Showing posts with label indoor plants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label indoor plants. Show all posts

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Care Of The Intriguing Carnivorous Venus Fly Trap House Plant Reviewed.

 

Venus Fly Trap
 

I am the recent caretaker of a Venus Fly Trap house plant.

I wasn't sure I wanted one of these carnivorous houseplants plants but hubby has wanted one for a long time so I purchased it for his birthday this year. 

From being really quite indifferent to this particular plant, I have developed a real interest and curiosity about it.

To be fair I had heard they were quite difficult to care for and I wasn't sure I was wanting the task of trying to keep it alive. 

However, I love how it is growing and flourishing in our home and it has been interesting learning all about it. The plant looks happy and has grown and developed well so that gives me joy! 

It is also named the species Dionaea muscipula -though there are many named cultivars with some different looks and habits. Part of the family of carnivorous plants, it only grows in a few places in nature now. Sadly habitat destruction has obliterated it from many of its sites. It can still be seen in the coastal bogs of North and South Carolinas.


Soil Conditions For A Venus Fly Trap

As for most of us, we will keep this plant in a plant pot so we need to copy its natural environment as much as possible. It likes to grow naturally in soil with very low nutrients and dampness all the time. However these days it is not advisable to use endangered peat supplies. So without using at-risk peat mixes you can buy specialist mixes or try the plant in sphagnum peat moss, or fine-milled bark mixed with lime-free horticultural sand or perlite, or just simply in pure sphagnum moss.

Repotting if needed should be done just before the end of winter, so around February for us before all the new regrowth begins.




Watering And Feeding Venus Fly Trap

With Venus Fly Traps watering is a fine balance. They do need the soil to be moist but not waterlogged, neither do they wish to dry out.

 So in the growing season, they like to be in a little standing water so I put a saucer under the draining pot and the saucer has a covering of water in it as it simulates the conditions it would have in the wild damp with higher humidity.

During winter the plant should be kept damp but they do not need so much water so I will likely remove the saucer and just make sure the soil is damp to the touch. 

This plant by far prefers rainwater. So I now keep a bucket outside to collect rainwater for this plant. If I forget then I do use tap water that has been left to stand for about 3 days to help dissipate the minerals and chemicals but even so, to be honest, it is not ideal and long term use of tap water is not good for Venus Fly Traps and will kill them.  

Venus Fly Traps which are kept outside will be able to find enough food for themselves. We put ours outside as much as possible on fine sunny days and the rest of the time on our sunny kitchen windowsill with the window mostly open and it certainly found enough food. 

If you really can't do that then it is possible to feed it yourself with freeze-dried mealworms, which can be bought from shops, but it is a specialist skill to read up on a specialist site. To be honest, it is not something I really want to have to do, so we will stick with a sunny open window and putting it outside as much as possible in summer! 

We do not need to use a plant fertilizer on a Venus Fly Trap, it is adapted to grow in nutrient-poor soil and feeding it in this way will only be harmful. 


Position in The Home For A Venus Fly Trap

A Venus Fly Trap will always require a sunny position in its growing season but does not like being in the direct hot sun all day. 

So aim for about 5 hours of bright sunlight. A sunny windowsill with the window open for part of the day is good. However, do not let it get scorched by the sun.

I have also during this summer put it outside in a sheltered sunny spot for a few hours and it really did seem to like that. 

I would also keep it out of reach of small children and pets, not so much that it is any danger to them but constant touching of the plant's traps, which are often fascinating to children,  may cause it to die. 


 


Winter With A Venus Fly Trap

We have not yet been through a winter with our plant but there are a few things to bear in mind for its survival. 

They do need a period of winter dormancy which in the UK is around November to the beginning of March. As they live in our homes, not the wild environment we need to try to replicate that so they need to have somewhere cold to rest.

We will therefore be moving ours from its sunny warm spot on our kitchen windowsill to a colder place in our home. If I had an unheated greenhouse it could go in there but instead, I will move it to a cold windowsill that is north facing. It's the coolest place in our home and I am hoping it will be cold enough. 

I have been warned not to panic during winter as the leaves will turn black and the beautiful little plant will die right back. At this point, we will trim off any dead growth. Then it is just a matter of keeping it damp and waiting for new growth in Spring! 


Information About the "Traps"

As it is a carnivorous plant its method of gaining nutrition is a little more gruesome than with most plants. It first needs to attract its prey which it does by exuding sweet nectar. 

The flies come in and movement triggers the tiny hairs and then the trap snaps shut just like a cage from which the insect cannot escape.

After that digestive enzymes dissolve the insect and use it for nutrition. The traps stay shut for about 5-8 days then open up again to restart the process with the added bonus, if you are a Fly Trap- of the leftover carcass also being used to attract more prey. 

I feel I should say at this point that we have not noticed any more flies coming in due to having this plant. In fact, we probably have less making it past the plant into the house now!

New Young Traps Forming On Venus Fly Trap


The Cycle Of The Traps

When a trap has opened and closed a few times, probably around five times, it goes black and dies off. For that particular trap, it is the end.

However, before that happens we see several new traps growing to take their place.

At first, I did not think they would grow large enough to keep the plant alive before the older ones died but nature knows what it is doing and the new traps grew and were big enough by the time the older ones died. 

I am more than happy to see now that when I bought it only had 4 traps and now it has double that amount so this shows the plant is happy. Over time and with care it will get better and bigger. 

Children find these Venus Fly Traps fascinating and the book below is a great informative and fun introduction to these amazing little houseplants. 


 


 A Word Of Warning About Venus Fly Traps

If you have one of these fascinating plants it is very important not to test out the traps by putting your finger or a pencil etc inside them. 

While it may seem like fun, to the plant it is torture. Every time the trap shuts it uses up energy and if there is no food in the trap then it has just wasted so much energy. Traps only close about 5 or 6 times before they die so if it is tormented like this with no food it will deplete the plant and eventually the whole plant may die. 

However, you cannot really hurt yourself on this plant. Just avoid touching it as much as possible for its own sake. 


Venus Fly Trap On Sunny Windowsill


So having been initially quite wary of this carnivorous houseplant the Venus Fly Trap, I am now more than fascinated with it and it is an unusual addition to our houseplant collection!


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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. 


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Monday, July 19, 2021

Reviewing the Care Of Beautiful Anthurium Or Flamingo Flower House Plants

 

Stunning Anthurium Or Flamingo Flower Houseplant. 

 
I do love Anthurium. This beautiful house plant has a special place in my heart as the stems and red flowers of this plant were given as a gift as a gorgeous bouquet of stunning flowers to my husband and me as we came to the end of our honeymoon.

We kept these stems and flowers for weeks. So when we were all settled in our home, we decided to buy ourselves an Anthurium plant so that we could keep it always. 

I have to admit I was a little concerned about how I would look after this Flamingo Flower plant as it looks so exotic. I was sure it would need so much looking after!

However, while it does need a little care I was wrong that it needed a lot. 

I commonly knew this plant as a Flamingo Flower but it also has the common names Laceleaf, Painted Tongue Plant and Tail Flower.

Ours has bright red "flowers" although they are not technically flowering, as I will explain later. 

These Flamingo flower plants would grow in a very tropical environment in nature. They have no scent, just their stunning good looks! It is a lush, stunningly beautiful plant that graces any house with a subtle yet distinctly tropical look. Yet I feel most people could care for this plant with relative ease and just a little knowledge and have a gorgeous display in the home. 


Gorgeous Lush Leaves Of Anthurium Houseplant
 

Where To Site An Anthurium Houseplant

Where we position this plant in the house is vitally important and like with many houseplants, if you get that right the rest is really easy. 

We need to grow this plant in a bright position. If it is in direct sunlight it will scorch the leaves. If it is in constant dull light or too much shade, it may slow growth and stop producing its gorgeous flowers.  

The Flamingo plant benefits from a consistent temperature. We will know if the room you have it in is too hot as it will wilt. We need to remove it from the environment and try somewhere a bit cooler to give it a chance to survive. 

The ideal temperature is around 70-90 degrees but in my experience, the average house temperature is perfectly fine. Our house temperature is significantly lower than 90 degrees and our plant does well in our living room where it is generally warm and constant. Ours is positioned where it is not near an open window in case of drafts or cold chills in winter but it does have lots of light.

If your house goes from extreme heat to extreme cold that this plant will suffer badly, but I doubt many of us will do that intentionally in our homes for our own comfort! 

In a warm summer, we can take them outside for a while in daylight hours only but must keep them in a lightly shaded spot and bring them in before dusk.

I sometimes do this during June and July for a couple of hours a couple of times a week if we get a warm dry summer! 


Heart-Shaped Flower Or Spathe
 On Anthurium

Anthurium House Plant Flowers

Now to explain the "flowers" of this plant. They are very beautiful and shaped like a heart which is rather lovely! The bright red heart shaped structures on our plant do look like flowers but they are not. 

They are in fact waxy leaves and are called spathes. They can come in a gorgeous range of colours from pink, purple, white or red like ours. So if you have one in your home you can usually find one to suit your decor.  However, during this article, we will just call them flowers. 

In order to get those gorgeous waxy leaves that look like flowers, we need to feed the plant a feed with high prosperous content. This is only required about once every month and only during Spring and summer when actively growing. There is no need to use fertiliser in Autumn or winter at all.  

I find the flowers last quite a long time up to several weeks then they gradually dry up and my red one turns a dark brown. I like to trim them off before they start looking unsightly. However, do not just snip them off below the flower head. You need to feel right down the base and cut off low down with a pair of secateurs like these Wolf By Pass Secateurs or a strong pair of scissors. More flowers will soon appear! 


Anthurium Flower


Soil Conditions For Anthurium Houseplant

They grow naturally either in rich soil humus or on the surface of other plants.

For our purposes of growing this as a house plant, it is best and easiest to pot into a soil that is free draining but not as light as pure cactus soil. It is best in soil that has some water retention but is free draining which means the water will quickly pour through drainage holes. A blend of cactus soil with richer compost and grit would be good. 

However, as I could not get any cactus soil at the time, mine is potted into an ordinary multi-purpose compost that is sifted and mixed with fine grit and it seems to do just fine. 

As with most houseplants if the plant starts to look overcrowded and fills the pot that is the time to re-pot into a larger container. I do try to do this before it starts into new growth in early spring, though with this plant you may only need to do it only every few years.


Anthurium Flower Houseplant With Other Houseplants

Watering The Flamingo Flower

I only water when the soil is dry. To test this easily simply pop your finger in the soil and if the first part up to your first knuckle joint feels dry,  give it a good watering until the water pours out of the drainage holes. Allow it to drain off completely then place it back into its outer pot.

Ideally, you do not want Flamingo flower houseplants in any standing water. They like a humid atmosphere but from my experience no more humid than is comfortable for us.

 If you want to make it more humid without changing your comfort levels then a saucer with pebbles covered in water underneath the plant will help. We can also grow it together with other houseplants who like similar conditions or are not fussy about conditions and that will also increase humidity for all of them. I have our Anthurium keeping company with our spider plant and I like the contrasting forms and habit. 

We can mist these houseplants lightly as they like humidity but do not overdo it as they will respond badly to being soaked. I only mist once every couple of weeks in warm weather. Bathrooms often have natural humidity but you would also need to make sure the light levels were good for the plant. 

Beautiful Flamingo Flower Houseplant


Safety Around the Anthurium Plant And Health Benefits.

It is important to note that these plants are poisonous if eaten or tasted. They can cause swelling of the mouth and organs of the digestive system and severe pain. If you buy one do keep it well out of reach of children and pets. 

The sap can also be an irritant and can irritate your eyes quite badly so I am careful as I have very sensitive skin but it's probably best for anyone to wear gloves when handling a lot or especially when taking cuttings.  Do not rub or touch your eyes or mouth with gloves or your hands until you have washed them.

We have ours on top of a tall cupboard where you can see it and admire it but there is no danger to any visiting children or pets.

For these reasons, I try to keep handling this plant to a minimum. I have not yet taken any cuttings as that means much more contact with the plant and I have super sensitive skin. So far I have just repotted it probably every 3 years.

If you are ever lucky enough to see this plant in the wild, best to admire it visually and do not touch it. 

However, they are also good for our health being excellent plants for helping to purify the air in our homes and offices and can help rid the air of many toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and ammonia. They are also particularly good to help the air quality if you use technology like printers or photocopiers.  




So to summarize, Anthuriums or Flamingo flower plants are beautiful, stunning looking and will grace any home with a touch of the exotic. They are toxic if eaten and we do need to be careful when handling them due to the sap, but they are good for our health too in helping to purify our air. For such a tropical-looking plant the care is surprisingly easy. As with most houseplants, if you get the position, soil and watering correct the plant will be a gorgeous addition to your home for years to come. 


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Reviewing The Growing And Care Of Dracaena As A Houseplant






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, 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.
 
 

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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. 


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