Plant Power Adventures
Grow in diffused sunlight in summer, full sunlight in winter; hot sun causes leaf scorch; moderate temperatures 18° to 23°C; temperature fluctuations cause leaf drop; high humidity. Dislikes drafts, hot dry air and cold water. Special African violet potting mixes and fertilizers are available. They grow well in standard potting mix; let dry between watering. Stems are very susceptible to rot; fertilize regularly with a dilute solution during blooming season. Leaf spots develop if water is splashed on leaves; leaves are sensitive to salt so must not contact the rim of the pot. This can be avoided by coating the rim with paraffin. Propagate easily from leaf petiole cuttings; seed with warmth; and division of multiple crowns.
NOTE: To develop symmetrical leaf formation, turn plants one-quarter turn each week. After flowering, it is a good idea to rest plants by reducing watering, withholding fertilizer, and placing in a cool room 12°C (55°F).
Sansevieria (Snake plant, mother-in-law's tongue, Bowstring hemp)Known by many names, this succulent is one of the most durable, easy-to-grow house plants. It is able to withstand drought, poor light, drafts, low humidity, temperature fluctuation and neglect. Overwatering is its greatest enemy.
Grow in diffused sunlight or moderate daylight; moderate warmth 18° to 23°C; low to moderate humidity. Pot in standard soil mixture, let dry well before watering. Propagate by division or horizontal leaf sections four to five inches (10 - 12 cm) inserted one-third their length in rooting medium. Variegated types yield non-variegated progeny.
Saxifraga (Mother of Thousands, strawberry geranium)This plant is best grown in a hanging container because it produces small plantlets at the ends of long runners.
Grow in strong daylight, but out of direct sunlight; cool temperatures 12° to 18°C. Pot in standard potting soil; let dry between waterings. Do not let water stand on leaves or stems as rot can easily set in. Propagate from runners.
Schefflera (Umbrella tree)Hardy rapidly growing house plants, grow well in offices.
Grow in direct sunlight or bright indirect light; warm temperatures 20° to 30°C; low to medium humidity. Pot in standard potting soil; let dry between waterings. Propagate from stem cuttings.
Schlumbergera (Christmas cactus)These succulents make good basket plants. They are epiphytic jungle cacti; they grow on trees in their natural state. They produce brilliant flowers in winter.
Grow in filtered sunlight; beginning in September they must receive at least 12 hours of complete darkness each day to produce flowers, during fall, cool temperatures 12°C are necessary to induce bud set. Once buds form warmer temperatures 15° to 23°C are necessary; medium humidity. Pot in rich organic soil; keep moist in winter, spring and summer - in fall let dry between watering. Fertilize regularly, except in fall. Propagate from pieces of branch, two or three inches (5 to 8 cm) long.
Scindapus (Devil's ivy, pothos)This is a climbing vine which can be trained up a stake or totem, like the vining philodendron.
Grow in indirect sunlight; warm temperatures, 23° to 29°C; moderate humidity. Grow in standard potting mix with extra organic matter; always let dry between waterings. Propagate from stem cuttings.
NOTE: Variegated forms lose their color if grown in poor light.
Setcreasea purpurea (Purple heart)These grow rapidly, and are good in hanging containers.
Grown in bright sunlight; moderate temperatures 20° to 25°C; moderate to high humidity. Pot in standard potting soil; let dry between waterings. Young plants are more attractive. Propagate from stem cuttings.
Solanum pseudo-capsicum (Jerusalem cherry) Often grown as Christmas gift plants, they produce round scarlet or orange fruit which may cause a skin rash if handled.
Grow in direct sunlight, cool temperatures, 12° to 18°C; medium humidity. Low humidity is the major cause of leaf drop and unsightly growth. Pot in standard soil mix; let dry between watering. Propagate from seed sown in February or March.
NOTE: Plants seldom fruit well a second season, and are usually discarded, plant can e kept on if cut back and repotted after fruiting. Pinch back growth tips to encourage branching.
Syngonium or Nephthytis (Arrowhead vine)These are quick-growing vines related to the climbing philodendrons, producing aerial roots in the same manner. They tolerate neglect and unsuitable growing conditions relatively well.
Grow in filtered or indirect sunlight; warm temperatures 23° to 29°C; moderate humidity. Pot in standard soil mix; keep soil moist. Can be grown in water. Propagate from stem cuttings.
Grow in filtered daylight; cool temperatures 12° to 20°C; moderate to high humidity. Pot in standard soil mix; keep soil moist. Propagate from leaves on which plantlets have formed - insert about two inches (5 cm) of the leaf stem into sand, with the base of the leaf resting on the sand.
Tradescantia and Zebrina (Wandering Jew)Because these genera are so similar, they have been grouped together. They make good house plants because they grow rapidly and adapt to various household conditions. They are excellent basket plants and adapt easily to water-culture.
Grow in filtered sunlight or bright daylight; moderate temperatures, 18° to 23°C; moderate to high humidity; leaf tips turn brown in dry air. Plants will tolerate low light if humidity is high. Easily propagated from stem cuttings in water or rooting medium.
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