love my houseplants as much as my outdoor plants. I take great joy in seeing them grow and I care for and propagate them. However, a return to living stones is a new venture for me. So I am relearning about these wonderful, beautiful, funny little plants.


Lithops Plant

Why Are Lithops Called Living Stones?

The name  Lithops is derived from the Ancient Greek λίθος (lithos), "stone," and ὄψ (ops), meaning "face". As a child, I always knew them as Living Stone Flowers, because well they look like little stones!

They are amazing to me as they have developed a clever strategy of looking like stones in their natural environment of Southern Africa in order to not be eaten by the local wildlife!

They can be hard to see in their native environment as they disguise themselves so effectively which allows this very vulnerable plant, with no defenses to survive and thrive. I find this fascinating and clever! 


Growing Conditions For Lithrops

Where living stones grow in the wild in South Africa they receive very little rainfall, often less than two inches a month across the whole year. 

This is really important to know because as gardeners we must try to emulate the same or similar conditions a plant would have had in its natural environment. This for me means curbing my natural urge to get out the watering can and being extremely careful not to overwater!   

For plants I grow in the garden I always try to grow Right Plant, Right Place, meaning to grow plants that will be happy in my garden conditions and not forcing an acid-loving plant in an alkaline situation or a bog plant in a dry situation.

However, when it comes to houseplants they can never be in a truly natural environment, so we must create the correct environment and give them all they need.  

  

Caring For Lithrops 

So what does this mean for us trying to grow and appreciate these fascinating little plants? Here are some aspects to bear in mind.

They do seem to be happier in the company of other Lithops which is of course how they would grow in the wild, so it is best to build up a nice group of them in a container.  

The fact they need very low watering requirements does not mean we do not need to water at all. Drought will also hurt these little plants. They simply need a correct watering regime to keep them happy. 

Living Stone Flowers must above all else have free-draining soil. This means soil that when you water it will pour through drainage holes quickly and not get heavy, soggy or waterlogged.  

You can buy special soil for Lithops which will give it the perfect conditions for growing, or if you can't get that, mix up the compost you have with lots of sand and grit.

I like to top dress with vermiculite or perlite so the leaves do not get splashed with soil. It suppresses weeds, assists drainage and looks good. 

The plant must never be in standing water. So if you keep a saucer or container underneath please check that it is always completely dry. 

 Any potting on should be done around May but is only necessary if the plant is overcrowded.  Otherwise, it is best to leave it alone.

  


Living Stones In Sun And Shade

These little plants require at least five hours of direct but not scorching sunlight each day if possible. Sometimes in my climate in autumn and winter, this is a struggle. However, my little one has survived the winter on much less sunlight than that! 

The best conditions are sunlight in the morning and shade in the afternoon. So if you have a position in your home like that it's ideal. Otherwise, if you keep Lithops in a sunny position all day, do provide extra shade in the afternoon. This can be as basic as a piece of folded cardboard, or maybe a drinks umbrella if you like a fun element!

These little plants, just like us can be badly sunburned! Think of yourself sitting in the scorching sun unable to move out the way. It is unbearable for these little plants and can be devastating.

Too much shade is always preferable to too much sun. You will need to monitor yours while you check the correct position in your house. If you ever see whitish scar tissue this is a serious issue and the plant may die. You must get it out of the sun as soon as possible for any chance of recovery. 


Watering Lithrops

If we water Lithrops like many other house plants we will undoubtedly kill it quite quickly. We have to remember in the wild natural conditions it receives a minute amount of rainfall and is uniquely adapted to that. Getting the watering right is key to the well-being of this plant. 

So all they require is very light watering in late Spring allowing the soil to dry out totally in between. During the summer we do not need to water at all. 

By early autumn/fall when they begin growth again, we can start doing deep watering allowing the water to drain right through and for the soil to dry completely in-between times. 

Watering over winter is minimal, maybe a very light misting once a month.  

When watering I now use a small watering can, or a mister is very good. In fact, using a mister will help those of us who are tempted to overwater! You will see in the photo below that one leaf has been damaged through my overzealous watering, which I remedied very quickly. 

If in doubt always water less than you think you should.   


A little too much watering left one Lithops leaf damaged

The Question of Lithrop Flowers.

We need to be patient gardeners for stone flowers. The plant may need to be mature before it will flower. 

I love my little plant as it is and flowers are a bonus, but if you are eager for flowers right now do ask how old the plant is when you buy. 

If you must have flowers it might be an idea to buy when it is in flower so you can be certain. To encourage flowering I have learned we should add a diluted cactus fertilizer in spring when we start watering again.

 

Growing Lithops From Seed  

Online you may find it easier to buy Lithops in the form of seeds. It is amazing to watch them grow into little plants. You will need to be very patient though. If you buy from a good seller then you should expect most but maybe not all of the seeds to germinate and you will need to take care of them and follow the instructions carefully.   

The seeds are really tiny, even dust like in some cases so do not be disappointed. Handle carefully with a toothpick or tweezers and plant ideally in a very sandy-based, light,  medium. This should be kept just moist but not damp for several months as the seeds germinate into tiny plants. The caution against overwatering still stands. 

Germination should in general take one to three weeks. I take extreme joy in seeing any seeds germinate into those tiny shoots. When it is a plant like a Lithops it is even more exciting!! Once they are little plants you will be so proud! 

There is no doubt that growing from seed requires more skill, attention and patience than buying a full-grown plant. However, anyone can do this and if you love to grow plants this can be a great way to have more mini plants and the pleasure of knowing them from day one.  

If you are interested in learning more about Lithops there are some good and interesting books on the subject.             



Living With Lithops as A Houseplant

I only have one little Lithrop so far in a small pot but I am keen to build up my collection with a mix of seeds and young plants and I feel in a year or two I will have a wonderful display! 

I love them best when there is a group of Lithops in a shallow bowl at waist height or above which shows them off at their best and allows us to get close to them. I love the look of them and they are so soft to the touch as well. Now people are never struggling to find a gift for me! 

Lithops are perfect little plants, very little trouble really but they do require just enough garden know-how and the willingness to learn and experiment a little with them to make you feel you are a gardener!

Stone flowers are great plants if you do not have much space inside or do not like large houseplants or simply as a fascinating unusual addition to your houseplant collection. From my research, the best online sellers seem to sell out quickly as Lithops are becoming increasingly popular. So do look around and keep checking back if they have sold out.  

If you do not have any outside space they are perfect little plants to enable you to develop quite a collection and satisfy your need for a garden and exercise your skills as a gardener. I am certainly still learning a lot about them!  I hope if you decide Lithops are interesting, you too enjoy your little "stone flowers".


Here Are More Plant Reviews

The Spider Plant As A Houseplant Reviewed 

Reviewing The Growing And Care Of Bottlebrush Plant




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Saturday, February 6, 2021

The Spider Plant As A Houseplant Reviewed

 

Spider Plant With Spiderlings

I have grown up with spider plants or Chlorophytum in the house for as long as I can remember. My Mum always had at least six spider plants in the house all with a myriad of little baby spider plants hanging from the parent in glorious abundance. 

My Mum was a true master of caring for houseplants so that they grew healthy and abundant. All I knew as a child was that they were pretty and indestructible! 


Spider Plants In Our Home

Now I have six spider plants in our home, one in the bathroom, one in the living room, one in the bedroom, two in the dining room/study and one in the kitchen! I could have many more and probably will over time. In the meantime, I give away the little baby spiderettes potted up as gifts.

All mine are variegated, though you can buy all green ones as well. Four of mine are young plants taken from the parent so they do not have any offspring yet. I think they really brighten up a room!

Two are more mature and have beautiful little spider plants or spiderettes hanging down from the main plant. You may need to wait a while for the plant to mature enough to have offspring and a little patience will reward. Once you have a mature spider plant you will always have more! 

 

Mature Spider Plant With Many Spiderlings!

Where To Site Spider Plants.

As when I was a child these plants remain pretty indestructible! Ideally, they like well-drained soil and light but not too sunny position. They do prefer a slightly cooler environment, so I never place a spider plant in direct sunlight on a sunny windowsill or directly above a radiator.

In winter with the central heating on it can be a little more difficult to keep them cool, but as long as they are not directly on top of the radiator or heat source they seem to cope. They are the easiest and most forgiving plants I have ever looked after. 

If any of the leaves go brown I just gently pull them out and if the tip of the leaves only goes brown I just snip off with a pair of scissors. 


Young Spider Plant 

Watering And Feeding Spider Plants

They do need watering well but also like to dry out between waterings. I have a tendency to overwater but this can lead to soggy roots and make them very sick.

If this happens I have found the best thing to do is to take the plant out of the pot, allow it to dry out a little, then repot in fresh dry soil, then water normally, meaning lightly. All mine recovered this way but you do need to catch it early or the plant will be sick.  

The best thing is not to overwater in the first place and always let the soil dry so it is just slightly moist in between waterings. 

The opposite issue is if they get too dry. If this happens you will see them visibly droop and the leaves will start to go yellow and then brown.

 This is easily remedied by giving them a light watering over several days. It may also be advisable to mist them now and again if you know the atmosphere in your home is dry.

If they get to this stage of drought, it is better in my experience not to give them a big drink all at once as it seems to overwhelm them a bit, rather just a small drink to begin.

Then simply pull or trim off any dried leaves and the spider plant will look good as new.  You will soon see them perk up again! 

So with normal care, they respond to watering only when necessary, allowing any excess to drain off and then leaving it until the top of the soil feels dry before we water again. 

We can feed spider plants but they do not need it very often. Mine get a feed perhaps once or twice a month, only in the growing season of spring and summer when I remember and they are fine with that. Any general houseplant feed will do in either liquid or granular form. I give them a far weaker solution than is recommended on the bottle as too much feeding can result in browning of the leaf tips. There is no need to feed in Autumn and Winter. 

I only repot when the original pot has become obviously overcrowded. You will either be able to see the roots on the surface or bursting out of the bottom of the pot, or it will be so congested it becomes tricky to water them.  Then it's time to just pot on into the next size pot into compost that will drain well. This should only be necessary every two to three years.


 


How To Propagate Spiderettes!

I do love the name Spiderettes! Usually in spring when daylight hours increase they start out as tiny white flowers on the parent plant and then develop into a fascinating mini spider plant attached to the parent with a long stem. They can remain like this as they grow bigger for a long time and do look beautiful. 

However, I have found it best to propagate at least some of them before they get too large or too many of them and drag the parent plant down. The one in the first photograph now has a lot of young and really needs some spiderettes propagating this Spring. 

Propagation is so easy. Simply prepare a pot with well-drained soil and without detaching the spiderette from the parent, lower the spiderette roots into the soil, cover and keep watered. Once you see growth and roots developing well, you can snip the long cord from the parent. You can make so many new spider plants by this method! 

Alternatively, if when still attached to the parent, there are already good strong roots visible on the spiderette, you can snip it from the parent plant and pot on by itself. 

When spider plants are very young they have a more upright habit but as they mature they tend to hang down and so I like to place them on a bookshelf, cupboard or shelf so that they and their spiderettes can show off to their full glory.  

They also look great placed in lovely natural macrame baskets that can be hung in the house. This can make them look even more special. 

I like the white macrame baskets which make them stand out and pick up on the white variegation of the long leaves. This is a lovely selection of macrame baskets to suit many hanging houseplants and spider plants would love them. 

 

 


If you don't like macrame then a hanging pot like these  La Jolie Muse Planters in a speckled white colour is lovely to pick up on the white stripes in the spider plant leaves and will look modern and beautiful.

They are lightweight enough made of recyclable plastic and stone powder to hang with a beautiful spider plant inside. These planters come with drainage holes and a water reservoir to ensure that the plants get what they need. 


 


Spider Plants Are Good For Us! 

Spider plants are well known to be a cleanser of the air inside our homes.  It is a great idea to have one in every room. Our homes have more pollutants and chemicals than are good for us from everyday cleaning products to our technology.

Many of us do not open windows and ventilate homes enough especially when it is cold in winter and central heating can dry out the air. 

I especially like to have a spider plant in the bedroom and also in any room where we use technology. They are perfect for a home office.

Houseplants are fantastic at absorbing carbon dioxide and giving out oxygen and some are very good at cleansing the air. Spider plants have been shown in tests by NASA to be able to clean formaldehyde for the air. Tests were conducted under sealed conditions and those tests showed that one plant per 100 square feet would be required.

However, in the less controlled and much more changeable environment of our homes, this may be a bit different. I think if we have a spider plant per room it can do no harm and only help towards a healthier environment for us.   

Spider Plants are a great house plant gift for anyone starting out in their new home or for a student going to University. They cope admirably with conditions that are not quite optimal for them and can amazingly survive a degree of neglect. 


 Young Spider Plant With A Small Spiderling


They are one of the few plants I do not worry about when I go on a two week holiday and ours were all perfectly fine when we went away for a month once. 

I just watered them well in the weeks beforehand and left them in a shady spot.

If you would like pretty, low maintenance, evergreen and interesting all-year-round houseplant that is healthy for us and looks especially good where it can cascade down from a high surface, or in a hanging basket, then spider plants are well worth considering. 




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