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Avatar for soozywoozy
Oct 7, 2018 6:26 AM CST
Surrey
There's a community centre that has a brick raised bed in its foyer. It's light, kept at a nice temperature and there are some special lights for plants positioned in the ceiling above. It's been a bit sad for a long time. What it needs is planning and designing and the right sort of plants in it. I would think foliage plants only. What sort of easy to maintain, reliable and resilient plants can you recommend and, of course, any design ideas would also be welcome.
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Oct 7, 2018 8:48 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
You will need to limit yourself to low light plants. ZZ Plants are the easiest to maintain because they are fine when allowed to get quite dry between waterings.

You haven't provided a photo, so it is hard to know how to go about doing the planting. However, I do recommend that you keep the plants in their nursery pot and not try to plant them directly into the planter. You will have to have saucers or a plastic liner under each pot. Then spread some Spanish moss over the surface to cover up the individual pots.

The plants are easier to install this way and each plant can be watered individually, as needed rather than having all of them together in one giant planter. It also makes occasional replacements of individual plants much easier.

How the plants are planted will be more important than the actual selection of plants. If this is a large planter requiring more than a dozen plants, then I suggest you contact a local interior landscape company and have them do it.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Avatar for soozywoozy
Oct 7, 2018 9:19 AM CST
Surrey
I'll be taking a photo during the week - I was impatient to see what advice I could get in case I got to speak to someone. They're thinking of redoing it with artificial plants but I want to suggest giving it one last chance. Once the correct plants are in place, it ought to be a case of simple maintenance. There is in fact plenty of light - a row of windows across the back, glass door to the front and at least for most of the 24 hour day, the specialist plant lights.
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Oct 7, 2018 9:32 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
A photo that shows the entire set-up, including the nearest windows and lights would be useful.

Who is it you are hoping to speak with?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Avatar for soozywoozy
Oct 7, 2018 10:20 AM CST
Surrey
Whoever is in charge of the place - one of the members of staff told me there was a possiblity of the artificial plants and I thought it was a shame since it could be a nice feature with real plants. I will suggest a professional consultant, but I know they won't have money for one.
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Oct 7, 2018 2:00 PM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
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There also needs to be someone who is there regularly and very committed to caring for the plants, and reasonably skilled at it. If it is a staff person, it must be OK with management they they spend a little time weekly on it.
Worry, why do I let myself worry?
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Oct 7, 2018 3:15 PM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Of course, real plants are a nice touch, but they do require a lot of knowledgeable care. Without it, the plants will slowly deteriorate and become an eyesore. In addition, the investment in the plants may be lost.

This may be a situation where artificial plants are preferable. There will be a single one-time cost and other than dusting, they will not require any special care or lighting.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
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Oct 7, 2018 5:43 PM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
Let's all play ukulele
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
I tend various plants at a public library. The lighting is maybe not ideal, although they do get 12 hours a day most days, of overhead fluorescent light. I find that Epipremnum (pothos) and Aglaonema (Chinese evergreen) are very durable for me, and rarely show stress.
Worry, why do I let myself worry?
Avatar for soozywoozy
Oct 9, 2018 9:53 AM CST
Surrey
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Last edited by soozywoozy Oct 9, 2018 10:02 AM Icon for preview
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Oct 9, 2018 1:47 PM CST
Name: BigT
Central Illinois (Zone 5)
Birds Cactus and Succulents Sedums Sempervivums
The plants appear healthy, they could use a little clean up to remove some leaves. Considering it appears to be direct planted and not in containers, it's doing very well. Someone must be doing at least a little maintenance.

I would consider donating a nice pot of Pothos or two or a similar growth Philodendren. Grow them as ground covers to fill in, rather than as hanging.
Avatar for soozywoozy
Oct 9, 2018 1:55 PM CST
Surrey
The ground cover philodendron is an excellent idea - I was so fixated on a collection of potted plants that the most sensible suggested didn't occur to me! Do you happen to know what the tallest of those plants is?
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Oct 9, 2018 1:59 PM CST
Name: Karen
New Mexico (Zone 8a)
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I think it looks great! Some small ground covering plants would be nice. It's amazing they're doing so well in that situation.
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Oct 9, 2018 3:01 PM CST
Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

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Wow, what a pretty planter, I really like it a lot! The plants already in place look quite healthy! As has been suggested, I would just add a few more to those already there to fill in some of the blank spaces. You could add few more perennial tropical plants and supplement at different times of year with flowering annuals for a pop of color. There are many popular plants that people enjoy growing indoors, a few possibilities:

Birds Nest Fern (Asplenium antiquum)
Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum)
ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
Peace Lilies (Spathiphyllum)
Nerve Plant (Fittonia albivenis)
Arrowhead Plant (Syngonium podophyllum)
Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
Cat Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum)

Just be aware that some of those are vine-like and would have to be pinched to keep them in bounds.

Something to keep in mind when there are live plants in an office situation with numerous employees is the fact that more than one person may feel it necessary to water the plants, which can end up causing many issues! It's best to have a single person or perhaps two knowledgeable people, tending plants so that they don't end up drowning from too much "love". Smiling

I worked for a large corporation years ago and for the first three years I was there (until I transferred to another department) I did double duty as both receptionist and data processing agent. My desk, file cabinets, computer and printer were in a really large, beautiful, open reception area with floor to ceiling windows and glass doors ... the only problem was, it was very desolate and bland! I've always liked having green plants around so I got permission from the VP to bring in many of my personal plants and agreeing to tend to them only after hours. One day, I was sitting at my desk talking to a customer and a guy from one of our other buildings walked in with coffee in hand and as he passed through the double doors to the main offices, he poured the remainder of his coffee into one of my plants!! I immediately asked him why he did it and he said "Oh, I thought coffee was good for plants, you mean it's not?" Since it was a reception area, many employees from offices in my building and two other buildings on in the complex as well as customers, had access. A waiting customer once emptied her water into a plant sitting on a table next to her and a coworker once stopped by when she was on break; she chatted for a few minutes and then said "I guess I better get back to work" ... as walked over to the door, she looked at one of the plants and said "Oh, you look like you need a drink" and preceded to pour her water onto the plant. I was always finding candy wrappers and memo papers balled up in the planters that people would discard atop the soil!

The only other live plants in the building were leased plants for the executive VP's office and a plant company came once a week to tend to those plants and change out any that weren't looking so good. As I was returning from lunch one day, I saw a lady from the lease company watering my plants in the reception area. I laughed and told her that she didn't have to worry about those, that they were my personal plants; she thought that her company had supplied them and she was happy that she didn't have to care for so many more. All of my coworkers and everyone in the other buildings always commented about how great our reception area was with so many pretty plants but it was a chore trying to keep them healthy when others wanted to "help" with watering or coffee or trash! Sighing!
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Oct 9, 2018 4:27 PM CST
Name: BigT
Central Illinois (Zone 5)
Birds Cactus and Succulents Sedums Sempervivums
soozywoozy said:The ground cover philodendron is an excellent idea - I was so fixated on a collection of potted plants that the most sensible suggested didn't occur to me! Do you happen to know what the tallest of those plants is?


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Oct 10, 2018 7:50 AM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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That's beautiful! I can see why it has gotten your attention! A beautiful planter in a beautiful room with beautiful existing plants.
Also compare the Dracaenas to 'Dorado.' A few pics of young specimens here to get started:
Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans 'Dorado')

Other plants that are fairly common & would do well in the company of the existing ones, and the assumptions about the care that I can make from seeing the existing plants:

Usually found in the spring with the annuals:
Wax Begonia (Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum)
in various leaf styles:
Joseph's Coat (Alternanthera ficoidea)

More often found in house plant section:
Inch Plant (Callisia repens)
Oyster Plant (Tradescantia spathacea)
Gasteria 'Little Warty'
Purple Waffle Plant (Hemigraphis 'Exotica')
Trailing Jade (Kleinia petraea)
Most Dracaenas:
https://garden.org/plants/sear...
These or other Peperomias:
Variegated Teardrop Peperomia (Peperomia 'Orba Variegata')
Bean Bean Plant (Peperomia ferreyrae)
Red Edge Peperomia (Peperomia tricolor)
Red Log (Peperomia verticillata)
This species and its' many cultivars, although it will eventually expand sideways over/across/through/under anything else in the planter. I would probably only use Sans if (insert choked-back sob) replacing the existing plants:
Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata)

Vines like Philodendron, Pothos, WJ, or other creeping Tradescantias would quickly climb up &/or over the other plants.
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Last edited by purpleinopp Oct 10, 2018 7:52 AM Icon for preview
Avatar for soozywoozy
Oct 31, 2018 10:35 AM CST
Surrey
Thank you all very much. It seems there were plans in the works already that we didn't know about and they have someone supplying the plants (nobody knows what right now) after they've removed the old compost and refilled with fresh.
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Nov 2, 2018 12:04 PM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Wise choice. Plantings like that are best done by people who have experience doing it.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
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