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Friday, January 28, 2011

Indoor plants (Updated 2019)

I'm pretty sure some of my friends would be wondering how to maintain an indoor plant. Often I hear tell-tale stories of plants dying in a week's time or facing a major disaster when the whole plant just turn yellow and rot. So, here are some tips of how to handle a plant.

The most important factor is facing disappointment.
When you see a dying plant: What to do next?
In most cases, it might just be too late to do anything.
(this is based on my perception and experience)

Then, comes the next important question:
How then can one successfully have a thriving indoor plant?
Ahh... (that is the most important question to ask before having a plant indoors)

Let's get a fact right:
Most indoor plants are not naturally designed to remain long term in an indoor condition,
All of the indoors plants thrive well outdoor. So, when they are placed indoors they just sustain instead of thriving, their survival mode takes place as some species are hardy when you place them indoors.Some species last longer than others, and in most cases they seemed to adapt to the right condition in the room environment.
Again, it depends how versatile is the indoor condition: Is it like a store room or a greenhouse environment?

The most important factor you must consider is Lighting.
Office lighting is good compared to residential lighting.
(due to the working environment - bright lights are required in a workplace)
Place the indoor plant right above the lighting (or the plant will eventually trail to the nearest light source making it very unattractive and leggy)

The other factor that are important is water, soil (or medium) & maintenance.
The factor is different for each different species. I had discovered some require minimum watering but requires good lighting.

Once the plant is placed indoors for a long time, they may not able to handle the pressure when they are placed back outdoors (in most cases, they die out of stress)

These are some of the ideas of how to keep an indoor plants:
See pictures below

Mother in law tongue.
They can last for months without water, you can just cut the leaves and place them in long clear jars as decor piece. They will eventually dry-up unless you plant them in a soil.

These are known as lucky bamboo, they were brought from an outdoor environment. I had stripped off their leaves and reveal their inner beauty and best displayed indoors in this style.

Goose Foot Plant
They are very hardy and you can place pebbles or shells with water for the medium.
Also you can use soil (even without drainage)

Other plants that you can consider indoors are:
1) Dumbcane
2) Basket Plant
3) Marble Queen & Money plant (Epipremnum aureum) or Pothos
4) Mother in law Tongue
5) Dracaena species
6) Palms

There are more newer species introduced year after year, select the cheaper ones (if you are buying them)



Here are the list of the best indoor plants that can thrive and manage well indoors.

Do click on the names that will link you to detailed information about them
& their different cultivars in their species and also about their care & cultivation.

10 Different Types of Philodendron - Names & Images

Arrowhead Plant  (Syngonium podophyllum)
10 Different Types of Colored Syngonium podophyllum - Names & Images.


cinafong said...

Great idea on the mother in law's tongue, was wondering how to keep them indoors :)


Stephanie said...

I love to have some greens indoor as well. They make me happy and feel right at home :-D But I must say that the plant grows bigger and nicer leaves outdoor. Nonetheless, they are survivors like you said. All your greens look excellent and happy James. I am sure you have been taking good care of them. And I agree that good light level is best for the plant :-D

One said...

Well written and lovely display. Nothing last forever. If people can by cut flowers that last only a few days, we shouldn't complain if these greens last only a few months. At the moment I have a big bunch of flowering cut basil in my kitchen. They look lovely.

p3chandan said...

They all looking healthy and happy in your office, must be the light and the aircon. I have lucky bamboo, goose foot and money plants in vases and cute perfume bottles in my house. But you have to keep changing the water or else, they will be aedes mosquitoes' breeding haven!

James David said...

cina - Mother in law tongue is very durable, just make sure that minimum water is used coz they tend to rot easily.

Thanks Stephanie.

One - I use to keep cut basils too in my kitchen and they tend to root easily. Its a good idea to keep them close as you can pinch and use them for garnishing while cooking.

Chandran - yes, changing water is a must. Alternatively you can slowly use shells and fine-sand pebbles. That way, you really don't have to worry about mosquito's

Jacqueline said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences on indoor plants, James! I never knew that MIL-tongue can survive without water as decor pieces...will definitely try that out. :)

James David said...

Jacq - great.
Just remember never to put water in them, at most - you can wash them & leave them with wet but never put water in the jar or they will start rotting.
Alternatively, you can put moist or dry soil as base and they will start rooting (watering them very minimum and like a month once)

Mila from plants for hire said...

What a lovely plants you have.
Thanks for the good read here mate.
Really entertaining.

Keep up the good work.

Unknown said...

James, thanks for the great blog site. I am trying to find a kit or everything I need to transplant my mother in laws tongue from dirt to hydroponics. It appears that I need rocks/pebble or some type of correct filler and my plants are quite tall. These tall glass jars will be perfect. This is for increasing oxygen flow inside. Do you have any recommendations on a good site to find everything needed in one place? You help is much appreciated.

Tess W - Birmingham, AL USA

James David said...

Currently I'm really not sure whether Mother In Law Tongue plant can handle hydroponic system as its very much like a succulent.
They need to be totally dried before the next watering but sometimes it works..
So you may need to get the right element to make it work.
I'm sorry - you may have to check around the nurseries around your area to find these things - sometimes, not all are found in one place.
Good luck & Happy hunting.

James David said...


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Tropical Garden, Batu Caves, Malaysia
My Malaysian Tropical Garden mainly focused on unique and colorful plants ranging from rare to common plants all around the tropical belt across the world. Ideal for inspiration for challenging areas in the garden space - indoor gardening, balcony gardening and small green spaces especially for ariods, bromeliads, begonias, edibles, cascading & vertical garden plants, succulents & cacti, orchids, together with both shade and sun loving plants.

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