What’s An Easy Care Flowering Houseplant?

Hi Gene,

My two favorite flowering houseplants which I think are very easy to care for are a lipstick plant and a goldfish plant. Hoya plants and hindu ropes plants are easy to care for also, but don’t seem to bloom as often or as profusely as the lipstick and goldfish plants. Here are pictures of all four of these plants and links to where you can read about them in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.

orange goldfish plant

Goldfish Plant

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

Red flowering Lipstick plant

Lipstick Plant

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

Pink flowering Hindu Rope Plant

Hindu Rope Plant

https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/hindu-rope-plant-grow-care

Hoya Plant


Which Orchid Plant Produces the Largest Flower

Hi Lois,

Most orchid experts agree that the Cattleya warscewiczii and the Cattleya digbyana produce the largest flowers. The flowers on the plants can be over 8.”

Lavendar and purple Cattleya warscewiczii orchid flower

Cattleya warscewiczii Orchid

Burnt orange cattle digbyana orchid

Cattleya digbyana orchid flower



 

Identity of unknown plant

Hi Mary,

Your plant is a variegated Swedish Ivy Plant (Plectranthus coleodes). The care is just about the same as the care for the green Swedish Ivy listed in the Popular Houseplant section of the website except it needs a little more light because of the white in the leaves.

https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/swedish-ivy-plectranthus-how-to-grow-care

This plant even produces delicate, tubular-shaped flowers when given enough 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. but no direct sun. You can hang a Swedish Ivy Plant outside in partial shade during the summer, but bring it indoors before the temperatures dip below 50 degrees. A Swedish Ivy Plant is a fast- growing, easy- care plant that is great for beginners.


 

 

 

How to Make an Orchid Terrarium

Hi Tom,

Making orchid terrariums in glass jars is very simple and quick to do. This is also a great way to care for an orchid; it provides high humidity and makes it easy to move your orchid around as the light changes with the seasons.

Orchids growing in glass terrarium

Orchid terrarium

Here are some steps on how to do it.

 Use a clear glass container large enough to give your orchid room to grow.

Place a layer of small decorative rocks or pebbles in the bottom of the glass jar for drainage. Rinse them first to remove any sand or dirt.

Put in a thick layer of Sphagnum Moss that you have fluffed by pulling it apart and hollow out a lower area in the center.

Place your orchid in the center area with its green roots nestled in the moss and its air roots on top of the moss. It is very important that air roots not be buried.

Water the moss well but try not to get water on the orchid leaves.

Place 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. but no direct sun (leaves burn in direct sun).

Roots, stems, and leaves hold water so be careful not to over- water. Under watered orchids can be saved, over- watered quickly die.

Use orchid food diluted to ¼ the recommended strength every 2 weeks.

Simple & Easy!!




 

 

Identify House Plant with Brown Spots on Leaves

Hi Emily,

Large green and white leaves with brown spots

Dieffenbachia with brown spots on leaves

Your plant is a type of dieffenbachia. It looks like your plant is suffereing from Leaf Spot disease. When a plant gets Leaf Spot, the attacking fungus or bacteria leaves brown spots trimmed in yellow where it is feeding on the leaves. These spots may vary in shape, color, and size.  As with all other fungal and bacterial diseases, better air circulation, well-drained soil, dry leaves, and less water help control Leaf Spot disease.  Never mist a plant if Leaf Spot is suspected. You can use a commercial Fungicide to treat Leaf Spot disease or this homemade remedy:  put a tablespoon or two of baking soda and a teaspoon or two of mineral oil in a spray bottle of water. Shake the solution well and then spray all areas of the plant that are infected. Keep infected plants away from your other houseplants.

You can read all my care tips for a dieffenbachia in the Popular Houseplant section of the website. The picture is of a different variety but the care is the same.

https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/dieffenbachia-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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Identify and Grow a Desert Rose Plant

Hi Renee,

Your plant is a type of Caudiciform (“fat plant”). There aren’t many leaves to help identify it, but my best guess is a Desert Rose. Here’s what a braided variety looks like.

Pink Desert Rose also called a "Fat Plant"

Braided Desert Rose Plant

Here are some care tips to help you grow your Desert Rose Plant

A Desert Rose Plant needs 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..

The fat bulbous trunk stores water so allow the soil to dry out before watering. If the soil of gets excessively dry, the plant becomes dormant; but once you give it a little water it wakes up and starts growing again.

Fertilize a Desert Rose with a plant food specifically recommended for flowering plants. The plant food should be lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorous (10/20/10). Feed this plant monthly from late spring until early fall, always dilute the plant food to one half the recommended strength.

A Desert Rose likes very warm temperatures. Keep the room above 60 degrees and avoid placing this plant near air conditioners or cold drafts.

You can read all my care tips for a Desert Rose plant in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.

https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/how-to-grow-desert-rose-plants



 

 

 

 

How to Get Orchid Plants to Bloom

Hi Alice,

There are several things orchids need in order to bloom.

Water: Not too little and definitely not too much! Over watering is the main reason orchids die; it is also one of the reasons orchid buds drop off. Most orchids need to dry out between watering and they should never sit in water. It is more difficult to over- water an orchid if it is growing in special orchid medium. The amount of water that an orchid needs is influenced by the pot size, the potting medium, the temperature in the room, air circulation, and humidity. Roots turn brown from too much water. Sadly, leaves become wrinkled from both too much and too little water.

Light: Again, not too little and not too much. Knowing your orchid variety helps determine how much light it needs. Full sun burns the leaves and suppresses flower bud development on most orchids. Like many other flowering plants such as gardenias, orchids need several hours of nighttime darkness for the buds to set. Never leave lights on all night in a room that contains orchids, or buds will never form.

Temperature: Each variety has its own optimal temperature,  but orchids bloom better when the temperature at night is 10 degrees cooler than the temperature during the day.

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.: I find that feeding “weakly” “weekly” is a good plan. That means diluting the plant food to 1/3-1/4 the recommended strength and using it weekly. Always use a plant food made for orchid plants, never use any 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. that contains urea.

Container: When an orchid gets too big for its container the planting medium starts to break down. Planting medium also breaks down when it gets old; this prevents air circulation around the roots which is vital for the plant to grow well and produce flowers. Some orchid varieties may not bloom for 6 months after re-potting.

Hope this helps!

 

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

516vfyeqkul

How to propagate Pothos Plants

Hi Mandy,

The easiest and most successful way to propagate pothos plants is by stem cuttings. Just follow these steps and you should get lots of new plants in a very short time.

 

Pothos plant with green leaves with yellow variegation

Golden Pothos

Pothos plant with white variegation in the green leaves

Marble Queen Pothos

Gray variegation in green heart shaped leaves of Satin Pothos

Satin Pothos

Stem Cuttings: Use a sharp, clean scissors or razor blade to cut a 3”-5” piece from the end of a healthy stem 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.

You can also root the cuttings in water. Once roots have developed dip them in the Rooting HormoneRooting Hormone helps plant cuttings produce new roots and is very important to use if you want your propagation attempts to be successful. Always dip the cut end of a stem or leaf into water and then dip it into the rooting hormone before planting it. Tap off any excess powder since too much hormone is worse than too little. and proceed from there with the rest of the steps mentioned above. The main problem I’ve seen with this method is that the water sometimes attracts Fungus GnatsThis small dark skinny pest flies and jumps around plants and people driving us all crazy. Fungus Gnats develop in moist potting soil, feeding on root hairs and emerging as adults every 30 days. The best way to get rid of Fungus Gnats is to allow the soil to thoroughly dry out. This eliminates the eggs and gnats in the pot. Use yellow sticky cards to trap the Fungus Gnats that are flying around. that spread to your other plants and are difficult to get rid of.

These pothos 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


 

Best Orchid for Hanging Basket

Hi Ramona,

I really think the colorful, fragrant Vanda Orchid is the best orchid for hanging baskets. Their exposed roots make the plant even more interesting to look at. In nature Vanda Orchids use these roots to attach to trees. Vanda orchid roots love being in the open air which makes hanging them in slotted planters or wire baskets ideal.  The roots will attach themselves to the basket or hang through whatever holes are available. You can use large pieces of bark to stabilize the plant until the roots have developed.

Vanda orchids like brighter light than most other orchids so they dry out faster. I mist the roots that are hanging out every morning. They also need at least 60% humidity and very good air circulation. These plants like warm temperatures aboce 65 degrees.

Vandas need quite a bit of plant food. During the growing season, fertilize weekly, weakly with a liquid orchid plant food.

You’re going to love these orchids!

 

Purple hanging Vanda Orchid

Vanda Orchid


Help identifying this plant

Hi Marshy,

Short, pointed,green sansevieria leaves

Sansevieria Hahnii

Your plant is a type of Sansevieria, also called a Snake Plant or Mother in Law’s Tongue because of the sharp leaf tips. There are many, many types of sansevierias. If your plant has short leaves it is a type of Sansevieria Hahnii; if it has tall leaves it is a type of Sansevieria Trifasciata. You can read all my care tips and information on how to grow sansevierias  in the Popular Houseplants section of the website.

https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/sansevieria-snake-plant-how-to-grow

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