Sunday, February 2, 2014 Helps Spread the Word!

We love it, of course, when someone reads our book and likes it, especially when they like it enough to share it with their readership.  This weekend, Julie Bawden-Davis highlighted Indoor Plant Decor on

The site contains a wealth of information about houseplants and anything that promotes growing some of our favorite plants is all right by us. Julie also writes for and gave us some good press on that site several weeks ago.

Thanks, Julie!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Houseplant of the Week: Norfolk Island Pine

It's Christmas time and as you've been wandering aimlessly about, shopping for gifts for people who already have everything they need, you may have noticed this awesome plant that looks a lot like a little Christmas tree.  It almost looks like it could be a type of pine tree, but it's not, even though "pine" is in its common name.  The Norfolk Island Pine has been a favorite of houseplant growers for a long time, mainly because of its uniform needled foliage and the fact that it's one of the easiest plants to grow in the house.

Common Name: Norfolk Island Pine, Star Pine
Botanical Name: Araucaria heterophylla
USDA Hardiness zones: 9b-11
Size: In its native environment, it will grow to over 40 feet tall and 20-30 feet wide. Houseplants are available in much smaller sizes though, usually from about 1-3 feet.
Light Requirements: Bright indirect light
Water Requirements: In summer, keep moist but not soggy; in winter, let soil dry out between thorough waterings.
Soil Requirements: Fast-draining potting soil
Flower: Because it is a conifer, Norfolk Island Pines will produce cones, but as a houseplant, you're not likely to see this.
General Considerations: The Norfolk Island Pine enjoys misting with cool water, which will mimic its natural climate in New Zealand, where it originates.  If the air is too dry for too long, the tips of the needles will brown.  A home humidifier in heated winter homes will generally make them happy, as it will its human housemates.  Don't prune, as all growth will stop at the point of pruning.  Fertilize monthly during summer months with half-strength water-soluble plant food.

Where to Purchase: Commonly found in big box stores, garden centers and grocery stores, especially during the holidays.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Houseplant of the Week: Tillandsias

Welcome to the wonderful, slightly bizarre world of tillandsias! I fell in love with this plant a few years ago when I was on a trip to Nicaragua, where tillandsias grow in trees. Tillandsias are epiphytes, meaning they do not need soil to grow. Instead, they attach themselves to their host (trees, for example), but are not parasitic. They rely on the host plant for support only, and gather all their nutrients through their leaves from the environment around them. Tillandsias are perfect for open terrariums (closed terrariums should be avoided because they don't have enough air circulation), mounting on rocks or driftwood, and displaying in moss on tabletops. I love the varied, other-worldly forms, don't you?

Common Name: Air plant, tillandsia, tillies
Botanical Name: Tillandsia spp.
USDA Hardiness zones: 9-11
Size: Anywhere from tiny 1" to fairly gigantic 40"
Light Requirements: Bright but filtered
Water Requirements: Low to average (do not overwater).  Let dry out between watering. Soak tillies in water once a week for about 20 minutes, then shake the water out and allow to dry before replacing in your display. You can mist them in between waterings, or you can opt to mist them every other day in place of soaking. 
Soil Requirements: None
Flower: Many, but not all, tillies bloom. Flowers are usually a tubular shape and have bright colors like purple, pink, yellow, blue and white.
General Description: Tillandsias are the largest genus in the bromeliad family, with over 550 different species. They are native to large parts of Central and South America, as well as some southernmost parts of the United States. The most important thing to remember about Tillandsia care is good air circulation and bright light. You can place them outside during the warm months, but keep them out of direct sunlight. You can give them some water-soluble fertilizer, mixed at ¼-strength and sprayed on, every two weeks. Tillies do not need fertilizing, but if you want to encourage bloom and faster growth, it's recommended.
Where to Purchase: There are many online stores where you can order tillandsias if your local garden center does not carry them.