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House Plants - List of Species
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House Plants - List of Species

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Grown for their delicate, colorful foliage, caladiums make lovely house plants if protected from drafts and colds - They cannot tolerate air-conditioning.

Grow in diffused sunlight (4,300 lux) - leaves are easily scorched; warmth over 70 degrees (20°C); moderate humidity. Pot in standard soil mix with extra humus; keep moist, but never wet - caladiums rot easily. Propagate by dividing tubers.

NOTE: Caladiums go dormant in fall and winter. At the end of summer, gradually reduce watering until foliage withers and dies down. Leave tubers in dry soil and store in a moderately cool room 65 to 70 degrees (18° to 20°C) until spring when watering is resumed.

Calathea (Peacock Plant)

Similar to Maranta, they are grown for their attractive foliage. Because of tier need for high humidity, they thrive in terrariums and bottle gardens.

Grow in diffused or indirect sunlight (they can tolerate shaded areas); warm temperatures, 70 to 85 degrees (23° to 29°C); high humidity - mist daily. Grow in organic soil; keep evenly moist. Protect from drafts. Propagate by division.

Ceropegia woodii (Rosary vine)

This is a particularly strong, trailing succulent that can form vines six feet (2 m) long. Like the ivy, it can be trained up a trellis or stake.

Grow in indirect sunlight; fairly warm temperatures, 70 to 85 degrees (23° to 29°C); low to moderate humidity. Pot in standard soil mix; let dry between waterings - as a succulent, it must never be over-watered.

Propagate form stem cuttings; root the small tubers which are formed at the joints - half cover these with rooting medium.

Chlorophytum (Spider plant)

These easy-to-grow house plants make excellent hanging plants. Foliage is variegated or solid green.

Grow in moderate daylight - the variegated varieties require more light, but plain types can tolerate dim light, moderate temperatures, 65 to 80 degrees (18° to 26°C); moderate to high humidity - tips turn brown if the air is too dry. Grow in standard soil mix; keep evenly moist.

Small plants are formed at the ends of long runners. These are cut off and rooted in a moist rooting medium.

Cissus antarctica (Kangaroo vine)

These are very tough room plants, tolerating shade, sun, dry air and gas fumes. They can be trained to grow up a trellis.

Grow in filtered sunlight; moderate temperatures 65 to 75 degrees (18° to 26°C); moderate to high humidity. Pot in standard potting soil; let dry between waterings. Propagate from stem cuttings.

NOTE: To encourage compact, bushy growth, pinch back growing tips.

Citrus (Calamondin orange, lemon trees or sweet orange)

Most plants started from cuttings flower and produce edible fruit in their first year. They make excellent tub plants to keep on the patio in summer.

They must have good light and constant temperatures. Grow in direct sunlight, cool, airy conditions, 60 to 70 degrees (15° to 20°C); moderate to high humidity. Acid soil is preferred and the addition of iron sulphate will help induce this condition. Soil must be kept moist to ensure bud formation. Citrus trees need plenty of water and should be fertilized through spring and summer to bring fruit to maturity. Cool temperatures, help to ripen fruit. young fruit is sensitive to drop and must not be exposed to any sudden changes. After fruiting, a slight rest with cooler temperatures and reduced watering helps to ripen wood and induce budset and flowering. Propagate from cuttings; seeds develop slowly.

NOTE: To pollinate blooms, distribute pollen with a paint brush or Q-tip.

Codiaeum (Croton)

There are many types of crotons, their foliage varying widely in color, markings and shape. They grow rapidly, but prefer the controlled environment of the greenhouse. They drop their leaves if exposed to unsatisfactory conditions.

Grow in bright sunlight (insufficient light results in poorly colored leaves); warm, constant temperatures, 75 to 85 degrees (23° to 29°C); high humidity. Protect from drafts. Pot in standard potting soil; keep evenly moist. Propagate from cutting sin warmth.

NOTE: If many lower leaves drop, air-layer the tops and replant when new roots form.


Coleus have colorful foliage and make lovely house plants. Grow in direct sunlight - full light is necessary to develop color; warmth, 68 to 80 degrees (20° to 26°C); medium humidity. Grow in potting soil; let dry between waterings. Propagate from leaf and stem cuttings rooted in water or rooting medium; or seed.

NOTE: Pinch back frequently to encourage compact bush growth. Once blue flowers have appeared, the plant begins to look faded and ragged. At this point it is best to start young plants from cuttings.


Dieffenbachia (Dumb-cane)

These large foliage plants are good house plants. They tolerate poor light if well established but tend to drop their lower leaves for various reasons, including insufficient light and possibly low soil potash.

Grow in indirect sunlight; warn temperatures, 68 to 80 degrees (20° to 26°C) low to medium humidity. Pot in standard potting mix; let dry between waterings, dieffenbachias often suffer from over-watering. Propagate by air-layering or laying cane sections in rooting medium.

NOTE: If lower leaves drop and stem is left bare, air-layer the top and plant when roots have developed. The sap is toxic to open cuts; use rubber gloves when taking cuttings. If the sap gets in your mouth it can cause temporary loss of speech.

Dracaena (Dragon plants)

Dracaenas are good house plants because they tolerate low light and have attractive variegated foliage.

Grow in moderate daylight; warm temperatures 68 to 80 degrees (20° to 26°C); low to medium humidity. Pot in standard soil mix; keep evenly moist. Can be grown in water. Propagate from stem cuttings; air-layering; stem sections.

NOTE: When the bare stem beneath the foliage gets too long, air-layer the tops foliage should be kept clean.





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