Houseplants forum: Obsession?

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CrazedHoosier
Feb 17, 2019 10:21 AM CST
Hello! I've just lately began having an obsession with house plants. I always thought they were boring and overpriced, but then I got gifted an orchid... and then I bought myself an orchid... that's how the addiction started. I now have 2 orchids, 2 African violets, 1 peace lily, 1 Brazil philodendron, and 1 spider plant. The main reason I avoided house plants was because I thought they actually needed direct sunlight inside, but it turns out, a lot of them don't! So yes, I'm now obsessed, and have a list of house plants to get. Snake plant, croton, polka dot plant, mini orchid, Golden pothos, Zz plant, etc. Here are my central questions... Any other plants I should look for? Also, is it actually safe to water an African violet from the crown (below the leaves of course)? I've only seen 12-20 dollar zz plants - why are they so expensive? Do peace lilies actually bloom without that hormone? Also, does that gravel and water in a saucer actually make the air around a plant more humid? It seems like a far-fetched idea to me. Sorry if this post was confusing, or if I made a mess. There is just a lot on my mind about these plants! Thanks in advance!
Maybe we should get a second opinion...
Southern Indiana (Zone 6a)
I'll quit while I'm ahead...
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CrazedHoosier
Feb 17, 2019 10:53 AM CST
Oh, another thing I was wondering was: I have two fish tanks with lights for my aquatic plants, one is a Fluval Eco Bright 7500k, one is a Fluval Spec V 7000k light. Will these provide any usable light for my house plants if they're near?
Maybe we should get a second opinion...
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Feb 17, 2019 11:05 AM CST
I would say you have an interest in house plants, not an obsession. I might qualify for that title. I have over 800 in my house right now. Get some Sansevieria! There is a thread here on just Sans. Your aquarium lights might help but are not really the ones you want to use. Read the thread I started in this houseplants section - My New Lights. What plants to get, IMO, is kind of a personal thing. Yes, there are some that are easier for beginners to handle. But, if it is not something you really like, it will probably not last long. Start searching and see what appeals to you. Then ask here if it might work for you or not. Yes, many beautiful house plants are expensive. Gene
Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Feb 17, 2019 11:11 AM CST
You have a good set of starter plants. Here' s my humble opinion on a few questions- others may vary..

Croton- do not buy. Too troublesome.
Snake plant, golden pothos, Yes, but, should be easy.

True they don't necessarily need sunlight, But they do need a certain amount of light. It is the source of energy for the 'equation'' that allows plants to grow.

Peace lily will bloom now and then no special requirements.
AV can be watered at the top.

Dish of gravel no great contribution to humidity. Get a room humidifier for your own comfort as well as plants. I have two VIcks brand that have been trouble free for several years of a lot of use.
ZZ plant, may be $$ because of length of time it takes to grow to a nice looking size. Not sure tho.

Your fish tank light- I will guess they are quite bright right under them, but the light will drop off quickly with distance. And bear in mind, if you hang a bright light above the top of a tall plant, only the top of the plant gets it. The struggle is often, how to add light and keep the plant display 'pleasing' to home occupants.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Southern Indiana (Zone 6a)
I'll quit while I'm ahead...
Annuals Container Gardener Cactus and Succulents Frogs and Toads Growing under artificial light Dog Lover
Houseplants Garden Procrastinator Aroids Tomato Heads Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers
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CrazedHoosier
Feb 17, 2019 11:22 AM CST
gasrocks said:I would say you have an interest in house plants, not an obsession. I might qualify for that title. I have over 800 in my house right now. Get some Sansevieria! There is a thread here on just Sans. Your aquarium lights might help but are not really the ones you want to use. Read the thread I started in this houseplants section - My New Lights. What plants to get, IMO, is kind of a personal thing. Yes, there are some that are easier for beginners to handle. But, if it is not something you really like, it will probably not last long. Start searching and see what appeals to you. Then ask here if it might work for you or not. Yes, many beautiful house plants are expensive. Gene


I want some sansevieria extremely badly! I can't find them anywhere here, though. Is there any good online seller of houseplants? I was just hoping my two fish tank lights could help out a bit, but didn't expect anything. The room also has a west facing window, so there's indirect light most of the day. LED plant lights have always been so cool to me because I don't have to worry about them heating up and burning the house down! I have a smaller LED plant light for my succulents I winter over by my south facing window. Extra lighting is my motto! How do you care for 800 plants?? I'm still trying to balance caring for my outdoor plants, and now my indoor ones. I'm trying not to go crazy with house plants, but I think my interest will only worsen...
Maybe we should get a second opinion...
Southern Indiana (Zone 6a)
I'll quit while I'm ahead...
Annuals Container Gardener Cactus and Succulents Frogs and Toads Growing under artificial light Dog Lover
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CrazedHoosier
Feb 17, 2019 11:25 AM CST
sallyg said:You have a good set of starter plants. Here' s my humble opinion on a few questions- others may vary..

Croton- do not buy. Too troublesome.
Snake plant, golden pothos, Yes, but, should be easy.

True they don't necessarily need sunlight, But they do need a certain amount of light. It is the source of energy for the 'equation'' that allows plants to grow.

Peace lily will bloom now and then no special requirements.
AV can be watered at the top.

Dish of gravel no great contribution to humidity. Get a room humidifier for your own comfort as well as plants. I have two VIcks brand that have been trouble free for several years of a lot of use.
ZZ plant, may be $$ because of length of time it takes to grow to a nice looking size. Not sure tho.

Your fish tank light- I will guess they are quite bright right under them, but the light will drop off quickly with distance. And bear in mind, if you hang a bright light above the top of a tall plant, only the top of the plant gets it. The struggle is often, how to add light and keep the plant display 'pleasing' to home occupants.


Good to hear about the golden pothos and snake plant, but sad about the croton. They're so pretty! So glad the peace lily will actually bloom! I was thinking the reason zz plants are expensive is because they are so tough, haha. My fish tanks actually keep the humidity in my room pretty high. It naturally rests at 50-60%. I have to check the humidity often because I have geckos, too.
Maybe we should get a second opinion...
[Last edited by CrazedHoosier - Feb 17, 2019 11:26 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1911186 (6)
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
Feb 17, 2019 1:47 PM CST
I think plant pricing has more to do with cost/ease/time to produce and rarity...

Thumbs up the fish tanks, you are great on humidity and can forget the pebble tray nonsense. I envy the fish tanks, I used to use the gravel washer and then use that fish waste water on plants and gardens.

Chinese evergreen Aglaonema is another tough easy plant and pretty cheap- there are newer ones with red in the leaves that would be easier than a croton, though I agree Crotons are great looking.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Southern Indiana (Zone 6a)
I'll quit while I'm ahead...
Annuals Container Gardener Cactus and Succulents Frogs and Toads Growing under artificial light Dog Lover
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CrazedHoosier
Feb 17, 2019 2:09 PM CST
sallyg said:I think plant pricing has more to do with cost/ease/time to produce and rarity...

Thumbs up the fish tanks, you are great on humidity and can forget the pebble tray nonsense. I envy the fish tanks, I used to use the gravel washer and then use that fish waste water on plants and gardens.

Chinese evergreen Aglaonema is another tough easy plant and pretty cheap- there are newer ones with red in the leaves that would be easier than a croton, though I agree Crotons are great looking.


I'll have to try using the fish water when I do water changes! I've actually seen the Chinese evergreen a lot around here, but assumed since they have red leaves, they need a lot of light. Do you know anything about the burgundy rubber plant?
Maybe we should get a second opinion...
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Feb 17, 2019 4:09 PM CST
General rule, the more variegated, the less green the leaves are, the more light it needs. Start with the simple green varieties. The new red, and blue Aglaonema do not last long.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Butterflies Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland
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sallyg
Feb 17, 2019 5:59 PM CST
I see two styles at Home depot/Lowes a lot- Of the two, the Siam Red like one did better for me than Anyamanee, was prettier, too.
http://www.costafarms.com/plan...
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Georgia (Zone 8a)
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Hamwild
Feb 17, 2019 7:02 PM CST
Ooh, I should start using my fish water too. *Blush*
Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Feb 18, 2019 9:12 AM CST
Sally has answered most of your questions very well. Thumbs up I would add that when selecting plants for indoor use it is very important to get a good match between the light requirements of that particular plant and the light you have available in a particular location. This is where many folks get off to a bad start, especially since they tend to overestimate the available light. Light intensity drops off dramatically with every foot of distance from the window.

All of the plants mentioned here and commonly used indoors do just fine in even very low humidity in winter as long as the soil is properly watered.

Crotons require lots of direct sunlight, cool temps and soil that is never allowed to get very dry. A single episode of dryness will cause sudden and heavy leaf loss. They are also prone to spider mites. So they are very challenging plants, but quite hardy indoors when attended to properly.

ZZ Plants grow relatively slowly so that is why they are relatively expensive. You usually get what you pay for.

Enjoy your new hobby! You may soon need a larger home to accommodate your obsession! Rolling my eyes.

Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Feb 18, 2019 11:38 AM CST
Hi CrazedHoosier! I love houseplant growing too. Big Grin Sometimes it is trial and error, there are some houseplants that have more specific humidity requirement, so like for my own area, I try to find those that can endure our very low humidity, or tweak some aspects to help that plant thrive better. Some needs just north facing light orientation, some needs much more and better grown by either south, east or west facing orientation but behind sheer curtains.

I also have additional houseplants indoors during winter time, just for overwintering purposes, some happen to be dormant during winter, so have to be kept warm and dry during the period. Then they are brought out for better growth outdoors during Spring to Fall.

Here are some plants that I have indoors, see if you can try some of them:
Hoya shooting star - this is a vining plant, loves warm to cool temps. Initially in my area, since it is so dry here, I had to grow it in standing water, till it got used to my location. It blooms intermittently throughout the year.
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/40304c Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/296d11 Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/5df6c1

Cryptanthus - member of the Bromeliad family. This is a terrestrial bromeliad so it needs well draining porous/gritty soil. Gets lovely colorful hues on its leaves when it gets a bit more sun. Thrives well indoors.
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/3a5f91

Clivia - really likes the shade. I grow this by my north facing window. Stays evergreen year round and loves to be grown on the very dry side. Given the time to experience temps of at least 30F to 50F, cool and dry during late Fall, it will manage to bloom during mid to late winter indoors. If you are one who is forgetful in watering, this one is okay with it. The drier the better. Soil needs to be very gritty and well draining, as if you are growing cacti, but unlike cacti, no direct sun, otherwise it will burn the leaves.

In bloom right now, Clivia miniata 'Solomone Yellow'
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/1c1704 Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/a516a8
My other Clivia has an orange bloom, but this year I was not able to give it a good cold treatment, so just green leaves, but it is still nice, so lush and solid green.
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/118220

when in bloom:
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/efa598 Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/3cc057

Another favorite of mine, Tillandsias, loves bright areas, no soil needed and you can place it anywhere. To care for this type of plant, either you mist it thoroughly at least once a week, or dunk it in water for a few hours. Shake off excess water, and put it back to where you have it. With Tillandsias, understand that they are monocarpic bloomers, just once in their lifetime, after that it is all downhill. But it will still try to form new pups, so life goes one.

Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/c6219f Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/e11e6b
I can also bring them outdoors safely, has to be in shade or filtered light, but outdoors I have to shower it frequently especially when temps are so hot and dry, our humidity is so poor outdoors, so it will require good water shower and being outdoors, it gets good airflow around.
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/22d2ea

Phalaenopsis orchids - I like them since they can have such long lasting blooms from 3 to 6 months, given proper care of course. Many ways to care for Phal orchids. I used to grow them in orchid bark mix, then later on, I finally understood how much good airflow around the roots it needs, so I switched to another media. But for newbies, go with the traditional way of growing them, till you get used to its growing habit.
In spike right now
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/8b97b7

when it was in bloom last May 2017
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/e8850a

Epipremnum aureum commonly called Golden Pothos - I grow mine indoors but in water gel beads
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/940a5b Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/3af80f

Testing a new one, just got this one over the weekend, related to Golden Pothos, this one is called Scindapsus pictus or commonly called as Satin pothos. So just letting this stay in its original container and soil, letting it get used to my environment here for now:
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/c24c27 Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/b78d62

Zamiaculcas zamiifolia - ZZ plant, you have this one already right, very slow growing, loves to be on the drier side. Much less watering during the cold season.

Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/d014ca
I love seeing it form new leaf stalk, usually around Spring
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/274114

Dracaena marginata - slow growing, loves dry side, warm comfortable temps
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/a6724c
Happy to see a new basal growth recently Big Grin
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/12d162

Sansevieria:
Sansevieria cylindrica
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/0cf271 Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/478fcf

Sansevieria francisii
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/9c4d9b Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/d8da89

Sansevieria cylindrica 'Patula'
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/fe3385

[Last edited by tarev - Feb 18, 2019 2:46 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1911910 (13)
Name: Frenchy
Falls Church, VA (Zone 7b)
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Frenchy21
Feb 18, 2019 2:43 PM CST
Lovely plants tarev! Lovey dubby
Southern Indiana (Zone 6a)
I'll quit while I'm ahead...
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CrazedHoosier
Feb 20, 2019 9:39 AM CST
tarev said:Hi CrazedHoosier! I love houseplant growing too. Big Grin Sometimes it is trial and error, there are some houseplants that have more specific humidity requirement, so like for my own area, I try to find those that can endure our very low humidity, or tweak some aspects to help that plant thrive better. Some needs just north facing light orientation, some needs much more and better grown by either south, east or west facing orientation but behind sheer curtains.

I also have additional houseplants indoors during winter time, just for overwintering purposes, some happen to be dormant during winter, so have to be kept warm and dry during the period. Then they are brought out for better growth outdoors during Spring to Fall.

Here are some plants that I have indoors, see if you can try some of them:
Hoya shooting star - this is a vining plant, loves warm to cool temps. Initially in my area, since it is so dry here, I had to grow it in standing water, till it got used to my location. It blooms intermittently throughout the year.
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/40304c Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/296d11 Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/5df6c1

Cryptanthus - member of the Bromeliad family. This is a terrestrial bromeliad so it needs well draining porous/gritty soil. Gets lovely colorful hues on its leaves when it gets a bit more sun. Thrives well indoors.
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/3a5f91

Clivia - really likes the shade. I grow this by my north facing window. Stays evergreen year round and loves to be grown on the very dry side. Given the time to experience temps of at least 30F to 50F, cool and dry during late Fall, it will manage to bloom during mid to late winter indoors. If you are one who is forgetful in watering, this one is okay with it. The drier the better. Soil needs to be very gritty and well draining, as if you are growing cacti, but unlike cacti, no direct sun, otherwise it will burn the leaves.

In bloom right now, Clivia miniata 'Solomone Yellow'
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/1c1704 Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/a516a8
My other Clivia has an orange bloom, but this year I was not able to give it a good cold treatment, so just green leaves, but it is still nice, so lush and solid green.
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/118220

when in bloom:
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/efa598 Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/3cc057

Another favorite of mine, Tillandsias, loves bright areas, no soil needed and you can place it anywhere. To care for this type of plant, either you mist it thoroughly at least once a week, or dunk it in water for a few hours. Shake off excess water, and put it back to where you have it. With Tillandsias, understand that they are monocarpic bloomers, just once in their lifetime, after that it is all downhill. But it will still try to form new pups, so life goes one.

Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/c6219f Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/e11e6b
I can also bring them outdoors safely, has to be in shade or filtered light, but outdoors I have to shower it frequently especially when temps are so hot and dry, our humidity is so poor outdoors, so it will require good water shower and being outdoors, it gets good airflow around.
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/22d2ea

Phalaenopsis orchids - I like them since they can have such long lasting blooms from 3 to 6 months, given proper care of course. Many ways to care for Phal orchids. I used to grow them in orchid bark mix, then later on, I finally understood how much good airflow around the roots it needs, so I switched to another media. But for newbies, go with the traditional way of growing them, till you get used to its growing habit.
In spike right now
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/8b97b7

when it was in bloom last May 2017
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/e8850a

Epipremnum aureum commonly called Golden Pothos - I grow mine indoors but in water gel beads
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/940a5b Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/3af80f

Testing a new one, just got this one over the weekend, related to Golden Pothos, this one is called Scindapsus pictus or commonly called as Satin pothos. So just letting this stay in its original container and soil, letting it get used to my environment here for now:
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/c24c27 Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/b78d62

Zamiaculcas zamiifolia - ZZ plant, you have this one already right, very slow growing, loves to be on the drier side. Much less watering during the cold season.

Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/d014ca
I love seeing it form new leaf stalk, usually around Spring
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/274114

Dracaena marginata - slow growing, loves dry side, warm comfortable temps
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/a6724c
Happy to see a new basal growth recently Big Grin
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/12d162

Sansevieria:
Sansevieria cylindrica
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/0cf271 Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/478fcf

Sansevieria francisii
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/9c4d9b Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/d8da89

Sansevieria cylindrica 'Patula'
Thumb of 2019-02-18/tarev/fe3385



Wow, so much cool and helpful info! Basically, I've come to the decision to get two more house plants, and then stop until summer gets here. I get TONS of outdoor annuals and perennials, so I don't want to overwork myself between the houseplants and outdoor ones. I'm going to wait and see how I feel during the peak of summer. Just yesterday, I bought a rabbits foot fern and a tidbit coleus, though. Now I have two more spots open for house plants. I have two phals now, and love them so much! I'm actually on the lookout for a mini phal now. I don't have a zz plant... should I get one as one of my last house plant editions? I also saw cheap, but very pretty, marbled skindapsus at my local garden center. Should I give it a go, too? So many options, so little space!
Maybe we should get a second opinion...
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Houseplants Garden Sages
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gasrocks
Feb 20, 2019 10:07 AM CST
Get what you like, not what we like?
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Butterflies Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland
Composter Region: Mid-Atlantic Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Dog Lover
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sallyg
Feb 20, 2019 10:16 AM CST
Consider where it will sit, for light.
Scindapsus is on my list to get, if I see a small one. I think it would do well where my Pothos are.
My house stinks for places to display plants and let them thrive. I am rotating 3 blooming Phalaenopsis to the kitchen to enjoy for a week.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Houseplants Garden Sages
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gasrocks
Feb 20, 2019 10:26 AM CST
Sally get some lights. You can plants almost everywhere like I do.
Georgia (Zone 8a)
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Hamwild
Feb 20, 2019 10:27 AM CST
sallyg said:
My house stinks for places to display plants and let them thrive. I am rotating 3 blooming Phalaenopsis to the kitchen to enjoy for a week.


Same. Sad I have a Peace Lily and a Parlor Palm that seem to do okay despite the lack of light in our bathroom and a second Parlor Palm in our kitchen window (same side of the house), but I have resorted to outdoor vacation come Spring for everyone else and lights in Winter. Sighing!
[Last edited by Hamwild - Feb 20, 2019 10:27 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1913178 (19)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Feb 20, 2019 2:23 PM CST
Your Rabbit's Foot Fern needs protection from any direct sun falling on it. Keep the soil damp at all times.

Coleus requires lots of direct sunlight and moderately moist soil.

ZZ Plant will go almost anywhere and do well as long as you don't overwater it.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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