Peace Lily plant. How to Growth and Care for Spath plants

How to Growth and Care for Peace lilies

Peace lily plants (sometimes are called Spath, short for Spathiphyllum) are present in most offices, malls, and homes for good reason. They are easy to grow, produce showy, spoon-shaped flowers, and tolerate low light and average humidity. In NASA studies, peace lilies were found to help remove formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide from tainted indoor air. Small varieties grow to only 16 in/40 cm tall, with the largest ones often reaching 6 ft/1.8 m in height and width.


Piece Lily facts

What is the origin of Peace Lily name?

  • Despite the name, Peace Lily is not actually a true Lily at all
  • Peace lily got its common name because it was first spied by European explorers, probably growing wild on the banks of a stream, the white flowers reminded them of the traditional “white flag” used to signal no combat or surrender
  • Peace lilies are also commonly called Spath which is short for Spathiphyllum – its Latin name
Lily flowers
Peace Lily is not actually a true Lily at all

What is the meaning of Peace Lily?

  • The peace lily is the symbol of Peace, Sympathy, Resilient, Hope and Harmony
  • The plant is associated In Christianity with the Virgin Mary and the Eater season. It also symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
  • The peace lily is the perfect gift when you’re paying a visit to someone who is recovering from surgery
The peace lily is the perfect gift when you're paying a visit to someone who is recovering from surgery
The peace lily is the perfect gift when you’re paying a visit to someone who is recovering from surgery

What is the benefit of Peace lily plant?

According to the NASA Clean Air Study, Peace lilies were found to help remove 6 out of 6 harmful air chemical from tainted indoor air: Benzene, Formaldehyde, Trichloroethylene, Xylene and Toluene, Ammonia, Carbon monoxide

These chemicals are harmful for your health. For example, xylene vapors in small amounts can cause headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea. With more serious exposure, xylene can cause sleepiness, stumbling, irregular heartbeat, fainting, or even death. Xylene vapors are mildly irritating to the skin, eyes, and lungs

Is Peace lily Toxic for pets? Is Peace Lily safe for your dogs and cats?

The peace lily is not actually poisonous. But in the stem and leaves of the plants contains calcium oxalate crystals which can cause mild irritation to your dogs, cats or children. Normally, if the dogs are not too distress, you can just rinse their mouth in the water and everything will be fine


Tips for newly purchased Peace Lilies

When purchased or received as gifts, peace lilies usually hold several flowers. Cut off these flowering stems when the blossoms ripen to green. Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe the dust from the foliage, and do not expect a fresh crop of blooms until the following summer.

Once plants have been nicely situated in a home or office for several months, they usually resume their natural bloom cycle. In addition to a flush of flowers in early summer, many cultivars continue to bloom intermittently throughout the year.

Peace lilies are easy to grow, produce showy, spoon-shaped flowers, and tolerate low light and average humidity
Peace lilies are easy to grow, produce showy, spoon-shaped flowers, and tolerate low light and average humidity

How to care for Peace Lily plants

  • Light: In fall and winter, low to moderate. In spring and summer, moderate to bright. When planting indoors, you should rotate the plant once in a while to make sure it grows evenly
  • Temperature: Average room temperatures (65–75°F/18–24°C) year-round.
  • FertilizerFrom spring through fall, feed monthly with a portion of balanced plant food that includes micro-nutrients, diluted to half the normal strength. In winter, feed every 6 weeks.
  • Water: Keep the soil lightly moist at all times, and avoid overwatering. Use room-temperature water.
  • Soil: Any good potting soil.
  • Repotting: Repot annually in spring to refresh the soil. This plant likes to be slightly rootbound.
  • Propagation: Peace lilies can live up to many years if divided every 5 years or so. Older peace lily plants can be propagated by dividing them in spring. Trim off leaves that fail in the weeks following division.
Older peace lily plants can be propagated by dividing them in spring
Older peace lily plants can be propagated by dividing them in spring
How to care for your Peace Lily by RHS – Royal Horticultural Society

Peace lily display tips and varieties

Dozens Peace lily varieties exist, varying in size, leaf color, and flowering habits.

  • Sensation: The giant peace lilies seen in malls and airports are usually Sensation, which grows to 6 ft/1.8 m tall.
  • Supreme is the most common variety sold in 10 in/25 cm pots.
  • Lynise has textured leaves and often grows to 36 in/90 cm tall.
The giant peace lilies seen in malls and airports are usually ‘Sensation’,
The giant peace lilies seen in malls and airports are usually Sensation

Display tips

The dark leaves of peace lily appear most refined when the plant is grown in a plain pot with a glossy finish. Display blooming plants on a low pedestal where the flowers can be easily seen.

Display blooming plants on a low pedestal where the flowers can be easily seen
Display blooming plants on a low pedestal where the flowers can be easily seen

Most common Peace Lily problems and How to fix them

5 most common Peace Lily problems and How to fix them

My peace lily plant’s leaf tips are brown/droopy stems

Answer: It’s possible that you over-fertilized and/or overwatered your plant.

Peace lily plant's leaf tips are brown droopy stems
Peace lily plant’s leaf tips are brown droopy stems

Allow soil to become nearly dry before watering. Water lightly yet frequently, and avoid soaking the soil. Use a very dilute fertilizer.

Peace Lillies leaves are pale and curled, leaf margins are brown.

Answer: Excessive light.

Peace lily cannot tolerate direct sun. Move it to a place that gets filtered light, or near an east window. In winter, peace lilies can accept light levels that are quite low.

Too much sun causes peace lily plants to have brown leaves
Too much sun causes peace lily plants to have brown leaves

The plant does not bloom. How to make peace lily to bloom again?

Peace Lillies usually blooms in cycles, with flowers produced mostly in spring and summer. Low light levels suppress blooming. Plants that are more than 5 years old may not bloom unless they are rejuvenated by dividing them.

To make the plant bloom again. In spring, move the plant to a slightly brighter location and feed and water it regularly. Divide old, overgrown plants.

Peace Lilly usually blooms in cycles, with flowers produced mostly in spring and summer
Peace Lilly usually blooms in cycles, with flowers produced mostly in spring and summer

Yellow margins on lowest leaves, or yellow edges on all leaves.

Answer: Too dry; micronutrient deficiency. You need to increase water and fertilizer. Use a dilute fertilizer that contains magnesium and iron, because peace lily is sensitive to deficiencies of these nutrients.

Peace lily plants has yellow leaves
Peace lily plants has yellow leaves

Small, dark-colored insects on flowers.

Answer: Your plant is having thrips. Large-flowered peace lilies, in particular, are attractive to thrips. Isolate plant from other blooming houseplants and implement control measures

Thrips on peace lily flowers
Thrips on peace lily flowers

Conclusion

Peace lily is a very versatile and easy to care for. To sum it up: Don’t overwater the plant, don’t put it near by heat source and give it dim to medium light to thrive. Most of the time, it will tell you when it need more lights or water

Hibiscus plant care guide and 4 common Hibiscus problems

Hibiscus plant care guide and 4 common Hibiscus problems
Hibiscus plant care guide and 4 common Hibiscus problems

The state flower of Hawaii, hibiscus bears the largest blossoms that can be produced by an indoor plant. Some measure more than 8 in/20 cm across, and all feature crepe-paper-textured petals that flare around a prominent yellow stamen. Individual blossoms last only 2 to 3 days, but well-adjusted plants often bloom intermittently from late spring to late fall.

The state flower of Hawaii, hibiscus bears the largest blossoms that can be produced by an indoor plant
The state flower of Hawaii, hibiscus bears the largest blossoms that can be produced by an indoor plant

Hibiscus plants need warmth, so they are best grown near a south or west window. If possible, move them outdoors in summer to a place where they will receive partial sun. Be sure to bring them back indoors before night temperatures fall to 50–55°F/10–13°C. You can control the size of your hibiscus by pruning the plant lightly in early summer and more aggressively in Autumn. Hibiscus blooms form on the tips of new branches, which emerge from just below where older branches are tipped back.

The hibiscus flower represents Okinawa, and there is no other that can look so beautiful against the pure blue sea and sky of southern Japan
The hibiscus flower represents Okinawa, and there is no other that can look so beautiful against the pure blue sea and sky of southern Japan

Hibiscus plant profile

Light: Bright, including some direct sun.

Temperature: Warm (65–85°F/18–29°C).

Fertilizer: From spring through summer, feed every 2 weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer. In winter, feed monthly. Alternatively, fertilize twice yearly with a high-nitrogen, controlled-release fertilizer. Special hibiscus fertilizer has an analysis of 18-5-23.

Water: In warm weather, water as often as needed to keep the soil lightly moist at all times. In winter, allow the soil to dry to within 1 in/2.5 cm of the surface between waterings.

Soil: A light-textured potting soil that contains perlite and peat.

Repotting: Annually in fall, prune back stems by one-third, and also trim off about one-fourth of roots before repotting.

Longevity: 5 to 10 years for most hybrids.

Propagation: Many hibiscuses can be propagated by rooting 6 in/ 15 cm-long stem tip cuttings. Many hibiscuses are grafted onto special rootstocks, so rooted cuttings may not show the vigor of their parent.

Selections: There are dozens of named varieties in shades of pink, blue, red, and yellow, with many colors.

  • Dragon’s Breath features bold red, 8 in/20 cm blossoms with white swirls in the centers.
  • The Path is bold yellow with magenta centers.
Dragon’s Breath hibiscus
Dragon’s Breath hibiscus
The Path Hibiscus
The Path Hibiscus

Display tips: Grow plants in pots that can be slipped inside larger planters equipped with wheels so they are easy to move outdoors in summer.

Problems and troubleshooting

Buds drop off soon after they form.

CAUSE: Environmental stress or weak cultivar.

REMEDY: Any type of stress that strikes when buds are swelling can cause plants to give up their will to bloom. Water attentively after bud appear and avoid moving bud-bearing plants unnecessarily. Varieties that produce large, double flowers are more likely to drop buds than those that bear single blossoms.

Leaves turn yellow and drop off.

CAUSE: Normal in fall, but excessive leaf drop can be caused by a sudden reduction in light.

REMEDY: Plants that are grown outdoors in summer — and even those kept indoors year-round — often shed some of their leaves when returned to comparatively dim indoor rooms. To keep shedding to a minimum, gradually accustom plants to less light.

Leaves turn yellow and drop off
Leaves turn yellow and drop off

Leaves appear parched, with pale yellow specks.

CAUSE: Spider mites.

REMEDY: Prevent this problem by washing off leaf undersides with plenty of water once a month. See page 276 for details on identifying this pest. If spider mites are present, isolate the plant, prune off badly infested branches, and spray plant daily with water. Use insecticidal soap if the problem persists.

Leaves small and misshapen.

CAUSE: Too much phosphorous in fertilizer.

REMEDY: Some hibiscuses are sensitive to high amounts of phosphorous (the middle number in a fertilizer’s analysis). Leach pots as described on page 263 and switch to a low-phosphorous fertilizer.

How to clean your plants. Cleaning 4 types of houseplants

How to clean your plants. Cleaning 4 types of houseplants
How to clean your plants. Cleaning 4 types of houseplants

Beyond regular grooming, one of the simplest ways to improve the appearance of your plants is to keep them clean. Like other indoor surfaces, plant leaves often collect dust, though they also filter dust from the air through their transpiration processes. Removing this dust helps the plants by improving photosynthesis and transpiration. Once-popular leaf-shine products make leaves extra glossy, but, like dust, they can block the leaf pores, making it difficult for plants to exchange gases and release moisture. Instead of using commercial waxes, try using a half-and-half mixture of milk and water to bring out the sheen in naturally shiny plant leaves.

Instead of using commercial waxes, try using a half-and-half mixture of milk and water to bring out the sheen in naturally shiny plant leaves.
Instead of using commercial waxes, try using a half-and-half mixture of milk and water to bring out the sheen in naturally shiny plant leaves.

Wait until after your plants are clean and dry to wipe containers with a soapy cloth to remove dirt and fingerprints. This is also a good time to rinse out drainage trays — the final step in giving your entire indoor garden an orderly facelift.

Cleaning fine foliage houseplants.

Plants with finer foliage can be cleaned with a gentle spray of water. In summer, it is usually easiest to take plants outdoors, set them in a shady spot, and spray them from all sides with a very fine spray of water. (If the pots need to be leached to remove excess salts, both tasks can be accomplished at the same time.) To allow time for especially nasty deposits of dirt to soften, wait 10 minutes or so after the first shower and then spray plants again. Gently shake off water and allow the plants to dry in a place protected from the strong sun before returning them to their usual place.

Plants with finer foliage can be cleaned with a gentle spray of water
Plants with finer foliage can be cleaned with a gentle spray of water

If you must clean plants indoors, you can invite them into your shower or set them in a bathtub or sink and clean them with water from a spray bottle. Direct spray from a bathroom shower is often too harsh for houseplants, so the spray bottle method is usually best. Adding a few drops of dishwashing liquid to a quart of water in the spray bottle helps loosen dirt and dust so it floats off easily. Be sure to rinse cleaned plants well with lukewarm water before shaking off water droplets and returning plants to their places.

To clean the foliage of plants with hairy or finely cut leaves, tape a plastic produce bag over the pot and soil, then swish the foliage in a pan of warm water. It helps to loosen the dirt if you mix a few drops of dishwashing liquid into the water.

With some plants, such as ferns or others with fine leaf hairs that trap dust (velvet plant and piggy-back plant are two examples), you may want to submerge the foliage in warm, soapy water to get them clean. To avoid an unnecessary mess, enclose the container and the base of the plant in a plastic bag, firmly taped in place. Fill a deep sink with lukewarm water with a small amount of dishwashing liquid added, and hold the plant upside-down while swishing it through the water. Allow the plant to drip dry before shifting it back into bright light.

How to clean hairy leaf plants

African violets and other plants with hairy leaves can be submerged, or you can use a soft paintbrush to sweep dust and debris from the leaves. African violets and some other hairy-leafed plants will develop leaf spots if water droplets do not dry promptly, or if the plant is exposed to bright sunlight while the leaves are wet. After cleaning, shake off excess moisture and turn on a gentle fan, which will circulate air and speed drying time.

You can use a soft paintbrush to sweep dust and debris from the leaves
You can use a soft cotton swab to sweep dust and debris from the leaves

Cleaning Cacti plants

To clean spiny cacti, use a cotton swab to remove dirt and dust that persists after the plants have been sprayed with water.

Instead of using commercial waxes, try using a half-and-half mixture of milk and water to bring out the sheen in naturally shiny plant leaves.
To prevent bruising of leaves, and to do a better job of cleaning leaf crevices, support the back of a leaf with one hand while sponging or wiping the other side. Be sure to clean both sides, because many pests hide on leaf undersides.

Large-leafed plants

Although it’s a slow process, the best way to clean large-leafed plants is to do it by hand, one leaf at a time. Use a soft cloth or sponge and a pail of warm, soapy water, and support one side of the leaf with one hand while you wipe over the surface with the other. Clean both the top and undersides of each leaf. Along with dust and dirt, you may find yourself wiping up light infestations of spider mites and other tiny insects from leaf undersides. Don’t hurry, because this can be a very enjoyable chore that gives amazing results. Scientists have pointed out that such intimate contact between plants and their keepers benefits both parties. As you gently work them over, your plants are bathed in your breath, which is rich in the carbon dioxide they crave.

The best way to clean large-leafed plants is to do it by hand, one leaf at a time
The best way to clean large-leafed plants is to do it by hand, one leaf at a time

English Ivy care. How to grow and care for English Ivy

English Ivy is a versatile plant that has a dainty demeanor that works well in pots or hanging baskets, as well as trained as a topiary or employed as a groundcover in containers occupied by large, upright houseplants. There are hundreds of varieties, including many with small, finely cut leaves, often called needlepoint ivies. Small-leafed ivies are the most popular houseplants, though dozens of other varieties deserve consideration. Ivy enjoys spending part of the year outdoors, particularly spring and fall when days are mild and nights are cool.

works well in pots or hanging baskets
English Ivy works well in pots or hanging baskets

When planted outdoors, English ivy can become a pest by running up trees and buildings, but indoors it needs help holding onto the support. Pin stems in place when training ivy on a moss-filled topiary form. Some people develop slight dermatitis from exposure to ivy’s sap, and the leaves are poisonous if eaten.

English ivy running up brick walls
English ivy running up brick walls

English ivy specifications

Light: In spring and summer, moderate light. In fall and winter, bright or fluorescent light.

Temperature: Average to cool room temperatures (50–70°F/10–21°C); temperatures should be 10°F/6°C cooler at night than during the day.

Fertilizer: Feed monthly year-round with a high-nitrogen foliage plant fertilizer.

Water: Allow the surface of the soil to dry between waterings, but do not let the soil dry out completely.

Soil: Any good potting soil that drains well.

Repotting: Every 1 to 2 years, in spring or fall, when roots show through the drainage holes. Shift to a slightly larger pot, but avoid very large containers, which may contribute to problems with root rot.

Longevity: Many years; indefinitely when propagated from stem tip cuttings.

Propagation: Root stem tip cuttings in damp perlite or plain water.

English ivy propagation
English ivy propagation

Selections: There are more than 500 named cultivars, which vary in leaf shape, size, and variegation. Cultivars honored by the American Ivy Society include ‘Golden Ingot’ and ‘Duck Foot’. A variegated form of Algerian ivy (H. canariensis), ‘Floire de Marengo’, is a good choice for warmer growing conditions.

Display tips: Place ivy in pots near the edge of a mantle or other surface where the stems can cascade over the edge. Ivy topiaries are a fine accent for formal rooms and outdoor sitting areas.

Boston ferns care guide. How to take care of Boston ferns

Boston ferns care guide. How to take care of Boston ferns

Boston ferns (commonly called sword fern) are the large, inexpensive ferns often sold in hanging baskets in the spring. Many people buy them to hang on a porch or patio in summer. Boston ferns are descended from a mutation that turned up growing in a parlor in Boston around 1890.

Fern-facts

How long does Boston ferns lives?

With proper care, Boston ferns can live up to 2 years or so when growing in containers. Indefinitely when propagated by division. The fronds may grow from 12–36 in/30–90 cm long, depending on selection and growing conditions.

Boston ferns are the large, inexpensive ferns often sold in hanging baskets in the spring. Many people buy them to hang on a porch or patio in summer
Boston ferns are the large, inexpensive ferns often sold in hanging baskets in the spring. Many people buy them to hang on a porch or patio in summer

What are the benefits of Boston ferns?

Besides the obvious benefit of providing aesthetic pleasure that soothes your soul, Boston ferns increase humidity thus makes the air more pure and fresh.

These plants are very useful in removing harmful particles from the environment. According to this classic NASA study, Boston ferns are very effective in remove formaldehyde from the air

Boston ferns very effective in removing formaldehyde from the air according to NASA Clean Air study

Here is a comprehensive list of major air pollutants removed by Boston fern:

  • Formaldehyde: emits from cooking, smoking, cosmetics, paints activity, indoor wooden furniture with formaldehyde resin paints
  • Xylene: comes from petroleum products, paint, wooden furniture. A high level of xylene can cause sick building syndrome.
  • Toluene: from gasoline, solvents in paints, plastic and soda bottles, paint cosmetics, and other organic chemicals

Exposure to indoor airs with these toxic particles can cause immune system disorders, neurological problems, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivities, allergies, and hormonal disturbances point to environmental factors. By reducing the level of toxicity in the air, Boston ferns can help to safeguard your family.

Boston ferns are descended from a mutation that turned up growing in a parlor in Boston around 1890
Boston ferns are descended from a mutation that turned up growing in a parlor in Boston around 1890

How to propagate Boston ferns

5 steps to propagate Boston ferns. And common mistakes to avoid

There are other methods of propagation by using ferns runner or using pores. But propagating by division is by far the easiest and most efficient way

The easiest and most popular method is to divide clumps, preferably in spring. New plants grow from the outside of the parent clump. These can be cut away and replanted, or you can allow the plants to develop into a larger mass and then cut them into smaller clumps before replanting them.

The easiest propagation method is to divide Boston ferns’ clumps in Spring

Step by step guide

  • Before propagating the plant, let the soil to dry out a little bit
  • Digging out your fern, and remove it from the container
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the root ball in half and then in a quarter. If your plant is big enough, you can cut it into a smaller chunk of 1/8 of the original root ball
  • Prepare a 4-5 inches pot with a drainage hole. Cover the hole with a rock or a piece of broken pot. Put the chunks into smaller and fill the pot with well-drained soil.
  • Water the pot thoroughly for the root to settle in, and let the exceeds water to come out
The easiest propagation method is to divide Boston ferns' clumps in Spring

Checklist for a successful propagation

  • Each smaller clumps should have a section of healthy root
  • Give the new clumps good condition: with warmth and plenty of humidity
  • Do not overwater the poor plant. Keep the soil moist but not too soggy
  • In the first several days, some fronds can wilt and loose leaves. You can cut it to the base of the plant

There are other methods of propagation by using ferns runner or using pores. But propagating by division is by far the easiest and most efficient way

Boston ferns specification

Light: Filtered light from a south or west window.

Temperature: Indoors: At night, below 60°F/16°C; during the day, about 70°F/21°C. Outdoors: Adapts to a range of 60–70°F/16–21°C nights and 80–85°F/27–29°C days.

Water: Constant light moisture. In warm summer weather, large baskets often need to be rehydrated

Soil: Half-and-half mixture of peat moss and potting soil.

Repotting: Annually, in late spring or early summer.

Fertilizer: Year-round, feed every 2 weeks with a balanced houseplant food mixed at half the normal strength.

Longevity: 2 years or so; indefinitely when propagated by division.

Propagation: Division of clumps, preferably in spring.

Display tips: Hanging baskets are the ideal way to grow Boston ferns.

Boston ferns varieties

Numerous of Boston Ferns cultivars are available:

  • Compacta: grows to only 18 in/45 cm tall and 30 in/75 cm wide.
  • Bostoniensis: is larger, with long cascading fronds that may reach 36 in/90 cm in length.
  • Fluffy Ruffles: is stiffly upright.
Boston fern compacta grows to only 18 in/45 cm tall and 30 in/75 cm wide
Boston fern compacta grow to only 18 in/45 cm tall and 30 in/75 cm wide
Fluffy Ruffles is stiffly upright
Boston Fern Fluffy Ruffles is stiffly upright

Boston Fern care

Read next

Fern care 101. How to care for your ferns

A guide to house-ferns

The soft, delicate appearance of fern brings a surge of green vitality to any place where you want a tropical touch. And, although ferns are not difficult to grow, most of them do need higher levels of humidity than humans consider comfortable. Indeed, once-popular ferns such as the maidenhairs ferns are seldom seen in homes and offices today because of their need for very moist air.

Maidenhairs ferns are seldom seen in homes and offices today because of their need for very moist air
Maidenhairs ferns are seldom seen in homes and offices today because of their need for very moist air

The ferns profiled in here are happy with moderate levels of humidity, which can be achieved by misting the plants once a day (or less frequently), double-potting them with sphagnum moss, or setting them on a tray of damp pebbles.

Sphagnum moss
Shiny green bog plants (sphagnum moss) in spring as a nature pattern.
Double-potting ferns with sphagnum moss
Double-potting ferns with sphagnum moss
Setting ferns on a tray of damp pebbles to increase level of humidity
Setting ferns on a tray of damp pebbles to increase level of humidity

These and other techniques for raising the humidity level around plants. Today’s roomy bathrooms are ideal spots for small ferns, which love to be bathed in steam each time you shower. You can also grow small ferns in a terrarium.

Roomy bathroom is the perfect spots for small ferns
Roomy bathroom is the perfect spots for small ferns
Small ferns can be grown in terrarium
Small ferns can be grown in terrarium

Exactly how attentive you must be to the matter of humidity depends on whether a fern has thin, feathery leaves or thick, leathery ones. The thinner the leaves, the more essential high humidity becomes. This is why holly ferns, bird’s nest ferns, and brake ferns often succeed in the same place that a feathery asparagus fern sheds into a withered mess.

Holly ferns
Holly ferns
Bird’s nest ferns
Bird’s nest ferns
Brake ferns
Brake ferns
Feathery asparagus fern
Feathery asparagus fern

Begin with an easy fern before moving on to the more demanding ones.

Putting Together a terrarium with Ferns – Garden Answer

Caring for fern

Ferns have shallow, fibrous roots that quickly fill the surface soil in containers. Pots should be as wide as they are deep. Clay pots darken a shade when they are well dampened, so they make good containers that double as moisture indicators. Ferns with attractive surface roots, such as squirrel’s foot ferns or hare’s foot ferns (or rabbit’s foot ferns), are ideal plants for moss-lined hanging baskets.

Squirrel’s foot ferns or hare’s foot ferns (or rabbit's foot ferns), are ideal plants for moss-lined hanging baskets.
Squirrel’s foot ferns or hare’s foot ferns (or rabbit’s foot ferns), are ideal plants for moss-lined hanging baskets.

Light requirement for ferns

The natural habitat of most ferns is the shady forest floor, though some grow in the crotches of tree limbs in damp forests or jungles. All grow best in moderate light and are easily burned by full sun. Indoors, near a north window, is the first place to try placing a fern in summer. In winter, move the plant to an east window if you have one. Offices lit by fluorescent lights are usually bright enough for ferns. If your office is dim, a fern placed on a pedestal, lit with an energy-saving fluorescent bulb, will become a dramatic focal point.

The natural habitat of most ferns is the shady forest floor
The natural habitat of most ferns is the shady forest floor

Some ferns, especially Boston ferns, respond well to being moved to a shady spot outdoors in the summer. In any season, do not move ferns more often than necessary, because they often react poorly to a change of location. If a fern is doing well where it is, limit its movement to rotating it a quarter turn every few days to make sure that all sides get exposed to directional light.

Temperature

Despite their tropical demeanor, most indoor ferns grow best in normal or cool room temperatures. A temperature difference of about 10°F/3°C between day and night is beneficial since this mimics the conditions they might enjoy in the wild. Slight chilling of ferns, to about 50°F/10°C, is much less stressful than overheating. Dry heat is a fern’s worst enemy.

Dry heat is a fern’s worst enemy
Dry heat is a fern’s worst enemy

Fertilizer for ferns

Ferns are not heavy feeders, but they do need a little plant food to support new growth. From mid-spring through summer, feed ferns with a balanced houseplant food mixed at half the rate given on the package. How often you feed a fern depends on the season, the species, and the age and vigor of the plant. Monthly feedings may be sufficient, but ferns that show strong seasonal growth in early summer will benefit from more frequent doses of fertilizer. Feed ferns less often in winter. Suspend feeding of ferns for a few weeks after dividing them, or after a repotting operation that involves pruning the roots. Resume feeding after a 6-week recovery period. This break gives new or damaged roots time to develop protective outer layers, which reduces the risk of chemical burning from fertilizer.

Ferns care: Watering

Water ferns lightly yet often. Overwatering can cause roots to rot, while underwatered ferns will not grow and may wilt. In summer, it’s a good practice to check ferns daily, though you may need to add water only every other day. In winter, check ferns twice a week. Keep a small pump spray bottle filled with water near your ferns, and mist them each time you check the soil’s moisture. Dribble a little water from the bottle into the containers whenever they seem dry. Room-temperature water is best for misting and watering ferns.

Keep a small pump spray bottle filled with water near your ferns, and mist them each time you check the soil’s moisture
Keep a small pump spray bottle filled with water near your ferns, and mist them each time you check the soil’s moisture

If a fern dries out too much, the peat moss in the soil mixture — combined with a tight mass of surface roots — may make it difficult to reestablish even moisture in the container. To rehydrate a very dry fern, fill a tub or sink with room-temperature water and submerge the pot to just over the rim. Hold the pot in the water for about 2 minutes, until bubbles stop floating to the surface. Remove the pot and allow it to drain until it stops dripping. Never leave a fern sitting in standing water for more than a few minutes.

Best Soil to plant fern

When planting ferns, amend packaged potting soil with peat moss. A half-and-half mixture of potting soil and pulverized peat moss is perfect for most ferns. Dry peat moss absorbs a lot of water, so it’s best to mix the potting soil and peat moss together in a pail and dampen it well before using the mixture to pot up a fern. Do not use potting soil that contains fertilizer. Fertilizer that dissolves too fast can burn delicate fern roots.

A half-and-half mixture of potting soil and pulverized peat moss is perfect for most ferns
A half-and-half mixture of potting soil and pulverized peat moss is perfect for most ferns

Repotting your ferns

Like most plants, ferns develop more new growth in summer than in winter, so spring is the best season to repot them. If you want to encourage a small fern to grow larger, move it to a slightly larger pot when the roots have filled the container. To control the size of large ferns, remove the plant from the container and use sharp scissors to prune off about a quarter of the roots. Then replant it in the same size container it grew in before. Except for big Boston ferns, there is seldom a need to use a pot more than 8 in/20 cm wide.

When repotting any fern, take a moment to check the health of the roots. Healthy fern roots have light brown to whitish growing tips. If the roots are black, they are dead. Trimming away dead roots will help protect the health of those that remain by limiting the number of fungi, which regard struggling roots as a delicious lunch.

Fern propagation

Some ferns, such as Boston ferns, multiply by sending out shallow roots, which develop buds that grow into new plants. These ferns can be propagated by division.

Some ferns, such as Boston ferns, multiply by sending out shallow roots, which develop buds that grow into new plants
Some ferns, such as Boston ferns, multiply by sending out shallow roots, which develop buds that grow into new plants

Use a sharp knife to cut away little plants that grow near the edge of the container, with roots attached; promptly pot them up, and then refill the hole left behind with a mixture of potting soil and peat moss. Alternatively, in spring when new fronds begin to unfurl, remove the entire plant from the pot and use a sturdy serrated knife to cut the root mass into two or three chunks. Also, cut back old fronds and discard them. Repot the divisions and be patient as they slowly recover from surgery.

Fern propagation
Fern propagation

Ferns that develop furry creeping rhizomes, such as Davallia and Polyodiumspecies, can be propagated by severing surface roots and planting them in a fresh container. Use a piece of wire or a bent-out paper clip to pin them securely on the surface of the potting mixture. To maintain high humidity while the rhizomes develop roots, enclose the container in a translucent plastic bag until tiny new fronds appear.

Most other ferns reproduce by sporulation, an ancient reproductive process that evolved 200 million years ago when Earth was a world of water. You will often see round to oblong brown spore cases arranged symmetrically on the undersides of fern fronds in spring and summer. These structures contain single-celled spores, which are the size of dust particles. Unlike seeds, spores contain no food reserves. If they fall onto a very moist medium, they divide into specialized cells that become eggs and sperm. A watery environment is needed for the sperm to unite with the eggs, but if fertilization is successful, the fertilized zygote grows into a new fern. Depending on the species, the transition from spore to a new plant may take weeks or months, so it is a difficult process to manage indoors. However, it may occur quite spontaneously in a humid terrarium. Should you see a greenish mass growing on the soil’s surface beneath a fern in your terrarium, it may be evidence of spores that have successfully reached their sexual stage. Continue to watch, but do not attempt to transplant baby ferns until the little fronds are at least 1–2 in/2.5–5 cm tall.

Final notes

Chemically speaking, ferns are delicate plants. Never use any type of leaf shine product on ferns, because they can cause severe damage. Ferns are sensitive to pesticides, too, so it’s best to control any pests by removing them by hand or by rinsing the plants in a gentle shower. Tobacco smoke can harm ferns, as can other chemical air pollutants. Ferns that show excellent health are a welcome indicator of clean, uncontaminated air.

Dumb cane plant care guide. How to care for dumb cane

A house plant guide to Dumb cane plant care

A house plant guide to Dumb cane plant care

The Dumb Cane plant is a strong little species that will thrive in any light conditions other than direct sunlight. This popular foliage plant is often called dumb cane because the plant’s sap contains calcium oxalate crystals that are potent irritants of human and animal mucous membranes, and chewing the leaves causes the tongue and throat to swell, making speech impossible (and suffocation a possibility). The sap is poisonous to cats, too, so they should not be allowed to play with the leaves.

This popular foliage plant is often called dumb cane because the plant’s sap contains calcium oxalate crystals that are potent irritants of human and animal mucous membranes
This popular foliage plant is often called dumb cane because the plant’s sap contains calcium oxalate crystals that are potent irritants of human and animal mucous membranes

As for the “cane” part of the name, older dieffenbachias typically grew quite tall until they became tufts of leaves atop a canelike stalk. Some still do, though modern hybrids are more compact and bushy than were their forebears. Many grow to only 12 in/30 cm tall. Numerous hybrids are available that feature different variegation patterns in the leaves, and you may occasionally find all-green dieffenbachias as well. When breeders evaluate new dieffenbachias, they look for a low incidence of leaf burn due to fluctuations in fertilizer and light levels — the most common problem with the dumb cane plants.

As for the “cane” part of the name, older dieffenbachias typically grew quite tall until they became tufts of leaves atop a canelike stalk
As for the “cane” part of the name, older dieffenbachias typically grew quite tall until they became tufts of leaves atop a canelike stalk

As for the “cane” part of the name, older dieffenbachias typically grew quite tall until they became tufts of leaves atop a canelike stalk

Common name: Dumb cane or Leopard Lily
Botanical name: Dieffenbachia, Dieffenbachia hybrids
Family: Araceae
Origin: Central and South American rain forests

Specifications

Light: Moderate filtered light. Turn plant often to encourage even growth.

Temperature: Average to warm room temperatures (65–80°F/18–27°C).

FertilizerIn spring and summer, high-nitrogen foliage plant food or balanced plant food every 2 weeks. In fall and winter, feed monthly.

Water: Keep soil lightly moist, never waterlogged, with moderate humidity. Plant adapts easily to most homes and offices.

Soil: Any good potting soil.

Repotting: Every other spring.

Longevity: 3 to 15 years; indefinitely when propagated from rooted cuttings.

Selections: Choose varieties based on your personal preferences, because they’re all good.

Display tips: Dieffenbachias work well in formal rooms when grown in brass or ceramic containers. In mixed containers, they combine well with arrowhead vine, pothos, and prayer plant.

Dumb Cane Plant Care 101 | Dieffenbachia – PLANTERINA

Dumb cane plant propagation guide. How to propagate dumb cane plant

When a dieffenbachia grows too tall, use a sharp knife to lop off the top of the plant so that a 6 in/15 cm-tall trunk remains. When pups emerge from the lower stem, cut them away and plant them in small pots. In addition, you may have luck trimming the excised top to about 6 in/15 cm long, while removing all but the three or four topmost leaves. Set the groomed tip in a jar of water to root for 3 weeks, and then transplant to a new pot.

Dumb cane plant propagation by cuttings in water
Dumb cane plant propagation by cuttings in water

Dumb cane plant disease and troubleshooting

Drooping leaves.
CAUSE: Too little water.
REMEDY: Water plants lightly yet frequently so that the soil never dries out completely.

Droopy leaves on dumb cane plant
Droopy leaves on dumb cane plant

Brown tips on leaves.
CAUSE: Uneven watering.
REMEDY: Provide water frequently, but never force the roots to sit in water. Learn to judge moisture level in container by tipping it to assess its weight as well as by checking for moisture in the top inch of soil.

Dumb cane plant has brown tips on leaves
Dumb cane plant has brown tips on leaves

Leaves droop and fall without yellowing first.
CAUSE: Plant is being chilled.
REMEDY: Move plant to a warmer place where temperatures will stay above 60°F/16°C.

New growth is lopsided or uneven.
CAUSE: Plant is stretching toward light.
REMEDY: Turn the plant a quarter turn every 3 days. If the plant still appears lanky, increase light level by moving it to a brighter spot.

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Dumb cane plant is lopsided or uneven

Little or no new growth.
CAUSE: Insufficient light or not enough fertilizer.
REMEDY: Provide supplemental light or move to a brighter location; feed plant every 2 weeks with a high-nitrogen foliage plant food.

Leaf edges turn brown and curl.
CAUSE: Too much fertilizer.
REMEDY: Flush soil with clean water to wash away any accumulated fertilizer and salts. After 2 weeks, resume feeding with a dilute solution of water-soluble houseplant food.

Lowest leaves turn yellow and drop.
CAUSE: This is the normal growth pattern of this plant.
REMEDY: Snip off failing leaves during regular grooming.

White, cottony masses on stems and leaf undersides.
CAUSE: Mealybugs.
REMEDY: Clean off with swabs dipped in alcohol. Repeat every 3 days until the mealybugs are gone.

White, cottony masses on stems and leaf undersides
White, cottony masses on stems and leaf undersides

Leaves appear pale and bleached, with webby material on leaf undersides.
CAUSE: Spider mites.

REMEDY: Isolate plant and treat the problem immediately. See page 274 for detailed information about this pest.

Spider mites
Spider mites on dumb cane plant

Snake plant care guide. How to take care of snake plants

Snake plant care guide. How to take care of snake plants

Other names: Mother-in-law’s tongue, Snake plant
Scientific name: Sansevieria

One of the most carefree plants you can grow, snake plant adapts quickly to life in homes, workplaces, and shopping malls. Often described as indestructible, snake plant tolerates neglect but responds to good care by growing sturdy, sword-shaped leaves, which often are edged with yellow or white. Clean them periodically with a damp cloth to maintain a glossy sheen. Very old plants sometimes produce clusters of white flowers in winter, but most indoor-grown plants go many years between bloom cycles. This is a top houseplant for beginners, but seasoned houseplant growers also love snake plant for its stalwart constitution and dramatic upright form.

Do snake plants get flowers?

Snake plants are not usually grown for their flowers, but blossoms have been known to happen on some varieties (and since most snake plants are hand-me-downs, few people can identify them by name). When they do occur, the flowers are white, small, fluffy, and sometimes headily fragrant.

Snake plants are not usually grown for their flowers, but blossoms have been known to happen on some varieties
Snake plants are not usually grown for their flowers, but blossoms have been known to happen on some varieties

How to care for snake plants?

As for care, they are all bulletproof. I have never met anyone who has killed a snake plant. It’s nearly impossible to do. A lot of people have thrown them out, but few have succeeded in neglecting them to death. If you want to do it right, give snake plants indirect light (they can burn in a direct south-facing window), water them when the soil is dry (which happens often if you haven’t repotted), and provide average home temperatures. Humidity, or lack thereof, is not usually an issue. When they are happy (and it doesn’t take much to please them), snake plants will increase by sending up more snakes. They do this with so much gusto that they have been known to muscle out of plastic containers, so move your snake plant into a clay pot as soon as possible. Select a container that is squat and weighty on the bottom; the crowd of heavy succulent leaves can topple easily. Another solution is to divide off some of the leaves. Surely you know some folks who desperately need a plant they cannot possibly kill, try though they might.

Snake Plant Care: How to Grow The “Mother In Law’s Tongue”! – Epic Garden

Snake plant specifications

LightFrom spring through fall, bright indirect light. In winter, moderate light.

Temperature: Average indoor temperatures (65–75°F/18–24°C) year-round, with no chilling below 60°F/16°C.

Fertilizer: From late spring through fall, feed monthly with a balanced houseplant fertilizer mixed at half the normal strength. In winter, do not feed.

WaterIn spring through summer, water often enough to keep soil lightly moist. In winter, allow soil to become nearly dry between waterings.

Soil: Regular potting soil, possibly amended with a handful of sterilized garden soil to give it a slightly heavier texture.

Repotting: Repot as needed in spring every 2 to 3 years. As plants become taller, add pebbles or small stones to the bottom of the container to add weight, which prevents toppling.

Longevity: 20 years or more; indefinitely if propagated by division every 5 to 10 years.

Propagation: Division in early spring. Use a sharp, serrated knife to cut through the thick roots.

Selections: Standard selections such as ‘Laurentii’, with creamy yellow leaf margins, grow to 24 in/60 cm tall. Dwarf forms such as ‘Golden Hahnii’ and ‘Silver Hahnii’ grow to half that size, with sharply variegated leaves.

Display tips: Snake plant’s tall, linear look makes it an ideal background plant to group with other foliage plants. It moves willingly to new locations provided steady warmth is maintained.

Snake plant's tall, linear look makes it an ideal background plant to group with other foliage plants
Snake plant’s tall, linear look makes it an ideal background plant to group with other foliage plants

You can also display snake plants at the corner of the house or near the vertical spots. It will help to make your house look softer

You can also display snake plants at the corner of the house or near the vertical spots
You can also display snake plants at the corner of the house or near the vertical spots

Spider plant care guide.How to care for your spider plant

Spider plant care guide.How to care for your spider plant
Spider plant care guide.How to care for your spider plant

Popular and easy to grow, the spider plant is an excellent house-plant for beginners. Its strap-shaped leaves, which grow to 15 in/37.5 cm long, arch outward from a central crown. Spider plant also does an admirable job of cleaning the air of airborne pollutants, though its roots are sensitive to tainted water. The brown leaf tips are often seen on this plant sometimes are the result of fluoride and other minor contaminants present in many public water supplies.

Common name: Spider plant
Other names: Airplane plant
Family: ANTHERICAEA
Origin: TROPICAL AFRICA AND SOUTH PACIFIC
Botanical name: Chlorophytum comosum

Spider plant is phenomenally prolific. When less than a year old, plants eagerly produce small, white flowers on the tips of upright stems, which gradually arch outward and develop plantlets on their ends. Sometimes the plantlets themselves produce plantlets. However, when a spider plant is kept in a room where lights are used at night, the urge to flower is likely to be weak. If you want your spider plant to propagate itself, either place it outdoors in the fall so it can respond to days that are becoming shorter, or move it to a room that is not used at night, for 3 weeks in fall or winter, when days are naturally short.

Spider plant also does an admirable job of cleaning the air of airborne pollutants
Spider plant also does an admirable job of cleaning the air of airborne pollutants

Spider plant specifications

Light: Bright to moderate year-round.

Temperature: Average room temperatures (65–75°F/18–24°C) year-round. Avoid chilling below 55°F/13°C, or temperatures warmer than 80°F/27°C.

Fertilizer: In spring and early summer, feed every 2 weeks with a balanced houseplant fertilizer mixed at half the normal rate. In the fall, feed monthly.

Water: In spring and summer, keep the soil lightly moist. In fall and winter, allow the surface to dry 1 in/2.5 cm deep between waterings. Use rainwater or distilled water if your tap water is fluoridated.

Soil: Any good potting soil.

Repotting: Repot young plants annually in spring. Mature plants grown in 6 in/15 cm pots need repotting every other year.

Longevity: 5 years or more; indefinitely if plantlets are propagated.

Propagation: Set plant in a place where you can put several small pots filled with damp potting soil next to it. Sink the young plantlets into the soil in the smaller pots, so the root buds are barely covered, and use a bent-out paper clip or small stone to hold the plantlets in place as they root, if necessary. They should root in 2 to 3 weeks. After that time, sever them from the parent plant. Discard excess plantlets.

Selections: The very common ‘Vittatum’ selection features a white stripe down the center of each leaf. All-green spider plants are increasingly difficult to find.

Display tips: This is an ideal plant for a hanging basket, though it grows equally well in a pot placed on a table or windowsill.

Chlorophytum comosum (Spider Plant) Houseplant Care – Summer Rayne Oakes

Troubleshooting

Leaf tips turn brown.

CAUSE: Tainted water; overfertilization.
REMEDY: Snip off brown tips with sharp scissors (see page 257). Leach soil using rainwater or distilled water (see page 263). Use rainwater or distilled water to water this plant. Dilute liquid fertilizer to half strength or less.

Plant does not bloom or produce plantlets.

CAUSE: Too-large pot; too much light at night; too much fertilizer.
REMEDY: Keeping plants slightly rootbound increases flowering. Plants bloom and produce offspring in response to short nights. In fall or winter, keep plant in a room where no supplemental lights are used at night for 3 weeks. After 3 weeks, it can be brought back into living areas used at night. Overfertilization also can cause plants to produce lush leaves but no offspring.

Brown discs on leaves.

CAUSE: Scale.
REMEDY: Use your fingernail to remove the scale. Repeat every few days. Isolate plant until problem is controlled.

Plantlets die when transplanted to pots.

CAUSE: Plantlets too old.
REMEDY: Plantlets root best when they are small to medium-sized. Older plantlets often develop dry calluses over their roots, so they root very slowly. Plantlets also may fail when suddenly severed from the parent plant. For best results, secure young plantlets in pots for 2 weeks before detaching them from the parent plant.

More on houseplant care

Pothos plant care guide (short version)

Other names: Devil’s ivy
Botanical name: Epipremnum aureum (formerly known as Pothos aureus)
Origin: Solomon islands

Pothos has a well-deserved reputation as the easiest house-plant to grow. Long, vining stems trail over the sides of the pot, often reaching 8 ft/2.4 m or more unless they are trimmed back. The glossy, heart-shaped leaves unfurl constantly, usually emerging green and becoming more variegated as they age. Bright light increases the growth rate of this vigorous plant. Once or twice a year, prune pothos to keep it bushy and full. Clip back some vines to within 2 in/5 cm of the soil, and shorten others by cutting them off at any point. Overwatering is the only serious mistake you might make with this forgiving plant because pothos cannot stand waterlogged soil. Be especially careful with freshly repotted plants, which appreciate somewhat dry conditions as they recover from the change. Vigorous, fast-growing pothos plants are ideal low-maintenance plants for offices or new houses, where formaldehyde from carpet, plywood, or other materials may be a contaminant. Cats who play with the dangling vines quickly learn to avoid pothos because the poisonous (but nonlethal) sap causes a burning sensation in the mouth.

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Pothos plant care and specifications

Light: Moderate to bright light or fluorescent light.

Temperature: Average room temperature (60–80°F/16–27°C).

Fertilizer:From spring through fall, feed every 2 weeks with a balanced houseplant food. In winter, feed monthly.

Water: Allow soil to dry to within 1 in/2.5 cm of the surface between waterings. Tolerates dryness better than overwatering. Soil:Any good potting soil that drains well.

Repotting: Repot annually in spring, shifting plant to a slightly larger pot. Control the size of very large plants by clipping off up to a third of the vines along with some of the roots, and do not increase container size.

Longevity: 10 years or more; indefinitely when propagated from rooted stem tip cuttings.

Propagation: Cut back a long stem near the soil, and wait for a new shoot to emerge from the base of the plant. When the new shoot is 4 in/10 cm long, root it as described in How to propagate pothos plant for free from cuttings in water. Stem tips also may be rooted, though they are slower to develop roots.

Selections: Inexpensive plants with leaves marbled with yellow or white are widely available. ‘Neon’ has nearly chartreuse leaves, while ‘Marble Queen’ is so heavily variegated with white that green is the secondary leaf color. Plants may be labeled with obsolete botanical names, including Pothos aureus or Scindapus aureus.

Display tips: Make the most of the way pothos stems drape downward by displaying the plant atop a tall piece of furniture or file cabinet.

Troubleshooting

Pothos leaves are mostly green and lose variegation.

CAUSE: Too little light; weakly variegated variety.
REMEDY: Move the plant to a brighter location. Also be patient, as new leaves often emerge green and develop variegation as they age.

Pothos leaves turn yellow and fall.

CAUSE: Too much water; transplant trauma.
REMEDY: A few weeks after repotting, pothos plants often shed a few leaves. Continued yellowing of leaves is usually due to too much water or inadequate pruning. Stems allowed to grow more than 4 ft/1.2 m long often shed most of their leaves. Check drainage holes to make sure they are free of debris, and water plants less frequently.

Brown spots on pothos leave surrounded by yellow halos.

CAUSE: Bacterial leaf spot.
REMEDY: Clip off affected leaves, or entire branches that hold many spotted leaves. Keep leaves dry when watering the plant.

Pothos has yellow or wilted leaves; soft mushy stems.

CAUSE: Root rot, caused by several types of soil-borne fungi.
REMEDY: Propagate a few stem tip cuttings if possible, then dispose of the plant and soil. Thoroughly clean container before using it to grow another houseplant.

Pothos plant has White, cottony masses on stems or leaf undersides.

CAUSE: Mealybugs.
REMEDY: This pest only occasionally infests pothos, which is normally a remarkably pest-free plant. Remove mealybugs with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. If necessary, repeat after 1 week.

Notes: For longer and more comprehensive version. Read here