A bit more about me and an introduction to some of my houseplants
I currently work in a large houseplant department, probably one of the largest in the country. I’ve definitely not come across a comparable space in any local garden centre. Nearly four years there, it means that I’ve accumulated a few rescue plants and a few other plants that I just couldn’t resist… I will start to share some with you but only a few at a time or this post will never end!
When it comes to houseplants, people often say they just can’t keep plants indoors but they consider themselves a great gardener. It is all about “right plant, right place” just as in the garden but with a few more issues to consider.
The main issue is the level of light. I’m in a north facing flat so light isn’t the easiest to come by… in the hallway leading to our studio apartment in the eaves we do have a reasonably large south facing window so this is the cacti spot. Cacti and succulents are great as starter plants and require very little love, care or attention. All cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti.
Xerophytes (succulents) are a fascinating group. They have developed a completely different way of photosynthesising, creating the sugars they need for respiration and growth. They are known as CAM plants. They absorb CO2 at night rather than the daytime in order to preserve water. The carbon dioxide is then converted into malic acid for use in photosynthesis during the day in the presence of light. For a more detailed explanation check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crassulacean_acid_metabolism
The other consideration is the amount of time you have. Some plants will thrive on neglect and are very forgiving should you forget a watering. Others need almost a daily check such as a bonsai. Generally, the larger the plant and the pot it is in, the less attention it requires. Obviously they all require water, feed while in active growth and light but houseplants have been chosen for their ability to survive in a pot indoors.
The main cause of death I come across is over watering, or not fully draining the plant so it ends up sat in water. This causes root rot and the plant displays symptoms of drought as there are fewer roots to take up water, so people tend to water more. I tend to find this happens most during the winter months. People don’t understand that the amount of light is one of the main factors determining how much water a plant requires.
During the winter, when light levels are low, there is less photosynthesis and transpiration so the plant requires a lot less water. The dry air caused by central heating should be mitigated by misting plants that require more humidity or using LECA to create a humidity bubble around the plant.
That’s my ramblings on an introduction to houseplant care for now… I’ll create some plant specific pages soon.