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Why Philodendron is the Best Trailing Plant for Your Indoor Jungle and 4 Others We Love Too

Philodendron are one of the most popular, versatile, and easy to grow houseplants on the planet. Trailing plants lend an air of the tropical to your indoor jungle. They drape casually down from bookshelves and windowsills, looking graceful with their heart-shaped leaves. They’re absolutely ideal for hanging baskets. It is often said they thrive on neglect and that is not far from the truth.  There are over 200 different varieties, some with split-leaf foliage, some with variegation but all are perfect for even novice plant parents.

Image courtesy of Costa Farms

Light

Philodendron can survive with very little light but will grow faster and healthier in bright indirect light. They will sunburn in harsh, direct sunlight.

Water

Your container should have good drainage. Water when the top 50 percent of the soil is dry, about once a week. If the foliage begins to turn yellow, it’s an indication of too much water. Conversely, if the leaves turn brown, your plant needs more water.

Temperature and Humidity

Philodendron grow well in normal household temperatures, between 70°-80ºF during the day and above 55º F at night. Average home humidity levels are fine but an occasional misting or rinsing off the leaves would be welcome and remove dust.

Pests and Diseases

Over-watering can cause root-rot but yellow leaves will warn you to slow down the watering. While they are rarely bothered by pests, it’s a good idea to keep a look out for aphids and mites. If you do see them, try  Insect Soap.

Repotting and Fertilizing

Always use a quality soil like Espoma Organic Potting Mix for optimum plant health. Repot once a year.  Feed your plants once a month in spring and summer and, once every other month in fall and winter with an organic indoor plant food.

Endorsed By NASA

NASA lists a Heartleaf Philodendron as a clean air plant that removes formaldehyde, a chemical found in insulation, floor coverings, cleaning agents, pressed wood, and even paper towels, from the air.

More Super Star Vines

String of Pearls 

Looks exactly like its name. This succulent tolerates drought and does best in bright light.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Pothos

Long, leafy vine that prefers bright, indirect light and moist soil. Will grow fairly well in low light too.

 

Inch Plant or Purple Heart

Beautiful purple foliage on trailing stems with attractive zebra patterned foliage. Perfect for hanging baskets.

Image courtesy of Costa Farms

Arrowhead Plant

Elegant plant that vines with age, prefers bright light and moderate watering.

Thinking about more indoor plants? Check out this video on the top low-light plants!

 

Espoma Products for Happy Trailing Plants:

 

How to Care for Your Monstera

Monstera is commonly called Swiss cheese plant or split-leaf philodendron referring to the beautifully cut leaves. It’s a must have for its Caribbean feel. The foliage is deep green, lush and tropical. With time the foliage can become quite large and exotic looking. There is also a rare white variegated form that is slower growing. They generally don’t bloom indoors but in its natural environment they will produce edible fruit that is said to taste like fruit salad.

Light and Placement

As a tropical plant it’s no surprise that your Monstera likes warm indoor temperatures between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. A little humidity makes them feel right at home, too. Bathrooms and kitchens can often supply a touch of humidity or you can simply mist your plant now and then. These plants grow naturally in the dappled light of the forest floor. To mimic that, place your Monstera in bright or filtered, indirect light. They can actually grow in deep shade, but may not exhibit as much of the cut leaf foliage. If you live in zones 10 or 11, you can grow it outdoors in a shady spot.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Food and Water

Monstera likes moist soil, but not one that stays soggy or overly wet. Make sure the pot has good drainage. Water weekly, when the top inch of the soil is dry. Make sure any excess water drains away. In spring and summer, when the plants are actively growing, it’s a good idea to feed them once a month with a liquid fertilizer like Espoma’s Organic Indoor!  plant food.

Repotting

Repot young plants every year to encourage growth and add soil nutrients. Gradually go up in pot size by 2 inches per year.  Once your plant has reached its optimal height for your space, you can give it a top dressing of new soil once a year and only repot it about every 3 years. Always use a quality potting soil to help keep the soil moist but free-draining. These are natural climbers that use their aerial roots to hold on to trees. When you do repot your plant, be sure to add a trellis or moss covered plant stake for support.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Pruning

Young plants often have compact, bushy habits. As they grow, they will begin to show their vining nature. You can either give them support to climb and become a tall and dramatic or if you prefer, you can pinch them to rein in the lankiness. Pinch off the new growth tip with your finger at the height you’d like it to stay at. Feel free to prune out stems that are producing few or no leaves. If you can’t tuck the aerial roots back into the pot, you may remove them as well.

Pest and Disease

Monstera is rarely bothered by pest or disease. Wipe off the leaves with a damp cloth from time to time or give it a shower to remove dust. Check for spider mites when you do. This is a long-lived house plant that will give you years of pleasure with little care.

Ready for more houseplants? Check out Garden Answer’s Top 5 Low Light House Plants.

 

Best products for Monstera

 

Plant parenthood: Top 5 plants to start your houseplant family with

Welcome to Plant Parenthood, a reoccurring series helping you with all things houseplant! As plant people ourselves, we are so happy to see you here. This will be your resource to get you started, to teach you how to care, when to fertilize and much more.

 

Some of you may already have a houseplant or two, which is wonderful. If you are starting from scratch, below are some great houseplants to get you started. They are easy-to-grow and require little maintenance.

Before getting started think about your lifestyle and what chores you want your houseplant to do. Do you want them to clean the air, just sit around and look pretty or maybe both! Also, think about how much light your space gets, as some houseplants love bright light while others thrive in little to low light.

Top Five Plants to Start Your Houseplant Family:

 

Peperomia

This tried and true classic is getting more and more popular. Peperomia is compact, so you don’t need a lot of space for it. But don’t let the size fool you, it’s variegated and colorful foliage can pack a punch. Keep your plant near a window, as it likes medium to bright light. Water it when the top two inches of soil are dry, though it can go a bit without water and still be fine. It will not grow quickly, however use Espoma’s Indoor! liquid plant food to give it the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Photo Courtesy of Costa Farms

Dracaena

Dracaena will need  a new home as it ages. When it is young, it is perfect for a tabletop or desk, as it is a little bushy plant. Though, it can grow 5 to 6 feet tall as an adult. Depending on the variety you choose, its foliage can look like little bursts of stars or fireworks on the tips. It adds dramatic texture to any room. Place it where it looks best in your home – it is not picky about how much light it gets. Water it when the top of the soil dries out.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

ZZ Plant

This tough houseplant can survive even with the brownest of thumbs. You can put it anywhere in your home or office and it will be happy to see you. It can even survive with only florescent lights and no natural light.  Water when the top two inches of soil are dry. Don’t worry if you forget, it may start to drop some of its leaflets to conserve the water left and will rebloom after a good drink.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Aglaonema

Also known as the Chinese evergreen, this houseplant is stunning. It can come in colors from deep green to silver to red. It is slow growing, with large, narrow and glossy oval foliage. When deciding where to put Aglaonema, keep in mind the lighter the variegation, the more light it needs. So if you opt out for dark green foliage, it can thrive in low light. Water when the top two inches of soil is dry and add humidity around the plant in the summertime. Use Espoma’s indoor! liquid plant food during the growing season to give it the nutrients it needs.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Pothos

Have fun with pothos as you can grow it in a hanging basket to allow the foliage to trail down, trellis it up or allow it to grow horizontally across a shelf or on a cabinet. It has a beautiful green foliage with specks of white, yellow or cream mixed in. It can grow in any kind of light, with low humidity. Keep the soil moist, so water it when the top inch of the soil is dry.

Laura from Garden Answer shows off some low light houseplants that are perfect for anyone looking to get started.

 

Happy Houseplants Need Food:

 

Not your average houseplant – Bromeliads

Growing bromeliads indoors is a wonderful way to welcome vibrant colors and live foliage into your space. While they have a reputation for being difficult to grow, they are just different than the average houseplant. They are adaptable to their surroundings, low maintenance and offer long-lasting blooms.

Bromeliads that grow in soil are best to use as houseplants. There are four varieties that are best for bringing indoors: Billbergia, Cryptanthus, Guzmania, and Neoregelia. These are most recognizable for their spikey blooms and can be solid in color or have a variegated stripe to them.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

How to Grow Basics:

  1. Light

Each variety grown indoors likes their light a bit different. Generally placing them in bright, indirect light is fine, but be sure to check plant tags as some prefer shaded areas.

  1. Potting

Bromeliads should be potted at the base of leaves to give the roots enough to secure it to the soil. A 4-6 inch pot is a great starter, but keep an eye on your plant and place it in a bigger container if it begins to lean or fall over. Use a barky, airy, well-draining soil, such as Espoma’s Orchid Mix for orchids and bromeliads.

  1. Temperature and Humidity

Potted bromeliads adjust to the temperature around them. They are happy in the temperature you keep your home – anywhere from 35 degrees to 95 degrees. When the temperature increases, increase the humidity around your plant by misting water or using a pebble plant tray. Like most plants, you should keep them away from heating and air vents so they don’t dry out.

  1. Fertilizer

Use a slow release fertilizer, such as Espoma’s Indoor! liquid fertilizer once a month. Simply mix it in with your watering can and follow the instructions on the bottle.

Already have a bromeliad that needs more room? Watch Summer Rayne repot her bromeliad.

 

Products Needed:

Espoma Organic Orchid Mix

 

Create a Spa in Your Bathroom

Every room in your house looks cozier and more beautiful filled with houseplants. It’s especially true of your bathroom. Who wouldn’t want a lush, tropical, spa feel at home? In fact, your bathroom is perfect for tropical plants because they love a humid environment.

Research shows that having plants around makes people feel calm, happy, and relaxed. Making them perfect for some spa time. And some houseplants actually purify the air. Ivy can remove 75% of mold spores in a room, which is important if you have allergies. Plants can pull dust from the air to help you breathe easier.

Not sure about the bathroom spa? Find out which plants thrive in your bedroom, living room and kitchen.

Here are our plant picks for your bathroom –

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Nerve Plants – Small Plant for Low Light

Nerve plants have colorful foliage that’s so attractive they don’t need flowers. Try adding one to a shelf, the corner of the counter or even hanging from a hook. Nerve plants grow best in medium to low light. If you have sheer curtains you could even grow them in full sun. Water when the surface of the soil is just starting to dry out. They like moist soil but not too wet. Feed them on a monthly basis with Indoor! liquid plant food to keep them healthy.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Peace Lily – Medium-Large Plant for Low Light

If you are lucky enough to have a lot of space in your bathroom but not a lot of light, you can go large and tropical. Try this easy to grow Jungle Queen. The more it grows, the more spectacular it becomes. It tolerates low light but will grow faster and larger with more direct sunlight. Water regularly to keep the soil evenly moist and feed once a month with Indoor! liquid plant food.

Moth Orchid – Small Plant for Bright Light

Moth orchids have long, thin stems and large flowers that create a big impact in small places. They flower for an incredibly long time.  If you have the room, arrange a small group of them for a sophisticated look. These are the easiest orchids to grow, even if you are a beginner. Water well once a week, then let them drain completely. Feed regularly with Orchid! liquid plant food.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Majesty Palm– Big Plants for Bright Light

Majesty palms are the quintessential tropical plant.  If you have room for one of these, it will transform your bathroom into an oasis.  They thrive in the humidity and like to be kept evenly moist.  Fertilize regularly with Indoor! Liquid plant food for faster growth. These are easy palms to grow and don’t require any pruning except for an occasional old frond.

 

Is there low light in your home? Laura from Garden Answer tells us about low light houseplants that you need to bring home.

How to Care and Propagate Pilea Peperomiodies

Pilea peperomiodies is becoming a more popular plant by the day. With the unique shape of its leaves, waxy stems and ease of propagation, it’s no surprise this houseplant is popping up everywhere.

Before they were popular in the U.S., Summer Rayne from Homestead Brooklyn brought home a pilea peperomiodies plant back from the Netherlands. She has been caring for hers for a few years and it is as happy as can be. If you aren’t sure what plant we are talking about, the more common names are Chinese money plant, UFO plant or friendship plant.

Here are a few tips to keeping your plant happy, healthy and ready to be shared.

Water and Sun Care:

Natively grown in a forest, the pilea peperomiodies doesn’t need a lot of water. It is best to let it dry out in between waterings. The waxy sheen on the leaves indicates that it actually holds its water well and prevents the water from transpiring too much. Summer usually checks to see if it needs water every 3-4 days so it doesn’t go too long without water.

It likes to be in indirect, bright light and will climb towards it. Summer has had success growing it in Northeast facing windows and a few feet from a southwest facing window. To even out your plant within the container, be sure to rotate the container evenly to allow the light to reach all parts of the plant.

Fertilizing Care:

Summer fertilizes her houseplants about once a month with Indoor! liquid plant food. But, now that autumn has arrived, she will stop for the colder months. Now is the time to feed your houseplants once last time to set them up for success for the upcoming months. Mix Indoor! with water in your watering can and use normally.

Soil Care:

Since the pilea peperomiodies likes to dry out in between waterings, the right kind of soil is important to keep it healthy. A typical potting mix, such as Espoma Organic Potting Mix would work well. Summer also includes perlite, which is a puffed volcanic stone, which is lightweight and helps regulate the water in the soil.

Propagation Tips:

Pilea peperomiodies are self- propagating plants, so you can cut off a small piece of the plant and grow another. They are rhizomatous, which means they will have little offshoots that grow under the soil. It basically clones itself in case it cannot find a partner.

You can take the little pups at the base of the stem and replant them elsewhere to create a new pilea peperomiodies. To do so without harming the plant, take a sharp blade and slice off the pup from the mother plant. Try to do it when they are still little, so you aren’t disrupting a fully grown pup. Then add Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix and Bio-tone Starter Plus fertilizer to a small pot. Put a little hole in the middle, insert your cutting and water well.

 

Where to Buy

Products Used:

Easy, Breezy Houseplants that Cool Your Home

While everyone loves being indoors in air conditioning on hot summer days, indoor spaces sometimes could use a good pop of plant life. Plus, Mother Nature has her own way of cooling things down. Try cooling your house down the eco-friendly way with houseplants.

Not only do our favorite houseplants look good, they also have humidifier properties and  clean the air too. If you live in dry regions, having houseplants with humidifying effects will help beat the heat.

Photo courtesy of Garden Answer

 Aloe Vera

Not only will you be able to treat sunburns all summer, but Aloe leaves have a high water content which release cool moisture into the air. Aloe is also known to remove toxins from the air. The plant prefers a lot of sun and well-draining soil, such as Espoma’s Organic Cactus Mix. Water approximately every three weeks to allow the soil to dry 1-2 inches between watering’s. Fertilize once per month with Espoma’s Cactus! Liquid fertilizer.

Bamboo Palm

The bamboo palm’s luscious leaves are excellent humidifiers and have air purifying qualities as well. The more mature the plant gets, the more moisture it releases. Bamboo Palms prefer well drained soil and pots. They are relatively low maintenance and only require watering when the soil surface feels dry. It is important not to over water Bamboo Palms. Set the pot in an area with bright, indirect light to get healthy growth.

Photo courtesy of Garden Answer

 Sansevieria

Sansevieria has a variety of names but is commonly known as “snake plant.” This snake-like plant has incredible air cooling and cleansing properties. Not to mention, it may be the easiest houseplant you can find. It only requires watering when the soil is completely dry. This can take up to six weeks depending on the size of the plant, humidity, light and temperature conditions in your home. They prefer indirect, medium-to-low light.

 Peace Lily

The Peace Lily is a home essential. Not only does it have stunning green foliage, but if given enough light, classic lily blooms will flower. They have air cleansing and cooling abilities making them perfect as part of your air-cooling house plant team. Peace lilies prefer medium to low light and well-drained soil. For quality potting soil and houseplant success, try Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix. The biggest danger with Peace Lilies, and most plants, is over watering. It is best to check the soil once per week. If the plant starts to wilt or the top 1” of the soil is dry, it is time to water. They only require fertilizing once or twice per year.

Areca Palm Tree

Like the other heat-battling, air-cleansing plants on this list, the Areca Palm tree is an excellent air humidifier and also removes toxins from the air. It requires a little more attention than the other plants on this list and will not survive neglect. They prefer lightly moist soil so be sure to check on your plant frequently, especially in warmer temperatures. It is best to fertilize frequently in the spring. For a lush, healthy tree try Espoma’s Indoor! Liquid Fertilizer. They are light-loving plants so near a non-drafty window would be the perfect spot.

Espoma Products for Houseplants:

Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix

 

 

How to Re-Pot Houseplants (quick cut)

Your houseplant’s health is extremely important. Laura from Garden Answer clears the air when it comes to re-potting in this step by step tutorial.

This is the safest and best way to re-pot your plants to enjoy them in your home for years.

There are a few tell-tale signs a plant is outgrowing its container. Pick the plant up out of its container. If you see a jumbled mess of roots, it is time to re-pot. Another sign of needing to re-pot is if you are able to see roots coming out of the drain hole. Matted roots near the surface are another sign it is definitely time for a bigger container.

The new container will need to be one to two inches larger in diameter than the original. Be sure your new container has holes for drainage in the bottom. This is important because if the plant roots are sitting in water, they can rot. Laura from Garden Answer typically uses terracotta pots because they are porous and oxygen can flow in and out, which is good for your houseplant’s health. Plants in terra cotta pots tend to dry out faster so be sure to adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

When transferring your plant, you will want to use a good quality potting mix, such as Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix. This mix works for most plants, but there are some such as succulents, African Violets, and orchids that require a specific potting mix. For these plants try Espoma’s Organic Cactus Mix, Organic African Violet Mix, or Organic Orchid Mix.

Now you’re ready to re-pot. It’s really simple. First, take your plant out of its original container. You will need to gently break up the tangled roots at the bottom. Next, place the plant in its new container. Fill in around your plant with soil and pack in tightly. Avoid burying your plant too deep by only filling in soil to the level at which the old soil is packed. To finish it off, water it lightly and, voila! You have a re-potted houseplant.

When fertilizing your newly re-potted houseplant, use a liquid fertilizer such as Espoma’s Indoor! Liquid fertilizer. However, plants such as succulents, African Violets, and Orchid require specific fertilizers. For these plants try Espoma’s Liquid Cactus!, Violet!, and Orchid! liquid fertilizers.

Products:

Espoma Organic Potting Soil MixEspoma Organic Orchid Mix

 

How to Re-Pot Houseplants

Plants can outgrow their homes. And by homes, we mean containers. Here are quick tips on how to re-pot houseplants.

Usually, there are two reasons to re-pot houseplants. The first is that you just bought a plant from a garden center and would like to put it in a more decorative pot. The second is that your houseplant has outgrown its current pot. Either way, the same re-potting rules apply.

There are a few tell-tale signs a plant is outgrowing its container. Pick the plant up out of its container. If you see a jumbled mess of roots, it is time to re-pot. Another sign of needing to re-pot is if you are able to see roots coming out of the drain hole. Matted roots near the surface are another sign it is definitely time for a bigger container.

The new container will need to be one to two inches larger in diameter than the original. Be sure your new container has holes for drainage in the bottom. This is important because if the plant roots are sitting in water, they can rot. Laura from Garden Answer typically uses terracotta pots because they are porous and oxygen can flow in and out, which is good for your houseplant’s health. Plants in terra cotta pots tend to dry out faster so be sure to adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

When transferring your plant, you will want to use a good quality potting mix, such as Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix. This mix works for most plants, but there are some such as succulents, African Violets, and orchids that require a specific potting mix. For these plants try Espoma’s Organic Cactus Mix, Organic African Violet Mix, or Organic Orchid Mix.

Now you’re ready to re-pot. It’s really simple. First, take your plant out of its original container. You will need to gently break up the tangled roots at the bottom. Next, place the plant in its new container. Fill in around your plant with soil and pack in tightly. Avoid burying your plant too deep by only filling in soil to the level at which the old soil is packed. To finish it off, water it lightly and, voila! You have a re-potted houseplant.

When fertilizing your newly re-potted houseplant, use a liquid fertilizer such as Espoma’s Indoor! Liquid fertilizer. However, plants such as succulents, African Violets, and Orchid require specific fertilizers. For these plants try Espoma’s Liquid Cactus!, Violet!, and Orchid! liquid fertilizers.

Products:

Espoma Organic Potting Soil MixEspoma Organic Orchid Mix

 

How to Repot a Bromeliad

Summer Rayne Oaks of Homestead Brooklyn demonstrates the ins and outs of repotting bromeliads. Follow along as she explains the difference between the pup and mother plant and what happens when you remove the pup vs leaving it on to continue growing. Utilizing her expansive collection of plants, she shows us what both scenarios look like in the repotting process.

Three takeaways from this video:

Summer Rayne teaches you how to get a brand new bromeliad from a plant that is about to expire. With the right care, she was able to get new life from the plant.

The best soil to use for bromeliads is a barky airy mix, such as The Espoma Company’s Organic Orchid Mix, that’s full of nutrients.

Once the pup is either 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the mother plant, you can decide to remove the pup for the mother to grow another or keep it on and watch it grow from the mother until it expires.

5 Steps for Repotting a Bromeliad:

  1. Grab some gloves. Some of the leaves are going to be prickly, so you want to protect yourself.
  2. Grab scissors or sheers. If the mother plant is desiccated or if you want to remove the pup before repotting, you will need something sharp to remove them.
  3. Remove the bromeliad from the container and separate it from the mother plant, if possible.
  4. When placing the bromeliad into the new container, center it and fill with Espoma’s Orchid Mix. You don’t need to tuck it in too hard, as it likes having room to breathe.
  5. Water it in well to help it settle into its new home.

*Remember, if you have a healthy mother plant and a healthy pup, you can plant them together or separately. You won’t harm it either way.