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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Life Cycle Of A Fern

Ferns, unlike some other plants, do not flower in order to propagate. Instead, they reproduce sexually from spores. The life cycle of a fern is very different from the life cycle of many other plants. While many plants grow a mature adult form straight out of the seed, ferns have an intermediate stage, called a gametophyte, which then grows into a mature fern.

There are two distinct stages in the life cycle of ferns. The first stage is that of the gametophyte. Spores are produced on the underside of mature plants. These will germinate and grow into small, heart-shaped plants called gametophytes (picture on the left). The gametophytes produce both sperm and egg cells, and will fertilize itself, or others. Once the fertilization occurs, the adult fern will begin growing.

The second stage in the life cycle of a fern is the adult stage. The fertilized gametophytes begin to look like a mossy growth. After some time, young fronds will appear, rising out of the moss. If direct sunlight falls onto the young fronds for an extended period of time, the plant may die easily. This is because the tiny stems are not strong enough to sustain direct light and will dry out.

Once these tiny fronds grow larger, the plant has a better chance of survival. When the veins are matured, moisture from the ground will be transported easily to the outermost leaves and the plant can withstand periods of direct sunlight. After the plant is large and mature, it will grow spores on the undersides of its leaves and the life cycle of a fern will begin again.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Ferns For The Garden

Outdoors, most plants enjoy consistent moisture and shade to part shade. Some varieties, such as Ostrich and Royal can grow in full sun if given very wet conditions. Look for plants that are native to your region. The leaves look great in naturalistic woodland gardens, perennial shade borders, along streams and pond edges, in containers and as groundcover. In warm climates, staghorn varieties can lend a tropical air to a garden when grown attached to a tree trunk. Tree varieties can also be quite impressive as the focal point of a garden bed.

The following are beautiful and adaptable.

  • Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’, Japanese painted, zones 3-8
  • Adiantum pedatum, Maidenhair, zones 4-9
  • Osmunda regalis, Royal, zones 3-10
  • Osmunda cinnamomea, Cinnamon, zones 3-10
  • Dryopteris spinulosa, Common wood, zones 3-10
  • Dennstaedtia punctilobula, Hayscented, zones 3-9
  • Polystichum acrostichoides, Christmas, zones 3-8
  • Polystichum munitum, Sword, zones 8-11
  • Matteuchia pennsylvanica, Ostrich, zones 2-9

Propagating Your Ferns

The plants are most easily multiplied by division. For houseplants, divide when clumps get crowded or when lots of new offshoots are growing. Plant each section in a small pot. In the garden, divide established plants in spring before new growth appears. Dig up the whole clump and saw or pry the sections apart. Replant at the same soil level as before and water well. Ambitious gardeners may want to try growing them from spores.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Ferns As Your Houseplants

The fern is often associated with lush, cool glades and moist valleys. Both indoors and out, the green foliage provides a sense of calm. While many varieties love damp, shady conditions, the fern can be found growing in a huge range of conditions on almost every continent. There are species native to desert, alpine, forest, meadow and wetland ecosystems. Not all are ‘ferny’ either, some like the shield fern, don’t have tiny pinnae on their fronds, but have large, strap-like leaves. And Holly ferns have leaves like, well, holly. They are an ancient group of plants does not produce flowers, but instead reproduces by means of spores.

While outdoor plants usually love shade and evenly moist conditions, indoor versions prefer moderate to bright, indirect light and like to have their soil dry out slightly between waterings. Like a lot of house plants, a fern does best when slightly root bound. High humidity is really beneficial, but as most homes don’t have much moisture in the air year round, spraying the leaves with water from a mister a few times a week is a good practice. Pebble trays filled with water beneath the plant can also help raise the humidity around the plant.

Picture of Maidenhair Fern

Here are some attractive and easy-to-grow indoor varieties:

Picture of Asplenium nidus

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Caring For Maidenhair Fern

Maidenhair Fern grows all over the world in tropical to warm temperate climates. The stems were used in basketry by various peoples.

Numerous varieties are available of these most delicate and beautiful foliage palnts, whose pale green foliage contrasts with their black stems. Bright, direct sunlight and dry atmospheric conditions will prove fatal. Offer maidenhair ferns lightly shaded positions in a warm room: place plants in a larger container and surround their pots with a moisture-retaining material such as peat. Misting of foliage is often recommended, but this exercise can have undesirable effects if the surrounding air temperature is inadequate. It is therefore better to use the mister to wet the soil surface. Avoid use of chemicals on foliage. When potting on, a peaty mixture is needed, and once plants have established in their pots weak liquid feeding will be needed every time the plant is watered. During winter, feeding is not important and watering should be only sufficient to keep the soil moist.

CULTIVATION: Prefers alkaline soil. Woodland leaf duff mixed with limestone or ground oyster shell works well. As with most ferns it should have good drainage and be kept moist at all times. This fern is very popular for its propensity to produce volumes of delicate graceful fronds. It will grow quickly to fill its container, and can be divided as many times as you wish. Cut off the existing fronds when (re)potting sections of rhizome. Most books recommend a shady placement, but mine get a good deal of morning sun and seem to love it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Facts About Maidenhair Fern

Adiantum pedatum five-fingered maidenhair fern is native to the whole Atlantic seaboard of North America, to the center of the continent, but not the western half of the continent, where its environmental niche is filled by A. aleuticum, the Western Maidenhair. Formerly these two ferns were thought to be variants of the same speces, so outdated references are apt to state that A. pedatum is found throughout the continent.

It is not at all sun tolerant, requirng shade to deep shade. Nor can it tolerate droughtiness. Given its minimal requirements of shade & moisture & organically rich soil, it is fantastically hardy. It likes to be surrounded by leaflitter, so does best under deciduous trees. It dies back entirely in winter so is not worried that its location gets sunny after leaf-fall.

It is among the most beautiful of all ferns, "graceful" & "delicate" being the most recurring descriptors. The shiny black stems are lined on two sides with lacy leaves, in upright to fountaining sprays.

Maidenhair fern is the source of a pleasantly aromatic volatile oil long used as a rinse or shampoo that rendered black hair very shiny, hence the name Maidenhair.

The same extracts have been peddled by herbalists to cure asthma, the flu, or as a general tonic which, for so long as you take it, will prevent you from catching whichever are the illnesses you happen not to get, but apparently useless for whichever ailments you do get.

Its tripernoids & other chemical components are interesting in their own right & have undergone hundreds of laboratory studies, but authentic medicinal value has proven to be illusive.

The tough, water-repellant, shiny black stems were used by Native American peoples in basketweaving. The genus name means "repels water," for indeed raindrops weigh down the fronds & drop onto the ground leaving the fronds nearly dry.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Medicinal Uses Of Maidenhair Fern

A plant of great delicacy, maidenhair fern has a thin, polished, black main leafstalk and fanlike leaflets supported by stalks as fine as hair. The plant has a gossamer look that makes it in demand for dried flower arrangements. Maidenhair fern prefers a wet environment, usually growing in limestone soils dampened by waterfall spray. Water runs off its foliage with the result that, even after being immersed in water, it emerges with dry leaves-hence its scientific name, Adiantum, meaning "unwetted." The fern's association with hair gave rise to an old belief that drinking a tea made from the plant could keep hair from falling out.

Maidenhair fern contains flavonoids (including rutin and isoquercitin), terpenoids (including adiantone), a tannin and mucilage.

A tea from the fresh plant has been used as an expectorant in treating coughs since the time of the ancient Greeks. Later herbalists prescribed maidenhair fern for more serious respiratory conditions, such as pleurisy, but with less success, for it is not a potent plant. Maidenhair fern was also employed to promote menstruation and as a mild diuretic.

A relative is the northern maidenhair (A. pedatum), which has a somewhat forked stalk, as opposed to the single stalk of A. capillusveneris, also called southern maidenhair fern.

Aerial parts are used by Western herbalists to treat coughs, bronchitis, excess mucus, sore throat and chronic nasal congestion, maidenhair fern also has a longstanding reputation as a remedy for conditions of the hair and scalp.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Pictures Of Maidenhair Ferns

Maidenhair ferns are leafy, non-flowering plants. They are very delicate and require good wind protection to grow nicely. Maidenhair ferns are slow spreading and non-invasive. Maidenhair ferns are deciduous in colder climates, but grow best in zones four through nine.

The Maidenhair fern, like all ferns, requires partial to full shade and consistently moist soil. The Maidenhair fern will grow to a height of one to two feet and similar size in width. Maidenhair ferns are typically grown in shady gardens, or in hanging baskets indoors.

The Maidenhair fern is naturally grown in wet tropics, where it can be found in moist open sites along riverbanks. This fern is fairly easy to care for, needing only decent shade and well-drained soil that is moist to thrive. Maidenhair ferns propagate best by division.

Maidenhair ferns are also used in the creation of herbal medicines. Parts of the Maidenhair fern are used in the creation of herbal medicine for colds, asthma, sore throats, kidney stones and liver problems. The leaves of the Maidenhair fern are also used to make an herbal tea.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Adiantum (Maidenhair Fern)

Common Name : Maidenhair Fern

Scientific Classification

Kingdom Plantae

Division Pteridophyta

Class Pteridopsida

Order Pteridales

Family Adiantaceae

Genus Adiantum

Maidenhair ferns
are ferns of the genus Adiantum, which contains about 200 species. It is the a member of the family Pteridaceae, though some researchers place it in its own family, Adiantaceae. The genus name comes from the Greek, meaning "not wetting", referring to the fronds' ability to shed water without becoming wet.

Maidenhair ferns are distinctive in appearance, with dark, often black stipes and rachises, and bright green, often delicately-cut leaf tissue. The sori are borne submarginally, and are covered by reflexed flaps of leaf tissue which resemble indusia. Dimorphism between sterile and fertile fronds is generally subtle.

Picture showing Adiantum capillus-veneris (Maidenhair Fern; Venushair Fern) growing on On rock walls at Dripping Springs, Grand Canyon National Park.

Maidenhair ferns generally prefer humus-rich, moist, well-drained sites, ranging from bottomland soils to vertical rock walls. Many species are especially known for growing on rock walls around waterfalls and water seepage areas.

Adiantum pedatum

Two species are commonly native to the eastern United States, with one of these common to western Europe. The Five-finger fern (Adiantum pedatum) is a distinctively American species, with a highly distinctive frond form and a bifurcating frond that radiates pinnae on one side only. It grows from sub-arctic North America into the deep south of the U.S.

The other American species, which also grows in Europe, is the Venus-hair fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris). This fern is strictly a southern species in the U.S., and in Europe is confined to the mild, humid Atlantic fringes, including the west of the British Isles.

Adiantum capillus-veneris L.

Many species are grown in the horticultural trade, including both of the species mentioned, as well as a number of tropical species, including A. raddianum and A. peruvianum. List of Various Species of Adiantum

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Winterizing The Houseplants

If you're like most people, your house plants have probably suffered from neglect while you've picked summer flowers and planted autumn bulbs. The question is, what's the best way to revitalize and winterize a house plant?

Marion Owen, gardener at the University of Alaska says it starts with a 'Clean and Feed,' a technique she developed to clean indoor plants and feed them at the same time.

Every home and office space creates dust and other airborne particles that eventually settle on everything from table tops to leaf tops. Plants breathe and even feed through the tiny openings in their leaves. If these openings become clogged, plants suffer. For us, it would be like trying to eat and breathe through a sock.

To clean and feed plants, take a section from a clean, white T-shirt or rag and dip it in lukewarm water, or diluted broth left from steaming fresh vegetables or boiling eggs. For even better results, use PlanTea, the organic fertilizer in a tea bag.

Then, supporting the leaf on your upturned hand, gently wipe the leaf with the cloth. Rinse and re-dip as needed. For hairy, African violet-type leaves, just brush with a clean, dry paint brush to remove dust.

To perk up and winterize house plants:

  • Turn your plants occasionally so all sides get enough light.
  • Avoid 'leaf shine' products which clog pores and attract dust.
  • Mist plants periodically (except African violets) to prevent dust from settling.
  • Re-pot plants with fresh potting soil every two or three years.
  • Conduct a clean sweep for pests--check stems and soil as well as leaf tops and bottoms.
  • Remove shriveled leaves and trim browned leaf edges.
  • 'Tickle' the soil monthly with a fork or spoon to loosen crust-overs.

Studies have shown that indoor plants not only clean the air, they lift our spirits. As valuable additions to our living spaces, they deserve to be clean. According to Larry Hodgson, author of Houseplants for Dummies, "Dirty, dusty foliage cuts back on the light indoor plants receive and slows respiration, leading to weak, lackluster growth and even leaf loss." Cleaning house plants improves their appearance, stimulates growth, and helps control pests.

Feeding houseplants is essential to winterizing your plants.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Sansevieria 'Golden Hahnii'

The genus Sansevieria, a member of the agave family (Agavaceae) contains approximately 60 species indigenous to Africa, Arabia, and India. Several species and their cultivars are grown commercially for use as interior foliage plants. Indoors they may be used in floor level planters, small specimens, dish gardens and other combination planters, and occasionally in hanging planters. Sansevieria use depends upon growth habit, texture, and color of the plant.

Sansevieria trifasciata and its cultivars have been important foliage plants in Florida since the late 1920's. More than one-half of the sansevieria produced in Florida during the 1930's were shipped to Europe. Today bare-rooted plants are imported from the Caribbean Islands and Central America because of their low production costs. In 1956 sansevieria constituted 16 percent of the total foliage plant mix produced in Florida, but by 1975 they accounted for only 3 percent.

Sansevieria trifasciata `Golden Hahnii', golden birdnest sansevieria, has attractive green leaves with a combination of marginal and internal yellow stripes of variable width which are parallel with the veins. Discovered by Sylvan Hahn `Golden Hahnii' was issued a plant patent (Plant Patent No. 1224) in 1953. Producers have not attempted to grow `Golden Hahnii' extensively because the pattern of variegation is rather unstable and growth rate is slow.

Sansevieria 'Golden Hahnii' is rarely offered for sale today, because the plant is incredibly slow growing. There is also a plain green S. 'Hahnii' (see picture below) but it is not in the least attractive compared to the golden-coloured variety. Both make neat rosettes of overlapping leaves 10cm in length.

One of the best homes for them is a dry bottle garden; or they can be used in a dish garden. Liket he more conventional sans
evierias, both 'Hahnii' varieties abhor wet conditions, and will quickly succumb should the prevailing conditions offer a combination of wet and cold. Warm and dry will suit them very much better; in winter they will go for weeks on end without any water, and in some situations they could well go throught the winter completely dry, as do most of the cacti and succulents. Feeding is not important, but a loam-based potting mix will be much better than one that is entirely peat. Avoid cold and wetness.

Picture of
Sansevieria trifasciata cv. Hahnii

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii

Scientific Name : Sansevieria trifasciata "Laurentii"
Common Name : Mother-in-law's tongue ;
Variegated Snake Plant

Scientific classification
Kingdom Plantae
Division Magnoliophyta
Class Liliopsida

Order Asparagales
Family Ruscaceae
Genus Sansevieria
Species S. trifasciata

This plant is almost indestructible. The leaves are about 60cm long, thick and fleshy, holding a lot of moisture which the plant can draw on as needed; in view of this, it is important not to overwater, nor to give any more than the plant requires.

A good watering once
each month in summer should suffice, with none at all during the winter months. This may seem harsh, but if plants are to be exposed to colder winter temperatures they will get through much better if the soil in the pot is dry rather than wet.

Potting ought not to be done too frequently, and one can leave the plant until it actually breaks the pot in whihc it is growin g- the swelling bases of leaves within the pot are quite capable of breaking clay as well as plastic pots.

Loam-based soil is essential when pottin gon, and clay pots will help to maintain the balance of these top-heavy plants.

Sansevieria trifasciata "Laurentii" or Variegated Snake Plant, is native to Africa. It has stiff sword-shaped leaves to 4 feet (1.3 m) long by 2.75 inches (~8 cm) wide. Leaves are banded yellow on either side with a deep green, lightly banded center. It is the leading commercial variety of Sansevieria. It is grown for the hemp-like fiber in the leaves, which is called bowstring hemp. They are an attractive plant for pot culture and are very durable to a wide range of condition.

Blooming Time: The flowers are greenish-white and are on 18-inch (45 cm) spikes in spring.

Culture: Sansevieria trifasciata "Laurentii" will survive in a wide range of conditions. They tolerate the low light conditions and are very drought tolerant. In the greenhouse, we grow ours under 52% shade with a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. Plants are watered every other week during the growing season. Plant are fertilized only once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. During the winter months, the plants are given only enough water to keep the foliage from wilting.

Propagation: Sansevieria trifasciata "Laurentii" are propagated by division of rhizomes at anytime of the year.

Important note : Avoid cold and wetness together.

Like some other members of its genus, S. trifasciata yields bowstring hemp, a strong plant fiber once used to make bowstrings. It is now used predominantly as an ornamental plant, indoors in cooler climates and outdoors in warmer climates. It is also often used as an air purifier because it has a tendency to absorb certain poisonous substances.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Picture showing the flowers of Sansevieria

Thousands of households and offices have pots of "Mother-in-law's tongue" or "Snake plant" sitting in a dark corner gathering dust. For many of us, this is the only exposure to the wonderful Sansevieria plant family. This plant can even flower!

Sansevierias is a group of about 60 Agave related species from India, Indonesis and tropical Africa. A couple of species are common as house plants.

Sansevierias flowers are white on an unbranched spike, vaguely reminiscent of a hyacinth. They are often scented, particularly in the evening. They are propagated by seeds, suckers or leaf cuttings.

They are very tolerant of poor growing conditions and low light. If you water them once a week or every two weeks, they will be happy. The only mistake you can make with them is over-watering. Growing them in a peat-based potting media is best provided you have added perlite or vermiculite for drainage.

The Sansevieria or "Mother-in-law's Tongue" got its name from its tapering leaves that resemble a tongue. The tough fleshy leaves of the plant contain fibres and have two different colours: the middle part being a darker green while the outer part is a lighter green.

Sansevierias grow from rhizomes. When potting them up, make sure the rhizomes are covered but don't bury the base of the leaves. Use gravel to cover the soil. This helps to keep water from collecting at the base of the plant and provides support while the plant is settling into its new home. They may be top heavy until they are firmly rooted. Since this plant prefers to be pot bound, plan on leaving it in the pot for several years. The tall varieties have deep pots while the dwarf varieties are grown in shallow pots.

Only a few Sansevieria species are commonly found in florist shops or garden centers. These are the Sansevieria trifasciata varieties. Most garden center plants are S. trifasciata or S. trifasciata var. Laurentii which has a yellow strip on the edge of the leaves. With good light and cultivation these plants may grow up to 5 feet tall. In most settings, they average 2-3 feet tall. These are succulent plants with thick, sword-like leaves.

Some shops carry the S. trifasciata 'Hahnii' which is a dwarf variety forming a low rosette of leaves. Unfortunately, it is rare to find any other varieties in local florist shops or garden centers.

Picture of Sansevieria hyacinthoides

One reason this plant species interests me so much is that S. trifasciata often sends up leaves looking very different from the original plant but growing from the same rhizome. These are referred to as "sports". Plant growers isolate these sports and begin developing a new plant variety. If they are able to propagate it, collectors will have a new variety to grow. Specialty nurseries carry many varieties looking very different from your standard "Snake plant".

One of my favorite species is S. trifasciata ‘Bantel's Sensation'. It has green and white stripes running the full length of its leaves. I have found it to be very sensitive to over-watering and find that 2-3 times a month is the most--otherwise it tends to succumb to rot. My favorite dwarf variety is S. trifasciata ‘Golden Hahnii' which is gold and green striped. It too is very sensitive to over-watering.

Check your local florist shops to see which varieties they carry. Although these plants can be higher priced than other houseplants, they last forever if given proper care.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Epipremnum aureum

Scientific Name : Epipremnum aureum Syn. Scindapsus aureus
Common Name : Pothos, golden pothos, devil's ivy

S. aureus used to be one of those varieties that were difficult to propagate and to care for indoors. Yet we now have a plant with the same name that is one of the most reliable and one of the most colourful foliage plants available. It can only be that by constant re-selection a much tougher strain of teh same plant has been evolved; there is now little difficulty in propagating it, and it seems to hav
e an almost charmed life indoors.

Belonging to the Araceae family, it needs a reasonable amount of moisture in the pot and , if possible, also in the surrounding atmosphere. The variegated leaves are green and gold, and for a variegated plant it has the truly amazing capacity of being able to retain its colouring in less well lit places.

Most other varietgated plants dete
riorate or turn completely green if placed in locations offering insufficient light.

The devil's ivy will also climb or trail as desired, and does well in hydroculture.

Plant Description : Evergreen vines with stems green and striped with white or yellow; leaves heart-shaped, variegated; flowers in a spadix surrounded by a spathe.
Ease of growing : very easy to grow

Indirect or bright diffused light is best.
Water: Moderately moist soil is preferred. Water thoroughly when the soil surface is dry to the touch. Do not allow plants to stand in water.
Origin : Asia
Poisonous Part : Whole plants
Symptoms : Burning and swelling of lips, mouth, tongue, and throat, also diarrhea. Skin irritation from frequent contact.
Toxic substance : calcium oxalate crystals
Severity : Toxic only if large quantities eaten. Causes severe pain in the mouth if eaten. Skin irritation minor, or lasting only for a few minutes.
Pothos plants are very tolerant of watering variations and are resistant to most pests. For best color, provide bright light. In low light situations, most Pothos will lose their leaf variegation and become solid green. These plants vine very easily and can cascade from ceiling to floor to create a dramatic hanging basket. Avoid hot, dry conditions.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Epipremnum pinnatum

Scientific Name : Epipremnum pinnatum
Common Name : Centipede tongavine, Devil's Ivy,
Silver Vine, Taro vine, Pothos

Scientific Classification

Kingdom Plantae

Division Magnoliophyta
Class Liliopsida

Order Alismatales

Family Araceae

Subfamily Monsteroideae
Genus Epipremnum

Species E. pinnatum

Epipremnum pinnatum, commonly known as Pothos (once classified under genus Pothos) and Silver Vine, is an aroid native to southeast Asia(Malaysia, Indonesia) and New Guinea.

It is a liana growing to 20 m tall, with stems up to 4 cm diameter, climbing by means of aerial roots which hook over tree branches. The leaves are evergreen, alternate, heart-shaped, entire on juvenile plants, but irregularly pinnatifid on mature plants, up to 100 cm long and 45 cm broad (juvenile leaves much smaller, typically under 20 cm long). The flowers are produced in a spathe up to 23 cm long.

Cultivation and uses

It is a popular houseplant with numerous cultivars selected for leaves with white, yellow, or light green variegation. It is often used in decorative displays in shopping centres, offices, and other public locations largely because it is a very hardy plant that requires little care and is also attractively leafy. It is also very efficient at removing indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde, xylene and benzene.

As a houseplant it can reach two metres or more tall, given suitable support. For best results it requires low to medium light; bright light is tolerated, but lengthy spells of direct sun will scorch the leaves. The plant prefers a temperature of between 17 and 30 °C. Generally it only needs water when it begins to feel dry to the touch. For best results a liquid fertiliser can be added in spring, and they should be repotted every couple of years. However, this is a robust plant that can stand a fair degree of abuse. It will grow hydroponically quite readily.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Chlorophytum comosum, The Spider Plant

Scientific Name : Chlorophytum comosum

Common Name
: Spider Plant ; St. Bernard's lily

Scientific Classification
Kingdom Plantae
Division Magnoliophyta

Class Liliopsida
Order Asparagales

Family Agavaceae

Genus Chlorophytum

Species C. comosum

Like privet hedges in the garden the chlorophytums of the houseplant world appear to be everywhere. Yet they are not always a
s bright and healthy as their ease of culture would suggest they should be - in fact, many are extrememly poor specimens. This may be due to the fact that owners feel that they are so easy to grow that they don't have to bother at all.

Give the chlorophytum good light to prevent it becoming thin and straggly, and keep it moist at all times, especially during summer.

The most important need of all and the one most neglected, is that of feeding, and feeding the spider plant means giving it very much more than the average indoor plant. Frequent potting on is also essential, and this could be necessary twice a year for vigourous plants. Spider plants produce large fleshy roots and quickly become starved if not supplied with sufficient nourishment
. Use a loam-based potting mixture.

A tufted grass-like perennial herb, to 60cm high. Leaves are grass-like, and may be solid green, although the variegated form with pale green and white longitudinal stripes is more common. Flowers are white with six petals, in branching heads. Small plantlets are produced at the tips of the flowering branches. When the branches bend over and the plantlets come into contact with the soil they take root.

Preferred habitat and impacts:
Occasionally found naturalised near towns, as a result of dumping of garden waste in accessible spots. Individual clumps can spread quite extensively, excluding native plants.

Dumping, vegetative spread by plantlets leading to gradually increasing clump size.

No very similar plants, particularly of the variegated form.

Do not dump garden waste. This plant is unlikely to spread into native vegetation without such assistance. Plants can be dug and burnt or deeply buried to prevent them re-sprouting, or sprayed.

Flower Color: white

Blooming Period: spring summer fall

Height: up to 16 inches

Foliage Texture: medium

Heat Tolerance: high

Water Requirements: medium

Additional Comments:Aphids cause blotched leaves

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Chlorophytum is a genus of about 200-220 species of evergreen perennial flowering plants in the Agavaceae, native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and Asia.

They grow to 10-60 cm tall, with a rosette of long, slender leaves 15-75 cm long and 0.5-2 cm broad, growing from a thick, fleshy rhizome. The flowers are small, usually white, produced on sparse panicles up to 120 cm long; in some species the panicle also bears plantlets, which take root on touching the ground.

Chlorophytum comosum the Spider Plant, a native of South Africa, is a very popular houseplant in its variegated form form.

Spider Plants have long narrow leaves that are 20-40 cm long and 5-20 mm broad, which grow from a central rosette. It also produces branched stolons with small white flowers and baby plantlets.

It is a very popular houseplant. The most widely grown is the variegated cultivar 'Variegatum', with one or two broad yellowish-white bands running along the length of each leaf, but natural, all-green plants are also grown.

The Spider Plant is very easy to propagate. They can be propagated by splitting its main rosette, or more easily by removing plantlets from the stolons and potting them separately. It is an especially popular plant with beginners, as it is easy to grow and propagate and is very tolerant of neglect, being able to thrive in nearly any type of condition.

Although Spider Plants are generally considered to be non-toxic to cats, ingestion can often result in vomiting and temporarily altered behavior.

Studies have shown it to be particularly effective in absorbing chemicals (formaldehyde, benzene, etc) and cleaning the air in homes, or offices.

Chlorophytum borivilianum is eaten as a leaf vegetable in some parts of India, and its roots are used medicinally as a sex tonic under the name safed moosli. The medicinal value is thought to derive from its saponin content, up to 17 percent by dry weight. As medicinal demand has increased, the plant has been brought under cultivation.

Safed Musli belongs to the family of Liliaceae, is a traditional medicinal plant found is natural forest right from east Assam to Gujarat. It is a pretty herb of 1.5 feet high with erect lanceolate herbed leaves erect dense flowered racemoses of white colour.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Plant Health

Improper watering, sudden changes in environment, cold drafts, lack of fertilizer, insect or disease attack may cause problems for houseplants.

Common Causes of Unhealthy Plants

Symptom Possible Cause
General defoliation • Sudden change in temperature
• Transplanting shock
• Sudden change in light intensity
• Over-watering
• Lack of light
Browning of leaf tips • Improper watering
• Exposure to cold drafts
• Insect attack
• Excess fertilizer
Loss of normal foliage color • Over-watering
• Lack of fertilizer
• Insect attack
• Improper light
Spotted foliage • Over-watering
• Burning from direct sunlight
• Disease