Scientific name: Scilla violaceae
Common name(s): silver squill
Origin: South Africa
Light: high to very high light is best
Watering: let soil dry between watering
Fertilizing: a blossom-booster mix to induce blooming, otherwise an all purpose every 2-3 months
This plant is ideal in small dish gardens because it doesn’t get very big. It slowly forms clumps and occasionally produces spikes of tiny bell-shaped green flowers. It adapts well and is very easy to care for.
Scientific name: Sansevieria
Common name(s): bow string hemp, snake plant, zebra lily, mother in law tongue, lucky plant
Light: medium to low
Watering: keep soil on the dry side
Fertilizing: all purpose mix every 2-3 months
One of the toughest plants for growing in your home or office, it puts up with all kinds of neglect. It’s distinct shape makes it unmistakable and perfect for a vertical accent. It thrives in low light and needs very little attention. It likes to become very root-bound
A.) Sansevieria trifasciata
B.) Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Hahnii’ (bird nest sansevieria)
C.) Sansevieria trifasciata ‘laurentii’ (gold band sansevieria)
Scientific name: Saintpaulia
Common name(s): African violet, usambara Origin: Eastern Africa
Light: medium, or bright filtered light
Watering: let soil surface dry between waterings
Fertilizing: African violet formula every other month
The African violet is the number one house plant in popularity and has been for many years. Since there are so many individual hobbyists and collectors, there are also many ideas and myths about how to care for them. Their care is often controversial since many of the ideas are conflicting. Using a blend of horticulture, common sense and experience, here is some real care information: Light is important to African violets and encourages blooms, but avoid scorching sun or prolonged exposure to direct light. If your African violet is not blooming increase the light. Water should be given carefully, unlike the popular myth says, you do not need to only water your violet from the bottom. This actually can be harmful if done exclusively for too long. Salts and minerals can build up in the soils if they are not flushed out periodically. Do avoid getting water on the leaves, especially if the water is cold, or the leaves are in light. Also avoid getting water into the crown of the plant.
Scientific name: Ruellia makoyana
Common name(s): monkey plant
Light: bright light is best for growth and flowering
Watering: keep soil moist, but not soggy
Fertilizing: all-purpose mix every 3 months; a blossom-booster mix when encouraging blooms
Prized for it’s beautiful foliage, it also flowers. Pink flowers appear usually in the winter, although some flowering can occur year-round. Grows to about 12 inches. Pinch back growing tips to encourage compact growth.
Scientific name: Rhoeo spathacea
Common name(s): Moses in the cradle, Moses in a boat, boat lily
Origin: Mexico and West Indies
Light: high to very high light is best to keep the purple color
Watering: water thoroughly, then allow soil to almost dry out before watering again
Fertilizing: all-purpose mix every 1-2 months
Named for it’s boat-shaped bracts that hold one, two, or three flowers. A beautiful, interesting foliage plant that is forgiving and adapts well to different situations. It also makes a great patio plant in the summer.
Scientific name: Pteris
Common name(s): Table ferns (other common names vary by species)
Origin: Very widely spread: Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe
Light: medium to lower medium
Watering: keep soil evenly moist, some surface drying is beneficial
Fertilizing: fertilize every month with an all-purpose mix
A great little fern for mixed planters, terrariums, or on their own. These rather robust ferns are not too particular. While shade-loving, they tolerate some strong light and also some neglect. They come in a variety of leaf-shapes and variegation patterns.
Scientific name: Polypodium aureum ‘Mandiaanum’
Common name(s): crisped blue fern, lettuce fern, crested bear’s paw
Origin: Tropical America
Watering: let just the soil surface dry between watering
Fertilizing: all-purpose mix every 1-2 months less, if at all in winter
A stunning, attention-getting fern variety with graceful, blueish fronds. It loves warmth and humidity and retains it’s shimmering blue color best when away from direct sunlight.
Scientific name: Podocarpus
Common name(s): Buddhist pine, Japanese yew, African fern pine, African yellow wood
Origin: Australia, Africa, China, Japan, Taiwan
Light: medium to bright, but handles low light very well also
Watering: moderate moisture is best, let soil surface dry between waterings
A stately specimen found in upright and also weeping forms. Slow growing, and easily pruned to keep small. An excellent bonsai prospect. They adapt to many different circumstances, but grow best in cool location. Many grow outdoors as trees or shrubs in our zone (check “Sunset Western Garden book” for more info).
Scientific name: Plectranthus
Common name(s): creeping Charlie
Origin: Australia, Africa, Pacific Islands
Light: medium bright light
Watering: let soil dry slightly between waterings
Fertilizing: all purpose every 2-3 months
A.) Plectranthus australis (Swedish Ivy) tough trailing plant with glossy foliage
withstands neglect. Widely `popular but mysteriously hard to find.
B.) Plectranthus coleoides ‘Marginatus’ (candle plant) fuzzy variegated leaves with a minty fragrance
Many varieties are available, usually more in the summer because of their
popularity as an out door annual. They make wonderful house plants and adapt to different situations. Good light is best to keep growth compact. Regular pruning is very beneficial too.
Scientific name: Pilea
Common name(s):varies according to variety
Origin: wide-spread tropical plants ranging from Vietnam to South America
Light: medium, indirect light
Watering: medium moisture
Fertilizing: all-purpose mix every 3-4 months
Pileas are easy to care for and easy to keep small by trimming or pinching back occasionally. They are ideal for small dish gardens and terrariums. They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and color- patterns.
A.) Pilea cadierei: “aluminum plant”
B.) Pilea depressa: “creeping Pilea”
C.) Pilea spruceana: “silver tree”
D.) Pilea microphylla: “artillery plant”