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Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I love plants. I love houseplants, greenhouse plants, annual plants and perennial plants. If it comes with is for me! I have been a plant maniac since I was a child. I have one spider plant that is 20 years old! (I wish I could tell you I was only 23 but that would be a lie! haha) I have spent hours and bought countless books about plants. I would be reading these books while others would be reading the "smut" magazines, comic books and watching television. I try to know as much about them as possible. The bigger the better for me.

At one point my home looked like a jungle. I had over 100 pots in my home. There was a garden center in our city that knew me by name, and would call me if they got a plant in that they figured I didn't have yet. I used to joke that I would eventually own more soil than a farmer, only it would be individually potted! But...since I became a mother, I have scaled back my indoor plant habit substantially.

In the winter months I spend my time starting new plants from either the seeds I have harvested from the plants that I have, or taking cuttings to propagate new ones. These new plants are given away to friends and anyone that wants one, two or ten!

When I purchase a new plant, I will either take the healthiest looking one, or the sickest looking one. I like the challenge of "fixing" it.

Many of my houseplants winter in the tropical environment of my greenhouse. The greenhouse is also the last stop for sickly looking plants before I give up and just 'recycle' them.

I hope you enjoy the tour of houseplants that follows.

This is a Jade plant. (Crassula) Jades are succulent plants that grow into a stocky tree-type form. It are stunning with their plump, rounded leaves. Some types of Jade plants develop deep reddish edges on the leaves when they are exposed to bright light. Jade plants prefer bright light...and even some direct sunlight.


Water so that the water runs out the bottom of the pot, and then allow to dry out. Over watering will cause this plant to droop and lose leaves. Mealy bugs love this keep your eyes open for the white cotton ball type signs of this pest when buying this specimen. Last summer I managed to coax this little lady into bloom!


I was just ever so very proud!



I hope to do it again once she is more comfortable in her new bigger pot.

This lovely specimen is a Wandering Jew. (Tradescantia)This one happens to be purple one. The leaves are a deep purple with silver accents. There are also green and white varieties. The Wandering Jew is a hanging plant that prefers bright light with some direct sunlight. Keeping the soil moderately moist from April to October and a little dryer the rest of the season, will help make this plant happy. One major tip for growing this plant is to keep the growing tips pinched out regularly to keep the rounded shape. Good light and regular watering will result in a happy plant, which may flower the sweetest little white flowers. Failing to keep the plant pinched back on top could result in a "bald spot" -meaning that the long arms of this plant will continue to grow and become very long and the pot will become "lonely". The cuttings that you take to pinch this plant out are easily rooted by placing them in a cup of water for a few days. Spider mites love Wandering Jews. Keeping them moist will help keep them away.


The Umbrella Tree (Schefflera) features large foliage and upright tree-like growth habit. They are easy to grow and their tough leaves that radiate form one point like the spokes on an umbrella, give this plant it's nick name. The one pictured here is a variegated umbrella, but they do come in solid green leaves as well. The umbrella tree is a beautiful and upright, shrubby plant that will tolerate the dry household air (and is often seen in office buildings) and is known to filter out many noxious gasses from the air. It requires medium to bright light and no direct sunlight. Watering to keep the soil moderately moist will help keep this plant happy, and bug free. Spider mites mealy bugs and scale insects love this plant.


This is a cactus. It is commonly known as Thanksgiving or Christmas Cactus, depending on when it blooms. This one blooms on the American Thanksgiving. It belongs to the branched out variety of the species. The leaves are flattish, succulent pads covering in spiny dots. New "pads" emerge from the existing pads end on end. This plant is not the true cactus that we find in the desert. It is a forest type. Do not over water or it will collapse, but during the hot summer months, it is best to keep watered regularly. Bright light with some full sun is a good idea.


Spider Plants are the most recognizable house plant there are. (also called Chlorophytum) They are incredibly adaptable to most household conditions. They tolerate hot dry air, but will also grow in cooler temperatures. They are adaptable to bright light or moderately shaded rooms as well. A NASA study showed that spider plants will filter formaldehyde particles from the indoor air. Spider plant is also known for pushing itself right out of its pot over time. It produces thick, white, root balls that very quickly will fill the bottom of the pot. 1/3 of the plant should be removed when it is necessary. A happy Spider plant will bloom tiny white blooms on long thin tendrils, which will produce plantlets. The baby plantlets that will grow out of the main plant and hang down will easily root if placed in some damp soil or a cup of water for a few days. I have pictured both a variegated and a plain green spider plant. The plain green variety( in my opinion) is easier to keep happy than the variegated one.



I have managed to coax the spider plant above to go to seed...and have started many many plants from them.

The ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas) is a prehistoric-looking plant. It is difficult to come across, but well worth it when you find one. It is adaptable to the conditions that an indoor Gardener has to offer such as dry air and lower light levels. It is also able to withstand a bit of a drought, as it sports tuber like roots that will store water for when needed. ZZ Plant prefers bright, filtered sunlight to partial shade. In the summer months this plant will benefit from being placed outdoors in a dappled shade area of your garden.


Arrowhead Vine (Syngonium) is a hanging or climbing plant, depending on your preference. If you add support, this plant will climb, if you do not, this plant will hang gracefully. Each leaf on this plant will emerge as a simple arrowhead shape, but as it matures, it will transform into a deeply lobed leaf made up of three or four leaflets. One plant can sport several different leaf shapes. I have the emerald gem variety, but you can buy them in solid formed leaf colors too. This plant flourishes under bright light conditions with no direct sunlight if it is the variegated leaf type (shown above) The solid color leaf types like partial shade. Regular watering is a must for this plant.


Philodendron. This one name can describe several different plants. There are hanging and climbing and tree-type varieties. The one below is a Philo-selloum. I have also seen it called a lacy philodendron. It is a tree-type variety. This plant likes dappled shade and bright light but never full sun. If you put her in full sun...she will get a burn. Philodendrons on average do not grow very quickly. The leaf span on this one can range from a new leaf being about three inches the largest most mature leaf being almost two feet! This species is a low maintenance and easily adaptable houseplant. Besides being almost impossible to kill and long lived, this plant is always a treat for the eyes!


This Philodendron is called Philo-scandens. It can be a hanging or climbing plant.


This is Devil's Ivy. (Epipremnum) It resembles the philodendron and is often confused with it. Devil's Ivy is one of the most common and easies houseplants to grow. It can be a hanging or climbing houseplant. This plant, if taken care of, can grow to 8 feet or more! Bright to moderate light is necessary to keep it happy, and water when dry. This one is a variegated type, but you can see them with full green leaves as well. You have to trim some of the stems regularly to keep the plant from looking straggly and bare. Placing the cuttings into water will encourage rooting..which in turn means more plants!


Snake Plant (Sansevieria) is a super easy to grow plant. You don't' need much light or water! You will need a heavy based pot to grow this plant in as it will tip over due to the long leaves. Other than the easy part, this plant speaks for itself!


Wax Plant (Hoya) features succulent foliage and waxy clusters of flowers. This plant is virtually indestructible. It will grow and bloom even when you neglect it. This plant are generally used as a hanging plant, but can also be trained to climbing. They love bright light and some direct sunlight. This one used to be a variegated variety, but somehow reverted back to full green due to the abundance of light I give it.


Aloe features thick succulent foliage and a long spike of flowers. They are slow growing succulents that sport thick, fleshy tentacle type leaves edged with spike-ish hooks. Aloe is easy to grow and will thrive on any sunny window sill.


This is a Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) . It for me is just growing a few roots. Once planted in some potting soil, I will place it in a shaded but bright room and water regularly. If you forget to water this plant, you will know it wilts immediately once it is too dry.


Very pretty when mature and in bloom.


This is my favorite house plant. It is called a Monsterra Deliciosa. This can become a giant if taken care of. The one I am showing is much smaller than the one I used to have in my living room. In a few short years my plant was 8 feet tall! The leaves were 24 inches across! This plant is sometimes called a Philodendron


This is a Dracena Marginata. It is commonly referred to as a corn plant. Dracena prefers bright to moderate light that is shaded from direct sunlight. This plant can also tolerate some lower levels of light. If you get a variegated one, it will need brighter light to keep it's foliage colors. They are an easy plant to grow.


This one is also a Dracena. It is a spike version...called Dracena marginata tri-color. It has red and green and light green in the leaves! All Dracenas are prone to become tall and leggy. They are a tree type plant. If it gets tall and leggy, it may need to be staked.


This plant is called a split leaf Philodendron...commonly called a Swiss cheese plant, or shot gun filly! I like the holes that develop in the leaves. It does not like too much light...but too little light will make the leaves solid in form. Water moderately and make new plants from cuttings


The next photos are of the Ficus family. The common names are generally Fig related. There are many more types than I have shown, but I don't have them at this moment. This very dirty specimen is called Ficus Elastica (Black Prince) Also known as a Rubber Tree Plant.

I just bought him and he came all dusty and dirty. I didn't clean it as I wanted to show you how they often come. I will be using a damp rag to clean the can also take a cup of milk, a bottle of beer and some water, mix them together and wipe the leaves with it. This mixture will make them very shiny. The mixture is also good for all houseplant leaves. I also have been known to take all of my plants outside or put them in the bath tub and shower them off. The Ficus family likes bright light to partial shade. Ficus elastica will adapt to morning sunlight, but afternoon sun is too hot and will burn the leaves. Water moderately and enjoy.


This is a clean version of the Black Prince.


This is a Ficus Elastica Tri-Color.


This is a ficus Rubiginosa....also called a Rusty Fig



Everyone knows this one! It is a Dieffenbachia. Common name is Dumb Cane. This plant is famous for being poisonous. When pruning it, always wear gloves. You will get a nasty rash. Dumb Cane likes bright light shaded from direct sunlight and moderate watering. Likes high temps. This plant will grow to a tall tree if treated properly.


This plant is called a Spineless Yucca. It features sharp razor like foliage and woody stems. This plant loves bright direct sunlight all year long. Keep the soil moist in the growing season, and allow to dry a little in the winter. You can take this plant out to your garden in the summer time, but keep in a sheltered location.


This succulent plant is called Haworthia Fasciata. Common name....Zebra Haworthia. It resembles an aloe plant and sports thick, sharply pointed, ribbed foliage. That long thin spike is a left over from a bloom. The blooms are pink trumpet like flowers that will last only one day. Because it is a form of succulent, you need to water sparingly in the winter, but moderately in the summer. I fill the bottom bowl and allow the plant to suck up the water from the bottom. I have my plant in full sunlight and it loves it. Will grow in lower light levels for short periods of time.


Most of you are laughing like crazy at my houseplants right now. Many of these are common garden plants where you live. In Canada...the only way we can enjoy these tropical babies is to have them in the greenhouse and home. They would never survive the harsh winters we have here. If anyone has any other tips about any of these plants....PLEASE feel free to leave them in our comment box. We can always appreciate a tip or trick or two!

I use the same fertilizer on the houseplants that I do on the garden plants. I water weekly in the cooler months, and feed weekly (on Friday). If we are lucky enough to get some hot weather, I will water more often as needed.

I am always trying to get all of my house plants to bloom and eventually go to seed or reproduce by way of plantlets or off-shoots. There is nothing more rewarding than to grow your own new plants from seeds you harvested or plantlets you rooted yourself!

I am always on the look out for new plants. I try to have one of every kind I can get my little mitts on!. Plants are a great hobby for this girl, and in order to have as many as I can , I use them in my decor of my house...I would be so very happy if I could just live right in my greenhouse!

Until next time...Happy gardening!

`*.¸.*´Tootsie/ Glenda
¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.


artis1111 said...

I didn't get to watch the RMS show, but I saw the pictures on their site. They also had the comments posted like ours.Even he got some bad reviews. It mad me think, how perfect does a room have to be,I am sure those who lef comments had perfect homes.A perfect never has a fingerprint, water stain,dust,a cobweb,lamp shad crooked,picture ajar,coffee cup in the sink. No ,a perfect house may not, but a perfect home has imperfections, that meke it a home. Kathy

SweetAnnee said...

You have a GREEN thumb..what wonderful house plants you have..
thanks for sharing..
I love plants too!!

Julie said...

Hi. What an informative post!!! I absolutely love your spinless yucca. I am wondering if you have a Fittonia? I love them...they are kept in low light and stay so happy! I love my red, white and pink leaves varieties. If you visit my blog, and click on my Fittonia label, you will see what mine look like! I think you would love them...they propogate in water, and when they get leggy, I just trim them, and they do great. I found mine at Target and Walmart. They are put out by Angel Plants Nursery.

Unknown said...

Your house plants are great! I got quite an education here this morning. Also loved the pictures on the sidebar.
I think this is my first time here!

janet said...

thanks for stopping by tootsie, that is how i feel, there are so many things i would change in this house if given the opportunity to build or buy again, i hope one day it does feel like home....that is too funny about the paint, we havent painted alot here yet, but give me our neighbours are so close i feel like when they are in thier driveway i could sit in my living room and have a chat with i know im lucky and shouldnt complain, but this non fancy new build was suppose to be our dream house, all 1150 sq feet....
you have such beautiful house plants, i just bought two and so far they are is a philedendrom (i think) and this other one is really odd, thats why i bought it and i believe its called a sago palm, i need to research it and learn more about it, i will post a picture for you on my sure do have a way with plants and flowers, absolutely gorgeous

Justine said...

You go girl! It was so fun to look through all these pics of your favorite house plants, and to read about them.. I have a plant here that my niece got me last year and I have no clue what it is. It's a succulent, and it flowers (well, it did when i got it) but I don't know what it is. I've gotta take a picture of it for you. Maybe you can identify it for me.

Justine :o )

Raxx - A day in the life said...

Serioulsly Girl! Write a book! No BS! You see, you give a perspective in your descriptions that is so easily understood! Wonderful photos and another great entry!

janet said...

tootsie, i just did some research on the Sago Palm and it isnt actually a palm, but its very poisonous, many dogs have died eating this plant. From what i read people that live in the warmer climates plant them outside or put them on patios. Im not sure i will keep it, i know my kids wont eat it, but if im not home and for some strange reason my cant decides to climb on the counter and nibble...doesnt normally get on the counter but im not sure i want to take the chance. I do many house plants can be poison, but this one is almost scarey.....eeeek!

SG said...

Whoa. Now you're scaring me. All those houseplants!

That's so cool about your eyes! It's amazing how eyes change color. I never understood that. If eyes are the window to the soul what does that say about you? You're fickle?

So, question... Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Kathi said...

I'm drooling over your green house that I see along your side panel. What gorgeous house plants too. You are amazing.


Buffie said...

Great info!! I have a ZZ plant that wasn't looking so good...I just went and put it on the screened in porch, hope it likes it better there.

Anonymous said...

Oh, this is a keeper! Packed with wondeful information. I once read a suggestion to keep an aloe plant in the kitchen--take off a leaf and rub the juice on a burn. As for your favorite, the monstera deliciosa, my mother had one and called it elephant's ears. Fieldstone/Pam

Penny said...

Excellent post Tootsie. I also love all types of plants but have nowhere near the knowledge of you. It's amazing to me what all you can keep thriving in Canada. When I lived in FL I had houseplants galore, but I thought it was too tough here in Georgia. You are putting my thinking to shame! I like the split leaf plant you showed. I've never seen it and it's pretty cool. If you have a moment, could you please come by and tell me if you would take the vine plant out of the planter I made? I'm not familiar with it and it seems to really be taking over. I'm wondering if it will start to kill the other flowers? Have a great day! Penny aka interiorpassion on RMS

SG said...

I'm an idiot. It's Glinda The Good Witch. Not Glenda. lol.

mrsben said...

As said many times, I am not a Gardner but I surprised myself as I did recognize some of these plants as my Mother loved h/plants.
I think my favourite is The Black Prince, though I believe I do have a Dracena, Philodendrum and of course a kitchen-Aloe, plus three African Violets. That's it! I'm definitely going to print this off Tootsie and give a copy to my daughter who has a 'green thumb'.
Thank you again for sharing your knowledge. With appreciation.....
P.S: I have a silly (stupid?) question for you. If the plant is healthy to begin with where do the Mealey Bugs, Spider Mites or Scale Insects come from that attack them?

Country French Antiques said...

WOW! I'd say you have a bit more green than a thumb and you make me green with envy! My gardening skills are limited to hosta's and ivy.
Thanks for stopping by my blog and your support at RMS. I would be delighted to exchange links with you!
Have a wonderful day!

Tootsie said...

hello! those bugs you asked about....can be in the soil, or they can have hopped off a less healthy plant, or....they can come in through a window, door...pretty much anywhere! I hate mealy bugs the most. You have to use a Q-tip and rubbing acohol to remove them....and that ususally does not work!

Penny said...

Hi tootsie, thanks so much for stopping over and your advice. I'll transplant it to another pot. Yay, more dirt time! :-) I wonder how long this vine will be by the end of the summer? Think I'll plant it in a hanging planter in a tree. :-) I have a comment about your Snake Plant. I don't know if you've heard of this name or not, but in the south we call it a Mother In Law Tongue. HA! I had a real long box planter of those one time between a neighbor on my balcony. It worked fab as a divider. Thanks for adding me to your list. Your on mine. Have a good week! Penny aka interiorpassion

mrsben said...

Re my question(s),thank you so much Tootsie for answering. I sincerely appreciate your profound knowledge. -Brenda-

Nancy Jane said...

What a terrific post. It's readily apparent how much you love your plants by the details you gave us. All of my house plants eventually moved in to my husband's office years ago. Couldn't keep them in the house with the demon kitties. They ate several to death and would have polished off the rest if we had let them. My husband's office had great light and a hugh amount of space. When he retired he left them in the office, and last time we stopped by, they were still there and thriving! Now you know why I'm so anxious to have full outside gardens! - Nancy
PS: Glad to see that you survived the camping weekend, and your sweetie is a "cutie"!

Life on the Edge said...

Wow, I really learned a lot! This might inspire to actually try to keep a plant alive in my home. I truly have the brownest thumb out there. My garden thrives because it has rained a lot and is fairly low maintenance. My son wanted a plant for his room though and he chose a dracaena marginata. He liked the red in the leaves. He has done a pretty good job of keeping it alive so far. It seems to be thriving.


Terrie's Lil' Piece of Serenity said...

WOW!! You have a lot of beautiful houseplants!!

Terrie's Lil' Piece of Serenity said...

Hey, gf! I don't hear much from you. I hope I didn't hurt you in some way. I miss you! Where are your garden pictures??
Hugs, Terrie

Anonymous said...

Hi totsie:
thank you so much for all your information, I would like to ask you
more advised about the peace lily
I don't know what to do with it as it looks very sad in my bathroom.
I tried to change positions but nothing seems to work.
I can send you pictures for you to see. I hope you can help me.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful site. I too have a very healthy Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata) which is nearly 6 foot! It has now become too tall for our bathroom. This is the only space in the house where we can keep it, so is it possible to cut it down without killing it? Your advice would be gratefully appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tootsie,
I have a question about a houseplant I have finally identified. I believe it's a Philo-Selloum or Lacy Philodendron and one of my favorites. My question is: It's growing VERY lengthly rope-like tentacles (3-4 ft long and growing...) and I don't know what to do with them?! They're getting very long. Do you have any suggestions? Could you possibly email me @
thanks! Adelle

Tootsie said...

hello! I love the question! I actually intended to post about this part of the plant and forgot!
Those tentacle -type things are called aerial roots. for many of the phildendron family, they help the plant hold onto whatever it is that they are using as support...they also help support the plant for water intake. No worries...they are not a bad can tie them to the side of the plant, or wrap them into the support or wait until they are long enough and push them into the soil in the pot...they will not hurt anything. You can also wait for them to dry up...sometimes they do...I would not be cutting them all off at the same time as the plant my not survive that...but one here or there should be fine.
hope that helped!
if you need more answers....let me know!

Unknown said...

For most of your ivys, they are acid loving plants.. You can put a small amount of beer in there and it will help them like you would never think! It makes them stronger and grow faster.. I would recommend using soda water with no sugar or flavor in stead.. the acid in there helps a lot.

Anonymous said...

Hellow Tootsie, my name is Marie Lu and Im from Southern California My favorite houseplant is the golden pothos or epiprenum aureum.
when you say "pinch out growing tips " or "cuttings " and put them in water to make knew plants, I dont know how to do that, Ive tried but It hasnt worked. can you please help me.
Is there a site that I can go on that will show me a video no how exactley to cut or pinch orwhatever I have to do?
your houseplants are beautiful and your yard and greenhouse, never seen anything so pretty.

Tootsie said...

perhaps the article I wrote about starting your houseplants would help you.
I also cannot help much if you don't leave me your email or contact information. thanks for the visit and I do hope that the post about the rooting of houseplants will be helpful

Anonymous said...

To kill almost any insect, use mineral oil mixed at 2%, 20 mls per litre. Mix this in a spray bittle and add a few drops of dish soap. The oil suffocated the insects anjd the soap keeps the oil mixed in the water although you do have to keep shaking the spray bottle to keep it completely mixed. We use this in our research greenhouses along with predator bugs.

Anonymous said...

Philodendron arial roots can be cut off at the stem with a sharp knife. We cut them off as they end up rooting into other plants on the benches and make a mess when you go to pull them out. They do help the plant get water but at the slow rate they grow indoors, the roots they have in the soil are sufficient.

Anonymous said...

Your Ficus rubiginosa is actually just a variegated F. elastica. The leaves of F. rubiginosa have a slight felty texture underneath and the leaves are maximum 5 inches in length. We have all of them in our speciman greenhouses and they are side by side for comparison. It looks like an elastica but is miniature. F. rubiginosa also comes in green, a darker wine colour and variegated. Do a google images search of all your ficus and compare.

Anonymous said...


Flat Enchilada said...

Greetings from San Antonio, Texas!

Tootsie, I googled to identify a houseplant that was a gift; hence, I found you.

I love your blog and lovely, simple passion for plants.

Haven't tried blogging yet, but you are inspiring me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting your houseplant pics along with their descriptions. I have been searching for hours trying to find out what type of plant I have. I had it for years, but never knew what it was. It's a swiss cheese philly!!! Thank you.

Unknown said...

I fell in love with hoyas when I was really young. My grandma got one on her honeymoon to Hawaii 70 some odd years ago! It used to be huge and each "branch" of the vine was seven feet long! It would bloom every spring and winter. The smell is just plain delicious! When she had to move out of her big farm house, she cut it down to almost nothing and gave some to anyone who wanted it. Mine survived but isn't growing any new ends. I bought some new healthy ones and they did the same thing. I am doing everything my grandma said. I water generously when the soil is dry, and I fertilize every two months with quarter strength veggi fertilizer. What am I doing wrong? Do I need to hang it? (P.S. My grandma said to get it to flower and grow at its best it needs to be hung. Is this true? It flowered twice early on and then never again.) Any suggestions would be greatly appriciated.

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