Houseplants forum: Good Source for Houseplant Info?

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Name: Rob
Greenfield, Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
robertbruce
Jun 27, 2016 8:43 AM CST
Is there a good source for houseplant info online--listing plant types, what light they do best in, and proper care? I have an apartment that has different kinds of light and I'd like to get plants that are appropriate. Thanks!
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Jun 27, 2016 10:41 AM CST
Welcome. What is your experience with house plants? What type of plants do you like and wish to have? If you ask specific questions here, you will get lots of answers. Apartment is a sometimes limiting factor but it does not have to be. Gene
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jun 27, 2016 4:23 PM CST
Any unqualified info can be difficult to extrapolate into application to your situation. By qualified, I mean knowing the source of the info. Is it being given by someone growing outside in Malaysia, or in an apartment in Duluth? If, for example, the person in Malaysia describes a plant as full shade, it might need some direct sun near a window in Duluth.

Asking for specific info on a forum like this allows you to know the origin of the info and ask further questions of the person who shares it, so you can better apply it to your specific situation. The most useful thing one can research about a plant is its' native habitat, IME. That is info you can compare to conditions you have available to offer.

If growing indoors is ones' only option, like many who visit a house plant forum, it's best to try to not fall in love with full sun plants if you are unable to put them outside or are prepared to provide some type of artificial light if/when the available natural light from windows isn't enough.

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[Last edited by purpleinopp - Jun 28, 2016 7:54 AM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jun 27, 2016 7:19 PM CST
HI Rob! We all got such varying microclimates, indoors and outdoors, sometimes it will be really hit and miss. Off the top of my head, since I have some houseplants growing indoors, I have Dracaena marginata, Dracaena sanderiana, Golden pothos, ZZ plant (Zamiaculcas zamiifolia), Phalaenopsis orchids, Hoya shooting star, Sanseveirias, Chlorophytum comosum (spider plants), clivia or carnivorous plants like Nepenthes and Pinguiculas. There is a lot more you can try, and I am sure so many suggestions and pointers you can get from everyone here.

Giving you these names, you can easily ask more about them here in NGA, so many growers have them. But bear in mind, we all live in different areas, so our light conditions, humidity, temperature and watering habits vary. Feel free to browse our Plant database, some plants have photos, and see if that is the type of plant you want to have indoors, some plants are vining, some are just upright growers or do you want some plants that can make blooms indoors.

You mentioned your apartment has different light, so try to describe further the orientation/duration of that light, whether North, South, West or East, or are you intending to use artificial lighting.

Good luck! Hope you find the plants that suits your indoor growing environment.
[Last edited by tarev - Jun 27, 2016 7:19 PM (+)]
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Jun 28, 2016 5:37 PM CST
Missouri Botanical Garden is a well respected source
https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/Portals/0/Gardening/...
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Jul 2, 2016 7:11 AM CST
I am an apartment dweller in NYC and most of my clients are also apartment dwellers. You are right to focus on light because if a plant does not get appropriate light, nothing else you do will matter. Evaluating the available light is the most difficult task for most people and where you will have to start.

Factors that affect available light are distance from the source (window); direction that the window faces; what is outside the window (a tree, tall building, building overhang); and window treatments (blinds, sheers, curtains).

In my experience, most people over estimate the available light. For example, if your plant location is more than 5 or 6 feet from a completely uncovered window, then even low light plants will struggle. Likewise, sheers block out most of the light usable for plants.
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Horticultural Help, NYC
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Jul 2, 2016 8:42 AM CST
Try this: http://horticulturalhelp.com/indoor-plant-bulletins/
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Jul 2, 2016 11:28 AM CST
I have an old paperback book that helped get me started into house plants: House Plants To Grow If You Have No Sun, 1975, Elvin McDonald. Great info, care instructions and some pix. See if Amazon has a used copy. Gene
Name: Ivy T
Manhattan, New York (Zone 6b)
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ivyplantsnyc
Jul 4, 2016 12:00 PM CST
Thank you Will C.
I also live in an apartment in NYC, mine is located in a back courtyard that has no sun because it is on a low floor. I struggle with my plants at times. Will save the information that you listed to use in the future. Very helpful.

Ivy
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Name: Teresa
(Zone 5b)
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TsFlowers
Aug 4, 2016 6:17 PM CST
I clicked on this thread because I was wanting some similar information. I found this list: http://www.oocities.org/gratim98/indorlst.htm and then I used the database here and started looking up some of them. Many didn't have a lot of information here in the database including light requirements. But I did find from using both sources that I could find some photos of plants of interest, and then do further online search for more details.

But I'm wondering if anyone has this experience. The site I listed above said that Caladium bicolor do well under average home conditions. Has anyone here successfully grown a caladium as a houseplant? I think they would make beautiful houseplants with a lot of color. I put some in the ground from bulbs, but I read at another site that some plants must change to their environment by shedding all current leaves (if moving the plants indoors from an outdoor location, thus changing the light considerably), and putting out new leaves which adapt to the current light. Would caladiums do this? Someone in the database listed that they go dormant. I guess perhaps maybe the plant/bulb would have to be started indoors and left indoors?
. . . it's always better to ask questions, than jump to conclusions.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
Aug 5, 2016 5:52 AM CST
I've never grown them indoors. My outdoor caladiums sense autumn with the declining light or temps, and leaves get smaller.
They can be slow to get going as well. Potting them in spring outdoors, they can takes weeks and weeks to show anything. Warming them should speed it up.
But having grown them outside, I'm not interested in trying them indoors. I'd rather get a pink/red Aglaonema, easier to deal with.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Aug 5, 2016 10:31 AM CST
Hi Teresa! That's similar to what I was saying in my last post. Since one's location is such an important factor in the amount of light a particular plant might prefer or need, it's best to have a discussion, instead of trying to interpret info that might be given without enough background to be useful. Advice from anyone in a tropical location, like where most growers are, is probably coming from experience growing outside only.

The most useful thing to me is to research where in the world a plant comes from, or at least where it grows like crazy in the ground outside. Pics of plants in the wild or in a landscape can help so much. If one has tropical plants at much higher latitudes, a different spot closer to a window might be needed during the shorter days of winter. I wish I'd figured that part out much sooner.

It's normal for any kind of bulb plant to discard older leaves in regard to various kinds of stress, then grow new ones when conditions permit again. @skylark comes to mind in regard to successfully growing potted Caladiums - in an apartment, very impressive stuff.

Sally, Ags can offer a similar appearance, agreed.

If you like Caladiums, Syngonium (AKA arrowhead vine) might also have appeal. The leaves are so similar to some Caladiumas and Syngoniums are much more commonly found in pots inside homes because they don't go dormant in response to stresses.
The species entry: Arrowhead Vine (Syngonium podophyllum)
All Syngonium entries in the DB here:
http://garden.org/plants/search/text.php?q=syngonium+podophy...

If it's the red or the pink in the leaves that you find attractive, you can also search the DB here for specific characteristics on the advanced search page: http://garden.org/plants/search/advanced.php
For example, you might check the box under "leaves" that says "unusual foliage color" and the box under "suitable locations" for "houseplant." Doing so would yield 207 results (as of just now.)
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Name: Teresa
(Zone 5b)
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TsFlowers
Aug 5, 2016 11:23 AM CST
Thanks @purpleinopp . I agree with all the info given here. I have seen the green/white Syngonium available locally, but not usually the red/pink ones. For adding a few, I'd really would want to find locally - it's not a priority. I was especially interested in the Caladiums because the bulbs are so easy to find locally at many places in spring; unlike the Arrowhead Vine. And then they are often marked down 50% late in season. But thanks for tossing out that info.
. . . it's always better to ask questions, than jump to conclusions.
JC/NYC (Zone 7b)
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skylark
Aug 19, 2016 12:43 PM CST
i've been cooling off up north from the blistering heat of NYC - so didn't check my msgs. so am a little late here.
i grow caladiums both indoors (completely) and combo - start /end indoors + summer on the balcony. I take them in when temps at night drop below 65F.
You need to give them sun indoors for at least 4 hours - west or east is best , with late/early sun. 6 hours is even better. I have one corner that gets both early east and west sun - that's where they do best.
Some varieties (usually marked as sun tolerant) will need to be in south window. But they don't like very hot sun - so high noon can scorch them. blinds slightly closed provide good dappled moving sun, but only in south window, anywhere else they have to be close to the window and IN the sun, otherwise they get leggy.
Best to start them in april-may in the sunny window. i also provide bottom heat, as they won't grow until the soil temps go above 65F, best if 70F. 85f on the mat with moist medium (tented) is best - they'll produce leaves in a month. otherwise it can take 2 mo.
they'll go dormant in early fall (sep-oct) and slowly lose all leaves. I keep them in pots and clean them up and restart in late spring. The larger varieties with larger corms are easier to overwinter. Small corms even in pots tend to die.
my best is C. 'Red Flash' - very large. i've had it for 9 years now and it was good sized when i bought it. So probably it's close to 12 years old.
You can see my plant list about others that i have - i put some growing info there too.
@robertbruce - have a look at http://plantsarethestrangestpeople.blogspot.com - it's both entertaining and very informative.
search for houseplants (on the right sidebar) - you'll see many categories: which are easiest, most difficult, which bloom, low-high light etc. the top 10 , the best 100...you can spend weeks reading it. Some comments after posts are also informative.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Aug 21, 2016 8:03 PM CST
I LOVE plantsarethestrangestpeople. Great plant reading
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Georgia (Zone 8a)
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Hamwild
Aug 22, 2016 9:23 AM CST
His website is also one I like to look at, he gets straight to the point with lighting, feeding, propagation... with a twist of humor. Hilarious!

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