Brochures

Indoor Gardening

Foliage Plants

Humidity

Foliage plants grow best where the humidity is high. The humidity in Alberta is very low. The grouping of a number of plants and the use of “pebble trays” can be beneficial to increase humidity. The ideal relative humidity should be maintained between 40 to 50%.

Watering and Fertilizing

Most foliage plants are adapted to regions where the soil is moist but not continually saturated with water. Plants also require air in contact with their roots. Apply enough water to thoroughly wet the entire soil ball during each watering. The interval between waterings will depend upon the variety of the plant, size of pot, amount of light, temperature and humidity.

  • Roots should not be allowed to stand in water for any length of time.
  • Calgary water is alkaline with a pH of 7.8 to 8.2. One tea bag to a gallon of city water will be approximately 6.0 on the pH scale. Let stand at room temperature.

The pH of: Cacti 7.8

Ferns 7.0

Tropicals 6.0 to 7.0

Acid Plants 5.5

(Norfolk pine, azalea, citrus, camellia, gardenia, hibiscus)

Containers

Many types of attractive containers are available. Containers without drainage holes should be avoided. Plants grown in clay pots must be watered more frequently than those in plastic or ceramic because of moisture evaporation through the porous pot.

Soils

Foliage plants can be grown in a variety of soil mixes, but are easier to care for if planted in soils containing high levels of peat moss.

Such soils retain water and fertilizer and provide good aeration if peat moss is mixed with coarse sandy soils or perlite.

Cleaning Foliage

Plants may be cleaned by misting with tepid water or wiping with a soft cloth. Warm (not hot) tea water is excellent for cleaning stubborn spots and shining leaves. Don’t fold, crease or rub leaves too hard, as they may be damaged.

General Fertilizing Tips

All plants, indoors or out, need an adequate nutrient supply. Nitrogen, phosphates and potash together with small amounts of trace elements are required to enable your plants to produce full sized flowers and leaves.

In the garden you usually apply fertilizers to top up the soil’s natural resources, but even in their absence the plant can send out new roots to draw on the soil’s nutrient supply. Indoors this is quite different. The soil or compost in a pot contains a limited amount of food, this is continually depleted by the roots of the plant and by leaching through the drainage holes. Once the nutrient supply is exhausted regular feeding when the plant is actively growing is necessary. Vigorous foliage and flowering plants are seriously affected if not fed.

Some signs which could indicate that your plants need repotting are:
  • decreasing leaf size on new growth
  • roots appear on soil surface 
  • ower leaves turn yellow
  • plant wilts rapidly after watering
  • soil dries out quickly

Spring or early summer is the prime times for repotting. Never repot a sick plant. After repotting, water thoroughly with Plant Prod Starter, 10-52-10 and use as directed (new pot should be about 2” wider and deeper). Soil washing or leaching should be done regularly to prevent buildup of fertilizer and toxic salts. After leaching, take a sharp pencil and make holes down through the soil to aid soil in drying.

Common House Plant Problems and Their Solutions

Sudden Leaf Drop

Caused by shock - typically incurred by exposure to extreme changes in air temperature or drafts.
Solution: Ensure plant is situated in an area away from drafts, vents and heat registers. Avoid severe fluctuations in room temperature. Plant may or may not recover depending on severity of shock.

Browning On Tips or Edges of Leaves

This symptom is usually indicative of dry air, although over watering or damage from sprays may also be a factor.
Solution: See section on humidity.

Flower Buds Drop

Usually caused by over watering or drastic fluctuations in the wet - dry cycle. Insufficient light may also be a factor.
Solution: Ensure that plant attains the requisite state of dryness in between each watering (this will depend upon the plant species) and that plant does not suffer from erratic watering i.e.: going from being waterlogged to being too dry.

Gradual Leaf Drop

The lower leaves of the plant begin to shed one by one - the leaves may be discoloured and shriveled in appearance. The most probable cause of this is over watering.
Solution: See section on flower buds drop.

Fungus Gnats

Small, black, winged insects appear on soil and leaves of plants - insects fly around when plant is disturbed.
Solution: Fungus gnats thrive in moist soil: therefore allowing the plant a longer interval for drying in between each watering may be helpful. In conjunction with adjusting the frequency of each watering, the use of strategically placed Sticky Stix or Sticky Strips is highly effective. Sticky Stix and Sticky Strips are yellow coloured traps with an adhesive surface. The yellow colour is an attractant for the fungus gnats, and the adhesive surface ensnares them after contact with the trap is made.

Aphids

Minute, soft- bodied insects are visible. They may be green, orange, black or grey. The plant may be covered with a shiny, sticky substance.
Solution: If possible, try to wash plant down with room temperature water, gently extricating as many aphids as possible. Afterwards spray plant thoroughly (just before the point of runoff) with either insecticidal soap or a spray containing pyrethrins (such as End All).

Spider Mites

Webbing may be noticed around plant leaves and stems. When a sheet of paper is held under a stem, and the stem is tapped sharply, minute red or yellow specks will appear on the paper and crawl around. Leaves may be stippled or “dirty” in appearance.
Solution: If possible, try to wash down plant with room temperature water, removing as much of the webbing as possible. While the plant is wet, spray it down thoroughly with insecticidal soap, subsequent applications as per label instructions may be required. If the infestation is heavy, the plant may need to be cut back extensively prior to soap application.

NOTE: Consult the label of any pest control product you are considering purchasing to make sure it is safe for indoor use, and compatible with your plant.
90 DAY GUARANTEE APPLIES TO ALL
INDOOR TROPICAL PLANTS

NAMES

LIGHT

WATER

FLOWERS/FOLIAGE

FEATURES/CULTURE

ARALIA-BALFOUR

Polyscias balfouriana

Polyscias fruiticosa elegans

Dizgotheca elegantissima

Bright indirect sunlight

Allow soil surface to dry out slightly before watering.  Extra humidity is beneficial.

Variegated round leaves

Suitable bonsai plant.

 

BEGONIA-REX

Begonia rex

Bright indirect sunlight

Allow soil surface to dry out before watering.  Avoid getting leaves wet.

Decorative leaves.

Colourful foliage plant.

BIRD OF PARADISE

Strelitzia reginae

Bright direct sunlight

Allow soil surface to dry out before watering.  Reduce watering in the winter.

Orange and blue bird-like flowers occur in the spring.  Large leaves on long stalk.

Exotic flowers after plants are 7 years old.   Keep cooler in the winter.

BOUGAINVILLEA

Bougainvillea buttiana

Direct sunlight

Allow soil surface to dry out before watering.  Reduce watering in the winter.

Various coloured bracts on papery flowers.  Stemless rosette of leaves.

Excellent climber for direct sunlight location. 

BROMELIADS

Aechmea, Neoregalia

Bright filtered sunlight

Keep cup-like reservoir filled with water.

Colourful flowers and bracts.  Various variegated leaves.  Stemless rosette of leaves.

Prefer warm temperatures and high humidity.  To propagate remove and plant offsets.  Blooms may last for several months.

CACTI/ SUCCULENTS

Bright direct sunlight

Allow soil surface to dry out thoroughly before watering.  Reduce watering in winter. 

Various coloured flowers.  Fleshy leaves and stems.

Well-drained, sandy soil.

CALADIUM

Caladium x hortulanum

Bright indirect sunlight

Keep soil uniformly moist in the summer.  Stop watering in the fall.

Heart-shaped, paper-thin leaves ornamented with various colours.

Grown from tubers.  Foliage dies down in fall and goes dormant. 

CHINA DOLL

Radermachera sinica

Bright indirect sunlight

Keep soil uniformly moist.

Compound leaves with glossy leaflets.

Delicate exquisite foliage.

CHINESE EVERGREEN

Aglaonema commutatum

Medium to low light

Allow soil surface to dry out before watering.

Lance-shaped leaves with various variegations.

Several varieties incl. Silver Queen.  Easy to grow plant.

CITRUS

Citrus species

Bright direct sunlight

Allow soil surface to dry out before watering.

Fragrant white flowers.  Glossy green leaves.

Prefers cooler night and winter temperatures.

CROTON

Codiaeum variegatum

Bright direct sunlight

Keep soil uniformly moist.  Extra humidity is beneficial/

Various leaf colours and shapes.

Keep leaves clean of dust.

DUMB CANE

Dieffenbachia species

Medium sunlight

Allow soil surface to dry out before watering.

Variegated oblong leaves.

Low maintenance plant that requires low light.

DRACAENA

Dracaena species

Medium sunlight

Allow soil surface to dry out before watering.

Green or striped lance-shaped leaves.

Lower leaves fall off exposing bare canes.

FIG-WEEPING

Ficus benjamina

Medium sunlight

Keep soil uniformly moist.

Wavy oval leaves.

Graceful weeping tree.

FLAMINGO FLOWER

Anthurium species

Bright filtered sunlight

Keep soil uniformly moist.  Extra humidity is beneficial.

Red or pink spathes.  Ovate leathery leaves.

Long-lasting cut flower. 

JADE PLANT

Crassula argentea

Bright direct sunlight

Allow soil to dry out thoroughly before watering.

Delicate white flowers.  Succulent leaves.

Likes to be pot bound.

OLEANDER

Nerium oleander

Bright direct sunlight

Keep soil uniformly moist.

Pink fragrant flowers.  Narrow leathery leaves.

Poisonous shrub that is easily pruned.

PALMS

Chamaedorea, Phoenix, Areca, Majesty

Bright indirect sunlight

Keep soil uniformly moist.  Extra humidity is beneficial.  Require good drainage.

Feathery fronds.

Do not let them dry out.

PALM– PONYTAIL

Beaucarnea recurvata

Bright direct sunlight

Allow soil surface to dry out thoroughly before watering.

Arching narrow leaves.

Swollen stem base stores water.  Not a true palm; actually a succulent.

PEACE LILY

Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’

Medium to low light

Keep soil uniformly moist.

White spathe on long stem.  Lance-shaped leaves.

Easiest flowering plant for low light area.

PEACOCK PLANT

Calathea makoyana

Medium sunlight

Keep soil uniformly moist.

Ostentatious, ornate, ovate leaves.

Intricately patterned, colourful foliage. 

PEPEROMIA

Peperomia species

Bright indirect sunlight

Allow soil surface to dry out thoroughly before watering.

Round fleshy leaves.

Several species are semi-succulent.

PHILODENDRON

Philodendron species

Medium sunlight

Allow soil surface to dry out before watering.

Heart-shaped large leaves.

Many varieties include upright and climber.  Easy to grow plants that tolerate lower light.

PHILODENDRON-SPLIT LEAF

Monstera deliciosa

Medium sunlight

Allow soil surface to dry out before watering.

Large perforate split leaves.

Plant sends out aerial roots. 

PINE-BUDDHIST

Podocarpus macrophyllus

Bright filtered sunlight

Keep soil uniformly moist.

Large linear leaves.

Coniferous evergreen tree.  Requires staking and cool winter temperatures.

PINE-NORFOLK ISLAND

Araucaria excelsa

Bright indirect sunlight

Keep soil uniformly moist.

Soft needles.

Coniferous evergreen with tiered branches.

POLKA DOT PLANT

Hypoestes phyllostachya

Bright filtered sunlight

Keep soil uniformly moist.

Lavender flowers.  Pink spots on the leaves.

Prune to retain bushiness.

RUBBER PLANT

Ficus elastica

Medium sunlight

Allow soil surface to dry out before watering.

Thick oval leaves.

Good drainage is important.  Keep the leaves clean.

SCHEFFLERA

Schefflera actinophylla

Schefflera arboricola

Bright indirect sunlight

Allow soil surface to dry out before watering.

Compound leaves.

Two species are Umbrella Tree and Hawaiian.

SENSITIVE PLANT

Mimosa pudica

Bright direct sunlight

Keep soil uniformly moist.

Compound lacy leaflets.

Unique feature of folding leaves if touched.

SNAKE PLANT

Sansevieria trifasciata

Bright indirect sunlight

Allow soil surface to dry out thoroughly before watering.  Allow for good drainage.

Erect, lance-shaped, variegated rosette of leaves.

One of the hardiest of indoor plants.  Easy to grow.

TI PLANT

Cordyline terminalis

Medium sunlight

Allow soil surface to dry out before watering.

Variegated, lance-shaped leaves.

Hawaiian or Polynesian plant. 

YUCCA

Yucca elephantipes

Bright direct sunlight

Allow soil surface to dry out thoroughly before watering.

Fleshy, succulent lance-shaped leaves.

Durable plant that tolerates adverse conditions.