The Care of
House Plants
The University of TennesseeThe University of Tennessee
Agriculture Extension ServiceAgriculture E...
Fig Tree
Ficus benjamina
Aglaonema
Sansevieria
Philodendron
Peperomia
The Basic Needs
Light
Water
Temperature
Humidity
Fertilization
Soil
Intensity
Duration
Quality
Light
How much does a plant need?
Light Intensity
• Stem Length
• Leaf Color
• Flowering
• Manufacture of Plant Food
Light Intensity
• Window Distance
Light Intensity
• Window Distance
Light Intensity
• Window Distance
Light Intensity
• Window Distance
• Window Exposure
– Southern
– Eastern
– Western
– Northern
Light Intensity
• Window Distance
• Window Exposure
– Southern
– Eastern
– Western
– Northern
Light Intensity
• Window Distance
• Window Exposure
– Southern
– Eastern
– Western
– Northern
Light Duration
• Flowering
• Compensation
Light Quality
• Incadescent
• Fluorescent
• Horticultural Fluorescent
Phototropism
Water
Water
• Potting medium
• Plant size
• Pot size
• Humidity
• Temperature
Water
Water
• The Finger Method
• Moisture Meters
Water
• The Finger Method
• Moisture Meters
Water
Water
Water
Water
• Drainage holes
Water
• Drainage holes
• Pot material
Water
• Drainage holes
• Pot material
• Water temperature
Water
• Drainage holes
• Pot material
• Water temperature
• Pot saucers
Temperature
Day Time Night Time
70-80 F 55-60 F
Temperature
Humidity
Humidity
• Grouping
Humidity
• Grouping
• Misting
Humidity
• Grouping
• Misting
• Gravel tray
Fertilization
Fertilization
• Soluble
• Liquid
• Slow-release
• Organic
Fertilization
• Soluble
• Liquid
• Slow-release
• Organic
• Garden type
Fertilization
How much should you use?
How often should you fertilize?
Fertilization
How much should you use?
Fertilization
How often should you fertilize?
Soils
• Commercial Mixes
Soils
• Commercial Mixes
• Special Mixes
Soils
• Commercial Mixes
• Special Mixes
• Make Your Own
– Peat Moss (1 part)
– Vermiculite or Perlite (2 parts)
– 8-8-8 F...
Repotting
Step by Step
1. Select a new pot
2. Remove plant while
supporting plant
3. Check for bound
roots-cut or unwind
4...
Diagnosing
Problems
on Houseplants
Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen)
Aglaeonema commutatum
Low Light Plant
Many varieties and some
hybrids of Aglaonema are
avail...
Cast Iron Plant
Aspidistra elatior
Low Light Plant
Often overlooked. Related
to the Snake Plant. Has the
ability to persis...
Parlor Palm
Chamaedorea elegans
Low Light Plant
Grown for height (6ft).
Feathery leaves.
Not the easiest of plants to
grow...
Prayer Plant
Maranta spp.
Low Light Plant
Oblong leaves are green
on the upper surface
with dark green to
brown splotches ...
Heart-leaf Philodendron
Philodendron scandens
oxycardium
Low Light Plant
Great in hanging
baskets and useful
where trailin...
Peperomia
Peperomia spp.
Low Light Plant
Many varieties are
available (‘Pepper
Face’, ‘Watermelon
Peperomia’, ‘Emerald
Rip...
Pothos (Devil’s Ivy)
Epipremnum aureum
Low Light Plant
Often confused with
Philodendron.
One of the easiest
indoor plants ...
Peace Lily (White Flag)
Spathiphyllum floribundum
Low Light Plant
One of the most
satisfactory plants for low
light situat...
Snake Plant (Devil’s Tongue)
Sansevieria trifasciata
Low Light Plant
Common Snake Plant
produces sword shaped
leaves up to...
African Violet
Saintpaulia ionantha
Medium Light Plant
Among the most popular
houseplants.
Almost all colors
available.
Le...
Bamboo Palm
Chamaedorea erumpen
Medium Light Plant
Can survive in relatively low
light, but will grow several
feet taller,...
Boston Fern
Nephrolepis exaltata
Medium Light Plant
Fronds form on creeping
rhizomes. They are feather-
like and arch or h...
Bromeliad
Ananas spp.
Vriesia spp.
Medium Light Plant
Light is the limiting factor for
most bromeliads.
The rosette forms ...
Corn Plant
Draceana fragrans
massangeana
Medium Light Plant
Broad leaves with generous
yellow stripes running along
their ...
Christmas Cactus
Schlumbergera bridgesii
Medium Light Plant
To initiate and develop buds
for holiday flowering:
Keep cool ...
Dragon Tree
Dracaena draco or
marginata
Medium Light Plant
Narrow leaves tapering to the
tip. Green with a red edge is
the...
Dumb Cane
Dieffenbachia amoena
Medium Light Plant
Large, white-variegated
leaves carried on upright
stems brighten this ra...
Fiddle-leaf Fig
Ficus lyrata
Medium Light Plant
Fits well as a background
plant in a massing of
houseplants.
Large leaves ...
Grape Ivy
Cissus rhombifolia
Medium Light Plant
Easy to grow and well suited
for hanging baskets or where
a trailing habit...
Holly Fern
Cyrtomium falcatum
Medium Light Plant
Arching fronds twelve to
eighteen inches long in a
rosette. The dark gree...
Kentia Palm
Howea forsterana
Medium Light Plant
A tall, stately, slender plant
with gracefully arching large
fronds. Kenti...
Ming Aralia
Polyscias fruticosa
Medium Light Plant
Pure foliage plant that
naturally form exotic
branching patterns.
The m...
Nephthytis (Arrowhead Vine)
Saintpaulia ionantha
Medium Light Plant
Vine-like habit. Easy to grow.
Arrowhead is easy to gr...
Rex Begonia
Begonia rex
Medium Light Plant
Grown for their large colorful
foliage.
This species bears up to 5
flowers, eac...
Rubber Plant
Ficus elastica
Medium Light Plant
A common houseplant that
grows stiff and upright.
Lower leaf drop is common...
Spider Plant
Chlorophytum comosum
Medium Light Plant
Very easy to grow and is very
adaptable for hanging
baskets.
‘Vittatu...
Split-leaf Philodendron
Monstera deliciosa
Medium Light Plant
Leaves becoming larger as
this vine slowly clings higher
on ...
Wandering Jew
Tradescantia zebrina
Medium Light Plant
Fast growing, trailing plants.
Many have variegated leaves.
Leaves a...
Warneckii Dracaena
Draceana dermensis
‘Warneckii’
Medium Light Plant
Leaves grey-green with a
broad white stripe close to ...
Coleus
Coleus x hybridus
High Light Plant
Commonly grown outdoors as
an annual for its colorful
foliage.
Can make a good i...
English Ivy
Hedera helix
High Light Plant
Many varieties of ivy are
easily grown indoors. The
dwarf varieties are preferre...
Jade Plant
Crassula argentea
High Light Plant
A succulent which can grow
to more than 10 feet tall.
Very susceptible to
ov...
Norfolk Island Pine
Araucaria heterophylla
High Light Plant
Durable plant where size
permits its use.
It can grow to over ...
Pony Tail
Beaucarnea recurvata
High Light Plant
Able to reach more than
twenty feet tall in the wild,
but slow enough in i...
Schefflera (Umbrella Tree)
Saintpaulia ionantha
High Light Plant
Schefflera can grow to a
rather large size. High light
in...
Swedish Ivy
Plectranthus australis
P. oertendahlii ‘Variegatus’
High Light Plant
Easy to grow, trailing plant
suitable for...
Wax Plant
Hoya spp.
High Light Plant
Several named varieties of
wax plant are available. Some
are vigorous vines which
cli...
Weeping Fig
Ficus benjamina
High Light Plant
Most popular of ficus plants.
Tolerant to a wide range of
environmental condi...
Flame Violet
Episcia cupreata
Very High Light Plant
Beautiful trailing indoor
plants with flowers in a
variety of colors.
...
Geranium
Pelargonium spp.
Very High Light Plant
Popular outdoor plants but
also make good indoor plants
and will flower co...
Hibiscus
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Very High Light Plant
Tropical Hibiscus with large
showy flowers often seen in
garden cent...
Wax Begonia
Begonia x semperflorens-
cultorum
Very High Light Plant
Commonly grown outdoors as
an annual but can make an
e...
Signs you spend
too much time
gardening…
QUESTIONS
High maintenance
plants suddenly
appeal to you.
The Care of House Plants
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The Care of House Plants

  1. 1. The Care of House Plants The University of TennesseeThe University of Tennessee Agriculture Extension ServiceAgriculture Extension Service
  2. 2. Fig Tree Ficus benjamina
  3. 3. Aglaonema Sansevieria Philodendron Peperomia
  4. 4. The Basic Needs Light Water Temperature Humidity Fertilization Soil
  5. 5. Intensity Duration Quality Light How much does a plant need?
  6. 6. Light Intensity • Stem Length • Leaf Color • Flowering • Manufacture of Plant Food
  7. 7. Light Intensity • Window Distance
  8. 8. Light Intensity • Window Distance
  9. 9. Light Intensity • Window Distance
  10. 10. Light Intensity • Window Distance • Window Exposure – Southern – Eastern – Western – Northern
  11. 11. Light Intensity • Window Distance • Window Exposure – Southern – Eastern – Western – Northern
  12. 12. Light Intensity • Window Distance • Window Exposure – Southern – Eastern – Western – Northern
  13. 13. Light Duration • Flowering • Compensation
  14. 14. Light Quality • Incadescent • Fluorescent • Horticultural Fluorescent
  15. 15. Phototropism
  16. 16. Water
  17. 17. Water • Potting medium • Plant size • Pot size • Humidity • Temperature
  18. 18. Water
  19. 19. Water • The Finger Method • Moisture Meters
  20. 20. Water • The Finger Method • Moisture Meters
  21. 21. Water
  22. 22. Water
  23. 23. Water
  24. 24. Water • Drainage holes
  25. 25. Water • Drainage holes • Pot material
  26. 26. Water • Drainage holes • Pot material • Water temperature
  27. 27. Water • Drainage holes • Pot material • Water temperature • Pot saucers
  28. 28. Temperature Day Time Night Time 70-80 F 55-60 F
  29. 29. Temperature
  30. 30. Humidity
  31. 31. Humidity • Grouping
  32. 32. Humidity • Grouping • Misting
  33. 33. Humidity • Grouping • Misting • Gravel tray
  34. 34. Fertilization
  35. 35. Fertilization • Soluble • Liquid • Slow-release • Organic
  36. 36. Fertilization • Soluble • Liquid • Slow-release • Organic • Garden type
  37. 37. Fertilization How much should you use? How often should you fertilize?
  38. 38. Fertilization How much should you use?
  39. 39. Fertilization How often should you fertilize?
  40. 40. Soils • Commercial Mixes
  41. 41. Soils • Commercial Mixes • Special Mixes
  42. 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. 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. 44. Diagnosing Problems on Houseplants
  45. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 76. Jade Plant Crassula argentea High Light Plant A succulent which can grow to more than 10 feet tall. Very susceptible to overwatering.
  77. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 87. Signs you spend too much time gardening… QUESTIONS High maintenance plants suddenly appeal to you.

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