Croton Cordyline
House plants

Has the winter taken a toll on your house plants this year? There is no better time than now to replace them with plants that are hardier and require less maintenance than what you previously had.

The most difficult foliage plant to care for is the Ficus Benjamina. Its growth had been very difficult to match until now. A hybrid Ficus called Banana Leaf is now the answer to all the leaf drop problems we had before. The banana leaf Ficus has foliage 3 to 5 inches long and only 1 inch wide. The plant can be grown into a small indoor "tree" plant or as a multi stem bush type plant. The banana leaf Ficus will thrive with less light, less water and fertilizer and has become a favorite in shopping malls because of its ability to adapt to new growing conditions. It will also grow with cooler temperatures as low as 55 degrees. Give this plant a warm temperature and a lot of sunlight and watch it grow to the ceiling!

If you like to grow bonsai type plants or have had trouble with them in the past, ask for the Ficus Too Little. It looks just like the traditional Ficus but it is a miniature that will only grow to 2 feet tall. As a potted plant it will make a terrific bonsai but without all the work.

Another foliage plant is the philodendron Xanadu a hybrid of the philodendron sellome. This plant grows very compact and in the shape of a mushroom cap. It will spread to 3' wide but only grown 3' tall. Xanadu will thrive in bright rooms with direct or indirect sunlight.

If you are looking for a plant that will get tall for homes with high ceilings, look into the schefflera Emerald Green. This plant has the potential to grow to 10 feet or more in a bright room. Insect and disease are minimal for all the plants mentioned. The Schefflera can go many days without water and leaf drop is minimal. It will tolerate temperatures to 55 degrees on a regular basis.

You can prune Schaeffer's easily to control plant size without spoiling its shape. Other hybrids to look for: Gold Capella with a spreading bush like growth habit. Gold Capella is upright growing and like Gold Finger has a two tone green leaf with a golden yellow center. Arboricola has the same type of growing habit as Xanadu - spreading and compact.

The Snake plant is an excellent plant for a room with no direct light. The snake plant will survive if you forget to water it for as long as a month! The foliage resembles a snake in shape and some varieties have a bright golden yellow color on its margins. It does very well in hot or cool growing conditions. If this plant won't grow for you, your green thumb must have turned black and you should switch to silk foliage plants!

If you have a window with a lot of sun and plants die there because of heat or sunburn, turn to the Yucca plant. Yucca is a very stiff growing plant with pointed leaves. The strong pointed stems are up to 1" in diameter with medium green leaves 10 to 15 inches long that grows in a spiraling fashion around the stem. Cactus (which the Yucca is) like it dry and cool. Remember to let them dry out between watering with no fertilizer during the winter since that is their natural resting period.

Also unusual for bright windows and rooms are the colorful Croton. The croton can have as many as 5 colors in a single leaf. Bright yellow, orange, red, green and bronze. If the sunlight dims the foliage will also fade to shades of green. The plant has a bush type growing habit on stiff stems with large leaves 12 to 18 inches long and only 3 inches wide. The croton loves sun and heat and will not tolerate wet soils.

A plant with much the same type of growing habit as the croton but that has foliage with multi shades of green to cream is the Silver Queen Agloenema or taller version Silver King. The silver queen will tolerate medium to low light, likes the soil a bit on the dry side and will grow in a cool house 50 to 55 degrees.

All house plants should be watered when needed, not when you want to water them!

 

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House Plant Foliage Information!

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Aglanonema Araila Aloe Bromeliad  
2 tone green foliage,   deep green foliage   Stiff spiny green foliage   pitcher shape foliage  
Med, no special needs   Keep moist, extra care   full sun bright light
Best var. Silver Queen,   Best var. Elegantissima   Best var. Yara Best var. pink pitcher  
mounding habit   Columnar habit   free form unusual flowers

 

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Citrus Cordyline Croton Ctenanthe
deep green foliage   Red to purple foliage   multi-color foliage   white and green foliage  
bright light to full sun bright light to full sun bright light to full sun bright light to full sun
use acid fertilizer, easy   moist never wet, easy   moist never wet x care   moist easy
Best var. Calamondin   Best var. Red Sister   Best var. Norma Best var. Brazilian snow  
orange flowers/fruit easy   upright habit mounding growth open free form growth  

 

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China Doll Dieffenbachia Dracaena Ferns
pale green foliage multi color foliage multi color foliage deep green foliage
bright light bright light bright light bright light
moist, never wet, x care   moist, never wet, easy   moist, never wet, easy   moist all the time, x care  
Best var. Green hybrid   Best var. Camile Best var. Mass Cane Best var. Boston fern
oriental looking unusual large leaves   modern looking mist foliage often

 

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Ficus Ginger Hamalomena Palms
deep green foliage variegated foliage deep green foliage deep green foliage
bright light, moist bright light to sun med to low light med to bright light
never wet, don't move   moist never wet, easy moist, never wet, easy moist, never wet, easy
Best var. Banana Leaf Best var. Variegated Best var. Emerald green   Best var. Pony tail
Does not shed! very unusual plant 2ft tall and mounding   oriental look

 

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Philodendron Pencil Plant Pelomele Sansevieria
red to green foliage deep green pencil like foliage deep green foliage variegated foliage
low-med light bright light low to med light low to med light
moist, very easy dry very easy moist to dry, very easy   moist to dry, very easy
Best var. Xanadu Best var. Euphobia tirucalli   Best var. Reflexa upright Best var. Laurenti upright
mounding upright growth hard to kill rows in dark

 

 

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