Friday, August 6, 2010

House Dwellers

I have plants that always live outside. I have plants that live outside thru the summer and inside thru the winter. I have plants that always live inside.

Today's post is about the plants that always live inside.

There are currently seven containers with plants that always live inside. They all reside in the living room where they get bright morning sun.

This is an arrowhead vine. I got it as a tiny little start from a plant we had where I work. It is growing like crazy. Sometimes, I trim it and put the cuttings in the same container to root. I'd like it to be fuller.

I think this is some type of peace lily. Occasionally, it will put up a white flower. A friend gave this plant to me from the collection of plants her family received when her mother-in-law passed away. She had so many plants, she shared. It's getting kind of floppy. I cut out a couple of the worst floppers and am trying to get them to reroot in the same container.  If you have any advice for this plant, please let me know.

***Updated 2010 08 07***
Thank you Kim for helping me identify this plant as an Aglaonema.  I don't know what variety, but that's ok.

This is an angel wing begonia. I got a cutting from our amazing gardening neighbor who got it from one of our local extension agents. I'm always starting a new one outside each summer because it drops leaves during the winter and can get kind of sad looking. By its second winter inside it looks awful. This one actually held up pretty well last winter. Looks like I'll have two of these in the living room this winter.

This is a spider plant. I got a start from my mom when my husband and I moved into our first home. It's huge now. It keeps putting out new shoots. The shoots turn brown eventually and I cut them off. I think the main plant gives each shoot only so much time to find a place to get rooted.  Then, it cuts off the food supply so it can make new shoots. I've read on other blogs that in parts of Florida they grow outside all year and will fill in a bed with all those shoots. It may be getting a bit root bound in this container. I'm sure trying to repot it will be messy so I'm holding out. It loves being in front of the window.  The drapes you see behind it are usually open.

This is a rubber tree. I rescued it from where I work. I can't believe how tall this one shoot has gotten. I have a bamboo stake holding it up.  There is also a shorter shoot.

This is a Christmas cactus. I got the starts last spring from our amazing gardening neighbor's daughter after her mom passed away. The cuttings were in a cup on the window sill just waiting for a good home I'm told. They seem to have rooted in and the plant is growing. I don't know what color it is suppose to bloom because our amazing gardening lady had several Christmas cacti.

This is also a Christmas cactus. A very special Christmas cactus. It is probably over 80 years old. It was my grandmother's. The plant has made new shoots and old areas have been removed during its life so there isn't likely any part here that is 80 years old but it is still considered the "family Christmas cactus." I never met the grandmother who had this plant. She passed away the year I was born. One of my aunts had the plant for over 20 years before she gave it to my mom. It bloomed beautifully for my aunt and for my mom, but it was in an old clay pot that had broke and was threatening to fall apart. My mom replanted it and decided to give it to me. My sister has the "family oleander tree" which is even older. That is a story by itself. One of the main things I've read about Christmas cacti is that they bloom when they're "snug in the pot." It did not bloom for me for a number of years because my mom repotted it. However, it has bloomed for the last three years. Literally one bloom the first year, more the second year, and a good display last year all over the plant if not on every end. I don't play the "stick it in a dark room" game to make it bloom for Christmas. I let it bloom when it wants. It seems to prefer blooming after the holidays are over. It has bright fuchsia blooms.

I check all my house plants once a week to see if they need a drink. Some get watered every week like the spider plant, but the Christmas cacti can go a month or more between waterings. My main advice to people who ask how to have a nice looking houseplant is this: when you find a place where it does well, don't move it. Getting the right light and temperature can be a trick inside a house so if the plant is happy, leave it in that room. Also, don't over water houseplants. I have killed my share by overwatering.


  1. I am terrible with house plants. Yours look good. I have NEVER had success with christmas cactus, will be trying again this year though.

  2. I have a spider plant that my son gave me in Kindergarten. ( he is almost 12) They are great plants!
    I kill lots of houseplants in the summer because of neglect.

  3. I totally agree that some houseplants only seem to do well in one certain place in the house--that can be a little tricky!! Kudos to you on the Christmas cactus!! My grandmother has several and they are beautiful!! I can't kill them, but I can't keep them looking good either. Everyone of them (and I have tried MANY!!) slowly and surely lose all of their leaves down to a short stick of about 4 of those little leafy segments and then never grow another one, but won't croak off either.

  4. Lovely plants -- we have inside/outside plants and then outside plants and then inside plants. Some of the inside/outside benefit greatly from a summer outdoors.

    But I do like my inside plants -- there needs to be some green in the house all year round!

    I have a family Christmas cactus as well as a family geranium. Talk about pressure -- caring for the family plants!

  5. The spider plant is huge. I love the Christmas Cactus story. How wonderful you will always think of the Grandma you never knew because of the plant.

  6. Your unknown "peace lily" is pobably an Aglaonema 'Maria' or 'Emerald Beauty'. You can find a very good description and care guide at . I go to PATSP with all of my houseplant questions.

  7. Please tell me you've named your spider plant Cousin It. It has to be done.

    Our spider plant here in California stays outside all year, as well. It is under the patio cover, though, which may help. I put an offshoot in a small pot and stuck it out in a flower bed to be watered by the lawn sprinklers, and the thing has taken off. Apparently, they like full sunlight, as well.

  8. I'm not good at house plants. I have one philodendron (spelling?) that does well just inside the front door. It sits on top of an old upright radio cabinet and seems content to grow in the light from the window in the door.

    I have a Christmas cactus that was given to me last Christmas. Like you have learned, I am only needs watering about every two weeks. At first I was watering it too much and it was floundering. I think I'm back on target with it now.

    I had an orchid that someone gave me. After the bloom died, the leaves look droopy. I don't know if it will continue to live or not. The root system seems to be above the soil level. Don't know if that's right or not.

    Enjoyed this post about indoor plants.

  9. ~Darla
    Keep trying. You'll find one that works for you.

    I find myself ignoring the indoor houseplants during the summer too. They were looking a little dry a few weeks ago.

    Funny how your Christmas cacti get stuck in limbo.

    They are nice for cleaning the air indoors and just add something. I forgot to mention that I also have a fake ficus tree in the corner. :-)

    Somedays I wonder if the spider plant will take over!

    Thank you for the direction on the peace lily and for the link. That is a great resource. I will check it out some more.

    The spider plant does have Cousin It qualities.
    Sometimes, I use spider plant offshoots to fill in my containers in the summer. They do well with different light. My husband once had one in his office--only flourecent lighting at the time. It survived for years.

    Sounds like you and the philodendron are doing fine.
    I have to remind myself that a Christmas cactus is a cactus. Easy on the water.
    I've never tried orchids but Martha at has some. She might know if the roots showing are ok.

  10. I have four house plants and most of those are ivy. You have quite a few! I like your airplane plant.

    I do like African violets, which I buy from time to time. You're right finding the best location is the hardest part and when you find it...don't move it!


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