Let’s talk easy-care indoor plants, air purifying plants, fertilizer and mealy bugs.
It’s Saturday! The day I water my plants and fuss over them just a bit. Today we’ll propagate a monstera and deal with mealy bugs. I’m not a great plant mom — here are the ones that have survived.
(Also, I can’t find the battery to my good camera, so phone photos it is!)
I wrote this before Hurricane Ian. We are fine and had minimal property damage. (See the video of our experience here.) We are grateful, but our hearts are heavy and broken for those close to us who have lost everything. I don’t have eloquent words. Please pray for those who are still living in their previously flooded houses, who are devastated, who don’t know what to do next. 💗
Fiddle leaf fig tree
We’ll start with Figgy. She’s a 10-year-old fiddle leaf fig tree and brings such happiness to the space. She’s lost quite a few leaves over the last few months, which concerned me, but now I’m seeing new branches form. Maybe we’ll add some fresh soil and a little fertilizer today, although it’s probably a little late in the season for that. I read that spring is the best time to fertilize, but she seems like she needs a little help.
I have another fig tree in the dining room that’s doing fantastic in this spot.
I’m obviously not an expert but here’s what’s working for my 2 figs:
- They get lots of indirect sunlight. (Figs do not care for strong direct light.)
- Our house is not cold. Usually around 75 degrees (we live in FL).
- I rotate the tree every few months so it grows evenly, but I don’t move them much more than that because they seem to like staying in the same spot.
- I don’t overwater them. In fact I often forget about them! If the edges of the leaves are turning brown that can signify root rot from too much water sitting in the planter. These don’t drain, so I use water sparingly.
- A good rule of thumb is to water when soil is dry two inches deep.
- I use fertilizer.
- I dust them.
- Occasionally I spray with with water that has a touch of neem oil.
Neem oil is from the seed kernels of Neem trees. It’s a natural insecticide and funcide and leaves a healthy sheen on the leaves.
I added these snake plants to this ledge over a year ago and they’re still doing great even though they don’t have substantial light. Snake plants are great for air purification and stay alive easily. I have yet to kill one and that’s saying something!
I get a ladder out and water them once a month. Ok, sometimes every month and a half when I put it off. But they don’t seem to mind too much. I have a highly technical system of plastic bags around the pots up there. So because there isn’t proper drainage, I just water them with very little in hopes that it doesn’t make a mess.
Here in Southwest Florida real snake plants are cheaper than faux. I paid $25 per plant at our local nursery. I highly recommend buying from local nurseries rather than big box stores because the plants were grown right there in your climate and are more likely to survive when you get them home.
I have two monstera deliciosa plants and they are turning into monsters! Beautiful monsters, but large nonetheless. I didn’t know much about them before I bought them, but after a little research, I see that a lot of people stake them so they grow up rather than out and down.
So today I’m going to attempt to propagate one of them that is outgrowing its pot. The roots hanging down are called aerial roots and help the plant “climb” up trees in nature.
To propagate, you cut right below the aerial root (so that it stays with the branch you will propagate) and just stick the branch in water.
It takes 6 weeks to root and then you plant. This photo was taken 10 days after I cut the branch.
And we won’t forget about you, Phil. He is an anthurium plant or flamingo flower and very easy to care for. He will grow beautiful waxy red flowers that last months.
The tale of two pathos. These viney, easy-to-grow plants add a fun whimsy with their waterfalling tendrils. One is so happy and flourishing here by the front door. Just a little bit of water once a week and she is fine.
Lady Green, however, is forever bringing forth mealy bugs. My nemesis. (Nemeses?) So, every week I take a Q-tip and rubbing alcohol and try to kill all of them! I’ve tried insecticide, neem oil, calcium hydroxide. None of it got rid of them permanently. All suggestions are welcome!
Today, I’m going to cut her back a little and wipe the rest with the alcohol swabs. I will win!
Propagating pathos is super easy. Cut right below the nodule and put it in water! It will root and then you can plant it. Or just leave it in the vase as decoration. This photo was also taken 10 days after I cut the vine.
I am 90 percent I labeled this plant correctly. I bought it at Home Depot eight years ago or so. It grows more slowly, but it’s one of my favorites! The leaves are similar to those of a succulent.
She’s ok if you forget her for a bit, but she got angry with me when I moved her a few months ago to paint the living room. But she’s recovering and I’m sure she’ll forgive me.
This plant is hardy and needs little care or water. I know she’ll be with me for many years to come.
Chinese Money Tree
And finally, I believe my last indoor plant is this cute little Chinese money plant, coin plant, pancake plant … whatever you want to call it. She was outside and struggling, but she has been growing very steadily since I gave her a new home here by the window in the office. Again, I like the money plant for its resiliency and hardiness.
Oh, and this is my oregano plant. It has white flies on it. So annoying! It was so happy in my dining room before this. But no one seems to want white fly oregano soup so I put it outside.
I’m done with herbs. I’ve tried about 5 of them this year and failed every time.
When the weather cools down a little, I’d like to give you a yard tour with all our fruit trees, pineapple, climbing jasmine trellis, my in-law’s pretty garden. But for now, I hope you have a wonderful week and I’ll see you next Saturday!