(Office plants on the windowsill)

This is the second post regarding my office plants. This post will look at the plants which grow on the windowsill in my office.

(Ardisia japonica 'variegata')

Ardisia japonica 'variegata'

I had written about my Ardisia japonica 'variegata' plant in January of this year. Since that time it has grown quite a bit but it still remains in the same pot as it was in at that time and is probably due for a new pot. It receives both fluorescent light and light reflected off some of the metal siding of the office building where I work. It normally gets watered about once a week and has only once started to wilt due to lack of watering on time. In the previous post I had written about it I envisioned this plant being able to produce some berries or small fruit, which I had read about while researching the plant, but thus far it has not produced anything beyond new growth. It obviously does not have the appropriate conditions to produce such fruit. The most likely reason for the lack of fruit is inadequate sunlight. Regardless, it still adds a little variety to my office plants with the variegation on the leaves. I had previously recommended it as an office plant and this recommendation still holds true. Go out and buy one for yourself!

(Hedera helix "Ivy")

Hedera helix "Ivy"

This Ivy plant was purchased back in January and you may have seen a picture of it in another post I did recently regarding an anniversary present, but this plant is another plant that provides a nice variety of color with it's variegated leaves. This plant has been doing well since I purchased it. The one thing that the plant seems to dislike is the amount of light it receives since it wants to grow towards the light outside and this has resulted in all of the leaves facing toward the window. This is not really a problem or anything, since I still like the plant, but I might have changed the location of the plant if I had known that it would grow like that.

(Crassula ovata "Jade")

Crassula ovata "Jade"

This Jade plant was purchased at Wal-Mart, which is not really known for their plants, but it sometimes offers somewhat decent plants. The plant has been growing well for the past year, although the speed of growth has never been all that impressive. The plant does not receive any actual sunlight in my office, once again only receiving reflective light off the metal of the building, but it does receive about eight hours of sunlight per weekday. It gets watered about once every seven to ten days, and since it is a succulent this watering schedules seems to be adequate. The plant itself is about ready for a new pot, but like my other plants needing a larger pot, I just haven't had enough time to get around to moving them. Also, you may notice that the plant has googly eyes on it and for more information as to why this is the case, you can read about it in this post. This plant is great if your office receives enough light or will have an adequate amount of fluorescent lighting. For only a few dollars to buy one of these plants, go ahead and try to grow one of these in your office!

(Schlumbergera "Christmas Cactus")

Schlumbergera "Christmas Cactus"

My Schlumbergera or Christmas cactus (Thanksgiving Cactus, Holiday Cactus, whatever you want to call it...) has been doing fine in the office. I have had it in the office since last December. For a while this plant did not really do anything at all, but since May it has pushed out some new growth and looks relatively healthy. Hopefully I will be able to get this plant (or any of my other schlums) to bloom this year. This is also an easy plant that I would recommend for someone looking for a plant to have in their office.

(Ficus retusa "Ginseng Ficus")

Ficus retusa "Ginseng Ficus"

This is another plant that was written about previously. This Ficus retusa is still alive and has been doing rather well, although from looking at the picture of it in the previous post, which was taken back in January, I can tell that the leaves have thinned out a bit. This is likely due to slight changes in lighting or temperature which have occurred over the months. Additionally, there was one time for this plant where it may not have been correctly watered. Another change I made to this plant, on the great advice from readers, was to remove the rocks which had been glued on top of the soil. This has made it easier to tell when to water it and I think it has made the plant healthier. At the same time, however, I think it resulted in some temporary leaf loss, although the plant has since stabilized if it was indeed a result of moving the glued rock layer. This plant also, like the Jade plant, has two googly eyes on it. This is a nice plant, although it is sometimes fussy, so be aware of that if you want to buy one.

(Fittonia argyroneura 'Pink Vein')

Fittonia argyroneura 'Pink Vein'

My Fittonia argyroneura 'Pink Vein', which is just one of many of my fittonia's, is a plant that adds more color to my office. This plant is one of my favorite office plants and it has been very easy to take care of. It does very well with the fluorescent lighting in my office and it also enjoys getting the reflected light from outside. The most difficult aspect of taking care of this plant is being able to tell when it needs to be watered. If I do not water it exactly at the right time, the plant gets very fussy and will wilt, which basically makes the plant look like it has passed out. It is a beautiful plant and I recommend it if you are looking for a nice office plant.

(My Sansevieria trifasciata when it was blooming)


One of the non-windowsill plants, which I forgot to include in the first part of the Office Plant posts, is my Sansevieria. The reason why I forgot to include it in the other post is because it is located at the other end of the building and I normally only see if when I go to water it. I had written a post in July about how the plant was blooming, and the plant has not done anything else since then. It is still alive and doing well. Sansevieria plants are great for the office because they do not require all that much light, so they are yet another recommended plant for your office.

This is the first of two posts regarding my office plants. Enjoy!

(Epipremnum aureum or Pothos)

It has almost been a year since I wrote the first post on this blog entitled "The Tale of a Troubled Pothos", and then a subsequent post about the status of the plant in "Work Pothos Update", where I chronicled having to save a pot-bound pothos. The plant has been growing wonderfully since it was repotted in December 2007. It seems to enjoy and flourish behind my computer monitor which I use extensively for my work. Hopefully it will not completely wrap around my monitor otherwise my boss might not be too happy!

(Dieffenbachia 'Perfection')

The next plant, which is pictured above, is a Dieffenbachia 'Perfection'. It was purchased from Lowe's last week since they were having a 75% off sale on their tropicals, so I was able to purchase this plant for around $1.25, which seems like a steal for such a nice looking plant. Annah and I have another one of these dieffenbachia's at our house.

(Zamioculcas Zamiifolia or "ZZ Plant")

The next work plant is my Zamioculcas zamiifolia ("ZZ Plant"), which you can read about in an older post here. Earlier this spring this plant was very busy sending up new growth all over the place and by the time it was all done it had pretty much doubled in size. Since then, however, not much has really happened with this plant and it is probably due to be moved to a new pot one of these days. It is one of my favorite plants at work since it does not require much work except for the occasional watering.

(From left to right: Pachira aquatica ["Money Tree"], Radermachia sinica ["China Doll"], and Chrysalidocarpus lutescens ["Areca Palm"])

The next group of plants are located at a west-facing doorway, so it receives the afternoon sun. It is also a door that is not frequently used so the temperature and humidity usually stay rather constant. The individual plants will be discussed below.

(Pachira aquatica or "Money Tree")

The first of these plants is a Pachira aquatica or Money Tree, which I guess is technically not my plant, but is instead belongs to my boss. It was given to him by me and my fellow coworkers for his birthday in September of 2007. I have been taking care of it and watering it since then. The plant has been doing rather well, although it has lost some leaves due to problems of either watering too much or too little. There was also a period of time when the plant was struggling because it was in too small of a pot. Sometime around May I repotted this plant into the green pot you see now. The plant still might need some work to get it to grow better, but at the current time this plant seems to be doing just fine.

(On the left is the Radermachia sinica or "China Doll"; On the right is the Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or "Areca Palm)

The two other plants growing in this part of the office are the "China Doll" (Radermachia sinica) on the left and the "Areca palm" (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) on the right. These were two other plants that were purchased from Lowe's during their 75% off sale on tropical plants, and they seemed like a good deal for $1.25 each! I do have some concern with the China Doll plant since Annah's mom tried to grow one of these plants but did not succeed in doing so. It has so far survived one week in the office and has hopefully received an adequate amount of light and water. There will be a future update on this plant to see whether it has survived or not. The Areca palm has also survived the past week and also seems to be getting an adequate amount of sunlight, although it is my first Areca palm so I hope I will be able to grow it!

Check back in a few days for the second post regarding my office plants!

Anniversary Gifts: Ivy Topiary & Roses

Posted by Jordan | Thursday, September 18, 2008 | , , | 0 comments »

The second post of the day! Wow!

For our anniversary yesterday, Annah bought an Ivy Topiary (Hedera helix) for me along with a little garden/house plaque to brighten up our living room. For her, I bought a dozen red roses which you can see in the photo below (although only half are in that vase). I had thought about getting her another orchid to add to our collection, but decided against it since we are still determining whether or not we can keep our first and only orchid alive. The roses are beautiful and they will add a lovely splash of the color red to our house, even though they will not last forever.

This Ivy Topiary is my first experience with a topiary. I guess having a topiary means that I will have to sculpt and maintain the shape of the plant into something that looks nice and presentable. We will see how that goes. The other Ivy I have growing at work has been growing well in my office and has grown well since I got it in January (see photo below).

I'm confident that I will be able to grow the new Ivy and be able to keep it looking as nice as it is now.

Aglaonema spp. ("Chinese Evergreen")

Posted by Jordan | Thursday, September 18, 2008 | , | 2 comments »

(Our Aglaonema 'Silver Bay')

Annah and I currently have two Aglaonema's (Aglaonemae?) at our house and they are two of our favorite plants. We have had them since early spring and they have been two of the easiest plants to take care of. The two different cultivars we have are an Aglaonema 'Emerald Beauty' and an Aglaonema 'Silver Bay'. The 'Emerald Beauty' was purchased at Lowe's, where we actually got this plant for free after the use of a coupon, and the 'Silver Bay' was purchased from Home Depot a few weeks later.

(Our Aglaonema 'Emerald Beauty')

Before the move to our own house, these Aglaonema's were growing in two different rooms of my parent's house, with the 'Emerald Beauty' growing in a warmer room, where the temperatures got up to as high as the upper 80's, and the 'Silver Bay' was in a room where the temperature only got up into the middle 70's. The humidity was usually around 50 to 60 percent for each plant and each received light from the afternoon sun. The new house has similar growing conditions for each plant so neither plant should be affected too much by the move. Each plant is watered every 7 to 10 days.

(Aglaonema 'Silver Bay' flower)

Both plants have bloomed since they were purchased. I have pictures from this summer when the 'Silver Bay' was blooming, and I thought I had pictures of the 'Emerald Beauty' flowering as well, but I cannot seem to find them.

(Aglaonema 'Silver Bay' flower and new leaf)

These plants have required very little grooming. The hardest job that I have had so far is removing the dead flower spaths from the plant. While these flowers add an interesting look to these plants, in the future I am considering whether or not I should remove the flowers right away so the plant does not have to waste energy on them.

Annah and I will be keeping our eyes open for any different or new cultivars that we can add to our plant collection since they are easy plants and they look good too!

For a more informative and wildly entertaining post on Aglaonema's, which also includes a lot of great pictures, you can check out this post at Plants Are The Strangest People!

(Strelitzia reginae on the left and Monstera deliciosa on the right)

Our Monstera deliciosa and Strelitzia reginae ("Bird of Paradise") that we purchased at a local grocery store, as you may have read about in the post about reaching our milestone of 100 plants, are both recovering from spider mite infestations. I noticed the first sign of spider mites on the Monstera deliciosa one afternoon while I was watering and pruning the plant, and I promptly sprayed the plant with my handy Safer's Insecticidal Soap. I quarantined the plant for several weeks, spraying the plant every 7 to 10 days with a new coating of the insecticidal soap, and the plant currently looks like it is free from spider mites. It is currently at our new house and seems to be growing just fine, but it remains quarantined from the rest of the house plants. The side angle of the Monstera above might not adequately show the true health of the plant since the picture makes it look somewhat flattened out. In reality, when the plant is viewed from the top the leaves and the rest of the plant look relatively healthy. If it does end up dying then I will likely purchase another one.

The Strelitzia reginae or "Bird of Paradise", which had been growing at Annah's apartment was apparently the perfect breeding ground for hundreds of spider mites. Neither of us had really noticed them until I lifted up the plant in preparation for the move. Instead of moving it right away, I once again used my Safer's Insecticidal Soap and quarantined it for a few weeks since we had a month to move everything out of her apartment. The last day of the month finally came in August and it has been at the new house ever since. It appears to be free of the spider mites, but it is still quarantined next to the Monstera deliciosa just as a precaution.

I am guessing that each of these plants were infected with a few spider mites at the time of purchase and then the growing conditions we were providing the plant were perfect for the spider mites to thrive. I had inspected the plant upon purchasing, but apparently I did not inspect it as thoroughly as I had thought. I will have to be more thorough next time so this will not happen again.

Garden & Houseplant Updates

Posted by Jordan | Tuesday, September 09, 2008 | , , , | 0 comments »

It has been a month since the last update about the garden at my parent's house, in which I described toward the end of that post a little experiment I was going to do with a few select plants that I had started from seed. I had started them with the intention of growing them in the garden only to later realize that there was not enough room in the garden. Well, you can take a look at the images below to see their progress. So far the plants have been growing well and are starting to produce fruit, although I'm not sure if any of the fruit will ripen to maturity by the time we have our first frost, but hopefully they will ripen. The region of the state where we live had a little scare last night with the temperatures dipping into the upper thirties for lows, but so far it does not appear that any of the plants succumbed as a result.

(The seedlings still growing...one of the banana pepper seedlings has a pepper!)

The actual tomato plants in the garden have been producing a fair amount of fruit. All of heirloom tomatoes this year have been extremely delicious and have varying colors and textures to brighten up the garden. Our selection for the dinner table include: Golden Sunray, Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, Red Zebra, Black Prince, Golden Peach, Green Zebra, Lemon Drop, and a Black Cherry variety. I will plan on growing all of these varieties in the future. You can purchase heirloom seeds online at Seed Savers Exchange.

(Golden Sunray)

(Red Zebra)

(Black Prince)

(Golden Peach)

(Green Zebra)

(Green Zebra)

(Black Cherry Tomato)

All of our cucumbers and squash got some sort of disease or virus and have died over the past few weeks (see picture below). As a result of this, my parents will only be planting tomatoes in this section of the garden in the future.

(Dead Cucumber plants and squash plant.)

Nearly all of our houseplants are at the new house and so far the transition has gone smoothly. There is a small glitch we are working out with our heating system in our house, but luckily it is not winter yet and all of the houseplants should survive. Our plants are neatly arranged in the top room of our house, where theoretically in the winter the heat from the rest of the house will rise up to that room to keep it warm enough, and the room should get sufficient sunlight throughout the winter months.

In the next few weeks I hope to have a post a more thorough update about our new house and the houseplants growing there. Also, if I have the chance I hope to write a post about my Aglaonemas, which are currently some of my favorite plants. So keep checking the website for more updates!