This Week In House Plants

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Happy Saturday!

I am officially back into Calathea! This is the plant person’s equivalent to cutting a fringe – I might be fine; I might be working through a breakdown. We won’t know for a while yet!

When I was researching my article on whether pebble trays work or not (I believe it’s being published this Monday, but spoliers: they don’t really) I finally got around to replacing my defunct hygrometer. I’ve not had one since we moved into this house, so imagine my surprise when I discovered that the ambient humidity is, like 65%.

It’s actually a bit higher than my last house, but without the damp. I can only assume it’s better insulated and ventilated.

Aaand then I went shopping on Sunday and spied this little Orbifolia baby. We were actually hitting up a new big Tesco, but then stopped at a garden centre on the way. I wanted a honeysuckle for outside but saw this little dude:

Only £5.99! bargain!

As you can see, he’s a little…worn. It mostly looks like cosmetic damage, but there’s also a watering issue somewhere. Could be humidity, could be water quality. It doesn’t really matter, tbh, the leaves won’t recover so we can only move forwards!

He was SUPER dry when I got him. I actually ended up stopping the car and watering him en route home. I don’t think I’ve ever had to do that before. There were two little new leaf spikes so fingers crossed I got there in time!

In my experience Calathea either grow pretty quickly or not at all, so *hopefully* she’ll be a full plant before winter strikes.

I’ve put her on my bookcase, about 10 feet from a BIG south-facing window, but window’s on the south wall and the bookcase is facing east. It might get direct light for, say, ten minutes a day, but it’s definitely not in bright light.

I would call this medium light, but it’s also good light. It’s in a bright room that stays light all day, and, crucially, is equidistant between all the doors so it’s as far away from a draft as it can be.

Will it be happy??

We’ll have to see, but I never count my chickens when it comes to Calathea.

This Pilea is going WILD atm. She’s basically pushing out three new leaves at a time. From one plant. And all the pups are doing the same. It’s definitely the light – she’s in a south-facing window. There was a bit of heat stress at first, and I lost a few leaves, but they’re coming in thick and fast now.

New claw is incoming.

My Anthurium Clarinerveum is FINALLY rid of all her thrips. It’s taken YEARS. I have a tonne of new growth coming in, but imagine my disappointment when this leaf turned out to be a flower.

Anthurium flowers are pretty boring to look at, and start to smell like bin juice after a day or two. I am not a big fan. There are currently four growth points, and I really, really, hope I have at least two leaves.

My Monstera is also thrips free, and growing her first untainted leaf in yonks! It’s also her first with splits down both sides. Well done love!

This week’s plant tour is actually a haul from Keely Joy. It features a Syngonium Milk Confetti that is STUNNING, but…you know when you see a plant and you just know that it would hate you?? I got that vibe from that plant. So I shall just admire it from afar.

Apparently Alocasia was the inspiration between that beanstalk. I always assumed it was, you know, a beanstalk. I did a bit more research on that (a lot of articles were quite happy to just cut and paste that info word for word from the article I linked to) and found out that in south-east Asia they changed it to an Alocasia, presumably because it makes more sense to them.

I’ve written an article on ABG soil mix, only to discover that it’s pretty crap for the environment. Further research discovered that eco-friendly soil mixes are pretty difficult to come across, so I want to hear from people that approach house plant care from an eco-friendly standpoint. Do you all just use leca? Is coir ok, even though it’s terrible from the perspective of human rights?

One of the reasons I always reuse my soil is that it seems ridiculous to waste it. Because I have so many plants, I just add more worm castings or other soil amendments to recharge it.

Have a great weekend! I have three new house plant books to read, so keep your eye out for reviews.

Caroline Cocker

Caroline is the founder and writer (and plant keeper) of Planet Houseplant

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