It’s no wonder why the calathea plant — also commonly known as the cathedral, peacock or zebra plant — is such a popular household plant. Its beautiful foliage of bright white veins against green, red and cream leaves provides interesting and unique texture to any room of your house. Easy to care for, the calathea plant will have everyone thinking that you have a gifted green thumb. Read the tips listed below and learn about how to care for a calathea plant.
Lighting & Humidity Calathea plants thrive in humidity and prefer indirect lighting, and will grow best in a shady room. Place your plants away from any open windows with sunlight. You can provide ample humidity by placing a humidifier in the room, or by placing the potted plants on top of a saucer filled with pebbles. Add water to the pebbles and the humidity will travel up through the pebbles and the pot to the plant’s roots [source: Martha Stewart] http://sanjosetreeremoval.net.
Watering & Fertilizing Calathea plants don’t like to be heavily watered. Feed them room temperature water when the soil an inch (2.5 centimeters) below the surface is dry. The plants require regular watering during the summer months and less frequent watering during the colder months. You can periodically give the plants houseplant fertilizer [source: House of Plants].
Maintenance Groom your calathea plant regularly to keep it looking beautiful. Wipe any dust off the leaves with a clean, damp cloth. Mist the leaves to ensure that all sides of the plants receive humidity and moisture. Remove any yellow leaves to keep your plant strong and growing [source: Martha Stewart].
The Split Leafed Philodendron is known for its tropical oversized leaves with what appears to be cuts within them. It is also known as the Swiss cheese plant. I have found the Split Leaf Philodendron to be a low maintenance house plant. The one thing to watch with this house plant is that due to its oversized foliage and the ability to grow in large proportions, you may need to stake the stems.
The Split Leaf Philodendron prefers medium lighting, so it is best to keep this plant located within 5 to 8 feet of a window. However, be careful when choosing the location for this house plant because once you have placed it somewhere it does not like to be moved. This house plant has an attitude of its own, because if you then move it to another location it may drop its leaves in revolt to your moving it. Also, if the light level is to low, the leaves will not develop their unique perforations.
The Split Leaf Philodendron requires moderate watering. Water once every 7 to 10 days. Most do not seem to mind being dry once in a while either. Water thoroughly, keeping the soil evenly moist to.
If the lower leaves begin yellowing you may not be giving the plant enough light or over watering it. While the Split Leafed Philodendron is generally pest-free, aphids, mealy bugs, scales and spider mites can infest them. If this occurs simply spray a dish soap and water mixture over the plant.
On a special note, this houseplant is one of the many poisonous houseplants found in people’s homes. Please be extra careful so that your pets or children do not eat the plant.
There are over 250 species of Aloes in the world, mostly native to Africa. They range in size from little one inch miniatures to massive plant colonies consisting of hundreds of 2 foot diameter plants. Although most Aloes have some medicinal or commercial value, the most commonly known is the Aloe barbadensis… better known as Aloe vera.
All Aloes are semitropical succulent plants, and may only be grown outdoors in areas where there is no chance of freezing (USDA zones 10-11) . However, they make excellent house plants when they are given sufficient light. Potted Aloes benefit from spending the summer outdoors. Older specimens may even bloom, producing a tall stock covered with bright colored coral flowers. Aloe flower nectar is a favorite of hummingbirds!
Because Aloe plants consist of 95% water, they are extremely frost tender. If they are grown outdoors in warm climates, they should be planted in full sun, or light shade. The soil should be moderately fertile, and fast draining. Established plants will survive a drought quite well, but for the benefit of the plant, water should be provided.
Because of their popularity, Aloe vera plants are available at almost every garden shop or nursery. Unless you live in area with a very mild climate, it’s best to leave your Aloe plant in the pot and place it near a window that gets a lot of sun. You can move the pot outdoors during the summer months.
Aloe vera is a succulent, and as such, stores a large quantity of water within its leaves and root system. During the winter months, the plant will become somewhat dormant, and utilize very little moisture. During this period watering should be minimal. Allow the soil to become completely dry before giving the plant a cup or two of water. During the summer months, the soil should be completely soaked, but then be allowed to dry again before re-watering.
Aloes have a shallow, spreading root system, so when it is time to repot choose a wide planter, rather than a deep one. Use a planter with a drainage hole, or provide a 1-2 inch layer of gravel in the bottom of the pot to ensure adequate drainage. Use a good commercial potting mix with extra perlite, granite grit, or coarse sand added. You may also use a packaged ‘cacti mix’ soil. Fertilize yearly, in the spring with a dilute (half strength), bloom type fertilizer (10-40-10).
Aloes are propagated by removing the offsets which are produced around the base of mature plants, when they are a couple inches tall (or larger). They may also be grown from seed.
As to the claims of the medicinal properties of the Aloe plant, I can only speak from my personal experience. I have kept an Aloe plant around for years, primarily for burns. In case of burns, an immediate application of fresh gel has relieved much of the pain, and prevented blistering, many times. I also found it to be quite effective to relieve itching from stings, bites and various ‘stinging’ plants, such as poison ivy. It is also good for the same problems, when they are encountered by your pets.
When you need to use it medicinally, just remove a lower leaf from the plant, slice it open, and apply the gel on the affected area.
Keep in sandy soil that is well drained. Potted plants need filtered sun or full shade.
The African Violet is an extremely common houseplant. The African Violet is characterized by low-growing, heart shaped hairy leafed foliage remaining fairly oval in overall shape. African Violets are available in many varieties with flowers ranging from pink to blue to the traditional violet. Foliage can range from dark green to variegated.
African Violets prefer moderate to bright indirect sunlight. Keep them near an east or west window for best results. Aim to provide your African Violet with at least 8 hours of sunlight a day. If your African Violets foliage begins to yellow and the plant seems to be reaching, it is probably not getting enough light. On the reverse side, if the foliage begins to have brown spots or the foliage curls, the plant may be receiving too much light.
African Violets prefer their soil semi-moist. Allow the soil to slightly dry out in-between watering for best results. One trick with watering African Violets is you want to avoid getting water on the foliage. Water either from the bottom, such as a water tray in which the water can be seeped up or directly on the dirt. Either way the goal is to avoid getting the foliage wet. If water does get on the leaves it will usually leave white spots. Be sure to try and use room temperature or warm water instead of cold.
African Violets prefer higher humidity levels and usually do well in temperatures between 62° and 75°. Try not to let the temperature drop below 60°. Also, as with most houseplants, keep them away from vents and entry ways.
This houseplant also prefers its own special soil mix. Most garden centers have African Violet soil mixtures already pre-packaged for you. This houseplant also prefers some root for its roots, so make sure it has enough space to prevent becoming root bound.
As like their soil, there are also special fertilizer and plant food mixtures for this plant. I have always just used my normal Miracle Gro houseplant food but that’s just me.
To encourage new blooms, pinch off dead blossoms and their stems.
This houseplant is known to have some pest problems. Mealybugs and red spiders are the most common pests. If you begin to see a problem on your plant, I would suggest using specific insecticides labeled for African Violets. I personally haven’t had a pest problem with this plant so I cannot say if my homemade soapy dishwater mixture works or not. If you have solutions, please post comments below and share with other readers.
A peony is the general name for a wide variety of plants. Some peonies are herbaceous, while others are trees. Peonies are one of the most extravagant flowers that can be grown in any garden. Gardeners all over the world use peonies for a variety of reasons. First of all, a peony is low maintenance. Once planted, they simply need partial to full sun. A peony can survive in soil conditions from dry to moist.
A peony is very easy to grow. They are adaptable to many different climates and soil conditions. Peonies are most hardy in zones two through eight. Preparing a peony for the winter season is very easy to do. All that needs to be done is to cut down foliage any time soon after the first hard frost. Removing the foliage will limit the possibilities of the peony being infected by fungal pathogens in the winter.
A peony is relatively drought tolerant. It is a good idea, however, to mulch around the base of the plants in early spring, as this is when the plants are growing the buds. Otherwise, a peony flower is well known for its ability to live on its own. Many gardeners do not do any maintenance to peonies until it is time to trim them at the beginning of winter.
Peonies are also very versatile. Peonies are one of the most striking blooms available. They come in many different sizes, colors and designs. A cut peony is almost impossible to resist. A peony is also capable of growing in pots in the house. The uses of peony plants are almost as endless as the possible colors and shapes that they come in.
The genus Kalanchoe includes more than 100 plants, but only a few are regularly seen in cultivation. Kalanchoes are native to arid areas, and they are popular succulents. Modern hybrids are valued for their interesting leaf-forms or for their flowers. Flowering Kalanchoes are available in red, pink, yellow, or white. Like many succulents, these are not difficult plants to grow, providing you are careful with the water, especially in the winter.
Light: They prefer bright, sunny locations, especially in the summer growing season. During the winter, consider a south-facing window.
Water: Water moderately throughout the summer and reduce watering in the winter. Let the soil surface dry out between waterings, and in the winter, the plant can almost dry out. Watch the fleshy leaves for signs of water distress.
Temperature: They prefer warmth. Do not let fall below 55ºF.
Soil: An ordinary potting soil mix is fine.
Fertilizer: Feed bi-weekly in the summer with a liquid fertilizer, or use slow-release pellets.
Many kinds of Kalanchoe will produce tiny plantlets along the leaf margins that can be individually potted up. These types include K. pinnata—the air plant—and K. beharensis. The more popular Kalanchoe—K. blossfeldiana and K. manginii—can be propagated by leaf cutting or tip.
K. blossfeldiana: By far the most popular Kalanchoe, with large flower heads in a variety of colors. They are forced into flower throughout the year, although they naturally flower in spring. K. manginii: Bears large, pendant flowers. K. porphyrocalyx: Also bears pendant flowers. Makes an excellent hanging plant. K. beharensis: Prized for its large, velvety, donkey-eared leaves in pale silvery green. K. pinnata: Fleshy, green leaves that bear tiny plantlets along the margins. Known as the Mother of Thousands.
Kalanchoes are not particularly hard to grow, and the flowering varieties (K. blossfeldiana) are highly rewarding for their colorful and long-lasting flowers. Many people discard the plants after the bloom is over, but this isn’t really necessary. Simply cut off the flowering head, let the plant rest with reduced water, and resume its normal care. It should flower naturally in spring. Professional growers force Kalanchoes to bloom throughout the year (they are a short-day plant). The two pendant Kalanchoes make excellent hanging plants.
Amaryllis bulbs are forced indoors for their large, spectacular flowers. Some individuals discard the amaryllis after flowering. However, it is possible to save the amaryllis and force it to flower on an annual basis. The key to successful reflowering is proper care.
After the flowers fade, cut off the flower stalk with a sharp knife. Make the cut 1 to 2 inches above the bulb. Don’t damage the foliage. In order for the bulb to bloom again next season, the plant must replenish its depleted food reserves. The strap-like leaves manufacture food for the plant. Place the plant in a sunny window and water when the soil surface is nearly dry. Fertilize every 2 to 4 weeks with a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer.
The amaryllis can be moved outdoors in late May or early June. Harden or acclimate the plant to the outdoors by initially placing it in a shady, protected area. After 2 or 3 days, gradually expose the amaryllis to longer periods of direct sun. Once hardened, select a site in partial to full sun. Dig a hole and set the pot into the ground. Outdoors, continue to water the plant during dry weather. Also, continue to fertilize the amaryllis once or twice a month through July. Bring the plant indoors in mid-September. Plants left indoors should be kept in a sunny window.
In order to bloom, amaryllis bulbs must be exposed to temperatures of 50 to 55 degree F for a minimum of 8 to 10 weeks. This can be accomplished by inducing the plant to go dormant and then storing the dormant bulb at a temperature of 50 to 55 degree F. To induce dormancy, place the plant in cool, semi-dark location in late September and withhold water. Cut off the foliage when the leaves turn brown. Then place the dormant bulb in a 50 to 55 degree F location for at least 8 to 10 weeks. After the cool requirement has been met, start the growth cycle again by watering the bulb and placing it in a well-lighted, 70 to 75 degree F location. Keep the potting soil moist, but not wet, until growth appears. The other option is to place the plant in a well-lighted, 50 to 55 degree F location in fall. Maintain the amaryllis as a green plant from fall to early to mid-winter. After the cool requirement has been met, move the plant to a warmer (70 to 75 degree F) location.
Clematis are beautiful flowering perennial plants. There are several hundreds of species of clematis worldwide, and most of them are climbers. Most of the species are hardy, however some species, in particular most of the evergreen clematis, can only tolerate a few degrees of frost before they die.
Clematis have a variety of bloom times, varying by species. If planned properly, a clematis garden can have lovely blooms from late winter all the way to late autumn. This entails a variety of clematis with differing bloom times to be planted together or spread throughout the garden.
Most varieties of clematis produce only a single bloom, yet some produce a dual bloom. The blooms of clematis range in size from about one inch to ten inches. The blooms of the clematis plant will often change color throughout the life of the plant. This occurs more often when the flower is grown in full sun conditions.
The first step to daylily care is to know when to plant. In the northern, colder climates, daylilies should be planted in the spring. Planting daylilies in the fall can be fatal, as they often do not have enough time to form a strong enough root structure to survive the winter. In warmer climates of the south, early spring or very late fall planting will be the best choices, as planting when the temperature and humidity are high will increase the chance of rot.
Knowing where and how to plant are also important to daylily care. While needing at least six hours of direct sunlight per day, the daylilies will prefer full sun. Daylily plants also will adapt to almost any soil condition, provided that it is well draining. The daylily should be planted at roughly the same depth that it arrived in. The hole dug should be large enough for the entire root mass, and then some. The roots of the daylily plant should be spread out in the entire hole, and have adequate room to grow further.
The next step in daylily care is the maintenance. Watering will be most important in the spring, when the plants are growing the most, as well as in the summer, during the bloom season. Watering should be deep, and reach eight to ten inches below the surface of the soil. Fertilizer should be used, with older clumps being fertilizer more than younger ones. Mulching will help to retain moisture, and provide for healthier daylilies.
More information about daylily care can be found online by using search engines such as Google. Libraries will also have books that have good information about daylily care. A local nursery or garden center would be able to provide more accurate daylily care that is specific to the region.
Growing hibiscus is not an arduous task. The occasional gardener can grow hardy hibiscus with good success by following a few simple suggestions. The first task for growing hibiscus is to select an appropriate site. The plant site should have adequate sunlight. The sunlight should be fully available for at least 6 to 8 hours a day.
The second growing condition that needs to be addressed is the soil. Hibiscuses are quite adaptable to soil types. Providing a location with highly organic soil will greatly enhance growth and flower production. To increase organic matter, it may be advisable to mix sphagnum peat moss into the planting soil. After planting, the soil needs to be kept moist constantly for the first year or two. When they are fully established, they can accommodate some drought or excessive moisture.
Plant protection in harsh climates, zones 4 through 8, is also an issue for growing hibiscus. Providing mulch during winter is imperative. Pile the mulch up to 12 inches deep to keep the ground from freezing around the root system. In zone 8, the mulch does not need to be as thick as in zone 4.
Hardy hibiscus plants are not as prone to insect or disease problems. They may have occasional outbreaks of spider mites and Japanese beetles. Controls for these pests may be purchased at the local garden center. Growing hibiscus is a task that is very rewarding, especially when the first filmy, light bloom presents itself in your garden.