Schefflera Elegantissima

A schefflera elegantissima, native to New Caledonia, has many different names depending who you ask: false aralia, dizygothica elegantissima, spider aralia. Whatever you call it, this is a beautiful plant with long, narrow, serrated leaves in a palmate (finger-like) arrangement. The color of the leaves starts out as a reddish, coppery green and gradually turns into a lovely dark green. The plant can be used as a table plant or as a 4-7ft floor plant as it matures.

 

 

 

Terrariums

terrarium is a clear water- tight container that can hold soil, small plants, and decorative additions. It allows both heat and light to enter. Terraria (plural) can be open to the environment or sealed.

Use an open terrarium for succulentLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a "fat plant." or semi- Succulent PlantLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a "fat plant."s (“dry plants”) that prefer dry air rather than high humidity. Some of the best plants for an open terrarium are air plants, echeveria, jade, kalanchoe, sedum, hawarthia, or small cacti.  Plants that require bright direct light also do better in an open terrarium. Avoid using plants with a large root system.

Closed terrariums are mini ecosystems that create a humid environment by retaining much of their moisture. In fact you may have to open a sealed terrarium and wipe down the sides if too much humidity builds up inside. Excellent plants for a closed terrarium are: pilea, nerve plants, baby’s tears, spider wort, aluminum plants, mini begonias, mini orchids, button ferns, and creeping fig. Avoid using tall climbing plants and plants with a large root system.

When creating a terrarium, be sure to use plants that have the same lighting, watering, humidity, and feeding requirements. It’s a recipe for failure to put a Succulent PlantLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a "fat plant." that needs 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., dry soil, and low humidity in with a fern that thrives on moist soil, high humidity, and medium light. Find care requirements for specific plants in the Popular Houseplants section of the website.

Photo: Regenwaldterrarium by Rolf Kolasch

 

Peperomia Plant – caperata

There are over 1000 varieties of Peperomia Plants that are mainly native to Central and South America. All Peperomia Plants, which belong to the Pepper Family, are semi- succulentLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a "fat plant."s with very similar care requirements.  The leaves of Peperomia Plants are thick and plump and can be rippled or smooth and shiny. The colors of the leaves of Peperomia Plants come in various shades of green, red, gray, & cream, displayed in solid, marbled and striped patterns. The flowers of a Peperomia Plants are tiny & inconsequential, growing in clusters on upright conical spikes. When small, Peperomia Plants can be used in dish gardens and terrariums. Compact Peperomias are ideal for tables and some varieties make excellent hanging plants. Most Peperomia Plants never grow taller than 12”-18.” The most popular Peperomia plants, used as houseplants, are the caperata and the obtusifolia.

 

                  Peperomia

 

Hindu Rope Plant

Unique Hindu rope plants, Hoya carnosa compacta, are draping succulentLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a "fat plant." vines that produce clusters of star-shaped waxy flowers. The thick, twisted, curly, cupped leaves of a Hindu rope plant are why it’s often called Krinkle Kurl. Hindu rope plants can be found in solid green or with variegated leaves. This type of hoya plant is very easy to care for as long as you have plenty of light and are careful with your water.

Bromeliad – Aechmea fasciata

A bromeliad fasciata (Aechmea fasciata), sometimes called a silver vase plant or urn plant, is an easy care flowering plant native to Brazil. In nature, it is an epiphytic plant, which means it grows on other plants or trees. This bromeliad variety has thick, arching, gray-green leaves.These unique leaves are arranged in a circular fashion so that they form an upturned waxy cup in the center. This central cup, or reservoir collects the water and nutrients that the plant needs. After three or four years, as a bromeliad fasciata matures, the plant produces a tall flower stalk with numerous pink bracts. The real flowers are small blue blooms that grow between the pink bracts. Although the blue flowers quickly die, the bright pink bracts often last 5 or 6 months. When buying a bromeliad fasciata, avoid purchasing one that already has small blue flowers since this indicates the pink bracts have been visible for a while and may soon fade. 

Read about other easy care houseplants, like this bromeliad, in Don’t Talk to Me, I’ll Grow Better – A Guide to Easy-Care Houseplants

 

BROMELIAD

 

 

Calathea Plant

Calathea  plants are native to Africa, the West Indies, and Central and South America. All are treasured for their large, oval, distinctly patterned, and vibrantly colored leaves. The beautiful striped leaves grow at the end of long stems and require quite a bit of care to stay looking good. Indoors, a calathea plant rarely grows larger than about 2ft. wide and 2ft. tall. This plant requires high humidity to keep its leaves from getting brown edges. A calathea is not an easy-care plant, but like many unusual houseplants, well worth the effort.

Hoya Shooting Stars Plant

The Hoya Shooting Stars Plant is native to Thailand and Malaysia. White blooms on the Hoya Shooting Stars plant appear in large clusters, with the waxy petals leaning back behind the center of the flower, like shooting stars. There are over 200 species of the easy to grow almost indestructible Hoya Plants. Hoya Plants are often referred to as Wax Plants because of the waxy nature of their leaves and flowers.  Hoya Plants grow best hanging in front of a bright sunny window. Even a houseplant novice will be successful growing a Hoya Plant.

Episcia Plant

Episcias are lovely trailing plants native to Central and South America, Brazil, and the West Indies. An Episcia Plant is grown for its colorful textured leaves and small but pretty flowers. The most popular variety of the Episcia Plant is the Flame Violet which has silver veined leaves and bears tubular orange-red flowers about 3/4″ in size. The Episcia has never become as popular as its close relative the African Violet because they require more care. Episcias grow in a very unique manner. Each plant sends out runners called stolons which trail over the edge of the container or across the soil in the pot. New plants are propagated from these runners.This is a beautiful unique houseplant, but not for beginners.

 

 

Episcia Plant

Swedish Ivy Plant

Swedish Ivy plants did not originate in Sweden nor are they an ivy plant. However, Swedish Ivy plants did originally become popular as a houseplant in Sweden and they do have long cascading stems like a regular ivy plant. “Creeping Charlie” is the nickname for a Swedish Ivy and it is closely related to the mint plant. This is a lush almost succulentLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a "fat plant."- like trailing vine with thick, bright green, shiny scalloped leaves. A Swedish Ivy  looks great in hanging baskets. 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., a Swedish Ivy produces delicate, white or purple tubular-shaped flowers. Some varieties have a special aroma when touched. You can hang a Swedish Ivy outside in partial shade during the summer, but bring it indoors before the temperatures dip below 50°.  Swedish Ivy, is a fast- growing, easy- care plant, is great for beginners.

Kangaroo Paw Fern

Kangaroo paw ferns, native to Australia and and some parts of New Zealand, are epiphytic evergreens with firm leathery fronds that are oddly shaped and vary in size. It’s an example of a rhizomatous fern. The kangaroo paw fern only grows to be about a foot tall but can spread out to 2-3 feet in width.  I really like how different this easy care plant is and think it looks very attractive in a hanging basket or set on a table in a pretty pot.

 

 

Kangaroo Paw Fern