House Plant Tour: Elspeth & Blake
A tour of Elspeth & Blake's house plants.
Vintage Snake Plant – House Plant Journal
I call this a vintage snake plant because I got it from an elderly lady who had received it as a propagation from her grandmother. So it is essentially a clone from the early 1900's.
Monstera deliciosa – House Plant Journal
In the true spirit of 'House Plant Journal', here is a complete account of my relationship with my Monstera deliciosa:
“How often should I water this plant?”
For anyone who understands plant biology, this is a loaded question - read on to find out why...
Propagation of Philodendron Silver
Problem: the original philodendron silver plant is looking quite bare near the pot but still has several healthy vines - this is completely a matter of opinion, if you like the way your plant looks, then no need to change it.
How to ID Some plants with Google
A good proportion of questions I receive involve identifying a plant. I'm pretty familiar with most common house plants but there are times when I just can't remember a name, even though I've seen it before. Here, I will go through one example of how I found the name of a plant with only a picture.
BASICS: Air Plant Care 101
Air plants are a lot like Pokemon: there's a strong desire for a "gotta catch 'em all" mentality. But please, for the love of plants, make sure you can provide the right conditions for them. Here's what you need to know.
Plant Parenthood: Setting Expectations
Congratulations, you just bought your first house plant! The store clerk quickly gave you some vague instructions beginning with “these are super easy to take care of…”
Plant Parenthood 101
If you only read one article, make it this one: although these factors are in separate paragraphs, they are all interdependent and need to be in BALANCE for a healthy, thriving plant (more on this in another article).
Upon spotting this window, my first thought was: “we should be best friends!” Thanks to having friends in the neighbourhood, I had the opportunity to meet Elspeth and Blake. Elspeth is the caretaker of these plants while Blake is gradually becoming a fan.
Her collection is anchored by four large specimens: (left to right)
– Dracaena sanderiana (lucky bamboo) – but this one has grown wild and free – Ficus elastica (rubber plant) – again, wild and free, basically a tree – Aloe of some kind – Yucca elephantipes – lovely mature specimen
Having floor to ceiling windows that face south in a suburban area means Elspeth’s plants get lots of direct sunlight. If that wasn’t enough, the bay window has two skylights, which let in the scorching sun during the summer, when it is high in the sky. I took a light measurement while the sun was behind some clouds – I got around 800 foot-candles. At this level (and on a clear day), cacti and succulents would be super happy but tropicals would likely get scorched.
Elspeth keeps many smaller containers of succulents using some Ikea plant stands. The multiple levels creates a more interesting grow space, which includes a cozy bed for the cat.
An aloe can only get to this size with maximum sun and corresponding watering (you knew that the amount of water required for a given plant is dependent on light, right?). They all had flower stalks.
This yucca is truly something special. Blake showed me a photo from 2009 where this plant looked barely 4 feet tall and had the typical dark green leaves. The current leaf paleness appears to be the result of years of daily sun. What’s also impressive is the length of the leafy section compared to the trunk – as with most tropical plants of this structure, the “trunk” bears the marks of previously attached leaves. In a lower light situation, more of the lower leaves would have fallen off but when there’s enough light to go around, older leaves stay on longer.
An unfortunate accident caused one of the trunks to be severed but look, the plant is growing so well that two new stems are emerging. This is exactly how growers produce the typical Dracaena marginata (dragon tree) we see in most shops – they are rapidly grown as a single stem then severed so 3 (typically) new stems can emerge.
Let’s not forget the north facing window, which provides excellent light for tropical foliage plants like this spider plant and money tree. When these plants are right up against the north facing window, they can “see” a good portion of the sky but not the sun. This is the so-called “bright indirect light” that’s great for foliage plants.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of Elspeth and Blake’s house plants – I certainly did. Maybe I’ll do more these…