Plant Parenthood, Return of the House Plant – Presentation by Jeff Mason

The “20 something” generation has become enamoured with house plants.  As they often live in condos and high rise buildings without garden space, they have turned to houseplants as a way of having green things growing around them.

There are several easy care plants that Jeff recommends. I will mention a few.

1. Succulents: These are popular because of their interesting colour and texture. They are easy to grow and require little watering. The downside is that many succulents require a lot of sun to grow indoors. A few that require less light and are more likely to be successful as houseplants are Sansevieria commonly known as Mother-in-laws tongue, Howartia sometimes called Zebra Plant, and Hoya which has a diversity of species to choose from.

2. Peperomia, commonly known as “Radiator Plant”   has a trailing vine-like habit, requiring low light.  Lots of new varieties are available including ‘prostrata’ and ‘obtusifolia’.

3. Pilea peperomioides also known as Chinese Money Plant,  UFO Plant or Friendship Plant is described by Jeff as “the most popular houseplant in the world”! It is playful, pleasing to look at and easy to care for. The reason it is called Friendship Plant is because it grows lots of little babies and it has traditionally been shared with friends.

4. Dracena has strap-like leaves and a tree-like appearance. It is easy to grow, requires little light, but likes high humidity. Many of the newer varieties have stronger habits than  those we remember from the past.  One such variety is Cordyline. It is a stunner with leaves ranging in colour from variegated pale pinks and green to purple and deep red. Jeff suggests adding it to your outdoor containers as well, but keep it in the shade.  Jeff reminds us that the browning on the leaf of plants like Dracena is probably due to being too close to a heat source or perhaps located in a draft. These leaves will not get better and are best trimmed off with the scissors.

5. Philodendron is an old standby. But did you know that it is available in all sorts of new varieties such as ‘Pink Princess” “Autumn” and “Lemon Lime” and many more? It is time to rediscover this old favourite by exploring all the new possibilities available. It is a super  easy to grow houseplant. Jeff reminds us that every once in a while, plunge the Philodendron Plant into a sink full of water and let it soak up water with the roots. This is a good thing to do with many of our houseplants as watering from the top becomes ineffective.

6. Monstera deliciosa also known as Swiss Cheese Plant has become a crazy trend. You may have noticed its graphic leaves on everything from throw pillows to wallpaper and it presents itself as a statement-making plant.  The plant requires high humidity but little watering and shade. In your home, the Monstera can reach a height of about 8 feet so be sure to give it room to grow.

As with all living things, there are a few concerns to watch for. Infestations on houseplants include mealy bugs, spidermites, and whitefly. Keep a look out for outbreaks and treat by rubbing the leaves with rubbing alcohol on a Qtip. You can also spray the plant with rubbing alcohol using  a spray bottle.

Be sure to clean a house plant well before bringing it from your patio for the winter. This is often how the little pests  get in.

Enjoy your houseplants and remember that they serve a useful purpose as well as being beautiful. Adding plants to your interior space will naturally purify the air, making your indoor space healthier and making it easier for you to breathe.

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