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Live Indoor House Plants

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  • Live Indoor House Plants

    Any recommendations? I'm certainly no "greenthumb" and clueless in this field.

    We have several realistic-looking green silk artificial plants, which look great and have served well for many, many years in our home virtually maintenance-free, except for the occasional shower it needs to clean off all the dust.

    But we'd like to redecorate a little, and with that I'm weighing the pros and cons of live house plants.

    What type of indoor live house plants would you recommend for a condo-dweller? Keep in mind that folks like us don't have a yard just out the front door, so watering and other maintenance should be "kitchen sink or shower friendly"; basically using a watering can.

    Sunlight gets in our place, but for the most part, not directly.

    Here's some basic criteria to consider:
    • Easy to care
    • Durability (doesn't die easy)
    • Speed of growth (outgrowing the home)
    • Fragrance
    • Allergic reactions (yes or no?)
    • Shape or style
    • Color
    • Size (table plant or floor plant?)
    • Other?

    Mahalo in advance!
    Last edited by Pomai; March 3, 2008, 08:17 AM.
    sigpic The Tasty Island

  • #2
    Re: Live Indoor House Plants

    Almost anything that was grown in the shade at the nursery should do fine. Flourescent lighting should be used. Only drawback with house plants are bugs. Gotta really watch for spider mites, aphids and mealy bugs. In doors, they don't have any predators and they multiply and infest other plants real quick.

    To control them, you can use dishwashing detergent and water in a squirt bottle. Use Dawn. If pets or kids aren't a real concern, you can use Volk. Basically a mineral oil and water solution.

    I used to work for a plant rental business years ago and can't remember the plant names that we used. Getting old. Only stuff like spats, areca palm and ficus, the latter 2 probably being bigger plants than you have in mind.

    My wife has violets and that "good luck" plant that looks like bamboo. They both do well indoors. Bugs don't seem to bother the violets, but that bamboo type plant is always getting infested with mealy bugs.


    • #3
      Re: Live Indoor House Plants

      i agree with you about the detergent remedy. however, the white flies destroyed my one houseplant--fern. no matter what i did! somehow, they got into the soil, too. i didn't know it until i dumped the poor thing out.
      "chaos reigns within.
      reflect, repent and reboot.
      order shall return."

      microsoft error message with haiku poetry


      • #4
        Re: Live Indoor House Plants

        Originally posted by kani-lehua View Post
        i agree with you about the detergent remedy. however, the white flies destroyed my one houseplant--fern. no matter what i did! somehow, they got into the soil, too. i didn't know it until i dumped the poor thing out.
        Unforturnately, you let it go just a wee bit too long.
        Sounds like mealy bugs. Got kind of a white, powdery/fluffy stuff on the leaves? White flies also leave a white, powdery residue, but they fly if disturbed. MB's don't. If the soap doesn't do the job, use the Volk. It's not like using some really toxic bug killer. Just mix with the proper amount of water and spray the exposed bugs. If you let it go too long, under the leaves will get infested and it's humbug to shoot the plant that way. They'll also get down into the soil, as in your case. I'm not sure there's anything you really can do once that happens. You could try removing the plant, treat the roots and replant in fresh soil. The plant will go into shock, so don't be surprised when it looks like it's going to die. It may, it may not. Shock is tricky that way especially if the plant has already been weakened by the bugs.

        Spider mites don't seem to get into the soil, but you will find a bunch of "webs" near the bottom of the plant. Kinda yucky, as there's also hundreds of really tiny bugs. I've only seen them infest "fishtail" palm and another variety of palm, both of which are popular house plants. Areca palm will pick up the mealy bugs and is a really humbug plant to check. By the time you see them, they're pretty much all over the plant.

        If I remember correctly, one of the ways to reduce the chance of infestation of bugs is to keep the plant in a well ventilated area. It REDUCES the chance only. You may still get bugs, but not in such great numbers and it will be easier to maintain by treating them early.


        • #5
          Re: Live Indoor House Plants

          Pomai, I remembered a couple of hanging plants we used to rent out. Pothos (sp), kind of a heart shape leafy vine and asparagus. A spiky leaf and comes out more in sprays instead of a vine.

          Asparagus grows like crazy and has to be thinned out every so often. The pothos is nice if it's strong and healthy, the mealy bugs love this plant as well. The hard part is it's usually hung and ends up not getting checked for bugs as often as it should. A sure sign is yellowing leaves, even though it's properly watered. By that time, the bugs are usually already in the soil.


          • #6
            Re: Live Indoor House Plants

            Marbled Pothos is extremely easy to care for. It does fine in very limited light and you just give it a good watering once per week, maybe less in Hawaii as the air is moist. They are very hardy. If they start to wilt you know you've waited too long to water. Doh! This is hard on the plant, but they spring right back in a matter of hours with a good watering. They are often in hanging planters, but you can set it on a cabinet or stand or whatever. The stems, which will eventually begin to hang over the edge of the pot, will grow fairly quickly and if you let them they will grow to many feet. I usually cut them back as they get too long. It's also very easy to start new plants with the cuttings if you want more.

            Dieffenbachia is also pretty easy to manage. They have thick stocks and big, broad leaves (~8"x12"). In the store they maybe start about 3 feet tall, but can grow much higher. This plant is also called "dumb cane", because if you chew on it you will have some kind of a reaction in your mouth and throat. Probably not a great idea if you have kids small enough to decide they might like to sample it.

            For most plants, it's very important that there are adequate holes in the bottom of the pot for drainage. Never let the roots of a plant sit in water that can't drain off for more than a short time as it can drown the plant.

            I've had some difficult luck with bugs at times and I've tried soapy water and store bought bug spray for house plants. My experience is that once a plant has bugs there's a good chance they will be hard to eliminate and can return after you thought you had them taken care of. What I do now is if I get a plant that has bugs, or develops an infestation, I throw it out as I don't want them to get into my other plants.