Archive for the ‘Low Light Plants’ Category

Philodendron hederaceum

Common name: Heartleaf Philodendron, Heart-leaf Ivy, Philodendron, Sweetheart Plant

Family: Araceae

Synonym: Philodendron cordatum
Philodendron cuspidatum
Philodendron micans
Philodendron oxycardium
Philodendron scandens

Philodendron hederaceum

Philodendron hederaceum

Distribution and habitat: Philodendron hederaceum is a hemiepiphyte vine native to Central America and the Caribbean. Most of these plants occur in humid tropical forests, but can also be found in swamps and on river banks, roadsides and rock outcrops. Philodendron hederaceum are often found clambering over other plants or climbing the trunks of trees with the aid of aerial roots.

Description: Philodendron hederaceum is an evergreen climber growing to 3–6m (10–20 feet), with heart-shaped glossy leaves 10cm (4 inch) long and 8cm (3 inch) wide with 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long leaf-stalk. The leaves have acutely pointed tips. The leaves look slightly brownish and almost transparent when they are new, but they quickly become deep green as they grow to maturity. Occasionally spathes of white flowers appear in mature plants.

Philodendron means “tree loving” and many of these species have two growth phases, a juvenile form and a mature form, which often look very different as leaf size and shape. Container-grown specimens almost always stay in the juvenile phase.

Houseplant care: Philodendron hederaceum is one of the easiest of all house plants to grow. It is very vigorous grower that can take a wide range of conditions.

Experienced growers recommend regular pinching out of the growing tips in order to make the Philodendron hederaceum bushy. Otherwise, the stems tend to grow too long giving the plant a skimpy look.
Try to pinch close to the node because any bare stem that is left will die, and the node will not grow a new stem. Use sharp scissors or pruners.

Water: During the active growth period water moderately, giving enough at each watering to moist the potting mixture throughout and allowing the top centimeter (0.4 inch) of so of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. During the sort midwinter rest period water only enogh to keep the entire mixture from drying out completely.

Philodendron hederaceum is not terribly set back by dry indoor air, but moist air does seem to lead to larger leaves and faster growth. Mist the plant to increase the humidity. It is best to use purified water, minerals in tap water build up on the leaves.

Light: Philodendron hederaceum will tolerate low light, for quite a long time, though like most “low-light” plants, it will do better if given bright indirect light.

Temperature: Philodendron hederaceum will grow well in normal to warm indoor temperatures 24-27ºC (75-80ºF).  Philodendron hederaceum cannot tolerate temperatures which drop below about 13ºC (55ºF).

Fertilise: Throughout the months while the Philodendron hederaceum is actively growing apply standard liquid fertiliser once every two weeks.

Potting and repotting: Like other houseplants, philodendrons benefit from repotting to a larger container when they become root bound and outgrow the original pot.

Use a combination of half soil-based potting mixture and half leaf mould or coarse peat moss. Move Philodendron hederaceum into container one size larger only when their roots have completely filed the current one. Do this at any time of year except during the short rest period. After the maximum convenient pot size has been reach (probably about 25-30cm (10-12 inch)), an annual spring top-dressing with fresh potting mixture will help to keep the plat healthy.

Use a container with drainage holes to prevent root rot. If  a decorative container without drainage is used, then use it as a cachepot – just slip the plain nursery pot into the cachepot. It is recommended to cover the bottom of a cachepot with pebbles to keep the plant above the drainage water.

Propagation: Cutting and layering are popular methods of Philodendron hederaceum propagation. Try propagating them during the growing season.  Along the vine branches there are small brown nubs formed where the leaves meet the stem. These nubs, when in contact with soil or water, will grow roots. There are many ways to propagate this plant, the easiest being to cut a branch just below a root-nub and place it in water with a few pieces of horticultural charcoal to reduce the likelihood of rot. As soon as new leaf growth is noted, pot in rich soil. The plant can also be propagated within its own pot by pinning vines at the root-nub to the soil with hairpins or bent wire. The root-nub in contact with the soil will sprout new roots shortly. When sections of Philodendron hederaceum are rooted, the plant will greatly benefit from misting several times a day (with purified water, if possible).

Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids, spider mites, mealybugs and scale. Leaf spots may occur. Root rot can occur in overly moist soils.

Small leaves or long spaces between leaves show that the plant is not getting enough light.
Treatment: Move the Philodendron hederaceum plant to a brighter location, but not into direct sun.

Interesting facts: There is about 200 year old discussion going on about the true name of this plant. There are still references to Philodendron oxycardium, Philodendron scandens and Philodendron cordatum in houseplant books etc., but Philodendron hederaceum is the actual correct name. The reason for all the names, in part, is that the plant has a really variable habit, depending on its age and growing conditions, so specimens collected at different times and places may differ in size, habit, coloration and texture.

Toxicity: Parts of the plant are known to contain calcium oxalate crystals in varying concentrations. Although the plant is known to be toxic to mice and rats, the current literature is conflicting with regards to its toxicity in cats. Its possible toxic effects on humans are currently unknown although likely very mild if not harmless.

Uses: Known for their ability to thrive in low-light conditions typical of many homes and offices, Philodendron hederaceum plants are often grown for their lush foliage. It can be grown as a climbing or training specimen depending on whether its long stems are trained up supports or are allowed to trail over the rims of the pots or hanging baskets.

Philodendron hederaceum as a climbing species is usually tried to a stake inserted into the potting mixture for support. For best results, dress the stake in sphagnum moss until form a 5-8cm (2-3 inch) thickness over the full length of the stake above the potting mixture level. Alternatively, nail a piece of rough-textured cork-bark to the stake. The sphagnum moss or cork-bark being used must then be sprayed with water at least once a day. Doing this it will stimulate the aerial roots of the Philodendron hederaceum to get a firm hold on this support. Be sure that the support is tall enough to accommodate the eventual total growth of the plant.

In the tropical and humid subtropical regions Philodendron hederaceum can be used as a ground cover or on arbors or trellises for dependable, soft green color and a tropical look, particularly around patios, windowsills and pools.

Philodendron hederaceum is also noted by NASA among the best types of houseplants for removing formaldahyde, especially higher concentrations. It is capable to absorb between 80 and 90% of the formaldehyde present in water-based paint, roofing felt or insulation material, glues in fitted carpets or even laminated wood floors!


Foliage – green
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height: 3–6m (10–20 feet)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 24°C (55-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 13°C max 24°C (55-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Climber, Foliage Plants, Indoor Plants, Low Light Plants, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , , , , , , , , ,

Hedera helix

Common name: Common Ivy, English Ivy, Hedera Helix, Ivy, Vine

Family: Araliaceae

Synonym:  Hedera acuta
Hedera arborea
Hedera baccifera
Hedera grandifolia
Hedera poetica Salisb.
Hedera poetarum Bertol.

Hedera helix

Hedera helix

Distribution and habitat: Hedera helix is a species of ivy native to most of Europe and western Asia. It is labeled as an invasive species in a number of areas where it has been introduced.
It is an evergreen climbing plant, growing high where suitable surfaces (trees, cliffs, walls) are available, and also growing as ground cover where there are no vertical surfaces. It climbs by means of aerial rootlets with matted pads which cling strongly to the substrate.
The leaves are alternate and have petiole; they are of two types, with palmately five-lobed juvenile leaves on creeping and climbing stems, and unlobed cordate adult leaves on fertile flowering stems exposed to full sun, usually high in the crowns of trees or the top of rock faces. The flowers are produced from late summer until late autumn, individually small, in umbels, greenish-yellow, and very rich in nectar, an important late autumn food source for bees and other insects.
The fruit are purple-black to orange-yellow berries, ripening in late winter and are an important food for many birds, though somewhat poisonous to humans.

Description: Hedera helix has typically ivy-shaped leaves with tree to five lobes of which the one at the apex is the longest and most pointed. The original species has been superseded by its many varieties. Most of the following plants are self branching (each stem tend to branch naturally at frequent intervals) and this makes the plants dense and rather bushy.

Houseplant care: Winter growth of English Ivy plants tends to be very long without bearing many leaves. Trim areas like this with lots of woody growth but few leaves. For the plant to fill out properly during growth cut the stems down to strong growth areas.
Native to light woodland areas, Hedera helix as houseplant thrive in an environment of bright filtered to low light. Ample light helps the leaves become more colorful but filter the light to prevent excessive heat which can lead to drying and poor performance.

Temperature: Hedera helix plants are not greatly affected by hot and cold temperature, but fluctuating temperatures can stifle performance dramatically. Keep Hedera helix in an atmosphere with a consistent temperature and away from drafts, open doors, or vents. In temperatures above 18oC (64oF) provide extra humidity.
During the winter months encourage them to take a short rest by keeping them cool. A temperature of 10oC (50oF) is ideal.

Water: Hedera helix plants prefer an evenly moist environment. Water the plants freely during growth. Keep Hedera helix houseplants moist in the winter. Spraying Hedera helix with soft water weekly will help prevent spider mites from infesting the plants.

Fertilising: Hedera helix care requires the monthly application of liquid fertilizer or, another option often preferred, is to apply a quarter strength fertilizer when watering.

Potting and repoting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Overcrowded plants can be repotted during any season. Move the plant in a pot one size larger whatever pale roots emerge through drainage holes. Maximum pot size should be 12-15cm (5-6 inch). Top dress annually those plants that are not being moved on. For best effect put four or six small plants in a single basket.

Propagation: Root cuttings are the preferred method of propagation. Root the 10-15cm (4-6 inch) cuttings of young (not matured) growth during the spring to autumn. More mature cuttings (adult growth) of 18-23cm (7-9 inches) will produce a bushy “tree-ivy” type of growth but root very slowly if at all.

Problems: Plant care and maintenance helps reduce these problems.

Common pests affecting Hedera helix are spider mites, aphids, mealybugs and scale insects. Red spider mites are often difficult to see without a close inspection. However, white webs formed on the plant are usually indicative of a spider mite infestation.
Treatment: Remove the infested leaves and treat the plant with a pesticide or insecticidal soap.

Typical pathogen (fungal and bacterial) problems affecting English Ivy houseplants are bacterial spot, stem rot and fungal leaf spots.
Treatment: Apply fungicides and repeat the treatment as mentioned on fungicide instructions.

Recommended varieties: There are several different species of the Hedera helix that have different leaf shape, size and color.

Hedera helix ‘Chicago‘ has 2-3 cm (0.7-1.2 inch) long and 3cm (1.2 inch) wide, medium greenleaves. The lives of one of its forms, Hedera helix ‘Chicago Variegata’ are creamy-edged. Those of another Hedera helix ‘Golden Chicago’ are marked with golden yellow patches.

Hedera helix ‘Cristata’ (Parsley Ivy) has 3-4cm (1.2-1.5 inch) long and 4cm (1.5 inch) wide medium green leaves that are so notably undulate as to seem curly-edged.

Hedera helix ‘Emerald Gem’ and Hedera helix ‘Emerald Jewel’ both have 2cm (0.7 inch) long and 3cm (1.2 inch) wide, sharply pointed, emerald green leaves.

Hedera helix ‘Glacier’ has 3cm (1.2 inch) long and 2cm (0.7 inch) wide leaves which are medium green with grey-green blotches, white marginal patches and pink edges. For dense growth this plant needs pinching out two or three times a year.

Hedera helix ‘Jubilee‘ has 2cm long and 1.5-2cm (0.5-0.7 inch) wide dark green leaves variegated with grey and white. This variety is notably dense.

Hedera helix ‘Little Diamond’ has roughly diamond shaped, 2cm (0.7 inch) long and 1.5cm (0.5 inch) wide, medium green leaves thinly bordered with white. It needs pinching out to become bushy.

Hedera helix ‘Lutzii’ has 3cm (1.2 inch) long and 2 cm (0.7 inch) wide, dark green leaves covered with pale green and yellow spots. Not self-branching it needs pinching out two or three times a year.

Hedera helix ‘Sagittifolia’ has  arrow-head-shaped, 4cm (1.5 inch) long and 3cm (1.2 inch) wide, dark green leaves. A variegated form, Hedera helix ‘Sagittifolia Variegata’ has light green and pale yellow markings. These plants make an excellent trailers, but growing points must be pinched out if bushy growth is desired.

Uses: Hedera helix is a popular ornamental, valued for its ability to thrive in shady places, provide excellent groundcover and cover unsightly walls, sheds and tree stumps. The evergreen, woody-stemmed plants are often seen trailing across yards and gardens, climbing walls, or encouraged as climbers along a supporting pole inside homes for a beautiful and decorative houseplant accent. Very easy to grow, ivy makes a very attractive hanging plant. Although the specimen above looks leggy, ivy can be very bushy if planted in mass.

Hedera helix is frequently used in cut flower arrangements, particularly in winter displays. The glossy, cream, ivory-like heartwood is sometimes used in flower arrangements.

Hedera helix is an ideal houseplant for people who have pets. Scientifically termed as Hedera Helix, this plant is known to filter indoor pollutants like fecal particles, formaldehyde aerosols and much more and keep the house toxin free.
It’s known for removing the chemical benzene, a known carcinogen found in cigarette smoke, detergents, pesticides, and the off-gasing of other synthetic materials, is said to be fantastic for asthma and allergies and also removes formaldehyde. Hedera helix is particularly effective against benzene found in oil-based paints, detergents and plastic material.


Foliage – green / variegated
Shape – climbing & trailing

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright
Temperature in active growth period – min 16oC max 24oC (60-75oF)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 5a-9b

Hedera helix 'Chicago'Hedera helix 'Chicago Variegata'Hedera helix 'Galcier'Hedera helix 'Cristata'Hedera helix 'Emerald Gem'Hedera helix 'Emerald Jewel'Hedera helix 'Jubilee'
Hedera helix 'Lutzii'Hedera helix 'Little Diamond'Hedera helix 'Sagittifolia'Hedera helix 'Sagittifolia Variegata'

Indoor Plants, Low Light Plants, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dracaena fragrans

Common Name: Corn Plant, Chinese Money Tree, Cornstalk Dracaena, Happy Plant, Dracena Fragrans

Family: Asparagaceae

Synonym: Aletris fragrans
Cordyline fragrans
Dracaena deremensis
Pleomele fragrans

Dracaena fragrans

Dracaena fragrans

Distribution and habitat: Dracaena fragrans is a flowering plant species that is native throughout tropical Africa,  growing in upland regions at 600–2,250m (2,000–7,380 feet) altitude.

Description: Dracaena fragrans is a slow growing shrub, usually multistemmed at the base, mature specimens reaching 15m (49 feet) or more tall with a narrow crown of usually slender erect branches. Stems may reach up to 30cm (12 inch) diameter on old plants; in forest habitats they may become horizontal with erect side branches. Young plants have a single unbranched stem with a rosette of leaves until the growing tip flowers or is damaged, after which it branches, producing two or more new stems; thereafter, branching increases with subsequent flowering episodes.

The leaves are glossy green, lanceolate, 20–150cm (8–59 inch) long and 2–12cm (1–5 inch) wide; small leaves are erect to spreading, and larger leaves usually drooping under their weight. The flowers are produced in panicles 15–160cm (6–63 inch) long, the individual flowers are 2.5cm (1 inch) diameter, with a six-lobed corolla, pink at first, opening white with a fine red or purple central line on each of the 7–12mm (0.3–0.5 inch) lobes; they are highly fragrant, and popular with pollinating insects. The fruit is an orange-red berry 1–2cm (0.4–0.8 inch) diameter, containing several seeds.

Houseplant care: Dracaena fragrans grows well as a houseplant in nearly any location. It only requires minimal care to produce deep green foliage and lush growth.
Dracaena fragrans enjoys medium light but can tolerate low light conditions. New leaves will narrow if there isn’t enough light and direct sunlight will bleach the leaves.
In extreme cases, Dracaena fragrans is a great plant for low-light conditions.

Water: During the active growth period water plentifully, as often as necessary  to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but never allow the pot to stand in water.
During the rest period water moderately, enough to keep the potting mixture barely moist, but allow the top centimetre or so to dry out between waterings.

Keeping Dracaena fragrans too dry will result in brown leaf tips.

Dracaena fragrans is not suitable for low humidity spaces. If the humidity drops below 40% for an extended time, the tips of the leaves can turn brown. Try misting the plant every day to provide humidity. Dracaena fragrans is also sensitive to fluoride and excessive salts, so try to use nonfluoridated water and flush monthly to remove fertilizer salts.

Temperature: Not suitable for cold conditions. Cold damage may appear on leaves if temperatures drop below 10oC (50oF).  They do best in 24 to 27oC (75-80oF).

Growth may cease completely below 21oC (70ºF), but will resume when warmer weather returns.

Soil: Dracaena fragrans can use loose, well-drained potting mix.

Fertilizer: During growing, fertilizer with slow-release fertilizer or use a liquid fertilizer at half-strength every month.
Iron deficiency can result in yellowing leaves between the veins—treat with an iron drench.

Potting and repotting: Dracaena fragrans grows well in any type of pot that contains drainage holes in the bottom. A standard potting soil for indoor tropical plants retains sufficient moisture without easily becoming soggy. The mixtures typically contain loam, peat moss and vermiculite or perlite. A drip tray placed beneath the pot collects excess water and requires emptying after each watering. Pot size varies depending on the size of the plant. Dracaena fragrans requires repotting when the root ball fills the pot and the plant either begins to lift or send roots out of the drainage holes. Repotting into a pot one size larger every two to three years in late winter is usually necessary until maximum convinient pot size (probably 20-25cm (8-10 inch)) is reached.

Pruning: Dracaena fragrans rarely requires severe pruning. It produces canes, which you can cut back to the desired height if the plant becomes overgrown. Pruning is typically done in the spring but you can prune it any time the plant is actively growing. Leaves occasionally yellow and die. Remove these at any time to improve the plant’s appearance.

Propagation: Dracaena fragrans is propagated by cutting segments of old stems 10–20cm (4–8 inch) long. These are allowed to dry off, and then inserted into moist sand until they have rooted. They should root within a month. New growth, typically two or three shoots, comes from old leaf scars at the top of the stem.

Recommended varieties: There are two main varieties of Dracaena fragrans:

  • Dracaena fragrans (Dracaena deremensis) ‘Warneckii’ features stiff leaves that are striped in gray, green, or white. There are several popular cultivars of Warneckii, including ‘Lemon Lime’.
  • Dracaena fragrans (Dracaena deremensis)  ‘Janet Craig’ has solid green, flexible leaves. The ‘Janet Craig Compacta’ is smaller in appearance, but has much smaller (less than 8 in.) leaves.

Uses: Dracaena fragrans is used as specimen plant, container or above-ground planter, border or suitable for growing indoors.
Dracaena fragrans is suitable for low-maintenance container culture or specimen planting in the shaded landscape. Dracaena fragrans is widely grown as a hedge plant. Indoors, it works as single windowsill plants or as part of a mixed group, with their various leaf patterns complementing and overlapping one another.  The white striped and variegated cultivars can brighten a shaded yard or dark corner.

Dracaena fragrans is said to be a good overall air purifier, removing most air pollutants. Known for removing trichloroethylene, a chemical found in many solvents, dry cleaning solutions and refrigerants. Also said to remove benzene, a carcinogen.

Problems: Dracaena fragrans are susceptible to thrips and mealybugs.

Foliage – variegated
Shape – rosette

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 10C max 24C
Temperature in active growth period – min 18C max 30C
Humidity – high

Hardiness zones: 10b-11

Dracaena deremensis WarneckiiDracaena fragrans floweringDracaena deremensis Janet Craig







Indoor Plants, Low Light Plants, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , , , , , , , , ,

Aglaonema modestum

Common name: Chinese evergreen, Aglaonema

Family: Araceae

Aglaonema modestum

Aglaonema modestum

Distribution and habitat: Aglaonema modestum is rhizomes evergreen plant, native to the tropical swamps and rainforests of southeastern Asia. Aglaonema modestum has lanced-shaped leaves on leaf stalk 30cm (12 inch) long that rise from the central growing point. A plant may occasionally form a short trunk-like stem scarred with circular markings where leaves were once attached, giving the plant up to 60cm (24 inch) height. Mature plants produce in summer or early fall an arum-shaped flower head comprising a white or yellow spathe with central stalked spadix and this is followed by red or orange berries.

Description: Aglaonema modestum is a foliage plant with large, lance-shaped, waxy, undulate, medium green leaves 20cm (8 inch) long and 10cm (4 inch) wide. Some mature plants may produce arum-like flower spathes. Indoors, this plant is grown for the effect created by its handsome foliage rather than for flowers.

Houseplant care:
Light: Aglaonema modestum needs a shaded spot away from direct sun and will tolerate dark position.
Never expose them to direct sunlight which can scorch the leaves.

Temperature: Normally warm room temperatures are suitable. Aglaonema modestum needs a constant temperature, ideally between 16 and 21°C (60-70°F) all year round. Winter temperatures should never drop below 13°C (55°F) and avoid droughts and exposure to gas fumes.

Water: During the active growth period water moderately – enough to make the entire potting mixture moist, but allowing the top 2-3cm (0.78-1 inch) of the mixture to dry between waterings. During the rest period (which may be very short or even non-existent) water only enough to keep the potting moisture from drying out completely.

A high degree of humidity is required by Aglaonema modestum, so stand the plant on a tray of damp pebbles and mist the leaves regularly.

Fertilising: Use standard liquid fertiliser monthly except during the rest period.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move young plants into pots one size larger in spring, but repot older Aglaonema modestum plants only once every two or three years.
Aglaonema modestum do not need large containers; they will thrive in 13 or 15cm (5-6 inch) pots. When maximum convenient size has been reached, top-dress them annually.

Propagation: The best time to propagate is in spring. Plant a basal shoot bearing three or four leaves, preferably with some roots already attached, in a pot containing moisturized mixture of equal part of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Enclose the potted shoot in a plastic bag and keep it in medium light. Rooting should occur in six to eight weeks, after which the new plant can be treated as mature.

If an old and unwanted plant is to be broken up, sections of the main stem of the basal shoots can be used for propagation instead of basal shoots. Aglaonema modestum may also be air layered.

Shriveled leaves and brown tips and edges usually indicate low temperatures, dryness or exposure to droughts.
Treatment: Keep the plant always above 13°C (55°F). For extra humidity place the plant on a tray of damp pebbles or mist the leaves and water the plant regularly.

Roots can rot if the potting mixture is kept too wet.
Treatment: Do not over water the Aglaonema modestum.

Pests: Infestation by mealy bug amongst the leaf stalk can be a problem. Red spider will attack if conditions are too dry.
Treatment: spay plants with appropriate pesticide.  Repeat the treatment after 3 days and again 10 days later. If the insect attack persist, try a different pesticide. Daily mist-spraying will help in keeping the plant healthy.

Uses: Aglaonema modestum is used for mass planting, container or above-ground planter, ground cover. It is suitable for houseplant or interiorscape. Its tolerance of shade makes Aglaonema modestum a good plant for problem corners.

Aglaonema modestum emits high oxygen content and purifies indoor air by removing chemicals, such as formaldahyde, benzene or other toxins.

Toxicity: All plant contain Calcium oxalate crystals which can develop skin irritation after contact with cell sap. If chewed, irritation of mouth, lips, throat, and tongue will occur.

Recommended varieties:
Aglaonema modestum Variegatum is a variegated-leaved form with yellow patches on the green.


Foliage – green or variegated
Shape – bushy
Height: 30-60cm (1-2 feet)
Width: 30-90cm (2-3 feet)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – medium
Temperature in rest period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Aglaonema modestum Variegatum

Foliage Plants, Ground cover, Indoor Plants, Low Light Plants, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , ,

Howea forsteriana

Common name: Kentia Palm, Thatch Palm, Flat Palm

Family: Arecaeae

Howea forsteriana

Howea forsteriana

Description: Howea forsteriana is a relatively slow-growing palm, eventually growing up to 10m (33 feet) tall by 6m (20 feet) wide. Its fronds can reach 3m (10 feet) long.Under natural conditions, it grows as a solitary tree. Howea forsteriana has a slender trunk and a graceful crown of dark-green drooping fronds.

Indoors, Howea forsteriana will eventually grow up to 2.5m (8 feet) tall with a possible spread of up to 3m (9-10 feet). Its leaft-stalks, which may be grow to 90cm (35 inch) long, support flat-topped fronds tended midrib. The leaflets are spaced about 2cm (0.8 inch) apart on the extension of the leaf-stalk that forms the rib of the frond and they are held horizontally rather than nearly vertically. The way in which the leaflets are carried affects the shape of the whole palm.

Houseplant care: Howea forsteriana is an elegant plant and is popular for growing indoors, requiring little light. It can be grown almost anywhere as an indoor plant. The Howea forsteriana palm will withstand quite dark and dry corners of your house, and will tolerate a degree of neglect. However this palm grows best with good light and regular care.

Light: Howea forsteriana do well in either bright light or medium light. An ideal position is one that provide filtered sunlight. Howea forsteriana is a popular palm for indoors as it can tolerate much lower light than other palms. It will tolerate low light but do much better in medium light. This versatile palm can be used in low to high light environments (from 250 to 2000 lux). If it gets too little light however, it will slowly deteriorate.

Direct sun can burn young plants, so give Howea forsteriana palms some protection until they are about five years old. Coastal areas are ideal for growing Howea forsteriana palm outside.

Temperature: Howea forsteriana grows well in normal room temperatures and is able to tolerate reasonable dry air. It is better not to expose Howea forsteriana to temperatures below about 13°C (55°F).

Outdoors, it prefers a tropical region but will also grow in a cooler climate, and can tolerate temperatures down to -5 °C (23°F), but only for a few hours; normal temperatures should not go below 10°C (50°F).

Water: During the active growth period water plentifully, as often as necessary to keep the soil thoroughly moist, but never allow the pot to stand in water. During the rest period give only enough water to keep the mixture from drying out.

Do not overwater the Howea forsteriana palm because can lead to root rot. Also ensure that the soil has decent drainage.
Under-watering on the other hand can cause yellow tips that can eventually turn brown.

Howea forsteriana will benefit form misting to simulate humidity and to prevent pesky spider mites from infesting the palm. Misting will also prevent the dust build up.
Also, the Howea forsteriana palm grown as indoor plant benefit from regular time spent outside in a shady and moist position. Such a break will allow rain or hosing to wash the dust from the palm’s leaves, refresh the plant and encourage new growth. Do not use commercial leaf-cleaning products, which may damage the foliage of the palm.

Soil: Howea forsteriana prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Mulch around the plants or encourage the natural mulch of fallen fronds to collect.

Soil pH requirements are 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic).

Fertilising: Apply a standard liquid fertiliser to actively growing plants about every two weeks.

Outdoors, fertilise Howea forsteriana at least once a year and water regularly, especially during dry periods.

Potting and repotting: Howea forsteriana palms will grow slowly in a tub for many years.  Use a soil based potting mixture. Move the Howea forsteriana into pots one size larger in late spring every second year until maximum convenient pot size was reached (usually 25-30cm (10-12 inch)). It is essential to press the pot mixture down firmly around roots of the Howea forsteriana palm.

To keep plants in the same container, replace old spent soil with new potting mix from time to time.
Avoid repotting if unnecessary and choose the right pot size for this palm. Do not choose a huge pot in the hope the plant will grow faster, as it will not!

Propagation: Howea forsteriana can be propagated only by sowing fresh seeds and keeping it to germinate at atemperature of 27 °C (80°F). Can be used a heated propagating case. It seems that germination rate is 50% or less. Seedling usually grow very slow. It may take about six years to produce a typical Howea forsteriana palm.

Uses: Howea forsteriana palms look best planted in groves or clumps with palms of different heights growing together. Howea forsteriana also make ideal patio plants or containerized specimens.

Problems: Most of the diseases of this plant occur when it is either overwatered or not watered enough and if it’s getting too much or too little sun. They are susceptible to Mealybugs, mites and Scale.

You might be tempted to prune your Howea forsteriana palm very often but try to resist the urge. Over-pruning may cause permanent damage to the trunk and may make your palm susceptible to fungal infections.

Foliage – green
Shape – bushy

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 13 °C max 18 °C (55-64°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16 °C max 24 °C (60-75°F)
Humidity – low
Hardiness Zone: 9b-11

Howea forsteriana  Howea forsterianaHowea forsteriana


Indoor Plants, Low Light Plants, Palms , , ,

Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii

Common Names: Mother-in-law’s Tongue, Variegated Snake Plant, Devil’s Tongue, African Spear, Bow String Hemp, Bowstring Hemp, Snake Plant, Good Luck Plant, Goldband Sansevieria, Viper’s Bowstring Hemp, Magic Sword, Laurentii Snake Plant

Family: Asparagaceae

Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii'

Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’

Distribution & Habitat: Sansevieria is a genus of about 70 species with great variation within the genus, species range from succulent desert plants such as Sansevieria pinguicula to thinner leafed tropical plants such as Sansevieria trifasciataSansevieria is native to India, Indonesia and Africa. It is an evergreen perennial plant forming dense stands, spreading by creeping rhizome, which is sometimes above ground, sometimes underground. Its leaves grow vertically from a basal rosette. Sansevieria trifasciata has stiff sword-shaped leaves. Leaves are banded yellow on either side with a deep green, lightly banded center. Mature leaves are dark green with light gray-green cross-banding and usually range between 70–90cm (28–35 inch) long and 5–6cm (2.0–2.4 inch) wide.

Description:  Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’ is the leading commercial variety of Sansevieria, grown for the hemp-like fiber in the leaves. They are an attractive plant for pot culture and are very durable to a wide range of condition. The growth of Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii is relatively slow and plants last for many years.

Proper Care: Sansevieria species are low maintenance plants, easy to grow and recommended as plants with big contribution in improving air quality in living and working spaces. Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’ will survive in a wide range of conditions. They tolerate the low light conditions  (60-80% shade) and are very drought tolerant.

Light: Tolerant of a wide range of light – from low to high light levels (from 250 lux to 2,000 lux), but do best in medium light ranging between 400–800 lux (partial shade).

Water: Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii is drought tolerant which makes this plant perfect for the indoors. Also the Sansevieria plats are known to tolerate low humidity, water, feeding and tolerates being root bound.
Let the soil dry between waterings. During winter, reduce watering to monthly, or whenever the soil is dry to the touch. Water these plants every other week during the growing season. During the winter months, the plants are given only enough water to keep the foliage from wilting. Water the soil, taking care not to get water on the leaves (overhead watering), which will cause them to rot.

Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii cannot be allowed to sit in water or they will begin to rot. The biggest danger is overwatering, especially in the winter. Use well draining soil. If the leaves turn yellow or get soft and mushy at their base, means that Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii is overwatered. Often, any problems with growing Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii are usually related to watering.

Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii  are cold sensitive so place in a warm position. They are not tolerant of cold winds and frosts, but will tolerate fluctuating temperatures. Temperatures below 10oC (50oF) harm the Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii. Ideal temperature for Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii is 21 to 32oC (70-90oF).

Soil: A loose, well-drained potting mix. They will do well in sandier soils.

Fertilizer: Feed a mild cactus fertilizer during the growing season; do not fertilizer in the winter.

Potting and Repotting: Repot in the spring only when plants get crowded and need dividing. A well-grown Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii can split a clay pot with its mass of underground shoots. When repot it, keep the rosette of the leaves at soil level. Use a wide, heavy container to prevent toppling. This tall plant can get top-heavy. Cactus potting mix is ideal for Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii.

Propagation: Sansevierias are easily propagated by division or they may be raised from leaf-cuttings about 5cm (2 inch) long. These cuttings form roots in sandy soil after about one month, after which a long stolon-like bud is formed, which produces the new plant at some distance from the cutting.

Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii is easy to divide because it has shallow roots. Simply turn the pot on its side and pull out the entire plant. Use a sharp knife to cut through the thick roots and pot each clump separately.

Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. Overwatering often causes root rot. Watch for mealybugs and spider mites.

Uses: Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii can be used as both Floor Standing Plants or Table Top Plants.

Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii can be used with equal effectiveness as an accent potted plant or in a grouping in planters or garden beds. Seen in so many places including hospitals, hotels, shopping malls, banks and homes, Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii is a popular unique ornamental plant that will not only transform the home, office, business or garden but will also add color, drama and texture to any environment.

Sansevieria species are believed to act as good air purifiers by removing toxins (such as formaldehyde, xylene and toluene) from the air, thereby gaining a reputation as a good cure for sick building syndrome. Sansevieria use the crassulacean acid metabolism process, which absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen at night. This purportedly makes them suitable bedroom plants. However, since the leaves are potentially poisonous if ingested, Sansevieria is not usually recommended for children’s bedrooms.
Found by NASA to absorb toxins, such as nitrogen oxides and formaldahyde.  Sansevieria is able to absorb 107 types of toxins, including air pollution, cigarette smoke (nicotine), so it would make a great refresher.

According to feng shui, because the leaves of Sansevieria grow upwards, the plants can be used for feng shui purposes.

Foliage – variegated
Shape – upright

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – direct
Temperature in rest period – min 13oC max 27oC (55-80oF)
Temperature in active growth period – min 13oC max 27oC (55-80oF)
Humidity – low

Hardiness Zone: 10a-Zone 11



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