House Plants





Plant List:
Aloe Vera
Bamboo Palm
English Ivy
Gerbera Daisy
Pothos [Devil's Ivy]
Snake Plant
Spider Plant
Wandering Jew

Care of HP
My Houseplants
Potting Soil

Easy Houseplants
Pollution & HP
Companion Planting
Mediterranean Garden





Houseplant Care
My Houseplants
Hard to Kill Houseplants; Inside Air Improvement

Tx Mediterranean Garden


12 Plants For Your Bedroom All To Help You Sleep


is the first plant listed and is shown to have a soothing effect on the body and mind. It therefore can help reduce stress which leads to a better quality of sleep.

This exotic plant has a gentle, soothing effect on the body and mind. It has been shown in one study to reduce anxiety levels, leading to a greater quality of sleep.

Not only that, but this research suggests that the positive effects of such a high quality sleep lead you enjoy increased alertness and productivity during the day.

With such beautiful pink or ivory blossoms, there seem to be no downsides to adding a Jasmine bloom to your boudoir!

Jasmine / Lavender

Another plant is aloe vera which also emits oxygen in the night which will help you breathe better as you sleep.

On top of that aloe vera is an excellent plant to have around to help in the treatment of cuts and wounds.


Who doesn’t love the scent of lavender? It’s also probably the most well-known of all plants when it comes to inducing sleep and reducing anxiety levels. Research backs up these claims, with lavender scents shown to slow down heart rate, lower blood pressure and levels of stress.

Annual. Prime beneficial-insect plant. Lavender-blue, fragrant flowers are loved by people too.

In one study, the smell of lavender reduced crying in babies, sending them into a deeper sleep; while simultaneously reducing stress in both mother and child – something all new mothers will be happy to hear!

Insect repellant lavender for room or patio. slate mulch complements foliage

In women, lavender has been shown to increase light sleep, and decrease rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep and the amount of time to wake after first falling asleep, with opposite effects in men.

The countryside of southern France is legendary for its fields of lavender (Lavandula x intermedia Provence) grown for the perfume industry. In North America, lavender is a shrubby perennial grown for its flowers and fragrance, but it also serves as a landscape item for its beauty and ability to stand heat and drought. In parts of California, is it used in islands of commercial parking lots, which attests to its toughness.

In a formal garden, lavender may be clipped to form a low hedge or an aromatic border along a path. In a rock garden, a single plant or just a few plants may be used to great effect as an accent. And, of course, lavender is a natural choice for any herb garden. The cool, gray-green foliage contrasts nicely with its own flowers, as well as dark green herbs and other plants.

Lavender also grows quite well in containers. In the Deep South, it actually does better in pots, as it benefits from improved drainage and air circulation. While the plants thrive in arid Western climates, they are usually considered annuals in the South.

Set out plants 12 to 18 inches apart in an open area with full sun and good air circulation. Plant lavender in well-drained, slightly alkaline soil with a pH between 6.7 and 7.3. You can add builder’s sand to the soil before planting to increase drainage, which is vital because lavender will not tolerate excessive soil moisture or humidity. To further improve drainage, plant lavender in a raised bed, along a wall, or near the top of a slope.

In an herb or perennial bed, ensure good drainage by planting lavender on a small mound. Lavender flowers bloom in summer; you can clip faded blooms to encourage continued blooming throughout the warm season. Prune lightly to promote branching, especially in spring once the plants show new growth.

Sprinkle bone meal or other phosphorus-rich fertilizer around each plant in the fall to make it stronger and more winter hardy. Work the fertilizer into the first inch of soil, or let the rain soak it in.


Try your hand at growing lavender indoors. While this pretty herb isn’t a traditional houseplant, you can manage to keep it healthy if you do the right things. In most situations, lavender should be grown outdoors. Even in coldest regions where lavender isn’t hardy, it’s best to keep growing lavender indoors as a fall-back position, something you do in winter when plants can’t be outdoors.

Most indoor lavender plants '’t display ideal growth and leaf color, let alone colorful blooms. The problem is light—or lack of it. Indoor settings have a tough time delivering sufficient sunlight.

Place indoor lavender plants near a bright south-facing window. Most plants won’t fit on a window ledge, so use a small table or plant stand to get your plant near the sun. You can also use supplemental light to mimic sun. Standard fluorescent tubes suspended 6 to 12 inches above lavender provide sufficient light for growth. Or try high output fluorescent lights (T5 type), which yield twice as much light as traditional tubes.

When growing lavender indoors, using the right size container is important. A pot for lavender should only be one to two inches larger than the plant’s rootball. In a larger pot, there’s excess soil that doesn’t have any roots in it to help absorb moisture. That soil can easily become waterlogged and lead to too-wet soil where the lavender roots are. The end result is root rot, which is how many indoor lavender plants die.

Lavender is a Mediterranean plant, which means that it loves lean soil. Fill the bottom of your pot with an inch or two of limestone gravel topped with a basic soilless mix made for containers. Blend a tablespoon of lime into soil to give it more of an alkaline edge. Monthly, blend dried and ground eggshells into the top of soil to add lime. Although lavender loves heat, indoors you’ll have better success, especially in winter, when you locate it away from hot or cold air drafts. In winter, consider growing lavender indoors in a room that’s cooler than the rest of the house. Aim to keep roots alive through winter, but not to push heavy new growth.

Water your lavender after planting, and then pull back on the water. During cooler winter months, water only when soil is dry to the touch about 1 inch deep. Consider using a terra-cotta pot for growing lavender indoors. The porous clay pot sides lose moisture, which can help prevent root rot.

Snake Plant (Mother-in-Law’s Tongue)

One of the most recommended plants for improving indoor air quality, the Snake Plant is a hardy and easy to care-for plant … always a plus!

What’s great about this plant is that it emits oxygen at night time whilst simultaneously taking in carbon dioxide – something we naturally produce when breathing. All this leads to a purer quality of air and a better night’s sleep.

The Snake Plant also filters some nasty but common household toxins (namely formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene) from the air.

Snake Plant Sansevieria trifasciata

The snake plant is a very versatile plant which can be placed in almost any lighting condition. Hearty in both low light and sufficiently lit areas, the snake plant prefers East, West or South facing light. If you can only provide a Northern exposure window, or minimal light, fear not! Try to place your plant outdoors on occasion to catch up on its light consumption.

Do NOT over water this plant especially in the winter times. It is best to allow the snake plant to dry out, nearly completely, between watering. Although this should be left to personal judgement based on the area you live in, at best estimate, watering this plant every 2-3 weeks, is sufficient. When watering, be sure to use tepid to room temperature water so as not to shock the roots. Because the snake plant is tropical in nature it enjoys humid locations and thrives well in bathrooms.

When watering, be sure to water at the root. This will help you avoid the most common snake plant problem: rust spots. Rust spots occur when water stands on the plant’s leaves or “tongues” during times of lower light. Also, in avoiding over-watering, you will avoid root rot, also common to snake plants.

Fertilizing and Feeding
The snake plant requires little to no feeding / fertilizing. It will survive and thrive on its own well. If you choose to fertilize, do so sparingly, once a year. Use a dissolvable , general purpose fertilizer once a year in the spring or summer. This is the primary growing season for snake plants.

Fun Fact
A little known fact about the snake plant is that NASA research has shown that the snake plant can help clear the air in your home, ridding it of toxins such as formaldehyde. In short, this is the perfect houseplant for pretty much anyone, in any space, and especially for those who are not great at remembering to water often!

Aloe Vera

Listed as one of NASA’s top air-improving plants, the fantastic Aloe works much like the Snake Plant – it emits oxygen at night, making for a more restful slumber. It’s also one of the easiest plants to grow and maintain – it tolerates ‘neglect’ well and so doesn’t require frequent watering.

Dubbed the ‘plant of immortality’ by the Egyptians, it reproduces easily so if you buy one you’ll soon have an Aloe plant for all the rooms in your house. You can even pass on the gift of happy sleep to your family and friends! Keep it on your bedroom window as it does need a lot of direct sunlight.

You can also use the gel from the Aloe Vera leaves as a topical treatment for minor cuts and burns, insect bites, dry skin and lots more! It’s simply a must-have plant in every home.

Aloe Vera



With glossy evergreen leaves and beautifully scented blossoms, Gardenias are a popular plant choice for bedrooms. Studies indicate that keeping one in your room may help you achieve a better quality of sleep, with claims that it may be as effective as Valium in relieving anxiety and promoting sleep.

However, gardenias can be tricky to maintain as they require a lot of attention in order to keep their luscious leaves and delicate flowers. Indoor gardenias should be kept in a bright room, but not placed in direct sunlight. But if you suffer with insomnia or anxiety, investing a little time in one of these beautiful blooms could be a cheap and healthier solution to taking pills!

Spider Plant

Not to be confused with the Snake Plant, the Spider Plant is also a champion cleanser of air. The NASA tests showed it to remove around 90% of the potentially cancer-causing chemical formaldehyde from the air. Since formaldehyde is found in common household products like adhesives, grout and fillers, it’s a good idea to keep one of these plants around.

In addition to cleansing the air, it will also absorb odors and fumes as well as sustaining oxygen levels in the room, promoting better sleep.

English Ivy

Another one of NASA’s top plants for purifying the air, English Ivy is simple to grow and only needs moderate exposure to sunlight.

Studies have shown that this leaf can improve symptoms of allergies or asthma – which all sufferers know can seriously impact both the quantity and quality of sleep. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reported that, in a 2005 experiment, English Ivy removed 94% of airborne feces and 78% of airborne mold in just 12 hours! As mold can affect our breathing, it’s definitely a plant to have on hand for a great night’s sleep.

This evergreen vine looks great in an indoor hanging basket, or placed on a ledge where the leaves can trail down. It’s toxic to kids and pets though, so make sure to keep it out of reach!

Both English and Baltic ivies grow best in fertile, moist, well-drained soils that have lots of organic matter. They do tolerate a wide range of soil types. In hot summer climates, these ivies are best grown in partial shade to prevent leaf scald or browning from the intense sunlight or dry, warm soils.

Baltic ivy (Hedera helix var. baltica)

Bamboo Palm

Also known as a Reed Palm, this small plant is a fantastic air purifier. Ditch your chemical-laden air fresheners in favor of a few of these pretty palms and say goodbye to airborne smells and toxins.

Not only will you be able to enjoy your home’s pure, fresh air during the day, but you’ll enjoy a fantastic night’s sleep too.

Given its exotic origins, the Bamboo Palm will bring a tropical, warm feel to your bedroom. It’s fairly easy to care for – just keep the soil moist (but not wet) and place the plant in indirect sunlight.


Areca palm Plant, Dypsis lutescens, also known as bamboo palm, golden cane palm, areca palm, yellow palm, or butterfly palm, is a species of flowering plant in the Arecaceae family, native to Madagascar and naturalized ... Wikipedia

Scientific name: Dypsis lutescens

Victorian Parlor Palm [Neanthe bella]

It thrives in our homes and workplaces where other species may struggle and is one of the cheapest palms you can buy. Popular since Victorian times it has kept hold of this prestige through its easy going adaptive attitude to low light and humidity levels, all the while being effective at cleaning the air and making it on to NASA's list of 50 Indoor plants that clean the air. This is an equally great plant to start with for the beginner or the seasoned houseplant collector.

Whilst a slow grower it should reach a respectable indoor height of 2ft / 60cm within only a few years, after which you may (with good light) receive regular clusters of flowers and for a palm kept indoors that is pretty rare.

you may find it going by Collinia elegans or Chamaedorea elegans.

Low light will be tolerated but like all houseplants deep shade will not go down well (unless for only short periods). Some sun will be helpful, but harsh sunshine will scorch the leaves. The perfect spot for your Parlour Palm therefore should be bright with a little sun in early morning or late afternoon.

Underwatering a Parlour Palm is better than overwatering. Water well then wait until the surface of the soil has dried out, at which point water well again. Limit the amount of water given when light or temperature levels are low simply because in those conditions plant's ''t use as much water.

Red Spider Mite can be an issue if humidity is very low or there is a lot of dry air around the leaves, for example if placed near a working radiator. However, providing Spider Mites aren't a problem this is a palm that really doesn't care about low or high humidity.

Because there are often several plants in a single pot all fighting for the limited number of nutrients in the soil, you should look to feed on a semi regular basis. That said, these palms are still relatively small and ''t need masses of feed to do well. A general feed once every couple of months will be enough.

Golden Pothos [Devil's Ivy]

Golden Pothos [Devil's Ivy]

With its marbled, heart-shaped leaves, the Golden Pothos is another exceptional air purifying plant according to NASA. Removes toxins.

Those with a busy schedule will particularly welcome this ivy-like vine. Not only will you have a better quality of sleep but you need not worry too much about nurturing it – a couple of hours of morning sun and a little water once a week is all it requires.

It makes a great hanging plant too – which curbs its invasive nature and keeps its mildly toxic leaves out of the reach of pets and children.

Golden Pothos Care – Growing The Devil’s Ivy Plant What if I told you that the devil's ivy plant was given that name because it's nearly impossible to kill?

Common Name(s) Devil's ivy, ivy arum, hunter's robe, Solomon Islands ivy, taro vine
Scientific Name Epipremnum aureum
Family Araceae
Origin French polynesia
Height Uo to 40 feet
Light Bright, indirect sun
Water Average
Temperature 60-80°F
Humidity Average-high
Soil Well-draining potting mix
Fertilizer Feed every 2 weeks with houseplant fertilizer, once a month in winter
Propagation Stem
Pests Scale insects

Golden pothos is one of the most popular houseplants in the world because it is so easy to care for.

It's a gorgeous vining plant with heart-shaped leaves that are variegated in green and yellow. It's a fast grower, hardy, and can tolerate a wide variety of growing conditions.

The vines can reach 10' or longer, making them ideal for hanging baskets where they will create beautiful draping foliage.

If a moss pole or other type of support is provided, the devil's ivy plant will create a beautiful climbing houseplant.


An excellent beginner plant, it's not fussy at all and can thrive in both bright sunlight or dim lighting inside your home. The only lighting conditions it can't tolerate are full, direct sun and complete darkness.

If exposed to bright, filtered light, your devil's ivy will have more yellow variegation in its leaves.


The root system of pothos plants is rather shallow, so you only need to water a little bit to penetrate the roots. Water it as often as needed during the growing months of spring and summer. Just avoid soaking the soil completely and you should be fine.


Golden pothos is quite hardy and can survive without fertilizer for months on end. However, if you want to produce vigorous growth and foliage, give it a 20-20-20 mix.

Fertilize during the growing season and avoid fertilizing during the winter months.

If the plant stops producing new growth, reduce the frequency of fertilizing to once every two or three months.


You should prune your plant to control its shape over the year. Sometimes it will send out vines that look a bit bare except for foliage at the very bottom, so pruning those back will make your plant more aesthetically pleasing.

They grow so quickly that you can prune back heavily to reshape your plant and it will start coming back in no time.


Along with being easy to care for, golden pothos is also one of the easiest houseplants to propagate!

You can simply clip the vines and root golden pothos in water. New roots will form at leaf nodes, which are directly under a leaf.

When you make your cutting, remove the lowest leaves and place the cuttings in water.

You can also propagate by air layering, but most gardeners use the water method because of how quickly the cuttings form new roots.

You don't even have to worry about trimming the plant for propagation because the vine will start a new shoot at the cut area!

Pests and Diseases

Although the plant is susceptible to several pests, infestations are rare. Fungal and bacterial problems are the main cause of failure with this houseplant. These problems which cause root rot and leaf spots can be avoided by making sure the soil is only moist and not soaked.

Pests include spider mites and mealy bugs, but mealy bugs are most common. They can easily be removed by using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or an insecticidal soap.

Unlike some houseplants, golden pothos is fine with normal tap water. You may want to let it cool to room temperature though to avoid shocking the root system with a sudden temperature change.

If you don't prune it at all, it will become a vining plant and drop a lot of foliage and vines all over the place. If you want to control it, all you need to do is cut off a vine completely to thin it out. You can also root these cuttings if you want even more golden pothos!

When Adding Plants to Your Home:

Remember to wipe the leaves every week or so to ensure the plants can effectively do their job – just look at it as the equivalent of changing the filter in your air purifier!

Choose a good mix of those that purify the air and those that induce sleep through their scent for optimum results.

NASA recommend between 15 and 18 air-purifying plants in an 1800 square foot home, with a few of these in each bedroom.

Houseplants Care blog

email: Texas Gardener's Seeds - January 16, 2019 - Houseplants 101 By Melinda Myers

Lift your spirits and improve your indoor environment by taking part in the indoor gardening movement. An apartment or home filled with tropical, succulent and flowering plants can provide beauty, extend your garden season, improve air quality and create a peaceful environment to de-stress.

Though some may find indoor gardening a bit intimidating, don't let past failures or the thought of tending living greenery stop you from enjoying the many benefits. Knowing some basics in care and making needed adjustments to the growing environment can turn past failures into success

Water, humidity and light are key to growing healthy plants. When you match these to a plant's needs and the growing media, you're sure to experience success.

Use a container with drainage holes to avoid overwatering that can lead to root rot and plant death. It should be no more than an inch or two larger in diameter than the plant's root ball. Growing in a larger pot results in the soil staying too wet, increasing the chance of root rot.

Select a quality potting mix that holds moisture but drains well. Cacti and succulents prefer a fast-draining mix while tropicals and African violets prefer a mix that stays moist, not soggy, yet drains well.

Set your plant in a location that's free from drafts of hot and cold air, but in the preferred light conditions. An east- or west-facing window usually provides adequate light for most plants. Keep cacti, succulents and other plants requiring high light within two feet of an east- or west-facing window.

Pothos, philodendron, Chinese evergreens and those that tolerate low light can be placed near a north-facing window or up to six feet back or off to the side of an east- or west-facing window. Shears, awnings and trees can impact the light reaching your plants. Adjust their location as needed.

Always water thoroughly and pour off the excess water that collects in the saucer. Allow the top few inches of soil to dry before watering drought tolerant plants like cactus. Water tropical and flowering plants that prefer moist conditions when the top few inches of soil are barely moist, like a sponge that has been wrung out.

Reduce maintenance and improve plant health with gravel trays. Fill a tray or saucer with pebbles. Allow excess water to collect in the tray. The pebbles keep the pot elevated above the water to avoid root rot. As the water evaporates it increases the humidity around the plant.

When pest problems occur, consider an organic approach safe for people, pets and plants. Manage fungus gnats, those tiny fruit fly like insects found flitting around the house, with a naturally occurring bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis. Just sprinkle on the soil surface and repeat as needed until these pests disappear.

Mites, aphids, scale and mealybugs can be controlled with an organic horticulture oil like Summit Year-Round Spray Oil. This product coats the pests and kills all stages from egg to adult. Repeat as needed to control any that were missed. Once the pests are managed, check the growing conditions and make needed adjustments to the growing environment.

The more plants you grow, the easier it becomes and soon enough you may find yourself immersed in a tropical or desert paradise inside the comfort of your own home.

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books,

Melinda Myers website

My Houseplants

10/12/16 Ordered Baltic English Ivy. 4" pot. Many different plants have the word "ivy" in their common names, but most often ivy refers to plants belonging to the botanical genus Hedera. Among the most widely used in outdoor gardens, as indoor houseplants or grown as topiaries, is the species called English ivy (Hedera helix). Baltic ivy (Hedera helix var. baltica) is a natural variant of English ivy although nurseries and literature may list this plant as a cultivar.

Baltic ivy (Hedera helix var. baltica)

Both English and Baltic ivies grow best in fertile, moist, well-drained soils that have lots of organic matter. They do tolerate a wide range of soil types. In hot summer climates, these ivies are best grown in partial shade to prevent leaf scald or browning from the intense sunlight or dry, warm soils.

Baltic ivy (Hedera helix var. baltica)

10/17/16 Noticed, while watering, a chile piquine, the fruit just ripening, to the left of the rosebush.

I also noticed a small wildflower, either Butterfly Pea [Centrosema virginianum], Dayflower [Commelina erecta], False Day Flower [Commelinantia anomala], or Granite Spiderwort [Tradescantia pedicellata].

Granite Spiderwort [too open] / False Day Flower [very close, even the same foliage, but too open]

Day Flower [very close, same foliage, but too open] / Butterfly Pea [too open and wrong foliage]

The blue flower petals were partially closed over the yellow stamin. It remains a mystery for me. The foliage is like the Day Flower, but the bloom is closer to a pea.

I also noticed a morning glory. It looked like Purple Bindweed [Ipomoea trichocarpa], but very blue. Maybe a typical morning glory but seeded by wild birds?

When I was a teenager tending my horse, a Winecup [Callirhoe sp.]. I was struck by its beauty.

10/19/16 Rec'd Lavender French Province 4" pot.

10/29/16 Ordered Victorian Parlor Palm [Neanthe bella].

Houseplants for Removing Indoor Air Pollution

5 houseplants for removing indoor air pollution New research finds that certain houseplants are best for removing specific harmful compounds.

It’s not new news that houseplants are beautiful little workhorses when it comes to human health. Among their many benefits is one decidedly impressive one – they remove toxins from the air.

1. Jade plant / 2. Spider plant

Meanwhile, indoor air pollution is a constant problem and a threat to human health. So looking further into the idea of how houseplants can fend off the potentially harmful effects of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a main category of air pollutants, a team of researchers have made some new discoveries. They found that certain plants are better at removing specific compounds from the air – this is especially meaningful for indoor air, as studies have shown that interior air can have three to five times more pollutants than outside.

5. Dracaena / Jade Plant

"Buildings, whether new or old, can have high levels of VOCs in them, sometimes so high that you can smell them," says Vadoud Niri, Ph.D., leader of the study.

VOCs include things like acetone, benzene and formaldehyde – they are emitted as gases and can cause short- and long-term health effects. They are invisible to the eye and come from common things many of us have around the house, things as innocent-seeming as furniture, copiers and printers, cleaning supplies and even dry-cleaned clothes.

3. Bromeliad / 4. Caribbean tree cactus [Consolea falcata]

They found that all of the plants were good at removing acetone, but the dracaena plant took up the most, around 94 percent of the chemical. The bromeliad plant was great at removing six of the eight VOCs, taking up more than 80 percent of each over a 12-hour sampling period. Likewise, the jade plant was very good for toluene.

Be sure to watch the video at the end of the page.

5 Health Benefits of Houseplants

15 houseplants for improving indoor air quality

5 Common Houseplants That Clean the Air for a Healthier Home

By taking in carbon dioxide and converting it to oxygen during photosynthesis, plants and trees naturally remove excess carbon from the air. During photosynthesis, foliage also removes from the atmosphere other chemicals, such as nitrogen oxides, airborne ammonia, some sulfur dioxide and ozone that are part of the smog and greenhouse effect problems. Plants also affect air quality by acting as collection sites for dust and other air particles. So, by adding plants to your environment, you are cleaning up your indoor air and helping the planet.

In addition, these researchers, including Dr. Bill Wolverton, formerly a senior research scientist at NASA, have found many common houseplants absorb benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. In the NASA study, each plant type was placed in sealed, Plexiglas chambers in which chemicals were injected. The results surprised everyone.

“Plants take substances out of the air through the tiny openings in their leaves,” according to Wolverton. “But research in their labs has determined that plant leaves, roots and soil bacteria are all important in removing trace levels of toxic vapors.”

Did you know that one potted plant per 100 square feet will clean the air in an average office? Although not a replacement for an air purifier, NASA says that 15 to 18 good-sized plants in 6 to 8-inch diameter containers will improve air quality in an average 1,800 space. But, not just any plant, there's a certain 50 plants that work the best.

here are the top five plants that are most effective in removing formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide from the air, according to the study.

Areca Palm / Lady Palm

Bamboo Palm / Rubber Plant

Dracaena “Janet Craig” / Chinese Evergreen [Aglaonema Crispum 'Deborah'

Easy House Plants

16 houseplants that are almost impossible to kill

low light needs: Snake Plant [Sansevieria trifasciata] / Parlor Palm, [Chamaedorea elegans]

Light needs medium: Spider plant [Chlorophytum comosum] / Rubber plant [Ficus elastica ‘Decora’]

Light needs medium: Dracaena [Dracaena] / Vining Pothos [Epipremnum aureum]

Light needs low: Peace lily [Spathiphyllum wallisii] / Boston fern [Nephrolepsis exaltata]

A Mediterranean Garden for Texas

A Mediterranean Garden for Texas

San Antonio’s climate and geology are ideal for a Mediterranean garden. Our climate similarities include short wet winters, long springs, hot dry summers and mild falls. Soils in both regions are characterized by thin soils on a limestone substrate, alkaline clays and some sandy areas.

As for large, expansive lawns, they derive from England and northern Europe where temperatures are cooler and rain is more regular, and are very rarely part of any Mediterranean garden. In fact, our Hill Country-like soils present the perfect opportunity for colorful, drought-hardy lawn alternatives.

Mediterranean garden design elements include:

  • Well placed container plants. Invest in one or two large pots instead of lots of little ones, they’re easier to care for and more impactful.

  • Fountains create a serene atmosphere and are a better use of water than a thirsty lawn.

  • Fragrant plants like mountain laurel, sweet olive or confederate jasmine.

  • Interesting textures and vivid colors in the form of plants or paint. Textural plants include Texas persimmon, nolina, giant crinum lily or fuzzy lamb’s ear. For vivid color try Moy Grande hibiscus, Pride of Barbados, esperanza or plumbago.

Since Mediterranean weather often means hot you will want to incorporate a shady retreat and an outdoor-rated ceiling fan, if possible. Be sure to include a nice size table and enough chairs so you can gather with family and friends as you enjoy your Mediterranean fare.


6 Different Ferns You Can Grow Indoors The diversity of type of ferns lends difficulty to the decision which to grow… in pots or in hanging baskets. In making selections there are a number of important considerations – the plant’s ultimate size, its suitability for pot culture and whether it is what could be called an evergreen.

The bird nest fern (Asplenium nidus) / Cyrtomium Falcatum – The Holly Fern

Cyrtomium Falcatum – The Holly Fern

potted cyrtomium falcatum holly fern A fern that fully meets the above requirements is the holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum), a native of Japan, Korea and China.

The plant grows from 18-20 inches high, with an equal spread. The once divided, leathery fronds are dark, shiny green and the divisions, sickle shaped. In one form the margins are deeply cut and the ends, long-pointed, causing a resemblance to true holly. Once established, holly fern survives drought and chill temperatures. Grown in humidity, it stands winter sun.

There are several forms of holly fern, all about the same size and grown under similar culture.

The Boston Fern [Nephrolepis exaltata bostoniensis]

No fern collection in the home would be complete without the popular old-timer, the Boston fern. The true Boston fern scientific name is (Nephrolepis exaltata bostoniensis) is a horticultural form discovered by chance by a florist among his ferns in the early nineties (1890’s). Its parent is a tropical species, Nephrolepis exahata, native to Cuba, Mexico, South America, and Malaya.

The Boston fern grows to two feet or more, is once-divided, with the frond divisions entire and slightly ruffled. At first erect, the fronds arch over with age, having continuous length of growth, unless injured.

There are nearly 100 named and described descendents or forms, all sports and all creeping. For a large, erect form, with older fronds arching and drooping, look for a variety called Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, with much ruffled divisions having margins slightly cut. The plant grows to 18 inches and it care is of easy culture. Having about the same size and form but with fronds more deeply cut is the Boston fern form splendida.

Lace fern (Nephrolepis exaltata whitmanii) is smaller, much more cut and divided. The erect fronds arch over the pot sides, reaching only 10 inches in height.

Lace fern (Nephrolepis exaltata whitmanii)

Another nephrolepis is the sword fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia). It lacks its Boston cousin’s grace, the fronds being more narrow and more erect. An important advantage, however, is its hardiness and easy culture and care. Overwatering is the greatest source of difficulty. It survives full sun, but is most attractive when grown in partial shade.

sword fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia)

Quick Care Tips For Nephrolepis Ferns
Keep the fronds of all nephrolepis on the dry side. Do all watering directly into the pots. Varieties with finely divided fronds require more care. Night temperatures above 50 degrees F. are best. Provide light but no direct sunshine and plenty of ventilation for most varieties.

All the Boston ferns are sterile. New plants are produced from runner-like off-shoots, more properly known as stolons. To propagate, cover the stolons lightly while they are still attached to the mother fern. If there are a large number of new stolons, remove some because they retard the parent plant’s growth.

The Boston Fern / Davallia Fern

The Polystichum Ferns

Another Fern which has finely cut foliage is the soft shield fern (Polystichum setiferum proliferum). It has dense, deep green fronds which arch over the pot sides. Native to Tasmania, it has a number of close relatives in temperate zones around the world.

It reaches a foot in height, with a slightly larger spread. The fronds are numerous, long and tapering. It is propagated by spores or from young ferns produced along the axis or midrib on the frond uppersides. It can also be propagated by pinning down the fronds over a layer or moist peat moss, and maintaining good circulation of air and humidity.

the soft shield fern (Polystichum setiferum proliferum)

Useful in both dish gardens and planters is the tususima holly fern (Polystichum tsushima), native to Japan and China--also called the Korean Rock Fern. It is as a young plant that tususima holly Fern makes a good dish garden subject. The leathery, dark green fronds are twice divided. Ten to 12 inches in height, it slowly spreads, forming dense chimps.

the tususima holly fern (Polystichum tsushima)

It is of easy culture and will withstand strong light. Like the true holly fern, it is most successfully grown in slightly acid or neutral soil.

Davallia Ferns

For something really different, try the epiphytic [epiphyte-a plant that grows on another plant but is not parasitic, such as the numerous ferns, bromeliads, air plants, and orchids growing on tree trunks in tropical rain forests] members of the genus Davallia. All are evergreen, with fronds erect and finely divided. Being tropical in origin, they cannot withstand even light frost.

One of the group, the Squirrel's Foot fern (Davallia mariesii), native to Japan, it was once imported as a novelty, coming in the shapes of animals, monkeys, clowns or fern balls. Others are the hares’ foot fern (Davallia trichomanoides), from Japan, Ceylon and Malaya, the various forms of Fiji Davallia – (Davallia fejeensis), from the Fiji islands, and the members of the closely allied genus Humata, the hears’ foot fern (humata tyermanii) and other small or medium epiphytic ferns.

the Squirrel's Foot fern (Davallia mariesii) its rhizomes are covered with fine white hairs. I've always thought these 'legs' look more like tarantulas

The epiphytic ferns can be grown in pots, but are more showy and successful grown on pieces of cork, oak logs or wire baskets. High humidity, plenty of filtered, overhead light and good drainage, with no over-watering, are the recipe for healthy ferns of this group. Water thoroughly but infrequently, placing the container in a pan or bucket of water for a complete wetting.

Use coarse potting materials, try a mixture of potting mix and perlite in a 2 to 1 mixture. During potting, do not plant the creeping rhizome in the potting medium. Compress the root systems with sphagnum moss, avoiding root injury.

All the members of the group are slow in starting from divisions or spores. Especially during this early period be very careful not to overwater. Once the plants are established, however, they are easily cared for and can survive considerable neglect.

The following group of terrestrial (or soil grown) ferns are small to medium in size and of easy indoor pot culture.

The Australian cliff brake (Pellaea falcata) creeps to form tight, 10-inch high clumps. Give it light, but no sun, and add finely ground limestone to the soil mixture.

The Australian cliff brake (Pellaea falcata) from New Zealand

Pellaea rotundifolia from New Zealand grows six to 10 inches tall, is shade loving and drought resistant. Use a soil mixture of leafmold, a little broken lime and rocks.

Button fern [Pellaea rotundifolia]

The Mexican flowering fern (llavea cordifolia) is also an unusual specimen. It reaches 10-12 inches in height, prefers shade. Keep fronds dry and do not overwater the plant. Fertile fronds are much contracted and divided at their ends, slightly resembling green flowers.

The Mexican flowering fern (llavea cordifolia)

The Pteris Ferns

An attractive group are the ferns of the genus Pteris, sometimes known as table ferns, most of which can be grown from divisions as well as spores. They prefer a soil mixture containing a sprinkle of ground limestone, an acceptable mixture being of fibrous loam, leafmold and sand with some well rotted [compost], ground cow manure added.

The Cretan brakes (Pteris cretica 'mayii') reach more than a foot in height, growing in clumps from very short, slowly creeping rhizomes. Found throughout the tropics and sub-tropics, they were first discovered on the island of Crete. Apart from requirements of filtered light and soil kept moist but not wet, Cretan brake needs little care.

the Cretan brakes (Pteris cretica)

The variegated Club Foot fern (Pteris cretica 'mayii').

The variegated Club Foot fern (Pteris cretica 'mayii')

Varieties are the ribbon brake (Pteris cretica albo lineata), a variegated form from Japan.

the ribbon brake (Pteris cretica albo lineata)

Another pteris species is the Chinese or spider brake (Pteris multifida, often sold as Pteris serrulata), of Chinese and Japanese origin. Divisions are narrower than in the Cretan brake and continue growing down along the midvein. The plant is densely leaved and has a spread and height of about a foot.

the Chinese or spider brake (Pteris multifida)

White foliage areas contrasting with bright green make the silver brake (Pteris argyraea) from India and eastern Asia an outstanding species. Its erect leaves are taller and are differently divided than the other pteris.

the silver brake (Pteris argyraea)

San Diego Fern Society

The Pteris Ferns / The Mother Fern

The Mother Fern

A large and showy specimen is the mother fern (Asplenium bulbiferum), a native of New Zealand, Australia, India and Malaya. It reaches a height of 18 inches, with medium green fronds arching over to give the plant a spread of 20 inches or more. Very proliferous, it produces bulblets and also grows young plants on the upper frond sides, source of its common name, mother fern. It can also be grown from spores.

the mother fern (Asplenium bulbiferum)

The bird nest fern (Asplenium nidus) is even larger than the mother fern, reaching over three feet when grown outside in subtropical areas. Fronds are not divided, but are sometimes slightly wavy and are of a leathery texture. In nature epiphytic, pot bird nest fern in leaf-mold, peatmoss or ground fir bark. Give it occasional fertilizer.

The bird nest fern (Asplenium nidus)

Another excellent pot subject with a yen for a bit of lime in the soil mixture is the hart’s tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium). A large fern in the wilds, it doesn’t reach more than a foot high grown in pots. It is found in Europe, Asia and Africa as well as parts of the United States. A form from England, more cut and varied in size than the others, is most commonly grown indoors.

the hart’s tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium)

Wandering Jew

Purple Queen Plant, Purple Heart Plant, Heart Purple, Purple Hearts, Wandering Jew Plant, Purple Wandering, Aka Wandering, Heart Wandering, Garden Bahcemden

How to Take Care of a Wandering Jew Plant Wandering Jews are beautiful plants known for their solid or variegated leaves. These hardy perennials thrive outdoors as groundcover or in pots which allow their tendrils to cascade. They are relatively easy to care for and incredibly simple to propagate, making them great houseplants.

Wandering Jew

Wandering Jew plants are native to South America and prefer lots of sunlight and warm temperatures, around 55–75 °F (13–24 °C). This shouldn't be a problem if you're going to keep the plant inside; however, you'll need to make sure conditions are suitable if you plan on growing the plant outside. Refer to Part 2 about getting enough sunlight.

The Wandering Jew plant grows best in zones 9-11. According to the U.S.D.A. map, much of the South and a narrow strip of the West Coast make up these zones.

Wandering Jew

Choose an adequate pot for your plant. You can use a regular gardening pot with a saucer or a hanging basket. Regardless of what you choose, make sure there are holes for water drainage.

If you use a hanging basket, remember to turn it daily so it gets equal amounts of sunlight. Be sure to choose a pot that's not too heavy, especially if you plan on hanging it.

You might want to pick a plastic pot instead of a ceramic one for this reason. A lighter pot will also make it easier to move inside in case of frost.

Pot your Wandering Jew plant. Fill the pot about two-thirds full of your potting soil, then place the plant in the center of the pot. Add soil to surround and fill in the sides. Gently press down on the soil around your plant and water it till the soil is completely moistened.

Give your plant enough sunlight. If you can, give them a combination of direct and filtered sunlight. An eastern facing windowsill is a good spot for Wandering Jew plants. They'll receive bright indirect light throughout the day, but watch to make sure the space doesn't become too hot in the afternoon. If so, move the pot a few feet away or use a curtain to filter the light.

If the plant primarily remains outside, find a spot that receives indirect sunlight. This could be on a porch that gets morning sun for several hours. Just make sure that it's not sitting in direct sunlight without any shade for most of the day.

Water your plant often. Wandering Jews like the soil to be moist, but they ''t want to drown! Every day, stick your finger inside the soil. If it feels dry, add enough water to completely moisten the soil. Excess water should run out of the bottom of your pot.

If you've set your pot on a saucer, be sure to empty the saucer when it fills. Make sure not to water straight into the crown of the plant or it may rot.[3] You can water the plant less during the winter months, when its growth slows.[4] Simply let it remain a little dry for a bit longer before watering.

Fertilize regularly.Every two weeks, give your plant some liquid 10-10-10 fertilizer that has been diluted with an equal part of water.

Liquid 10-10-10 fertilizer is considered to be an all-purpose fertilizer made up of ten percent nitrogen, ten percent phosphorous, and ten percent potassium. Read the container's instructions carefully, as some liquid fertilizers may actually be powders requiring you to mix in water.

Fertilizing is only necessary during the heaviest growing season, from spring to early fall.

Prune your plant. To keep your plant from becoming leggy, pinch back or cut the stems above the leaf node. ''t be afraid of cutting too much! You can prune back about a quarter of the plant. This will encourage the plant to fill in rather than continue to grow out through tendrils.

The best time to prune is during the spring and summer months, when the plant is putting on the most growth. After you've pruned, give the plant a chance to put on new shoots and fill in.

If you find your plant is too dense and bushy, you'll need to prune around the base so that the plant can get adequate circulation and sunlight.

PURPLE HEART Setcreasea pallida Sun or shade. A hardy, heat-tolerant groundcover. Fleshy purple foliage forms spreading mats. Pink flowers appear in warm weather.

Use it in pots and shady spots in the garden, around evergreens that can provide structure when it freezes back in winter.

Purple heart can be aggressive and invasive in shade; not recommended for native plantings.

plant type: Groundcover
origins: Tamaulipas, Mexico

flower color: Purple, Pink
freeze hardy: Yes
sunlight requirements: Full Shade, Part Sun/Shade
soil types: Clay, Well drained
invasive: No

Spreads aggressively. Expect it to freeze back in winter.

Perennial Plants Garden Center Perennial plants provide spring, summer and fall color and interest in the garden year after year. The nature of this type of plant is to grow and bloom throughout the growing season. They freeze back in the winter, only to emerge yet again in the spring.

After they freeze back in the winter, one must trim off the dead growth, usually almost to the ground, and wait for it to re-sprout in the spring. Perennial plants come in varying degrees of hardiness (the ability to survive the coldness of winter). Some will persist even in the harshest of winters, while others will be killed in a few nights of 25-30 degree weather. Perennial plants may include shrubs of various sizes, vines, and ground covers. Perennial plants usually have a lifespan of about 5 to 7 years. They are also a great way to attract hummingbirds, butterflies and other wildlife to the garden!

Popular perennials:

Pride of Barbados Full sun
Agapanthus Shade-part sun
Artemesia Shade-part sun
Bicolor Iris Shade-sun
Black Foot Daisy Full-part sun
Blue Daze Shade-part sun
Columbine Shade-part sun
Coneflower Full sun
Coral Bells Shade
Delphinium Shade-part sun
Dwarf Mexican Petunia Full sun-shade
Firebush Full-part sun
Gaura Part sun
Gazania Full sun
Lantana Full Sun
Mexican Bush Sage Full sun
Mexican Honeysuckle Full-part sun
Pentas Full-part sun
Plumbago Full-part sun
Rock Rose Pavonia Part-full sun
Salvia coccinea Full-part sun
Shasta Daisy Full-part sun
Shrimp Plant Shade-part sun
Thryallis Shade-part sun
Turk’s Cap Full sun-shade
Verbena Full sun
Wandering Jew Part sun

FREE and EASY Texas Plants 2, Wandering Jew This beautiful plant originates in the subtropics of Brazil and Argentina. This plant will "tolerate" full shade (like in the indirect lights of your office or in a dark corner of your yard) but it thrives in FULL Texas sun! I told you it was easy

What makes it a great landscape plant in our extreme environment is its unique ability to survive both drought and flood. So, the pounding Texas rain followed by nothing will suit this little plant just fine.

It is tough, fast growing (can be aggressive), and can be cultivated year round. I can't mail this one but I can give you cuttings if you come by to see me. All you do is bury the cuttings with a leaf or 2 popping out and you will have beautiful plants in no time. They die back at frost but come back just as beautiful every year.

Propagating a Wandering Jew Native to Mexico, wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina, also known as Zebrina pendula) grows quickly, displaying trailing stems and green and purple leaves often marked with silvery stripes. A warm-climate plant most often grown indoors, wandering Jew grows outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. Propagate wandering Jew by rooting cuttings in water or directly in soil.

Wandering Jew Plant: Care, Types, and Growing Tips The Wandering Jew is not a single plant — it's the name given to a few different plants in the genus Tradescantia.

When grown outdoors it's considered invasive in many regions of the world, but those same growing characteristics make it perfect as an indoor vining plant.

Scientific Name Tradescantia zebrina, Tradescantia fluminensis
Family Commelinaceae
Origin Mexico
Height Up to 6 feet
Light Bright, indirect sun
Water Average-medium
Temperature 50-80°F
Humidity Average
Soil Slightly moist
Fertilizer Half strength liquid
Propagation Cuttings
Pests Root rot, spider mites, aphids.

Tradescantia pallida is unique in that the foliage is a deep purple with light purplish-pink flowers. It's one of the most popular varieties of wandering jew.


Big Red Sage Salvia Penstemonides Salvia penstemonides, commonly known as big red sage, is a great Central Texas native plant that gets its species name from the fact that it looks a lot like a penstemon.

It has a large, mounding habit that isn’t common among the salvias, with larger, glossy, deep green leaves as well.

Big red sage produces towering, deep pinkish-red flower stalks, from late spring though summer. Said to be deer resistant, Salvia penstemenoides is hardy to zone 6, making it a perennial in Central Texas gardens.

As they do with most plants with similar spiky floral displays, hummingbirds flock to this plant when in flower.

Full sun is best, with perhaps a little protection from the harsh rays of the late afternoon.

And be very careful not to overwater big red sage, especially if you have clay in your soil, or it could rot. Consider amending the soil with a bit of porous material such as decomposed granite, but '’t overdo it; big red sage doesn’t like to completely dry out, either.

Adding a little organic matter, such as compost, would help keep the soil porous and moist at the same time: an ideal balance for this striking plant.

Big red sage gets about two feet tall and half as wide in most gardens and as with other perennials, will need to be sheared back in late winter to reinvigorate them and encourage new growth.

some helpful advice for growing sage Today, we're going to focus on growing sage indoors, since we think it's one of the best ways to enjoy the tasty herb year-round.

Plant sage from seeds, seedlings, or cuttings in a well-draining soil in a container with drainage. Sage needs to grow in moist soil and in a sunny location. For ample lighting, use fluorescent lights or move your containers to a sunny location outdoors for several hours each day.

You can harvest your sage leaves as needed, after the first year of growth to allow the plant to become established. Store dry sage in an airtight container until needed, or in the freezer.

benefits of growing sage indoors

Sage is a popular herb used in a number of dishes, and a small amount of this herb goes a long way. It also has several medicinal uses, from use in mouthwash for oral hygiene, or use in a gargle for sore throats. You can even apply fresh sage leaves to a bug bite or sting to relieve pain and itching.

If you have a safe place in your home with plenty of sunlight, sage can grow well indoors and provide you with fresh sage year-round. You can choose to grow sage indoors to begin establishing your plants for transplanting to your garden, or grow it indoors to prevent it from pest infestation and weather.

Sage grows vigorously and does not require a lot of maintenance. However, as with most plants, there are a few things you can do to ensure that it has what it needs for optimal growth.

First, choose the type of sage you want to grow. Sage varieties come in several leaf colors, blooms, and tastes, so research types that meet your needs. If you’re looking for a variety of color for your indoor sage, you can partner green garden sage with colorful varieties, like golden sage or purple garden sage. You can even opt for sages with unique scents, like grape scented sage.

Types of Sage:

There are many different types of sage or salvia plants available. They may be either perennial or annual, blooming to non-blooming, but pretty much each of these different types of sage is fairly hardy.

Culinary Sage Plants

Garden or common sage (Salvia officinalis) is the most common type of sage used for cooking. You can also make tea from the leaves. It is very hardy and bounces back in the spring even after a severely cold winter. This particular sage has soft, silvery green leaves that can be used fresh or dried. It is also known to attract beneficial insects, which are attracted to its purple-blue flowers.

There are a number of these common garden sage plant varieties.

There is a smaller dwarf that doesn’t exceed a foot in height and blooms with purplish-blue flowers.

A purple garden sage whose leaves, as the name suggests, are purple when young. Purple sage doesn’t bloom often like some of the other garden sages.

Golden sage is a creeping sage with gold and green variegated leaves that accentuates the color of other plants.

Tricolor garden sage looks a bit like purple sage, except the uneven variegation includes white accenting.

Berggarten sage, which is very similar to common sage except that it does not bloom, but it does have the lovely soft, silvery green leaves.

Ornamental Sage Plants for Gardens

Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) is a perennial flowering sage with tubular red flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Today, this beauty is primarily grown as an ornamental, but it is said to have medicinal uses as well.

Grape scented sage doesn’t smell like grapes, but rather more like freesia. It can get quite tall (8 feet by 6 feet). It is a late blooming plant that attracts hummingbirds. The leaves and flowers can be steeped to make tea.

Another common salvia amongst gardeners is Salvia splendens or scarlet sage (salvia). This is an annual plant that thrives in full sun but withstands partial shade in well-draining soil with consistent irrigation. Blossoms are scarlet in color and last from late spring through the first frost.

Mealycup sage is generally an annual in most regions. It attains a height of 2-3 feet and is punctuated with blue, purple or white flower spikes. Some newer varieties to look for are ‘Empire Purple,’ ‘Strata’ and ‘Victoria Blue.’

Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha) grow to 3-4 feet, is drought tolerant, but a tender perennial otherwise. This beautiful accent plant has purple or white flower spikes.

There are many other varieties of sage plants for the garden (far too many to name here), whether you want them for their aromatic foliage or as an ornamental or both. Sage plants are a hardy addition to the garden and with so many varieties, you are sure to find one to suit you.

Newe Ya’ar Sage Salvia officinalis x S. fruticosa Newe Ya’ar sage, also known as silver sage, is a hybrid of Salvia officinalis and Salvia fruticosa. A culinary sage, it’s excellent in any foodie’s garden, but is also a great ornamental, even if you never plan to cook with it.

Developed by horticulturists in Newe Ya’ar, Israel, the goal was to develop a sage hardy enough to be commercially productive in Israel’s harsh climate, and they definitely succeeded with this cross.

Like many other soft-leaved Mediterranean herbs, Salvia officinalis, the common culinary sage, often struggles with our intense weather in the southern U.S. In spring, when humidity may be very high and days are often cloudy, garden sage may rot overnight. And in the summer, when humidity is low and the sun is bright, it may burn to a crisp under our intense rays and off-the-chart heat. These conditions can also affect the volatile compounds in culinary herbs that give them their valuable flavor.

With silver sage, you not only get a plant that looks great and performs well in our harsh southern climate, but it also retains its savory taste.

Plant in full sun and well-drained soil, and like other culinary herbs, water sparingly, except in the hottest, driest times. It’s listed as hardy into USDA Zone 8 and so may be winter hardy in your garden, which would allow it to live several years and potentially get 3 or 4 feet wide and tall.

And, as if you needed any more reasons to plant silver sage, it will be covered in delicate spring blooms, serving as a valuable pollen source for bees and other pollinators.

some helpful advice for growing sage Today, we're going to focus on growing sage indoors, since we think it's one of the best ways to enjoy the tasty herb year-round. Plant sage from seeds, seedlings, or cuttings in a well-draining soil in a container with drainage.

Sage needs to grow in moist soil and in a sunny location. For ample lighting, use fluorescent lights or move your containers to a sunny location outdoors for several hours each day. You can harvest your sage leaves as needed, after the first year of growth to allow the plant to become established. Store dry sage in an airtight container until needed, or in the freezer.

what are the benefits of growing sage indoors?

Sage is a popular herb used in a number of dishes, and a small amount of this herb goes a long way. It also has several medicinal uses, from use in mouthwash for oral hygiene, or use in a gargle for sore throats. You can even apply fresh sage leaves to a bug bite or sting to relieve pain and itching.

If you have a safe place in your home with plenty of sunlight, sage can grow well indoors and provide you with fresh sage year-round. You can choose to grow sage indoors to begin establishing your plants for transplanting to your garden, or grow it indoors to prevent it from pest infestation and weather.

Sage is also the perfect herb to grow indoors because it prefers well-draining soil that containers provide.

preparing for growing sage indoors

Sage grows vigorously and does not require a lot of maintenance. However, as with most plants, there are a few things you can do to ensure that it has what it needs for optimal growth.

First, choose the type of sage you want to grow. Sage varieties come in several leaf colors, blooms, and tastes, so research types that meet your needs. If you’re looking for a variety of color for your indoor sage, you can partner green garden sage with colorful varieties, like golden sage or purple garden sage. You can even opt for sages with unique scents, like grape scented sage.

Next, choose a container proper for drainage, as sage needs moist, but not wet, soil. If your containers '’t drain well enough, sage will rot quickly. Clay pots can help assist your soil drainage.

Your containers should be at least one foot in diameter, since sage grows in a bush-like shape, although you can begin them in small pots to transfer to larger ones later if you prefer.

Find a location in your home free from disturbances by children or pets to become the home for your sage. Pick a spot that gets plenty of sunlight for the majority of the day. If you '’t have one, consider using a fluorescent lighting system underneath a cabinet or grow lamps for your sage.

Sage needs a well-draining potting mix, such as the type you’d use for growing a cactus. Alternatively, mix two parts potting mix with one part perlite, which aids in aeration of the soil. Ensure that your soil remains consistently moist for ample growth.

If you want to plant more than one sage plant in a container, make sure your pot is large enough to have about 18 to 24 inches of space between each plant. For indoor growth of sage, it’s usually best to plant only one sage plant in each container.

However, you may also consider planting sage with other herbs you grow indoors, like rosemary or basil, to add a pleasant, herbal fragrance to a room.

To start your new crop of sage, either purchase seedlings from a nursery or grow from seed. Either one can be placed an inch or so into the soil. Move soil over seeds or around the base of seedlings. Water enough to keep the soil moist.

Once you have established sage plants, you can propagate sage plants to grow more. This process creates cuttings, which you can then plant to form new roots and begin a growing a new sage plant.

To get a cutting from an established sage plant, you can clip about three inches of a cutting from the end of a stem. Apply a rooting hormone to the cut end of the stem to encourage root growth. Plant the cut end into vermiculite in a small container, and allow it to remain for about 6 weeks, when you should begin to get root growth. Gary Pilarchik provides a helpful video to show how to replant small cuttings:

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera There are over 200 species of aloe, but we are most familiar with this one because of its gooey sap. It’s in everything from sunburn gel to nutritional supplements. It’s an easy succulent to grow.

It does best when almost completely ignored, so '’t over water it or pay too much attention to it. It is sensitive to frost, so it’s best in a container that you can bring in and protect.

It also rots easily, so '’t overwater or use any compost in the soil around it. Use about half sand, half potting soil in your containers for this plant.

It does love the heat, but it gets scorched in a full day of intense summer sun here in Texas, so it will do fine in a little shade. It will usually be a deeper green in those lower-light intensity areas as well.

Aloe vera produces a lot of offsets, little plantlets that emerge at the base of the stem of your original plant. They can get pretty scraggily if left to their own devices, so it’s best to divide them once those plantlets have begun to get out of control in the container.


Growing Peperomia Plants: Care, Propagation, Pest and Disease Wonderful, Adaptable And A Favorite Houseplant.

Peperomias have long been favorite indoor houseplants due to their adaptability to the atmosphere of the house as well as their attractive foliage and compact growth habit.

Peperomia a perennial related to pepper plants, comes from a large South American family (about 1,000 species, a few from Africa). In fact, the name alone means “the plant related to the pepper.”

Generally, any of the 1,000 – relatively slow growing – peperomias along with many cultivars will only achieve an overall maximum height of 10-12 inches high. Some varieties of Peperomia make good hanging plant specimens.

The long flower spikes are covered closely with very tiny flowers have no scent.

These plants are easy to grow in the house. They like warmth, but do not need high humidity. They like bright light, but do not need direct sunlight. In fact, peperomia obtusifolia makes a good ground cover in shade.

Peperomias do not like deep shade or strong sunlight, two very big extremes. Grow them somewhere in between and you’ll be fine.

During the summer months, temperatures between 68 – 78 F. In the winter, temperatures should not go below 50 F.

Do not over-water these plants. Watering every 7 – 10 days should be enough, depending on time of year and temperature.

Peperomias resent overwatering and will rot off at the base. Personally, I like to let the soil dry completely between waterings. This will greatly help prevent root rot.

Apply a balanced liquid plant food every 3 watering during the “growing” summer months.

Generally, peperomias do not need repotting. In fact, they do better under potted than over potted.

However, repot when the plant becomes too large for its pot. When repotting, use a well-draining soil (50% peat moss /50% perlite).

At any time of the year, if the plant gets scraggly or out of hand, it may require pruning.

Peperomia propagation is as easy as taking a few tip, leaf or stem cuttings. Using a very light rooting media and dipping the ends in a rooting hormone, tips and leaves root quickly.

Learning to root peperomia cuttings will help keep plants in shape. They can, become straggly and “wild” over time.

Soil plays an important role in rooting peperomia. Since most peperomia plants have small root systems, use a well-drained soil that gets lots of air.

A soil mix like a 50/50 mix of peatmoss & perlite, is simple and reliable for rooting and growing peperomias.

Most peperomias will propagate from leaf cuttings like African violets. The best time for propagation is spring, but rooting can also be 'e in fall.

Pentas [Pentas lanceolata] or [Pentas ledermannii]

Pentas is a genus of flowering plants in the Rubiaceae family. The genus is found in tropical and southern Africa, the Comoros, Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula. Wikipedia

Pentas Flowers, the Egyptian Star Cluster Pentas are semi-tropical shrubs grown as annuals that seem to be tailor-made for butterflies. The nectar-rich flowers grow in clusters over a long blooming season in the vibrant red, pink, and purple shades that act as a butterfly beacon. Bees like them too, so consider adding this plant to a landscape space you want buzzing with activity.

The genus Penta, species lanceolata, belongs to the Rubiaceae family.

You may see pentas described on plant tags by the common names star flower, Egyptian star flower, or star cluster. You can grow pentas anywhere as an annual; in growing zones 9 and warmer the plants may even perennialize.

The average height of pentas is 24-36 inches, but plants that perennialize in frost free zones may reach four feet tall or greater. The dark green foliage of penta plants is slightly fuzzy, and the five-petaled blossoms grow in 3-inch clusters similar to other butterfly favorites like sedum, lantana, and Queen Anne’s lace. Blossom colors include pink, purple, white, and red.

Full sun is preferred, although some afternoon shade is tolerated. Plants that receive at least three hours of direct sun will have the best blooms. Pentas that '’t receive enough sunlight will stretch and become leggy. Pentas appreciate a mildly acidic soil pH, in the range of 6.0.

Amending the soil with compost or leaf mold can increase the acidity of your soil if it’s on the alkaline side. Many gardeners choose penta transplants to start in the garden, but you can try planting fresh penta seed saved from last year’s flowers, or start softwood cuttings taken early in the growing season.

Penta seeds require light to germinate, so '’t cover them with soil.

Penta plants can stay in bloom continuously under ideal growing conditions, so it's worth a bit of weekly care to keep the plants in optimum condition.

Pentas need regular irrigation to stay healthy; keep the soil moisture about the same as a wrung out sponge. Pentas tolerate dry conditions, but drought stressed plants are susceptible to spider mite infestations.

Avoid regular overhead watering to prevent unsightly brown spots on the foliage.

In frost free growing zones, pentas will exhibit their shrubby nature and begin to grow leggy after one growing season. Prune the plants to six inches in January, when bloom production is at its lowest. After several seasons, the stems of the pentas may become so woody that it’s worth replacing them altogether.

When growing as an annual for one season, no pruning is necessary, but regular deadheading will keep the plants blooming productively.

Fertilize pentas once a month with a balanced flower fertilizer during periods of active growth.

Pentas thrive in containers or tubs, and they also look cheerful in the ground combined with other hot weather lovers.

You can plant pentas alongside other vivid butterfly annuals, like zinnias, marigolds, cornflowers, or gomphrena. Gardeners with high indoor light levels can try their luck at growing the penta as a houseplant, but whiteflies may plague plants grown indoors.

Pentas Varieties to Try

‘Butterfly’ series: Easy to grow from seed
‘Graffiti’ series: Compact mounding plants
‘Kaleidoscope Appleblossom’: Pale pink and rose on the same flower; an early bloomer
‘New Look’ series: Upright plants that '’t flop
‘Northern Lights’: Continues to produce pale lavender flowers in cool temperatures

How to Care for a Penta Plant Plant pentas in beds that drain well and ''t become waterlogged after rain or irrigation. Select a site that receives six or more hours of direct sunlight daily.

Water the pentas when the top 2 to 4 inches of soil begins to dry out. Provide about 1 to 2 inches of water per plant or enough to thoroughly moisten the top 6 inches of soil. Allow the soil to dry before the next watering.

Fertilize annual plants monthly during the growing season.

Spread 2 inches of mulch around the plants each spring. Mulch keeps in soil moisture and prevents weed growth. Replenish the mulch layer in fall for perennial pentas to provide some insulation for the roots against winter cold.

Trim the dead and damaged stems from perennial plants in late winter, before new spring growth begins. Cut back overgrown or dead stems at any time during the growing season to improve the plant's appearance.


How To Care For Pentas Flower Pentas Flowers A Summer Long Show

The Pentas shines even in the hottest of summers, blooming bright, beautiful flowers making them an attractive hummingbird plant and butterfly plant by the dozens!

Pentas make a welcome addition to gardens due to their relatively low maintenance requirements. For the best results, start planting during late spring using a well-drained, moist soil and plenty of sunlight for good measure. The Pentas prefers a soil that doesn’t stay soggy after heavy rainfall or irrigation.

In addition to sunlight, Pentas care requires plenty of water. When you see soil begin to dry out, it’s time to water. Put in an inch or two of water for every 2 to 4 inches of dry topsoil. Repeat the watering cycle when the soil begins to dry out. Keep an eye on the watering schedule, especially in the hotter summer months, when plants may require more water.

Growth strategies: illustrated houseplants – in pictures

Aspidistra, Cast Iron Plant

Cast Iron Plant Care Guide: Aspidistra Elatior

The Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior) is an old-fashioned, tough, leathery foliage house plant. It is an ideal houseplant for cooler areas of your house bringing the tropics indoors.

In fact, Cast Iron plants were a favorite indoor plant along with the Howea Kentia palm during the Victorian era when houses were anything but bright and airy.

This plant with dark green leaves was used to decorate long before we heard of or discussed peace lily care, Aglaonema varieties or using the Snake plant as houseplants.

Today, in the Southern United States like Louisiana, you will find the cast iron plant growing completely carefree as a ground cover in dense, deep shade.

The Aspidistra genus (Asparagaceae) is made of up about 100 species with over 60 originating in China. Kew Gardens list 1823, as the year of the first recorded Aspidistra but the genus was named Aspidistra by John Ker Gawler in 1822.

The most popularly grown species is Aspidistra elatior, native to the Eastern Himalayas, Taiwan, China, and Japan and the plant we commonly call the “cast iron plant” or “iron plant”.

The cast iron plant is one of the few plants we can say helped inspire or carry the lead in a novel.

In 1936, George Orwell wrote his novel “Keep the Aspidistra Flying.”

In World War II, “Winston Churchill authorized the purchase of an extremely powerful radio transmitter from the United States under the codename “Aspidistra” borrowed from the popular song ‘The Biggest Aspidistra in the World’.”

Patience is the prime requirement needed by owners of small cast iron plants; it takes considerable time to grow an Aspidistra to specimen size.

Ironically, like many “folk” plants, it is not always available in nurseries. This is partly because of its slow growth and not properly appreciated.

Cast iron plants are usually grown in 6″, 8″; and 10″ inch azalea pots. As a bushy potted plant, 12 to 24 inches tall and wide, the Aspidistra simply has no equal and is a perfect plant for indoor use like in a bathroom.

Aspidistra Will Also…

Tolerate dust as well as heat, cold, wet soil, drought, neglect and dimly lighted places.

Tolerate temperatures as low as 28° degrees Fahrenheit without injury to the foliage. (more on cold tolerant houseplants)

Tolerate light levels as low as 10 foot candles

Make a great addition to cut flower arrangements; the foliage often lasts for weeks.

Generally Pest Free – if you have problems try these solutions!

Aspidistra elatior has cornlike, shiny, dark green leaves with blades that grow to 24″ inches long; it occasionally produces purple-brown small flowers near the base of the plant.

It also has a variegated form like the image below. The white markings help to light up a dark corner rather like sun filtering through a shade tree.

A dwarf form called Aspidistra minor or Aspidistra Milky Way has white-spotted black-green leaves. Try to acquire all three (there are many more species), then display them in attractive decorative pottery or containers.

Aspidistra is such a slow grower and is expensive to produce and purchase. But with all of its positive attributes, it is well be worth the price, offering long-term enjoyment and beauty.

Aspidistra elatior was popular as a foliage plant in Victorian times, their ability to survive under adverse conditions and their remarkable ability to withstand abuse and neglect.

It’s been said, “the Aspidistra was immune to the effects of gas used for lighting in the Victorian era (other plants and flowers withered or yellowed), which might account for its popularity.”

Today, their tough and resilient characteristics allow them to endure indoor conditions of today’s modern homes and offices. Although the aspidistra leaf is evergreen all year, this ovate glossy-leaved plant occasionally bears flowers and fruits just beneath the soil line.

Video: Aspidistra Care Instructions

Indoors, Aglaonemas, the durable “Zanzibar Gem” (ZZ plant), and snake plants are possibly the only other plants capable of handling these conditions. Low light, drafts and general neglect in watering and dust accumulation.

The small globular aspidistra flowers with a violet-brown color (in a perianth) grow at soil level.

Lighting and Temperature

It is much more attractive with proper care and will tolerate a wide range of temperatures.

It prefers temperatures between 50°-55° degrees Fahrenheit at night and 70°-75° degrees Fahrenheit during the day with light levels between 50 and 500-foot candles.

In The Landscape: It is recommended for USDA Hardiness Zones 7 through 11. Does best when shaded from direct sun. The cast iron plant handles temperature extremes from 45° to 85° degrees Fahrenheit very well, and temperatures do not seem to affect plant growth.

As a House Plant: Bright light from a north window is best. If growing under artificial light, the plant will do well with 150-foot candles.

Soil and Potting Medium

In The Landscape: Outside, plant Aspidistra in a good quality well-drained garden soil with decayed manure and up to 1/3 part peat or humus added.

NOTE: I have personally seen beds of cast iron plants do very well in poor soil.

As a Potted Plant use a good quality well-drained soil mix like those made for African Violets or make your own with one part all-purpose loam, one part peat moss, one part perlite or vermiculite.

The plant does well when pot-bound and needs repotting every two to three years. Repot in early spring before new growth begins.


Do not allow the root system to stay wet and soggy. However, keep the soil moist at all times.

Evenly moist but not constantly wet is the ideal way to water this plant, although it will survive forgotten waterings. Aspidistra does handle dry air and low humidity but does best with some air moisture.


As a slow grower, do not over feed. At high light levels fertilizing once per month at 1/2 strength with a liquid food or apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer in the spring before growth begins.

Under low light conditions, liquid feed every 3 to 4 months.

Stop feeding during the cold winter months.


Propagate a new plant by root division. When dividing, cut each division into two to three leaves. Make new plants by planting multiple divisions together in a large growing pot.

Pest, Disease and Physical Issues

Check out these posts for spider mites and scale insects on plants.

Cracked leaves from bruising: Usually caused by people brushing up against the plant. Move the plant to a new location where will not run into it.

Yellowing of leaves: Usually caused by exposure to strong lighting. Move this deep shade loving plant to a location where it will receive filtered shade. Do not allow plants to sit in direct sun.

White variegation turns to solid green. Loss of variegation happens when:

- Soil is too rich – stop feeding especially during winter

- Soil does not properly drain – make sure water does not sit in the bottom of the pot, and the drainage holes are not covered.

- The plant receives too little light – This deep shade lover does not like darkness. Move the plant to a brighter location or closer to an artificial light source.

Leaves become damp and blistered with yellow, white, black or brown spots. This condition comes from a bacterial or fungal disease commonly called leaf-spot disease. The cause is poor air circulation, overwatering, high humidity, low light or chilling.

In very severe cases the cast iron will lose all foliage. Increase ventilation, light, and temperature to help dry out the soil. Remove infected areas, spray with an approved fungicide and DO NOT water. Resume regular care after plant recovers.

Full List Of Aspidistra Species

Below is a list of 169 Aspidistra species and varieties recognized by The World Checklist of Selected Plant Families at Kew as of September 10, 2017.

Leaf Chlorosis [yellow]

Leaf Chlorosis And Iron For Plants: What Does Iron Do For Plants

Iron chlorosis affects many kinds of plants and can be frustrating for a gardener. An iron deficiency in plants causes unsightly yellow leaves and eventually death. So it is important to correct iron chlorosis in plants. Let’s look at what does iron do for plants and how to fix systemic chlorosis in plants.

What Does Iron Do for Plants?

Iron is a nutrient that all plants need to function. Many of the vital functions of the plant, like enzyme and chlorophyll production, nitrogen fixing, and development and metabolism are all dependent on iron. Without iron, the plant simply cannot function as well as it should.

Symptoms for Iron Deficiency in Plants

The most obvious symptom of iron deficiency in plants is commonly called leaf chlorosis. This is where the leaves of the plant turn yellow, but the veins of the leaves stay green. Typically, leaf chlorosis will start at the tips of new growth in the plant and will eventually work its way to older leaves on the plant as the deficiency gets worse. Other signs can include poor growth and leaf loss, but these symptoms will always be coupled with the leaf chlorosis.

Fixing Iron Chlorosis in Plants

Iron chlorosis in plants is normally cause by one of four reasons. They are:

Soil pH is too high

Soil has too much clay Compacted or overly wet soil

Too much phosphorus in the soil

Fixing Soil pH That Is Too High

Have your soil tested at your local extension service. If the soil pH is over 7, the soil pH is restricting the ability of the plant to get iron from the soil. You can learn more about lowering soil pH in this article.

Correcting Soil That Has Too Much Clay

Clay soil lacks organic material. The lack of organic material is actually the reason that a plant cannot get iron from clay soil. There are trace nutrients in organic material that the plant needs in order to take the iron into its roots.

If clay soil is causing iron chlorosis, correcting an iron deficiency in plants means working in organic material like peat moss and compost into the soil.

Improving Compacted Or Overly Wet Soil

If your soil is compacted or too wet, the roots do not have enough air to properly take up enough iron for the plant.

If the soil is too wet, you will need to improve the drainage of the soil. If the soil is compacted, oftentimes it can be difficult to reverse this so other methods of getting iron to the plant is usually employed.

If you are unable to correct the drainage or reverse compaction, you can use a chelated iron as either a foliar spray or a soil supplement. This will further increase the iron content available to the plant and counter the weakened ability of the plant to take up iron through its roots.

Reducing Phosphorus in the Soil

Too much phosphorus can block the uptake of iron by the plant and cause leaf chlorosis. Typically, this condition is caused by using a fertilizer that is too high in phosphorus. Use a fertilizer that is lower in phosphorus (the middle number) to help bring the soil back in balance.

Aspidistra in distress

About a year and a half ago, I foolishly repotted my beloved Aspidistra thinking it needed a new pot (it didn't). I damaged it in the process and ever since it has been losing leaves one by one. Usually, but not always, it begins with the leaf turning yellow (sometimes pale or brown) at the tip, gradually spreading to the rest of the leaf until it goes completely dead. The entire process takes several weeks. Every time after this happens I keep hoping it's the last time, but then it starts again. While it does put out 1-2 new leaves every growing season, the rate at which it is losing leaves is faster than the rate at which it is putting out new leaves. At this rate, I am worried I will lose the plant in a matter of time. Is there anything I can do to save it? The plant belonged to my late fiancee and it is very dear to me, please help.

There are a few things I would have you check and then I have attached a link on information about aspidistra and they have a very informative video.

One where is the plant located. They do not like full sunlight and do very well in low lit areas.

Second it looks like the plant may have too much filler on top of the roots. If the plant is planted too deep this could be a problem.

The final thing that I would look at is the watering . You might try watering the plant in a sink and filling it with water several times to make sure that all the soil be comes saturated and do that once a week. If you water the top and notice that bubble keep appearing it is because there are still dry areas of soil and you have not reached the saturation point. Once the plant is saturated make sure that when it placed back in its original location that it is not sitting in water.

Make sure there are not rocks in the bottom of the pot. Rocks in the bottom can create an anarobic environment that is unhealthy for the plant.



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Professor Colby Glass, MAc, MLIS, PhDc, Prof. Emeritus