A-Z of House Plants

Aechmea fasciata

Bottlebrush plant

Description: Arosetteof stiff foliage with a lime like deposit on the leaves which should not be removed. A central flower spike has small mauve flowers. Light: Tolerant. Temperature: Minimum 13°C (55°F). Compost: Unimportant as it only serves as an anchor. Water: Keep fresh water in central funnel. Water roots sparingly. Feed: None. Propagation: By offshoots. Pests: Untroubled.

Aglaonema modestum

Chinese evergreen

Description: Long, narrow green leaves with lighter markings and an insignificant white arum-like flower. Light: Very tolerant. Temperature: Minimum 13°C (55°F).

Compost: Good-strength loam-based compost is best. Water: Twice a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By division. Pests: Scale and mealy bug. The plant reacts very badly to gas fumes.

Ananas comosus variegatus

Pineapple

Description: A rosette of sharp stiff green and yellow leaves with toothed edges. The flower and fruit spike appear in the centre. Light: Colouring improves with light. Temperature: Keep warm inwinterorrosettewill rot. Compost: Loam-based J.I. No. 2. Water: Once or twice a week in summer and less often in winter, filling rosette with water and moistening soil. Feed: If plant starts to fruit. Propagation: Produces side shoots. Pests: Mealy bug.

Aralia japonica

False castor oil plant

Description: Hardy with finger-shaped leaves on a central stem.Light: Prefers a light, well ventilated position. Temperature: Minimum 10°C (50°F). Compost: J.I. No. 2. Water: Twice weekly in summer; once in winter. Feed; Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: From seed or stem cuttings. Pests: Greenfly, red spider.

Araucaria excelsa

Norfolk Island Pine

Description: Grows to 150 cm (5 ft) tall with a central stem and horizontal branches of soft needles. Light: Likes a good light position butcan be moved to the shade for short periods. Temperature: Minimum 7°C (45°F). Compost: J.I. No. 2 or3accordingtosize. Water: Twice weekly in summer; keep soil just damp in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer with half recommended dose. Propagation: By seed. Pests: Mealy bug and greenfly.

Asparagus plumosus

Asparagus fern

Description: This plant is not really a fern, but its long feathery fronds often mean that it istaken forone. Light: Tolerant of shade. Temperature: Minimum 7°C (45°F). Compost: Loam- or peat-based. Water: Give plenty of water two to three timesa week in summerand once in winter. Feed: Half the recommended dose every 14 days in summer. Propagation: Normally by seed, but big old plants can bedivided.Peste.- Scaleand red spider.

Aspidistra eliator

Cast iron plant

Description: Very hardy. Dark green spear-shaped leaves grow on tall stems. Occasional purple flowers at soil level. Light: Very tolerant. You can keep this plant in almost any position though it does prefer good light. Temperature: Minimum 10°C (50°F). Compost: Soil or peat-based. Water: Twice a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Once monthly in summer.

Propagation: By division. Pests: Mealy bug, red spider and scale.

Asplenium nidus avis

Bird’s nest fern

Description: A rosette of broad pale green leaves with brown spines. Light: Prefers draught-free shade. Temperature: Minimum 13°C (55°F). Compost: Peat-based. Water: Once or twice a week. Feed: Half the recommended dose every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By spores which grow under the fronds. Difficult. Pests: Scale.

Azalea indica

Azalea

Description: A compact shrub with small oval leaves that iscovered in bright pink, red, mauve and white flowers. Forced to flower from early winter onwards. Place outside after flowering. Light: Likes good light and a daily overhead spray. Temperature: Minimum 13°C (55?). Compost: Peat-based. Water: Plunge in a bucket twice weekly when flowering. Feed: In summer ever 14 days. Propagation: By stem tip cuttings. Pests: Red spider, leaf miner.

Begonia schwabenland

Flowering begonia

Description: An all-year round flowering houseplant. Light: Enjoys good light but tolerates dark for short periods. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60?).

Compost: Loam-based. Water: Two to three times a week in flower, every 7-10 days in winter. Feed: Once a month in flower. Propagation: From seed, leaf or stem cuttings. Pests: Mildew, greenfly.

Cacti and Succulents

Description: Exotica Ivy-shaped fleshy plants which store water. Light: Very tolerant, but some types grow spectacular flowers in good light. Temperature: Minimum 5°C (40°F). They like any amount of heat in summer.

Compost: 50% loam-based, 50% sharp sand. Water.-Twice a week in summer, once a month in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: Usually by seed.

Pests: Mealy bug. Cactus spines can be poisonous.

Chamaedorea elegans

Parlour palm

Description: A dainty miniature palm. Small yellow flowers appear on a spike straight from the soil. Light: Keep out of midday sun. Temperature: Keep cool. Minimum 13°C (55°F). Compost: Peat-based. Water: Two to three times a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer with half the recommended dose. Propagation: By seed. Pests: Red spider.

Chlorophytum comosum Spider plant

Description: Strap-like leaves, usually green with a cream stripe, grow to 46 cm (18 in) long. Small white flowers produce young plantlets. Light: Tolerates shade but prefers good light. Temperature: Minimum 10°C (50°F). Compost: Rich, loam-based. Water: Two to three times a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: Young plantlets take root in water. Pests: Red spider, greenfly.

Chrysanthemum indicum

Chrysanthemum

Description: Usually bought in f lowerorwith bud showing colour. Available in many colours. Light: Flourish best in good light but avoid midday sun. Temperature: Room temperature. Compost: Plant in the garden after flowering. Water: Every other day. Feed: Not necessary. Propagation: Cuttings can be taken from fresh shoots. Pests: White fly and chrysanthemum virus.

Clivia miniata

Kaffir lily

Description: Long glossy strap-shaped leaves bend out from centre. In spring a tall flower spike bears a cluster of orange or yellow trumpet-shaped flowers. Light: Tolerant. Place in good light when flower appears. Temperature: Minimum 7°C (45°F). Compost: Loam-based. Water: Once a week when in flower in summer; every 14 days in winter. Feed: Weekly when growing. Propagation: By division or from young plantlets or seed. Pests: Mealy bug and scale.

Cocos weddeliana Dwarf coconut palm

Description: Supple stems bear slender spiky leaves. Grown two or three to a pot. Light: Prefers a sunny position. Temperature: Minimum 18°C (65°F). Compost: Three parts loam to one part peat. Water: Twice a week in summer. Keep the root ball just moist in winter. Feed: Half the recommended dose every 21 days in summer. Propagation: By seed. Difficult. Pests: Untroubled.

Cryptanthus bivittatus

Star fish

Description: A family of low flat narrow-leaved bromeliads which grow tied firmly to barkorwood./_/gM.-Colours are more striking in good light. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F). Compost: Peat with

sphagnum moss added. Water: Two to three times a week in summer; once in winter. Water in funnel unnecessary. Feed: Not necessary. Propagation: Plantlets grow between the leaves of the mature plant. Pesrs.- No real problems.

Dieffenbachia exotica

Dumb cane

Description: Broad variegated leaves grow upwards from a central stem. Mature plants bear small green flowers. Light: Tolerates shade. Temperature: Minimum 10°C (50°F). Compost: J.I. No. 3. Water: Twice a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Monthly in summer. Propagation: From basal cuttingsortopshoots. Pests: Mealy bug, red spider.

Dracaena

Dragon tree

Description: Strap-1 ike leaves, striped green and cream or red. Light: Prefers good light away from the midday sun. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F). Compost: Either loam- or peat-based. Water: Do not over-waterorallowtodryout. Once or twice a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By tip cuttings or stem or root sections. Pests: Red spider, fungus, mealy bug.

Euphorbia pulcherrima

Poinsettia

Description: A Christmas-flowering plant with red, pinkorwhite bracts and small yellow flowers. Light: Needs good light. Temperature: Minimum 13°C (55°F). Compost: Often discarded after

flowering, but if repotting use peat-based compost. Water: Twice a week when in colour. Then give a rest period of four weeks, then water once a week. Feed: When growing every 14 days. Propagation: By cuttings. Pests: Greenfly, silver leaf virus.

Ficus benjamina

Weeping fig

Description: An elegant plant with small oval leaves growing on woody stems which arch graceful \y.Light: Needs a good light position. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F). Compost: Loam-based No. 2. Water: Once or twice a week in summer and every 7-10 days in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By stem tip cuttings. Pests: Red spider and scale.

Fatshedera lizei

Ivy tree

Description: A hybrid between ivy and the castor oil plant with the leaves of the former and the upright growth of the latter. Light: Tolerates shade. Temperature: Minimum 10°C (50°F). Compost: Loam-based. Water: Two to three times a week in summer; once a week in winter. Feed: In summer every 14 days.

Propagation: By stem tip cuttings. Pests: Very susceptible to red spider.

Ficus elastica robusta

Rubber plant

Description: Large leathery oval leaves grow from a woody central stem. Often branches to form a young tree. Light: Shade is tolerated but restricts growth. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F). Compost: Loam-based. Water: Once a week in summer; every 10 days in winter. Do not water if leaves turn yellow. Feed: Every 14 days in summer.

Propagation: By air layering. Pests: Scale, mealy bug and red spider.

Guzmania minor

Scarlet star

Description: Short narrow leaves form a central rosette of orange or red bracts containing tiny white flowers.Light: Avoid midday sun. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F).

Compost: Peat-based with sphagnum moss added. Water: Two or three times a week in summer; once in winter. Keep 2.5 cm (1 in) water in central funnel of plant. Feed: Unnecessary. Propagation: By offshoots. Pests: Greenfly, aphids.

Hippeastrum

Amaryllis lily

Description: A large bulb which produces a tall flower spike with five to six trumpet-shaped flowers in red, white or pink in spring: Light: Tolerant, but flower colour is best in good light. Temperature: Minimum 10°C (50°F). Compost: Loam-based. Water: Water well while growing but allow to dry out when leaves die down. Feed: Every 14 days in flower.

Propagation: From offshoots taken when repotting. Pests: Mealy bug.

Hydrangea microphylla

Hydrangea

Description: A summer visitor to the house. Beautiful mop headsof pink or blue flowers are borne on stems with pale green oval leaves below. Light: Needs good light. Temperature: Minimum 7°C (45°F). Compost: Loam- or peat-based. Water: Plunge in a bucket three times a week in summer; every 10 days in winter. Feed: Every seven days when flowering. Propagation: By stem tip cuttings. Pests: Red spider, greenfly, fungus.

Impatiens sultanii

Busy Lizzie

Description: Fleshy stems with small, green, oval leaves and flat red, pink, orange or white flowers. Variegated types are also found. Light: Flourishes best in full sun. Temperature: Minimum 13°C (55°F).

Compost: Rich, loam-based No. 3. Water: Two to three times a week in summer; every 10 days in winter. Feed: Once a week in summer.

Propagation: From seed or by stem tip cuttings. Pests: Greenfly, red spider, sooty mould.

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana

Ice plant

Description: Masses of compact fleshy leaves with clusters of bright flowers on short stems above them. Flowers are usually red, but also pink, yellowand mauve. Light: Full during winter, avoid sun in summer.

Temperature: Minimum 13°C (55°F). Compost: Loam-based. Water: Once a week in summer; every 10-14 days in winter. Feed: Once a month when growing. Propagation: By seed or young cuttings. Pesrs: Mildew.

Kentia forsteriana

Paradise palm

Description: A popular palm with tall fronds and gracefully arching leaves. Often potted in groups. Light: Tolerates heavy shade. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F). Compost: Loam-based No. 2 with 25% extra peat added. Water: Twice a week in summer; every 10-14 daysinwinter. Neverallowit to dry out. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: From imported seeds. Difficult. Pests: Red spider, scale.

Monstera deliciosa

Mexican bread plant

Description: Has large, deeply cut and holed leaves. When fairly mature it produces a seed pod with edible pulparound the seed. Light: Tolerates shade. Avoid direct sun. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F). Compost: Peat-based. Water: Once a week in summer; every 14 days in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By stem leaf cuttings. Pests: Red spider.

Neoregelia carolinae

Cartwheel plant

Description: A large flat rosette of saw-edged green and cream leaves produces red bracts and small mauve flowers. Light: Tolerates periods of shade. Temperature: Minimum

15°C (60°F). Compost: 50% peat, 50% loam. Water: Keep centre filled withwateratall times. Feed: Half the recommended dose every 14days in the funnel in summer.

Propagation: By offshoots. Pests: Scale.

Pelargonium

Geranium

Description: The zonal geranium has irregular, round leaveswhichareoften prettily marked. Light: Needs the full light of a window. Temperature: Maximum 10°C (50°F). Compost: Peat- or loam-based. Water: Two to three times a week in summer; every 14 days in winter.

Feed: Every 14 days when growing. Propagation: By stem cuttings.

Pests: Whitefly, fungus and leafy gall.

Philodendron scandens

Sweetheart plant

Description: A climbing plant with heart-shaped leaves that needs support but also looks good in a hanging basket. Light: Gets straggly without good light. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F). Compost: Either peat-or loam-based. Water: Twice a week in summerand once in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: Either from seed or stem cuttings. A suitable plant for hydroculture. Pesfs.-Greenfly, mealy bug and red spider.

Phoenix canariensis

Canary date palm

Description: A large palm with spreading spiky leaves. Light: Tolerates the dark but grows better in good light and air. Can be put outside in summer. Temperature: Minimum 10°C (50°F). Compost: Rich, peat-based. Water: Two to three times a week in summer; every 14 days in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: From seeds or date stones. Pesfs.-Mealy bug.

Platycerium alcicorne

Stag’s head fern

Description: Long, thick finger-like fronds emerge from sterile back leaves. The fronds are covered with down which should not be removed. Light: Tolerant of the dark. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F). Compost: Peat-based mixed with sphagnum moss. Water: Plunge in water every week in summer and every 10 days in winter. Feed; Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By spores or offshoots. Pests: Scale.

Primula vulgaris

Primrose

Description: A hybrid of the familiar hedgerow primrose with soft-coloured flowers. Primulas with mauve and pink flowers are also available. Light: Needs a well-lit position.

Temperature: Keep cool. Compost: Plant in the garden after flowering to naturalize.

Water: Two to three times a week. Feed: Once a week when in flower. Propagation: By seed or division. Pests: Greenfly.

Rhoicissus rhomboidea

Grape ivy

Description: A good fast-growing climbing plant with small beech-type leaves and brown tentacles. Light: Prefers good northern light. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F). Compost: Loam-based No. 2. Water: About twice a week in summer and every 14 days in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By young leaf and tip shoots. Pests: Greenfly and red spider.

Sansevieria trifasciata

Mother-in-law’s tongue

Description: Long thick sword-like leaves, fleshy in textureandgreenand yellow in colour, emerge straight from the soil. Sometimes has a small yellow flower spike. Light: Very tolerant. Temperature: Minimum 10°C (50°F). Compost: Loam-based. Water: Do not over-water. Every 7-10 days in summer; every 14 days in winter. Feed: Every 21 days in summer.

Propagation: By division or leaf sections. Pests: Mealy bug.

Schefflera actinophylla

Umbrella tree

Description: Long oval leaves arranged in groups of four or five at the end of tall stems. Light: Likes good light away from direct sun. Temperature: Minimum 13°C (55°F). Compost: Loam-based J.I. No. 1. Water: Two or three times a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Half the recommended dose every 14 days in summer. Propagation: From seed or cuttings. A good subject for hydroculture. Pests: Red spider, scale and mealybug.

Tradescantia fluminensis

Wandering Jew

Description: Long trailing stems with small green oval leaves which can be variegated. Light: Becomes leggy without good light. Temperature: Minimum 10°C (50°F). Compost: Loam-orpeat-based. Water: Twice a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By stem cuttings. Pests.- Greenfly.

Vriesia splendens

Flaming sword

Description: A rosette of green and brown striped leaves. A central flower spi ke turns bright orange and displays small yellow flowers. Light: Tolerant. Temperature: Minimum 18°C (65°F). Compost: Peat-based. Water: Keep compostdampandcentreof rosette full. Feed: Half the recommended dose every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By offshoots which appear after the parent plant has flowered. Pests: Red spider

Yucca elephantipes

Spineless yucca

Description: Rosettes of stiff sword-like leaves on the top or sides of mature woody canes. Light: Fairly tolerant. Temperature: Minimum 8°C (47°F). Compost: Soil-based. Anchor well. Water: Two to three times a week in summer; every 10 days in winter. Feed: Half the recommended dose every week in summer. Propagation: By sections of cane. Pests: Scale, mealy bug and botrytis.

Adiantum capillus veneris

Maiden hair fern

Description: Delicate pale green foliage droops gracefully.Light: Keepoutof direct sunlight. Temperature: Minimum 10°C (50°F). Compost: Peat-based. Water: Keep well watered. Spray daily.

Feed: Half the recommended dose every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By division or from spores. Pests: Resistant to most pests. If plant dries out, cut off dead fronds and water well – new shoots will quickly appear.

Aphelandra squarrosa

Zebra plant

Description: Ova I-shaped green leaves with cream or silver vein markings and bright yellow bracts. Light: Avoid midday sun. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F). Compost: J.I. No. 3. Water.- Two to three timesaweekinsummerand once in winter. Feed: Every 14 days when flower spike appears. Propagation: From cuttings.

Pests: Red spider, greenfly and scale.

Beloperone guttata

Shrimp plant

Description:

Peach-coloured bracts and small white flowers give this plant its common name. Oval leaves grow in pairs. Light: Full sunlight in summer; indirect light in winter. Temperature: 7°C (45°F). Compost: Loam-based. Water: Once or twice a week in summer; every 14 days in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By tip cuttings. Pests: Red spider and greenfly.

Bougainvillea glabra

Paper flower

Description: Small, green, oval leavesand bright mauve bracts on very woody stems. Light: Needs bright sun. Temperature: Minimum 5°C (40°F). Compost: Rich, loam-based. Water: Up to three times a week in summer; every 7-10 days in winter. Feed: Half the recommended dose every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By cuttings, but difficult. Pests: Red spider, scale, mealy bug.

Campanula isophylla

Bell flower

Description: In summer coveredwithamassofwhite or pale mauve flowers. Light: Needs good light. Avoid midday sun. Temperature: Minimum 6°C (43°F). Compost: Loam-based.

Water: Check daily in summer; water every 7-10 days in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Cut back in winter.

Propagation: Use prunings as cuttings.

Pests: Red spider, greenfly.

Cissus antarctica

Kangaroo vine

Description: A good green climbing plant with oval, serrated edge leaves. Related to the rhoicissus but less tolerant. Light: Needs good light. Avoid midday sun. Temperature: Minimum 13°C (55°F). Compost: Loam-based. Water: Not more than twice a week in summer and every 14 days in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By stem tips. Pests.- Red spider and greenfly.

Citrus mitis

Miniature orange

Description: Small oval privet-like leaves grow on a multi-branched stem. Sweetly scented flowers produce a small bright orange fruit which is edible but bitter. Light: Needs good light and air. Temperature: Minimum 5°C (40°F).

Compost: Loam-based. Water: Three to four times a week in summer; every 10 days in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: Difficult. Pests: Mealy bug, scale, white fly, mould.

Cleorodendron thomsonae

Bleeding heart vine

Description: A climber with dark green glossy heart-shaped leaves. The spectacular flowers are dark red. Light: Needs good light and humidity. Prefers greenhouse conditions. Temperature: Minimum 13°C (55°F). Compost: Loam-based. Water: Twice a week in summer; every 10 days in winter. Feed: Every 21 days in summer.

Propagation: By seed or stem tip cuttings. Pests: Red spider, greenfly.

Coffea arabica

Coffee plant

Description: A dense shrub with glossy, dark green leaves growing to 120 cm (4 ft), but unlikely to bear coffee beans. Light: Avoid midday sun in summer; in winter place in full light. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F). Compost: Loam-based. Water: Twice a week in summer; every 10 days in winter. Feed.- Every 14 days insummer. Propagation: By seed or side shoots. Pests: Greenfly, red spider.

Cordyline terminals

Cabbage palm

Description: Upright with red, green or cream, long spear-shaped leaves, growingfrom a central stem. Light: Good light preferred, but avoid midday sun. Temperature: Minimum 18°C (65°F). Compost: Loam-based with extra peat. Water: Once or twice a week in summer; every 7-10 days in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By stem cuttings or stem or root sections. Pesrs.- Red spider, greenfly, scale.

Crossandra undulaefolia

Crossandra

Description: A compact plant with dark green leaves and orange flowers. Light: A good light position away from the midday sun. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F). Compost:

Loam-based. Water: Use tepid water. Keep plant on dry side: once a week in summer and every 14 days in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By stem tip cuttings or seed. Pests: Greenfly, red spider.

Cyclamen persicum

Cyclamen

Description: Round leaves and delicately coloured flowers come from a central corm. Light: Good light. Avoid midday sun. Temperature: Keep at 7-15°C(45-60°F), falling at night to -12°C(10°F).

Compost: Loam-based. Water: From below, twice a week when growing, otherwise once. Allow to dry out for six weeks in early summer.

Feed: Every 14 days when growing. Propagation: By seed. Pests: Greenfly, botrytis.

Cyperus diffusus

Umbrella grass

Description: Grassy leaves and brown whispy flowers in anumbrella-shapeatthetop of tall stems. Light: Likes good light but avoid midday sun. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F). Compost: Loam-based. Water: Pot should be standingina littlewateratall times. Water three times a week all year round. Feed: Every 14 days when growing. Propagation: By division. Pests: Green- and white fly.

Fuschia

Description: Each of the many varieties has lovely pendant flowers, often with bell and petalsof contrasting colours. All have protruding stamens. Light: Needs direct light from a window. Temperature: Minimum 7°C (45°F). Compost: Loam-based. Water: Three to four times a week in summer; can be allowed to dry out in winter. Feed: Weekly when in flower. Propagation: From cuttings or seed. Pests: Greenfly.

Grevillea robusta

Silk oak

Description: An evergreen shrub which grows like a young tree with feathery foliage from a central stem. Light: Needs a good light position but avoid midday sun. Temperature: Minimum 7°C (45°F). Compost: Loam-based. Water: Twice a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By seed orstem cuttings. Pests: Red spider and mealy bug.

Hedera helix

Ivy

Description: Variegated and mutated ivies are very popular and vary greatly in size.

Light: They need plenty of light and a humid atmosphere. Not tolerant of central heating. Temperature: Minimum 7°C (45°F). Compost: Peat- or loam-based. Water: Once or twice a week in summer and once inwinter. Spraydaily in hot weather. Feed: Every 14 days in summer.

Propagation: By leaf cuttings in spring. Pests: Greenfly, scale, red spider and mould.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Rose of China

Description: Dark green serrated leaves and a succession of short-lived flowers, varying in colour from deep red to pureyel low. Light: Needs good light. Temperature: Minimum

10°C (50°F). Compost: Loam-based with added peat. Water: Twice a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer.

Propagation: By cuttings or air layering. Pests: Greenfly.

Hoya carnosa

Wax flower

Description: A climbing plant with oblong leaves. Bunchesofpinkstar-shaped flowers drop a honey-like liquor. Light: Needs good light but avoid midday sun. Temperature: Minimum 10°C (50°F). Compost: Soil-based compost on crushed brick. Water: Once a week in summer; every 14 days in winter. Feed: Half the recommended dose every three to four weeks in summer. Propagation: By stem tip cuttings. Pests: Mealy bug, red spider.

Maranta mackoyana

Prayer plant

Description: Colourful leaves norma I ly have a green background with vein and spine markings in cream, red, black or brown. The leaves curl at night, looking like praying hands. Light: Avoid direct sun. Temperature: Minimum 10°C (50°F). Compost: Peat-based. Water: Two to three times a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Half the recommended dose every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By division of roots. Pests: Red spider.

Orchids

Description: Cymbidium (A) blooms in late winter with spikes of up to 20 flowers; Paphiopedilum (B), the slipperorchid.flowersinlate summer with single flowers from a bed of small leaves. Light: Avoid midday sun.

Temperature: Minimum 10°C (50°F).

Compost: Orchidcompost. Water: Two to three times a week when flowering, then allowto rest. Feed: Oncea week in flower. Propagation: By division. Pests: Thrips, scale.

Peperomia magnoliaefolia

Desert privet

Description: Privet-like leaves are green with a cream edging. Compact bushy plants. Light: Avoid dark places and bright sun. Temperature: Minimum 13°C (55°F). Compost: Soil-based. Water: Every lCdays in summer and every 14-18 days in winter. Feed: Half the recommended dose every 20 days in summer. Propagation: By stem or leaf cuttings. Pests: Red spider.

Pilea cadieri Aluminium plant

Description: Delicate plants with fleshy stems bearing dark green leaves with aluminium markings. Light: Like good light but avoid midday sun. Temperature: Minimum 10°C (50°F).

Compost: Loam-based with 25% extra peat added.

:s Water: Two to three times a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: The normal t: dose every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By stem tip cuttings. Pesrs.-Greenfly and mould rot.

Pteris tremula

Trembling fern

Description: Large branched fronds, with four tof ivef ingerson each sideof the stem, grow from the centre of the plant like bracken. They break easily. Light: Prefers shade. Temperature: Minimum 10°C (50°F). Compost: Peat. Water: Up to once a day in summer and twice a week in winter. Feed: Half the recommended dose every 14 days in summer. Propagation: Byrootdivision or spores.

Pests: Scale or insects on stems.

Saintpaulia ionantha

African violet

Description: Soft, almost round leaves form a circle round the crown. Pink, purple or white flowers grow above them. Light: Needs good light away from midday sun. Temperature:

Minimum 13°C (55°F). Compost: Peat-based. Water: Keep moist all year round. Water from bottom of pot twice weekly. Feed: Every three to four weeks when growing. Propagation: By seed or leaf cuttings. Pests: Greenfly, mould.

Scindapsus aureus

Devil’s ivy

Description: A climbing or trailing plant with aerial roots and heart-shaped green and cream leaves. Light: Good light out of the midday sun. Temperature: Minimum 13°C (55°F). Compost: Loam-based. Water: Every four to five days in summer; weekly in winter. Feed: Half the recommended dose every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By stem cuttings. Pests: Red spider.

Sinningia speciosa

Gloxinia

Description: Large leaves and red, pink or mauve trumpet-shaped flowers. Light: Needs good light. Avoid midday sun. Temperature: Keep tubers frost free in winter and at 21°C (70°F) in spring to

promote growth. Compost: Peat-based. Water: From below two to three times a week in summer. Allow to dry out in winter. Feed.- Once a week in summer.

Propagation: By seed. Pests: Greenfly, spotted wilt.

Spathiphyllum wallisii

Sail plant

Description: Bright green lance-shaped leaves on stems which sprout from the centre of the plant. Throws out a long-lasting white flower with a yellow central spadix. Light: Needs

semi-shade in summer and full light in winter. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F). Compost: J.I. No. 3 with 25% peat added. Water: Two to three times a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By seed or division. Pests: Greenfly, red spider.

Streptocarpus hybridus

Cape primrose

Description: Long strap-like leaves and four to five mauve, pink, white or mixed flowers. Light: Needs good light out of midday sun. Temperature: Minimum 15°C(60°F). Compost: Peat-based. Water: Two to three times a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Half the recommended dose once a month. Propagation: By seed or leaf cuttings. Pests: Greenfly.

Syngonium podophyllum

Goose foot plant

Description: A climbing plant with green triangular leaves. Leaf changes shape as the plant matures. Needs to be tied to a stake. Light: Avoid midday sun. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F).

Compost: Loam-based with 25% peat added. Water: Two to three times a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Half the recommended dose every 21 days in summer. Propagation: By stem cuttings. Pests: Greenfly, red spider.

Tetrastigma voinierianum

Chestnut vine

Description.- A large, fragile, quick-growing vine with slightly serrated, pointed oval leaves. Needs support. Light: Needs good light but avoid midday sun. Temperature: Minimum 13°C (55°F). Compost: Loam-based. Water: Two to three times a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation.- By stem tip cuttings. Pests: Red spider, greenfly.

Anthurium scherzerianum

Flamingo flower

Description: Long, narrow leaves grow from the centre. The flower is on a long stem and has a flat red, white, pink or yellow bract with a curly flower cluster. Light: Needs good light. Temperature: Minimum 18°C (65°F). Compost: Peat-based with I chopped sphagnum moss added. Water: Twice a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: Difficult. Pests: Mealy bug, red spider, fungus.

Begonia rex

Foliage begonia

Description: Its large, irregular-shaped, serrated leaves are multicoloured and delicately patterned. Leaves are fragile. Light: Avoid direct sun. Temperature: Minimum 13°F (55°F). Compost: Peat-based. Water: Twice a week in summer; every 10 days in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By leaf cuttings.

Pests: Red spider, fungus, mould.

Caladium bicolor

Angel’s wings

Description: Broad, paper thin, arrow-shaped leaves arewhite, red or pink, tinged with green. Light: Full light away from midday sun. Temperature: Minimum 13°C(55°F). Compost; Rich loam with 25% peat added. Water: Two to three times a week in summer. Allow to dry out in winter. Feed: Half the recommended dose every 21 days in summer. Propagation: By seed or splitting tubers. Pests: Greenfly.

Codiaeum variegatum

Jacob’s coat

Description: Broad brightly coloured leaves or orange, red, yellow and green on single stems. Light: The colours are seen to best advantage in full sun. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F). Compost: Loam-based. Water: Two to three times a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By stem tip cuttings. Pests: Red spider, mealy bug, scale.

Uoiumnea microphylla

Golden vine

Description: Long, trailing stems are covered with small, oval leaves and bear profusions of bright orange flowers in spring. Light: Needs good light. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F). Compost: J.I. No. lwith 25%peatadded. Water: Twice a week in summer; once in winter, except in February. Feed: Every 14 days in summer. Propagation: By stem tip cuttings in spring. Pests: Red spider.

Fittonia verschaffeltii

Painted net leaf

Description: Oval leaves with red and cream markings with tiny white flowers. Light: Needs shade. Best grown in a greenhouse and brought indoors occasionally. Temperature: Minimum 18°C (65°F). Compost: Peat- or soil-based. Water: Two or three times a week in summer, once in winter. Needs humid conditions. Feed: Every 14 days with half the recommended dose in summer. Propagation: By division or by stem cuttings. Pests: Greenfly.

Gardenia jasminoides

Gardenia

Description: Small bushy plants with dark green pointed oval leaves and heavily scented creamy white double flowers. Light: Needs good I ight away from midday sun. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F).

Compost: Rich loam. Water: Three times a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Half the recommended dose every 14 days in summer. Propaga tion: By yo u n g ste m tip cuttings in spring. Pests: Mealy bug, scale, red spider.

Stephanotis floribunda

Madagascar jasmine

Description: A quick growing climbing plant with thick leathery leaves and waxen white flowers carried in clusters. Light: Needs maximum light. Temperature: Minimum 15°C (60°F). Compost: Loam-based. Water: Two to three times a week in summer; once in winter. Feed: Half the recommended dose every 14 days in summer. Propagation: From lateral stem tip cuttings from last year’s growth. Pests: Scale, red spider and mealy bug.

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