Wrightstown, NJ(Zone 7a)

I have found it very confusing for many people who want or have houseplants to find a thread that they can ask questions, show pictures and hopefully learn without spending hours looking for one. Not that the information is not here on DG, but it is hard to find a specific thread to fit some of our problems and/or questions. I thought I would start this thread to possibly assist the new members as well as the old timers, to put our thoughts and experiences here, in one place and save some time hunting the proper place to be. If it works fine, if problem.

This thread is open to all discussion, questions, etc. about HOUSEPLANTS or even plants some people may want to use in containers and never thought of them being houseplants. We can all learn by sharing and that is what this is all about. No questions are comments are boring....I am sure we all have pictures to show, so please feel free to join in. If we do not feel we can help, or there is another thread where you can get even more information, we will show you where that discussion can be found.

This thread is here to help those people who want to learn about keeping plants in your house. Enjoy!

Thumbnail by JBerger
Wrightstown, NJ(Zone 7a)

I will begin this thread with my thoughts about June and houseplants. There are so many neat things to be doing in this beautiful month of June that sometimes we forget to think about that little pot on the window sill until one day we look at it and it is really sad, wilted and just sitting there. As it looks outside it sees all the activity going on in the outside garden where all the annuals and shrubs are blooming and smelling just great, it is wondering what the future holds for this little pot.

This is what has happened to my houseplants this past week. I hurt my foot and have been unable to give them the attention they usually get. This morning I hobbled over to check on my Holiday Cactus stock plants and I noticed of all things, MEALY BUG....that white fuzzy little creature who drives all houseplant owners crazy at one time or another. So, now I have to get out the dawn dish washing liquid, Neems Oil, water and spray bottle. I mix these together and keep it on hand at all times because I have found that this little bug pops up no matter what season it is, it can be found on some houseplants. I have never had it on Holiday Cactus before. I do now. Not in the greenhouse (I hope) where the babies are but now I will be looking for it as soon as I can walk there to check.

If anyone has this problem or has a quick cure for it other than the Neems oil, please drop in and share.

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

Try Azamax for your bugs. Amazing results. Certified organic, does not smell up my house and it works,. I am bug free, that includes Mealy Bugs! Gene

Wrightstown, NJ(Zone 7a)

Gene, my plants are in my bird room and it must be safe for the birds to breathe. I would love to try Azamax. If bird safe can I get it online? Thanks. I have been struggling with these things off and on and it seems when I get new plants in I have a reoccurance of them. Not sure if they are in my plants soil or come from the new plants? Any ideas about that?

Camano Island, WA(Zone 8a)

I just ordered it I can answer that part. About the birds, I don't know. There was a lot of literature on the website, so the info might be there. I'd sure call the company to ask, though. Those birdies are just sooo sensitive!

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

I believe Azamax is safe for all pets. I have many plants on top of my 125 gal. fish tank and that is usually a concern. Azamax is the only one I have seen that is safe around fish, honey bees and lady bugs. Gene

Wrightstown, NJ(Zone 7a)

OK, I will check it out first. Do not want to kill my babies. Thanks. What kind of houseplants do you all have?

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

I have over 1300 at the moment and no bugs. A statement I thought I'd never make. (The no bugs part.) Gene

Wrightstown, NJ(Zone 7a)

You must be a superman. That is one heck of a lot of plants to have in the house. Good for you Gene. What kind are they. Show us some of them if you have time. I am always interested in what kind of plants people are keeping in their homes. I do not have a large variety since I propagate and sell most of mine. But, I love to hear and see what you all are doing.

New York, NY(Zone 6b)

Good evening everyone. I will be keeping this thread to watch for interesting ideas. I have plants at home that I grow under lights and a nice amount at work. Right now, my hoyas at work are blooming. also have beefsteak begonias, screw pine, adenium and a few assorted plants.


Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

95% of my house plants are outside for their summer vacation. Gene

Wrightstown, NJ(Zone 7a)

Hello Ivy, I have never had a hoya but had a friend who had a passion for them. I do have a few begonias, Tea Rose is my favorite and then there is an old Angel Wing Cane like that I still have a few babies from. The Tea Rose is a beautiful plant and if you put it in the sun it really changes. Here are some shots of both the Tea Rose inside and the Tea Rose in the sun.

First shot is of the young ones that are in the greenhouse. They are all in full bloom just now and they make wonderful house plants. They will bloom as long as they have sun.
Second shot is what they look like sitting in full sun all day. Notice how the colors change. Same plant just different locations.

I have at least twenty different varieties of schlumbergera (Christmas/Holiday)Cactus that I play around with. Some Jasmine, streptocarpus, african violets, spider (different varieties) gardenias, goldfish plant, mandevilla and bougainvillea.

I love plants with a fragrance. The hoya has a fragrance doesn't it? Do they get very big in containers, Ivy?

Thumbnail by JBerger Thumbnail by JBerger
New York, NY(Zone 6b)

I do have a few photos. The first photo is the Beefsteak Begonia. .
The second photo is a Shephardell Hoya with umbels (which I call blooms) which does have a pleasant fragrance that reminds me of old perfume. It is my first bloom for this plant.

This message was edited Jun 17, 2013 9:29 PM

Thumbnail by torriesmom Thumbnail by torriesmom Thumbnail by torriesmom
Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Howdy. I live near Seattle at Latitude 48 degrees (like Paris, France and St.Johns, Newfoundland). Cool dry summers, cool and moist the rest of the year, but in the house it is usually DRY air because the heat is on.
I have made a list of houseplant, organized by how easy they are for me-to be 'easy' it must have never gotten any pests, survive without frequent watering, survive occasionally no water for 2 weeks without dying or losing all leaves, not drop leaves or flowers on the floor much, and not need fussing hardly ever. Even with these strict rules, I have some easy houseplants

English ivy
Sedum donkey tail
Christmas cactus
Strelitzia reginae Bird of Paradise
Hawarthia reinwordtii 'zebrina'
Aspidistra elator 'maculata Cast Iron Plant
Dracaena the "Corn Plant'
Sanseveria I have 4 types (snake plant or mother-in-law's tongue)
Calathea insignis

EASY (fails one rule):
Begonia rex (have to trim brown leaves)
Philodendron bipinnatifolia (got mealybugs once) other philo's want lots of water
Rubber plants (a variegated got mealy bugs once)
Hoya carnosa (mealy bugs)
Jade Plant Crassula ovata (mealy bugs)
Zamioculcas zamiifolia (z.z is easy to overwater)
Croton (easy to underwater)
Maranta (easy to underwater)
African violets (need grooming)
Lady Palm (2 weeks without water is too much)

HARD (fails 2 rules)
Spider plant
Prayer plant
String of beads.

TOO HARD I gave up:
Meyer lemon (mealy bug, scale, needs too much water, drops flowers all the time)
Abutilon (god knows why it dies)
Asparagus fern and others (needs too much water)
Bonsai (gotta water every day because pot is so tiny)
Ficus (drops all leaves if forget to water)
Orchids (usually won't flower again)
China doll (needs water daily)

Here are photos of Begonia rex, Philodendron, Haworthia, the last two I don't know what they are, but they are "easiest".

Thumbnail by Pistil Thumbnail by Pistil Thumbnail by Pistil Thumbnail by Pistil Thumbnail by Pistil
Camano Island, WA(Zone 8a)

Hi JB, yes, the hoyas tend to be beautifully fragrant. They also get big and floppy and want to hang down, so a hanging basket is perfect. They take a few years to start blooming, and for me, it's worth it! I'll post a pic soon.
Gene, please post pics of your flowers! I especially want to make sure that they are wearing flip flops and have little umbrellas in their drinks during their summer vacation. ;-)

Wrightstown, NJ(Zone 7a)

Mimi - great list of some really interesting plants. I love your comments. I was very surprised to see the Spider on the Hard list. Not at all surprised at the Orchids on the Give up list. Me too. The pictures are really nice and clear. Wish mine all looked like that.

Momlady, I am anxious to see your Hoya pictures and Gene, I agree with Momlady, I Want to see these plants that are on vacation.....Hmmmmm.

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

"2 weeks without water is too much..." ? Wow. Yes, most plants need water on a regular basis. Sorry to hear you had issues with bugs and that turned you off of certain plants. I'm repeaitng myself but Azamax is the answer. I've been doing house plants for over 45 years now. Most often isolation was the answer. However, now I have so many plants that have to be under lights for the winter = close together = bugs spreading. Bugs almost made me give up altogether on plants and for sure on certain types of plants. No more. Gene

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

JBerger- I have guessed with spider plants it is the low humidity, as the ends of the leaves usually are brown. I read 3 different explanations for this- lack of water/humidity (likely), fluoride in water (unlikely not a high fluoride water supply), salt buildup in potting soil (unlikely it happens even when re-potted). When I lived in humid NY they did better ( I never had air conditioning there I was a poor student). They never get bugs though. The other problem with the spiders is they bloom a lot, and each little petal falls off individually and over a long time and it makes a mess. The Hoya I have could get very large over time I believe, mine was in a hanging pot and was about 2 feet across, hanging down 3 feet and trying to climb and get into the spider plant with it's long tendrils. When it got the mealies I tried poisons but it was too hard to spray up under the leaves, so I whacked it off at soil level and it is growing back just fine. It is extremely fragrant. The flowers are not very noticeable, but mine is the basic variety and I think some are probably bred to be prettier (anyone have one?)

gasrocks-I ordered some Azamax. How often do you use it? Yah two weeks is a really long time, but my reality is that occasionally I get busy and don't water for two weeks. Usually it happens in winter when it is cool in the house and things are growing slowly because it is so dim. That is probably why some things survive.

Torriesmom -I might have to get one of those begonias just for the name! How do you care for your Adenium (I just got one and it seems to want a lot of water).

New York, NY(Zone 6b)

Here is another photo of the Beefsteak Begonia that I have, the flowers are pale pink.
The Adenium in the 3rd photo in the background has not flowered yet because I do not have enough light for it.

Thumbnail by torriesmom Thumbnail by torriesmom Thumbnail by torriesmom
Camano Island, WA(Zone 8a)

Here's my Hoya bloom. The flower isn't that big, but it smells lovely. The little red parts look like shiny beads. Here's a pic of another cool plant I got recently - Epiphyllum Ric Rac. Gotta love that silhouette.

Thumbnail by momlady Thumbnail by momlady
Wrightstown, NJ(Zone 7a)

Wow, they are just beautiful flowers. Little beads for adorable.

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

Lake Stevens - hate you see you give up on Citrus. Dwarf grafted Citrus can be so enjoyable. The leaves smell good - I give private lessons in photography and one student is from Viet Nam. First things she does when she gets here is steal a couple of leaves to munch on. The flowers have the best fragance that I have ever experienced. I was eating fresh fruitt for weeks and weeks this last winter off my own trees. Right now they are outdoors for the summer and each one is putting out new growth, flowering, setting fruit (with a little help from me and my paint brush.) OK, they can get bugs (Spider Mites,) but the Azamax will handle that easily. Safe to use the day of harvest . Preventive = spray once every 3 weeks is suggested. For plants with bugs, spray every 7-10 days. For a heavy infestation, spray every 3-5 days. Too me, that is not a lot of spryaing. Gene

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Hi gasrocks- I am trying Azamax. If I like it on the houseplants I have now, I might be tempted to try a Lemon again. it was sooo cool having lemons hanging by the dining room table when it was cold and rainy outside! Great shock value for visitors in the dead of winter.

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

Think of the shock value if you lived here !

Wrightstown, NJ(Zone 7a)

I must apologize for the lack of my posts here but I hurt my foot back in June and was more or less out of sorts for the past month. Here we are in JULY and this is a June thread. Until the problems with the new DG site are solved, I think it may be a good idea just to hold off on moving this thread to a new one.

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

Yes, there do seem to be many issues with DG lately. Kinda slows me down even though their tech says they are working on it all.

Wrightstown, NJ(Zone 7a)

This message was edited Jul 11, 2013 3:10 PM

This message was edited Jul 11, 2013 3:11 PM

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

Yes, if I was Terry I would be quickly frustrated trying to deal with people who are not really computer literate and thereby, do not maintain their computers properly. However, do not blame Windows (any version.) I teach several computer classes designed to keep people in love wiht their computer not scared of it. Gene

Wrightstown, NJ(Zone 7a)

This message was edited Jul 11, 2013 3:09 PM

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

Well said.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

JB---Hello on this Thread!!!! I am glad you started it.
Just read through all the Posts and had some comments and some help to express...

JB and I go back a lot on the Mid Atlantic...She is one generous lady. Also knows her stuff!
On the MA--she has taught us all a lot through the threads on Holiday cactus--Christmas cactus and the
differences between the two.

I was involved with a lot of jobs that had to do with Houseplants before gardening became my forte.
I look forward to discussing things to do with indoor plants as I also have about 100+that live
inside for the for the winter. My LR and DR and anywhere else there is a level surface become a Jungle...

In your pictures--the 3rd picture is a Satin Pothos and the 4th is an old, tall
Jeanette Craig Dracena. Spider Plants are also Dracenas--and all Dracenas are sensitive
to salts in the water. The little brown tips are usually a result of this. Tap water is often to blame.
Of course--dry air and no watering can also cause these.

I have many Spiders--and to me--they are one of the easiest plants to have. The CAN go 2 weeks w/o water! They CAN be rejuvenated, when they become root-bound, by removing the root ball and slicing off
the outer rim and the base of it. Like peeling a Pineapple. Then re pot it in fresh soil mix.

The root bound Spiders will have nothing but these white "cloves" all throughout the root ball.
You won't even see any dirt. These "cloves" store water--so it can survive periods of non-watering.
Slicing off the outer part and the base of the root ball will not hurt the plant--it will pout for a while
but will recover and start growing again. This is called rejuvenating.
Be brave and just get an old kitchen knife and go at it.

As far as mealy Bugs (the hardest of all bugs to get rid of) many times they come in with the
plants from the growers--which are, usually, huge facilities in Florida.
Sanitation is hard to achieve when many of the larger plants are grown out in fields.
Oh--they clean them up and spray them before they are shipped--but MB just hide in every little crevice
and come back out when they grow up. They ARE--a pain in the A.......!

I would, seriously, treat any new plant you have purchased for bugs before you put it among other plants.
Systemics work good as they are long lasting. It is aimed at sucking insects, who will die
after sucking up any juices that have become toxic from a treated plant.

I have had a Beefsteak begonia for eons. I keep propagating it, same as my old Angel Wing Begonia.
It is an attractive plant. I keep ALL my plants outside all summer--except my African Violets.
All you need to watch for is their light requirements. They LOVE the fresh air and the humidity!


I have had a Ric-Rac cactus since 2005. You will NOT believe how huge it can grow!!!
When you need to pot it in a HB--make sure it is at least A 10" one and that it has WIRE hangers.
Re potting this monster is NOT easy--so start in a pot with lots of room.
Any pieces of these can be very easily rooted. Just stick them in a pot of soil and wait.
Mine has only bloomed once--in 2006 . Don't really know what the secret is......
I also have 2 red Epis--and they are blooming right now.
They all belong to the Orchid Cactus Family.

--This is my Ric Rac in Nov. 2010. It is bigger now! It is also VERY heavy!
--This is the only bloom it has ever produced--in 2006.
--This is a picture of it hanging outside last summer...2012

Will be checking back on here.....Love this Thread.....Gita

Thumbnail by Gitagal Thumbnail by Gitagal Thumbnail by Gitagal
Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

Systemics turn the whole plant poisionous = dangerous to pets and visitors and, for sure, you. Azamax is the answer. Gene

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Thanks Gitagal!
Love the RicRac.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I am aware of that. I have never heard of Azamax. Been gardening for 40 years.
Pets were not mentioned, and why would it be dangerous to visitors?
They would have to eat the plant to be affected by the systemic. Just touching it would not affect the person,
as the toxins are in the juices of the plant--which is what sucking insects suck--and then, supposedly, die..

The discussion was how to get rid of Mealy Bugs. Just wanted to say what has worked for me.
I treat all my Houseplants about 2-3 weeks before bringing them in with Bonide Systemic Granules.
I have NEVER had any bug issues on any of the plants in my house. And--like I said--i have over a hundred too.

We all do what works for us. Not all products are available in every State.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I got my Azamax by mail order, and read about it. It is a new type product. It really should be less toxic to other creatures. It is to insects/spiders/mites what Preen is to plants-it is a hormone disruptor that prevents growth/molting. It won't work right away, an individual bug will die when it tries to grow, and babies will not grow up. There should be no toxicity to mammals etc, as we do not molt. it really is approved to spray on crops just before harvest. That said, I also have the Bonide and I have the same thoughts as Gitagal. I do not use it outside for fear of injuring the good insects like bees, but inside they aren't supposed to be there and I don't care if they die. I want them to die. I just don't want to make people or pets sick (my cat is getting old but used to eat some plants, like spider plants). Bonide is also expensive if you have a lot of plants, and I think in the long run the Azamax should be less $. Both can be a problem getting into my lake, as the crayfish, plankton and other arthropods can be damaged by both. At least the Azamax should not harm the fish, except that if I kill the food arthropods the fish would starve. I think compared to agricultural inputs of poisons to the environment my houseplant use of either pesticide is trivial. At least I hope so.

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

Azamax is certified organic. Does not hurt honey bees, does not hurt fish.

Camano Island, WA(Zone 8a)

Yikes, Gitagal! "... Ric-Rac ... You will NOT believe how huge it can grow!!!" Thanks for the warning! I love your plant. There's something about that shape. Dumb question; what does HB mean?

Gasrocks, I am trying the Azamax also. Maybe I will try a Meyer Lemon again. I have given up on them in the past because I wanted to eat the lemons but I needed pesticides to keep the plants healthy.

JB, is your foot ok now?

mlm, happy birthday! (It's tomorrow.)

I was bitten by the succulent bug (no pesticide addresses THAT) after reading Debra Lee Baldwin's Succulent Container Garden. Baldwin has lots of beautiful design ideas and showcased some succulents I hadn't known about. My collection of indoor plants is multiplying like mad. I know you all leave your plants outside for a "summer vacation." My nighttime temperature was 48 degrees yesterday. Is that too cold? I know different plants have different needs. I have a variety: Epiphyllum, Hoya, lots of succulent varieties like Haworthia, Euphorbia, Kalanchoe, Crassula, Cissus, Aloe, Adenium, Cotlyedon, Fockea, Sedum, Senecio, Rhipsalis, Pseudorhipsalis, Cyphostemma, Corpuscularia, Adenia, Adromischus, Aeonium, Aloinopsis, Echeveria, Xerosicyos, Faucaria, Ledebouria, Anacampseros, Sempervivum, Avonia.

The pictures are the Avonia quinaria ssp. alstonii (tiny, slow grower, looks like a little can with dreadlocks coming out of the top), and Adromischus cristatus (looks like little stuffed pastas with crimped edges).

Thumbnail by momlady Thumbnail by momlady
Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


HB means Hanging Basket. We all use these abbreviations--don't we?
Less to type. Sometimes i do not know what they are either...
Sorry--I took it for granted you would know....Same with AV (African Violet)...

I am not into succulents or Cacti--but most of them can take some colder weather.
The Epis as well....
If they have been outside all summer--and a night comes along at 48*--I would not worry.
38*--maybe i would.
My daughter lives in Seattle and hates the weather....she came to visit this summer and
LOVED the sunshine...
Talking about rain--it has been pouring here all night and morning.
We did, kind of, need it--just too much all at once...

My amazing Epi opened its first bloom (for this year) this morning.
This one always blows me away!

Thumbnail by Gitagal Thumbnail by Gitagal
Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

mlmlakestevens- I like your list of easiest to hardest.
But if your are ever tempted by an orchid, make it a cheap Phalenopsis. My first was one of those and it has rebloomed every year, and I really knew next to nothing about care.

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

I do believe many people get into Cactus since they are so hard to kill.

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