Plant Identification

Hi Lacy,

Your plant is a Croton Golddust. Crotons were originally an outdoor plant and have only become a popular indoor houseplant within the last 15-20 years. They have beautiful multicolored, hard, leathery leaves in red, yellow, green, orange, and black. The leaf shapes on a Croton Plant can be long, narrow, wide, and elliptical.

Crotons grow best in bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light.. Leaves fall off when the plant is over -watered so always allow the top 1/3 of the soil to dry out and the leaves to become a little soft before watering. You can read all my grow care advice and maintenance tips for a croton plant in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.

https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/croton-how-to-grow-plant-care

These plants are considered poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 The Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants [Paperback]is an excellent reference to keep around if you have young children and pets. and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 The Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants [Paperback]is an excellent reference to keep around if you have young children and pets. in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants


 

 

 

 

What is my house plant?

Hi Allison,

Small, fat, round green leaves on reddish brown stems of Crassula Portulacaria-African Bush Plant

Crassula Portulacaria
Elephant Bush Plant

Your plant looks like a Crassula Portulacaria afra (Elephant plant bush). Here are some care tips for this succulent plantLearn how to grow and care for succulent plants at Houseplant411.com.

Water: These plants are drought resistant and do not like to be wet all of the time. Water well, then allow the soil to dry out before watering again. During the winter when the plant is dormant, decrease your water even more. Be sure there are drip holes in the pot so excess water can escape. Over-watering is the main reason a Crassula Portulacaria dies.

Light: bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light.

Soil: Loose fast draining potting soil or cactus mix

fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.: Feed monthly March – June with a balanced plant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength

Pests: Mealy BugsSee a picture, learn to identify and treat Mealy Bugs, a houseplant pest that leaves sticky,white, cottony residue on houseplants., spider mitesSpider Mites, members of the Acari family, are small insects about 1mm in size. The most common indoor plant mite is the red spider mite (also called the two-spotted spider mite.). These pests lay their eggs on the under surface of leaves and produce fine webbing especially where the leaves are attached to the stem. Spider mites are hard to see with the naked eye, and may appear only as small red dots. They are more often recognized by the gritty feel of the leaf when you run your finger down it’s length, or by the appearance of discolored leaves due to the sucking action of the mites. The best way to prevent spider mites is to keep your plants clean and dust free. Treat spider mites by spraying every ten days for a month with a product such as Safer Insecticidal Soap., white flyWhiteflies are small gnat-like insects, covered in a powdery white wax; they feed on the sap of plants. This causes leaf-drop and weakens the plant in general. Whiteflies secrete a sticky substance called honeydew while they feed. The flying adults lay eggs on the tops of leaves, but it is the immature nymph stage, feeding unnoticed on the underside of the leaves, that does the real damage. Yellow sticky cards are a good way to trap the flying adults and prevent new eggs. Spray the Green Solution to get rid of the feeding nymphs on the underside of the leaves.. You can read about these plant pests and how to treat them in the Glossary of the website.

These are great plants and really thrive on neglect.

 

 

Yucca plant Needs Help

Hi Georgiana,

 

You are definitely over-watering your Yucca Plant!!!!! A Yucca Plant originates in the deserts of Mexico and Guatemala so it likes to be kept dry. Allow at least the top 50% of the soil of a Yucca Plant to dry out before watering. Too much water is the main and probably the only way to kill a Yucca Plant. Yucca plants do best in warm temperatures (no cold drafts), very bright lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light., and practically dry soil. I water my large yucca every other week. I water from the top and then do not water again for at least two weeks or more in the winter). Never allow a yucca to sit in water. The roots stay wet all of the time and eventually rot which is what is happening to your plant. I think you should take it out of the pot; get rid of all the wet soil; allow it to sit out bare root for at least 24 hours; and repot in new dry soil. Be very careful with your watering. A yucca can always recover from too little water, but will die from too much!




What to do with Amaryllis bulbs from last year

Hi Jane,

pink amaryllis flowers

Amaryllis plant flowers

Hopefully you followed these care steps last year so that your plant is ready to bloom again this year.

1. Cut the old flowers from the stem when they fade.

2. When the stem starts to sag, cut it back to the top of the bulb.

3. Continue to water and fertilize all summer or at least 5-6 months.

4. Allow the leaves to fully develop and grow. The leaves nourish the bulb so it will produce large flowers next year.

5. When the leaves begin to yellow, usually in the early fall, cut the leaves to about 2” from the top of the bulb

6. At this time, remove the bulb from the soil.

7. Clean the bulb and place it in a cool dark place (40-50 degrees) for a minimum of six weeks. The refrigerator will work only if it does not contain apples. Apples will sterilize the bulbs.

8. After six weeks you can remove the bulbs and plant them again. Plant the bulbs about eight weeks before you want them to bloom.

If you plan to buy new bulbs, remember, the larger the bulb the larger the flowers will tend to be. Mid October is a good time to plant amaryllis bulbs if you want them to bloom around the holidays.

These plants are considered poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children. Learn more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants

What is this plant clipping?

Hi Mario,

Your plant clipping is a coleus plant. Although a coleus plant is not considered poisonous,  it is not considered totally safe due to some minor reactions from pets munching on them. I’d advise keeping it away from pets and children. You can read more about common houseplants that are quite poisonous in my book  Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants available on Amazon.


 

 

Can You Help ID This Plant?

Hi,

 

It looks like a Balfour Aralia plant; the variety would be Polyscias-scutellaria. The distinct leaves of a Balfour Aralia plant look like leathery round dinner plates about 1″- 2″ in diameter which is how it got its nickname, the Dinner Plate Aralia. Aralias need some extra care and or they will quickly drop leaves. Here’s a picture of a “Dinner Plate” Aralia.

Large green round leaves on POLYSCIAS-SCUTELLARIA-'BALFOURIANA'

Aralia-POLYSCIAS-SCUTELLARIA-Balfour (Dinner Plate Aralia)

You can find all my care tips on how to grow and maintain an Aralia Plant in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.

https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/balfour-aralia-how-to-grow-care

These plants are considered poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants

 

Can you help me identify this houseplant please

Hi Chris,

Thin, purple triangular leaves on PurpleShamrock Plant

Purple Shamrock Plant

Your plant is called  a Purple Shamrock Plant.

Shamrock Plants, or Oxalis,  have the nickname Shamrock Plant because of their soft, thin, triangular leaves that are divided into three leaflets just like a lucky clover plant. ”Oxalis regnelli, the green leafed version of the Shamrock Plant, has small delicate white flowers while Oxalis triangularis (your plant) also called False Shamrock Plant, has dark purple leaves and pinkish lavender flowers. Shamrock Plants are bulb plants and die back after they bloom. Don’t throw them out, they just need a little rest before starting to grow again.

These plants are considered slightly poisonous if eaten in large quantities and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants

You can find all my care tips for a Purple Shamrock plant in the Popular Houseplant section of the website. The picture is of the green variety, but the care is the same.

https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/shamrock-plant-how-to-grow-care

 

 

Is this house plan poisonous to cats?

Hi Connie,

Here is the link to the page on my website where I talk about how to care for a peperomia plant.

https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/peperomia-plant-how-to-grow-care-tips

These plants are considered poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children. You can read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in my book Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants

 

 

How to Propagate a tall Schefflera PLant

Hi  Nora,

If it were my plant I’d cut the back to a manageable size that would fit into the new location. Schefflera houseplants are propagated by stem tip cuttings.  Use a sharp, clean scissors or razor blade to cut a 3”-5” piece from the end of a healthy stem  you removed (cut just below a leaf node). A node is where a leaf joins the stem. Remove leaves from the bottom 1/3 of the stem. Dip the cut end of the stem into a small amount of Rooting Hormone that contains a Fungicide. Plant the stem in moist potting soil. Cover the pot with clear plastic to increase the humidity and prevent the soil from drying out. Check the plant every few days to be sure the soil stays moist. Tug on the stem cuttings after a few weeks, if there is resistance, roots have developed, the plastic can be removed, and the propagation was successful.

 

 

 

Jade Plant Stems Shriveling and Breaking

Hi Julie,

I think you are definitely over fertilizing the plant. I recommend feeding a Jade plant with a fertilizer low in nitrogen every other month at 1/4 the recommended strength when the plant is actively growing. You’ve used so much plant food for so long it has probably just been sitting in the soil and has not been absorbed. The salt in the fertilizer has burned the roots and the plant can no longer absorb water. You can either flush the soil with distilled water 4 or 5 times so that it runs out the drip holes in the bottom of the pot & hopefully washes away the salts; or take the plant out of the pot,  get rid of the old soil, and replace it with new soil. I like the second method because while the plant is laying out bare root, you can trim off any roots the appear dead or dying.  Remember, if your jade plant has lost so many stems  of leaves ,  it will not need to be watered as often.

cv