Growing Houseplants, Care of Houseplants, Best Houseplants

What can houseplants do for you?

Ahhhh, houseplants!  Have you ever walked into a beautifully- and well-stocked houseplant section of a store and been tempted to buy a couple (or three or four) houseplants?  Houseplants can beautify your home and offer an alternative to a yard garden for those living in an apartment or in the city. Amazingly, some houseplants are very effective air purifiers. Modern furnishings like carpet, especially new carpet, can put formaldehyde and other toxins into the air we breathe indoors. Some houseplants help rid the air of formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and other toxins such as benzene and xylene.

Caution:  Some houseplants are poisonous to plants and children, so use care in choice and placement.

You all know how I love to garden, going from this…

a large outdoor garden.  To this…

a one-bedroom apartment, shared with my daughter.  What it boils down to is that “my side” of the apartment allows me a corner bedroom area — a little nest — with a gorgeous, sunny window, and you better believe I am going to have lots of houseplants in my little haven!

I am creating a new category to share my love of my houseplants.  It will be in the categories section, should you need it.

Note to self:  You watered your jade on 08/29/2013.  All of the plants in this post were purchased on 08/29/2013.  (so I can track care and growth 😉 )

Baby Jade; Crassula ovata; silver dollar plant:
Origin:  South Africa, where it grows as a small tree, about 10 feet tall.  In winter, it blooms with hundreds of star-shaped white flowers at the tips of the branches when the plant is mature.
Plant type:  Succulent.  
Difficulty level:  Easy to grow; growth rate is slow.  Prone to spider mites.  Keep moisture level even.
Watering:  Water when soil feels dry; avoid overwatering; about every 8+ days.  Overwatering will cause the jade plant to rot.
Description of houseplant:  Has fleshy leaves on thick branches.  In bright light, the leaves are adorned with red.  Has white to pale pink, starry blooms.  Will grow in hot, dry locations.  Beautiful in rock gardens and all sorts of containers.  
Size:  6-12 inches tall; 8-12 inches wide.  
Hardiness:  Hardy to 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit.  
Light:  High; full sun, can handle about 4 hours of direct sunlight, but will also do well with bright, indirect light.
Feeding:  Fertilize once a month.  
Companion plants:  Ice plant, candytuft, fescue.  USDA zone 11. 
Special information:  Jade plants are known as symbols of good luck, prosperity and friendship.  According to Chinese custom, placing a jade plant near your front door is said to bring in more money, and placing one at your back door is said to keep money from leaving.  Reportedly, a sliced-open leaf from the jade plant bandaged over a wart will cause it to fall off if done about three nights in a row.

Ivy; Hedera helix:
Origin:  Europe and Southwest Asia.
Plant type:  Angiosperm.
Difficulty level:  Grows readily in the wild and is actually invasive in the US and cannot legally be sold in Oregon.  As a houseplant it can be difficult to grow.  Pinch ends of shoots to create more of a bushy plant.
Watering:  Keep soil evenly moist.  Medium humidity.
Description:  Trailing foliage.  Beautiful as a hanging basket.  Can be trained as a topiary.
Size:  6-12 inches tall; 6 inches to 6 feet wide.
Hardiness:  Grows best between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  Does not like heat, so keep away from heat sources.
Light:  Medium; grow in bright light.
Companion plants:
Propagation:  Seeds, cuttings, layering.
Toxicity:  Toxic.  (I keep mine well out of reach of my pet.)
Special information:  One of the top 10 clean-air plants!  Works hard to rid the air of formaldehyde, one of the most common indoor pollutants.

Philodendron “Green”; Philodendron scandens; heart-leaved philodendron: 
Origin:  Brazil; jungle native.  
Difficulty level:  Very low maintenance, tough and vigorous; fast growing.
Watering:  They love to be misted in the summertime and like reduced watering through winter.
Description:  Trailing varieties are beautiful in hanging baskets.
Light:  Low to medium; bright, indirect light.  
Feeding:  Fertilize every three months.
Size: 6-36 inches tall; 12-36 inches wide.  
Hardiness:  Hardy to 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit.  They like to be kept warm.
Companion plants:  Spathiphyllum, Calathea, Alocasia.  
Zone:  USDA zone 11.

Schefflera; dwarf umbrella tree:
Origin:  China.
Difficulty level:  They may drop leaves when moved, but they are just getting used to their new home.  They are hardy plants and easy to care for.
Pruning:  Trim back as needed; can be pruned to control shape and height.
Watering:  Water when the top inch of soil is dry.
Description:  Also called Hawaiian Umbrella Tree because of the shape of the leaves
Light:  Medium.  Well lit room during daylight hours.
Feeding:  Feed every two weeks with an all purpose liquid plant food
Size:   2-6 feet tall; 2-3 feet wide.
Hardiness:   Hardy to 50-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Zone:  USDA zone 11.

Enjoy this day!


  2 comments for “Growing Houseplants, Care of Houseplants, Best Houseplants

  1. August 31, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Dear Lynn,

    I love my houseplants! I was a little disappointed when a spider plant I had outside was eaten by deer, but now I have an excuse to get another plant when the weather turns cold. All my plants besides my aloe vera are enjoying their summer vacation outside, getting nice and lush! I just wish we had more south-facing windows here, where they would get more light in winter. Your place looks wonderfully-well-lit, which is a huge blessing!



    • August 31, 2013 at 7:38 pm

      Dear Marqueta, I thought I had glimpsed many houseplants in your pictures. We need our plants! 😉 My mom has some plants to give me, so I am excited about that. And you are right about the lighting here — very bright light coming in. It helps the plants, and it helps ME! Love, Lynn

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