Saturday, 2 September 2017

Oplismenus hirtellus Gramineae Basket grass

The wiry, creeping stems make this an attractive plant for a hanging basket, since the stems will trail. It has yellowish green lance-shaped leaves, 2-6in/5-l5cm long, with sharply pointed tips and a slightly undulating, or wavy, surface. Oplismenus hirtellus ‘Variegatus’ has white, green, and rose-red striped leaves. Pinch off the insignificant flowers as soon as they appear.

FACT FILE Oplismenus Hirtellus Gramineae  Basket grass

ORIGIN: Southern USA; West Indies; Mexico; Argentina.

HEIGHT: 3ft/90cm.

POTTING MIX: Soil- or peat-moss-based. 

REPOTTING: Move in spring, if plants are kept for a second year.

PROPAGATION: The long runners root spontaneously; detach and pot up the resulting plantlets. Take tip cuttings in spring.

KEEPING PLANTS: As it ages, this plant loses some of its leaves and becomes straggly; cut it back severely or replace it after a year or two.

PLANT CARE Oplismenus Hirtellus Gramineae   Basket grass

  • Bright light, but direct sun only in winter.
  • Normal room temperature.
  • Keep the soil moist at all times. 

  • The plant will lose its leaves if the soil is allowed to dry out. 
  • Liquid-feed every 4 weeks in summer; overfeeding is detrimental to the appearance of the plant.


Also known as Osmanthus ilicifolius (Holly- leafed osmanthus), this dense, woody- ’ stemmed shrub has prickly, glossy leaves that are arranged in pairs. 

The leaves of ‘Variegatus’ are about 21/2in/6.5cm long and have creamy white markings, sometimes with a tinge of pink at the margins. The shape of the leaves varies, even on the same plant.

Some may be almost egg-shaped with smooth edges and a single spine at the tip, while others may be elliptic, with a number of large spiny teeth, including a long spine at the tip. 

Plants grown indoors only rarely produce small, white, scented flowers in fall.


ORIGIN: Japan; cultivar.

HEIGHT:  6ft/1.8m in a container.

POTTING MIX: Soil-based.

REPOTTING: Move into a pot one size larger each spring.

PROPAGATION: Take tip cuttings, with a heel, in spring or summer.

KEEPING PLANTS: Pinch off growing tips regularly to prevent the plant becoming lanky.


  • Full sun.
  • Cool temperature, ideally between 55°-65°F/13°-18°C at all times.

  • Water moderately throughout the year. 
  • Feed actively growing plants every 2 weeks

✅✅✅✅Pandanus veitchii Pandanaceae VEITCH’S SCREW PINE

The best known of the five or so commonly grown pandanuses, the screw pine is a stately plant, especially when it grows older. It has leaves up to 3ft/90cm long, the lower ones arching, with coarse spines along the margins. 

A feature of the foliage is the lengthwise creamy white striping. Mature plants develop beautiful stiltlike aerial roots. This pandanus enjoys very humid air and warmer temperatures. It is, therefore, better suited to a greenhouse, but properly looked after it will thrive in the living room.

FACT FILE Pandanus veitchii Pandanaceae VEITCH’S SCREW PINE

ORIGIN: Polynesia.

HEIGHT: 7ft/2m.

POTTING MIX: Soil- or peat-moss-based with good drainage.

REPOTTING: Young plants may require repotting more than once a year, but after the plant is a year old, repotting each spring will be sufficient. 

PROPAGATION: Remove suckers from older plants and pot these up individually.

KEEPING PLANTS: High humidity is essential for luxuriant leaf growth.

PLANT CARE Pandanus veitchii Pandanaceae VEITCH’S SCREW PINE

  • A well-lit location; no full sun. 
  • A minimum temperature of 65°F/18°C.

  • Water moderately, using water at room temperature; keep the soil a little drier from mid-fall until mid spring.
  • Stand the pot on a tray of moist pebbles and spray the plant daily. © Feed every 2 weeks from spring to fall.

Paphiopedilum spp. Orchidaceae LADY’SSlipper orchids✅✅✅✅

Several species of this orchid, particularly Paphiopedilum callosum and P. sukhakulii, and some of the smaller hybrids will do well in a living room, preferably near a window that does not receive too much sunlight. Wherever slipper orchids are sited, they require plenty of humidity as well as good ventilation during the hotter months. 

Paphiopedilums do not require a dormant Paphiopedilum season, but if the temperature drops in winter, the water supply must be decreased. The blooms of these popular orchids have a striking sepal, usually called the flag; the lip of the flower is called the “slipper” because its pouch-like shape resembles a house slipper. Many hybrids are available from specialist suppliers, and new ones are being added constantly.

FACT FILE Paphiopedilum spp. Orchidaceae   LADY’SSlipper orchids

ORIGIN: Tropical Asia; hybrids.

HEIGHT: 15in/38cm.

POTTING MIX: Special orchid medium.

REPOTTING: Repot annually in late winter. Always provide excellent drainage in the bottom of the pot. P. callosum should be kept completely dry for a few weeks after being repotted. 

PROPAGATION: Divide when repotting.

KEEPING PLANTS: High humidity (65-75%) and a daytime temperature some 9°F/5°C above the night temperature are needed.

PLANT CARE Paphiopedilum spp. Orchidaceae   LADY’SSlipper orchids

  • Bright light, but the full sun only in winter. 
  • Normal room temperature, but not below 65°F/18°C at night. 
  • Water once a week throughout the year. 

  • Spray the plant daily and stand the pot on a tray of moist gravel to maintain humidity. 
  • Never allow water to lie on the leaves or in the center of the growth; this will encourage botrytis and cause the plant to rot. 
  • Apply a weak foliar feed once a month from spring to fall.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Passiflora caerulea Passifloraceae Common passion FLOWER✅✅✅✅

The common, or blue, passion flower grows in tropical conditions, clinging by tendrils to the trunks of jungle trees. Indoors it needs heat, the sun, and good ventilation in order to do well.The hand-like leaves are large and glossy dark green. The 3-in/8-cm-wide flowers, give the plant its name. They have five white petals, five white sepals, and fine purple-blue filaments surrounding prominent gold anthers. 

Jesuit missionaries who discovered the plant in Brazil in the 18th century likened its white petals and sepals to the Ten Apostles who witnessed Christ’s crucifixion. The anthers were seen as the five wounds, the rays of the corona of filaments as His crown of thorns, and the three stigmas as the nails that pinned Him to the Cross.

FACT FILE: Passiflora caerulea Passifloraceae Common passion FLOWER

ORIGIN: Brazil to Argentina.

HEIGHT: 16V2ft/5m, but as a houseplant, it is frequently sold trained around a hoop. 

POTTING MIX: Soil-based.

REPOTTING: Repot in spring for 2 or 3 years, then top-dress instead; the plant flowers best if its roots are restricted.

PROPAGATION: Take 7-in/18-cm tip cuttings in summer.

KEEPING PLANTS: Pruning does the plant no harm. Each spring, cut the stems of a young plant down to about 9in/23cm. Prune an older plant to keep it within bounds; cut side branches back to 3-4in/8-10cm.

PLANT CARE Passiflora caerulea Passifloraceae Common passion FLOWER

  • Full sun; the plant will not flower if the light is not bright enough. 
  • A temperature of about 70°F/21°C in summer, 50°F/10°C in winter.

  • Water freely in summer; in winter water just enough to prevent the soil drying out.
  • Feed with standard liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks in summer.

Pellaea rotundifolia Sinopteridaceae Button fern ✅✅✅✅

A native of the temperate forests of New Zealand, the button fern produces a mass of thin dark stems that, close-up, are seen to be covered with brown scales and hairs. From these stalks arise small, arched fronds of leathery green leaflets, which trail over the edge of the pot, making it ideal for a hanging basket. Unlike most ferns, Pellaea tolerates relatively dry conditions.

FACT FILE Pellaea rotundifolia Sinopteridaceae Button fern

ORIGIN: New Zealand; Australia.

HEIGHT: Fronds to lft/30cm long.

POTTING MIX: Soil-based, with added peat moss and sand. 

REPOTTING: Use a shallow pot and repot only when roots fill the current container. 

PROPAGATION: In spring divides the plant into 2 or 3 sections with roots and top growth. 

KEEPING PLANTS: Mist when the temperature rises above 70°F/21°C; if the soil becomes waterlogged, the plant will die. If conditions are right, it will grow year-round, with no rest period.

PLANT CARE Pellaea rotundifolia Sinopteridaceae Button fern

  • Bright light but not direct sunlight. 
  • Normal room temperature, as constant as possible.

  • Water freely in summer but allow the surface of the soil to dry out before rewatering.
  • Feed once a week in summer with a weak solution of standard liquid fertilizer.

Monday, 28 August 2017

PENTAS LANCEOLATA (syn. P. CARNEA) Rubiaceae Egyptian star cluster ✅✅✅✅

An upright shrubby plant with pale green, hairy oval leaves 2-4in/5-10cm long and lin/2.5cm wide, this is the most common species grown as an indoor plant. It thrives best in a heated greenhouse where the air is not too dry. And it should really be regarded as only a temporary plant in the home.

PENTAS LANCEOLATA  (syn. P. CARNEA) Rubiaceae Egyptian star cluster image

The flowers, which appear in late summer and fall, grow in terminal clusters on the many branches. They come in shades of pink, lilac, and carmine red to mauve and blue, and, occasionally, white. The corona has a narrow, 3/4-in/2-cm-long tube, widening slightly toward the top and ending in a five-lobed star.

FACT FILE PENTAS LANCEOLATA  (Syn. P. CARNEA) Rubiaceae Egyptian Star Cluster

ORIGIN: Tropical East Africa; Arabian Peninsula.

HEIGHT: 3ft/90cm.

POTTING MIX: Soil- or peat-moss-based.

REPOTTING: Move into a pot one size larger in spring.

PROPAGATION: In spring or early summer, take 2-3in/5-8cm stem cuttings.

KEEPING PLANTS: Pinch off the growing tips from time to time to encourage bushiness.

PLANT CARE PENTAS LANCEOLATA  (syn. P. CARNEA) Rubiaceae Egyptian Star Cluster

  • Good light with 4 hours of direct sunlight.
  • Normal warm room temperature, but never allow the level to drop below 50°F/10°C.

  • Water moderately in the growing period; give less water when flowering is over. 
  • Overwatering causes the leaves to turn yellow, and they will not recover. 
  • Feed every 2 weeks in summer.