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The Care of House Plants
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The Care of House Plants


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  • 1. The Care of House Plants The University of TennesseeThe University of Tennessee Agriculture Extension ServiceAgriculture Extension Service
  • 2. Fig Tree Ficus benjamina
  • 3. Aglaonema Sansevieria Philodendron Peperomia
  • 4. The Basic Needs Light Water Temperature Humidity Fertilization Soil
  • 5. Intensity Duration Quality Light How much does a plant need?
  • 6. Light Intensity • Stem Length • Leaf Color • Flowering • Manufacture of Plant Food
  • 7. Light Intensity • Window Distance
  • 8. Light Intensity • Window Distance
  • 9. Light Intensity • Window Distance
  • 10. Light Intensity • Window Distance • Window Exposure – Southern – Eastern – Western – Northern
  • 11. Light Intensity • Window Distance • Window Exposure – Southern – Eastern – Western – Northern
  • 12. Light Intensity • Window Distance • Window Exposure – Southern – Eastern – Western – Northern
  • 13. Light Duration • Flowering • Compensation
  • 14. Light Quality • Incadescent • Fluorescent • Horticultural Fluorescent
  • 15. Phototropism
  • 16. Water
  • 17. Water • Potting medium • Plant size • Pot size • Humidity • Temperature
  • 18. Water
  • 19. Water • The Finger Method • Moisture Meters
  • 20. Water • The Finger Method • Moisture Meters
  • 21. Water
  • 22. Water
  • 23. Water
  • 24. Water • Drainage holes
  • 25. Water • Drainage holes • Pot material
  • 26. Water • Drainage holes • Pot material • Water temperature
  • 27. Water • Drainage holes • Pot material • Water temperature • Pot saucers
  • 28. Temperature Day Time Night Time 70-80 F 55-60 F
  • 29. Temperature
  • 30. Humidity
  • 31. Humidity • Grouping
  • 32. Humidity • Grouping • Misting
  • 33. Humidity • Grouping • Misting • Gravel tray
  • 34. Fertilization
  • 35. Fertilization • Soluble • Liquid • Slow-release • Organic
  • 36. Fertilization • Soluble • Liquid • Slow-release • Organic • Garden type
  • 37. Fertilization How much should you use? How often should you fertilize?
  • 38. Fertilization How much should you use?
  • 39. Fertilization How often should you fertilize?
  • 40. Soils • Commercial Mixes
  • 41. Soils • Commercial Mixes • Special Mixes
  • 42. Soils • Commercial Mixes • Special Mixes • Make Your Own – Peat Moss (1 part) – Vermiculite or Perlite (2 parts) – 8-8-8 Fertilizer (1/2 cup) – Chelated Iron (1 tsp.)
  • 43. Repotting Step by Step 1. Select a new pot 2. Remove plant while supporting plant 3. Check for bound roots-cut or unwind 4. Place in the center of new soil 5. Firm soil and water
  • 44. Diagnosing Problems on Houseplants
  • 45. Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen) Aglaeonema commutatum Low Light Plant Many varieties and some hybrids of Aglaonema are available, many with highly variegated foliage. Low growing and compact, it is a tough plant well suited for many uses. Common Varieties: ‘Silver Queen’; ‘Romano’; ‘B.J. Freeman’
  • 46. Cast Iron Plant Aspidistra elatior Low Light Plant Often overlooked. Related to the Snake Plant. Has the ability to persist under difficult situations. Leaves are 2 ft. long and may be solid or variegated with a creamy white.
  • 47. Parlor Palm Chamaedorea elegans Low Light Plant Grown for height (6ft). Feathery leaves. Not the easiest of plants to grow because they are attacked by scale, mealybugs, and spider mites.
  • 48. Prayer Plant Maranta spp. Low Light Plant Oblong leaves are green on the upper surface with dark green to brown splotches in a line along both sides of the midrib. Tolerates artificial or existing room light and can live well under average home conditions.
  • 49. Heart-leaf Philodendron Philodendron scandens oxycardium Low Light Plant Great in hanging baskets and useful where trailing or climbing habit is desired. Very popular houseplant.
  • 50. Peperomia Peperomia spp. Low Light Plant Many varieties are available (‘Pepper Face’, ‘Watermelon Peperomia’, ‘Emerald Ripple’). Most are small compact plants but color and leaf texture vary greatly. CAUTION: Peperomia’s are easily overwatered.
  • 51. Pothos (Devil’s Ivy) Epipremnum aureum Low Light Plant Often confused with Philodendron. One of the easiest indoor plants to grow. Well adapted to hanging baskets or where a trailing habit is desired.
  • 52. Peace Lily (White Flag) Spathiphyllum floribundum Low Light Plant One of the most satisfactory plants for low light situations. One of the few low light foliage plants that will also flower under low light.
  • 53. Snake Plant (Devil’s Tongue) Sansevieria trifasciata Low Light Plant Common Snake Plant produces sword shaped leaves up to 4 ft. long. Leaves have bands of gray over deep green. Birdsnest Sansevieria are much shorter and form rosettes only a few inches high. Both are easy to grow.
  • 54. African Violet Saintpaulia ionantha Medium Light Plant Among the most popular houseplants. Almost all colors available. Leaves grow to form a rosette. Many variegated varieties are available.
  • 55. Bamboo Palm Chamaedorea erumpen Medium Light Plant Can survive in relatively low light, but will grow several feet taller, in a brighter location. Bamboo palm does best in reasonably warm temperatures. Keep them away from leaky windows and cold entryways where they'd be exposed to blasts of frigid air.
  • 56. Boston Fern Nephrolepis exaltata Medium Light Plant Fronds form on creeping rhizomes. They are feather- like and arch or hang if grown in a basket. Boston Fern often suffers from low humidity indoors.
  • 57. Bromeliad Ananas spp. Vriesia spp. Medium Light Plant Light is the limiting factor for most bromeliads. The rosette forms a base that holds water. Plants must be a certain age to flower (1 to 2 yrs.). It only flowers once then offshoots develop to form a new plant.
  • 58. Corn Plant Draceana fragrans massangeana Medium Light Plant Broad leaves with generous yellow stripes running along their length. Good dependable plant. Slow growing but can reach 20ft tall.
  • 59. Christmas Cactus Schlumbergera bridgesii Medium Light Plant To initiate and develop buds for holiday flowering: Keep cool at night (50-55 degrees) during October and November or place the plant in continuous, uninterrupted darkness for 14 hours daily at a night temp of 60 degrees during the same months.
  • 60. Dragon Tree Dracaena draco or marginata Medium Light Plant Narrow leaves tapering to the tip. Green with a red edge is the color of the original species, but selections are available with white or white and red stripes the length of the leaf, and with a purple cast to the whole leaf.
  • 61. Dumb Cane Dieffenbachia amoena Medium Light Plant Large, white-variegated leaves carried on upright stems brighten this rather soft plant. The largest types may reach several feet in height.
  • 62. Fiddle-leaf Fig Ficus lyrata Medium Light Plant Fits well as a background plant in a massing of houseplants. Large leaves with a narrow place part way down their length reminiscent of the shape of a violin.
  • 63. Grape Ivy Cissus rhombifolia Medium Light Plant Easy to grow and well suited for hanging baskets or where a trailing habit is desired. It climbs easily if given the opportunity.
  • 64. Holly Fern Cyrtomium falcatum Medium Light Plant Arching fronds twelve to eighteen inches long in a rosette. The dark green, shiny leaflets are broad with wavy edges. Holds up to low humidity indoors.
  • 65. Kentia Palm Howea forsterana Medium Light Plant A tall, stately, slender plant with gracefully arching large fronds. Kentia palms can withstand lower light levels better than most large plants. Though slow-growing, a Kentia palm is capable of eventually reaching your ceiling.
  • 66. Ming Aralia Polyscias fruticosa Medium Light Plant Pure foliage plant that naturally form exotic branching patterns. The much-divided leaves give a shaggy appearance. Bonsai like. Highly subject to mealybugs and spider mites.
  • 67. Nephthytis (Arrowhead Vine) Saintpaulia ionantha Medium Light Plant Vine-like habit. Easy to grow. Arrowhead is easy to grow and may be grown in a container of water. The plant tolerates low light but an east window or medium light is ideal. The plant may need occasional pruning to keep it under control.
  • 68. Rex Begonia Begonia rex Medium Light Plant Grown for their large colorful foliage. This species bears up to 5 flowers, each about 2 inches across. The sepals and petals are wine-red flushed with yellow. The lip color ranges from whitish to rose-red.
  • 69. Rubber Plant Ficus elastica Medium Light Plant A common houseplant that grows stiff and upright. Lower leaf drop is common in low light. Large, broad leaves, often eight inches long.
  • 70. Spider Plant Chlorophytum comosum Medium Light Plant Very easy to grow and is very adaptable for hanging baskets. ‘Vittatum’ is the common variegated type. All are susceptible to foliar tip burn.
  • 71. Split-leaf Philodendron Monstera deliciosa Medium Light Plant Leaves becoming larger as this vine slowly clings higher on its support, interesting for the holes in the blade that give the common name “Swiss-cheese plant.” Flowers form on a good sized plant in a fleshy spike that for a short time is surrounded by a wrapping leaf.
  • 72. Wandering Jew Tradescantia zebrina Medium Light Plant Fast growing, trailing plants. Many have variegated leaves. Leaves are elongated with pointed tip and striped dark green and silver lengthwise. The underside of leaves are purplish. Leaves are arranged along a trailing stem.
  • 73. Warneckii Dracaena Draceana dermensis ‘Warneckii’ Medium Light Plant Leaves grey-green with a broad white stripe close to the margin on each side of the leaf.
  • 74. Coleus Coleus x hybridus High Light Plant Commonly grown outdoors as an annual for its colorful foliage. Can make a good indoor plant if adequate light is provided.
  • 75. English Ivy Hedera helix High Light Plant Many varieties of ivy are easily grown indoors. The dwarf varieties are preferred. There are many different leaf shapes and sizes with widely varying patterns of coloration available.
  • 76. Jade Plant Crassula argentea High Light Plant A succulent which can grow to more than 10 feet tall. Very susceptible to overwatering.
  • 77. Norfolk Island Pine Araucaria heterophylla High Light Plant Durable plant where size permits its use. It can grow to over 100 ft. in its native environment and can quickly outgrow its space indoors.
  • 78. Pony Tail Beaucarnea recurvata High Light Plant Able to reach more than twenty feet tall in the wild, but slow enough in its growth to work well in a container for a long time. Masses of creamy flowers from the upper nodes in the spring.
  • 79. Schefflera (Umbrella Tree) Saintpaulia ionantha High Light Plant Schefflera can grow to a rather large size. High light intensity is preferred but lower light intensities are tolerated. Water only when the soil surface has dried out.
  • 80. Swedish Ivy Plectranthus australis P. oertendahlii ‘Variegatus’ High Light Plant Easy to grow, trailing plant suitable for pots or hanging baskets. Tiny flowers appear year round.
  • 81. Wax Plant Hoya spp. High Light Plant Several named varieties of wax plant are available. Some are vigorous vines which climb by means of twining. Many have variegated foliage, which is sometimes deeply curled or crinkled. Fragrant
  • 82. Weeping Fig Ficus benjamina High Light Plant Most popular of ficus plants. Tolerant to a wide range of environmental conditions but sometimes reacts to rapid changes by almost total defoliation.
  • 83. Flame Violet Episcia cupreata Very High Light Plant Beautiful trailing indoor plants with flowers in a variety of colors. They are very intolerant of low temperatures.
  • 84. Geranium Pelargonium spp. Very High Light Plant Popular outdoor plants but also make good indoor plants and will flower continuously if given adequate light.
  • 85. Hibiscus Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Very High Light Plant Tropical Hibiscus with large showy flowers often seen in garden centers. It is not winter hardy. Requires too much light for most home interiors.
  • 86. Wax Begonia Begonia x semperflorens- cultorum Very High Light Plant Commonly grown outdoors as an annual but can make an excellent houseplant if light is adequate. Flowers in white, pink or red.
  • 87. Signs you spend too much time gardening… QUESTIONS High maintenance plants suddenly appeal to you.