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Keyword Search Results for:
Houseplants

6 Found

Question: 477-511
Is it necessary to water houseplants from the bottom? Josh, Dallas, TX

Mort's Answer:
If you have well drained soil and clay pots, it is not necessary. Excessive watering will cause root rot. When the root is rotted, it can no longer send nutrient to the top. Some gardeners feel watering from the bottom is best. This may be true with very peaty soils. I am always over the top with a sandy soil mix.

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Question: 480-611
Is there anything that I can spray on my flowering Houseplants to deter my cat from eating them? He loves them all. Frank, Paducah, KY

Mort's Answer:
You can use a garlic spray mixed with hot pepper. Some deer repellents are made with rotten eggs and garlic. A listener to my radio show has used the hot pepper successfully. Bone meal may work and it will supply needed phosphorus for blooming plants. Since cats are so finicky, I would try the hot pepper first. It will probably make it sneeze. Most house plants are nothing to sneeze at and cat food may be.

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Question: 866-5012
We have a sun room that gets down to 45 each winter. What are the best houseplants to leave through the winter? Joanne, Uncasville, CT

Mort's Answer:
Cactus and succulents love the colder temps at night. No plant should suffer below 40. Christmas Cactus is the most notable succulent that will set new buds in the cooler environment. Tropicals like Scheffelera, palms and ficus will require moving to the warmer part of the house. Some will go into dormancy below 60. Ivies can take hot or cold. Gloxinia and cyclamen prefer the cooler temps to bloom and will go dormant in the warmer part of your house.

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Question: 915-1413
Can you recommend some houseplants that are good anti-pollutants and humidifiers? Frank, Glendale,WI

Mort's Answer:
Cyperus alternifolius is an excellent humidifier because it is one of the few that grow in saturated soil. It is the same genus that has papyrus. It is one of many that is known as umbrella plant. Spider plant is a hanger that is the very best plant to absorb toxins in the air. Chlorophytum elatum is used as a ground cover in Florida. It grows in sun or shade and has a lot of babies. Folks like to cut the babies off the terminal shoots and start them in new soil. This species will never die. It is the mother of all house plants. Sanserviera cylindrica is another dust catcher that will never be extinct. Sometimes called mother-in-laws tongue or snake plant, it will go on forever.

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Question: 1222-315
Can you recommend a houseplant that will do well in hardly any sun? Pat, Stonington,CT

Mort's Answer:
Spathipyllum floribundum is a dark green leaved two toy three foot specimen with a white spathe sheltering a yellowish flower. S. patini will grow larger and sometimes will have a light pink spathe. They need some indirect light to flourish. They are usually sold at this time of year in bloom in 10 inch plastic tubs. They are sometimes sold as Japanese white flag, an allusion to the surrendering Japanese soldier in World War II. Aglaomena simplex is a rather erect three foot plant that resembles dieffenbachia. Sometimes called Chinese evergreen is the best candidate for no light at all. It will tolerate excess water. One variety, Silver Queen, has beautiful silver color marks on the inside of the green leaves. Sometimes called Chinese water plant and Japanese Leaf, it will forgive a lot of mistakes.

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Question: 1293-816
Can I start feeding my houseplants now? I have a lot and usually start in March. Nancy, Willimantic, CT

Mort's Answer:
It is better to take your cue from the plants. When the majority of them start new sprouts, you can begin to use your soluble fertilizer. A half teaspoon to the gallon is best for the first application. If you give them to much, they will show brown edges on the leaves. African Violets will often show first when they have been thusly violated. Another early indicator are the spider plants. Many foliage plants may still be in dormancy. Plants with flowers on them can use the boost now. Another way to dilute the dosage is to feed after a good watering.

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