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3 Plants Likely to Survive the Office

3 Plants Likely to Survive the Office

I am now the proud owner of a Phalaenopsis Orchid.  My husband bought this gorgeous plant for my desk.  The first weekend I left it, I knew I was going to come back to a dead plant.  So far, it has survived.  I’ve decided to name it Ollie the Office Orchid, and it has inspired me to write about other plants to brighten your office space.  

Heartleaf Philodendron

The Heartleaf Philodendron is easy to care for and is a classic houseplant.  The luscious leaves are heart shaped, and it can be grown in a pot or hanging basket.  It likes to climb, so it will need a stake or trellis if in a pot.  This is a low maintenance plant that can survive in low light with a moderate amount of water.  

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Ask the Plant Expert: A Torrid Tale of Oaks and Azaleas

Dear Plant Expert:

I have 6 matured live oaks in my front yard. Can I plant azaleas around the bottom of these trees?


Plant Expert Reply:


Azaleas and oaks can live together quite happily. However, azaleas do not due well in deep shade so plant them as far away from the base of the oak as possible to give the azaleas access to the better light. Also keep in mind that you may need to water the azaleas in the summer since the oak trees will use most of the available water.

Hope this information was helpful!

Jamie Jamison Adams

Top 5 Houseplants for Mom

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, we are looking at some unique gift ideas. Houseplants are not a gift commonly associated with Mother’s Day, but they can be an exceptional addition to your mom’s home decor.

  • Green Houseplant Peace lily5. Peace Lily

Always elegant and beautiful, whether it’s in bloom or not, the peace lily is one of the most popular houseplants. It does not require too much sun and is ideal for indoor living. The large, dark green leaves look beautiful with any decor.

Peace lilies are easy to care for, making them a great companion houseplant for anyone. The main concern when caring for a peace lily is watering, but it will let you know when it’s thirsty by its dropping leaves.

Click here for more Peace Lily Care Information




  • Heartleaf Philodendron4. Heart-leaf Philodendron

The heart-leaf Philodendron is another great houseplant for mom. Not only is it easy to take care of, the leaves are heart-shaped! What better symbol of love for your mom than a heart-shaped houseplant? This plant is so easy to grow, it will literally live in only water. The Heart-leaf philodendron is a vine that can hang happily from a basket, or be draped across a bookshelf.

The Heart-leaf Philodendron is a hardy plant that thrives in partial shade at moderate temperatures. It’s a native tropical plant and likes its soil to be moist, but not soggy.

For more information, visit Caring for Heart-leaf Philodendron




  • Sansevieria Houseplant3. Mother-In-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria)

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Top 5 Reasons To Send A Dish Garden For Grandparents Day

There are many reasons why Grandma and Grandpa will love dish gardens instead of more traditional Grandparents Day gifts. If your grandparents are anything like mine, reading this will likely result in a lot of nodding and the occasional phrase “that sounds just like my grandma/grandpa.”

Dish Garden1. Dish Gardens Are Low Maintenance Gift

“I’m pretty sure they can handle a plant.” Grandma and Grandpa were there for you through childhood, tween years, teen years and beyond. They’re still supportive. Thankfully, a dish garden requires no more maintenance than any other houseplant. It’ll be a nice break after all those years.

2. Dish Garden Containers Have Their Own Unique Qualities

If they’re the type that have collected every childhood trinket pertaining to their grandkids, dish gardens will be a nice gift for both of you. They’ll probably keep the container because it’s what they do. At least it’s not a useless knick-knack that needs dusting. You’ll feel better for not contributing to the shrine o’ junk that was once your old bedroom. It’s a win-win.

3. Plants In A Dish Garden Last Quite A While

On a light-hearted note, plants in a dish garden last quite a while. There is only as much care required as a normal houseplant. Simply water when the soil is dry to the touch. Once your plants are too big for their container, you can separate them out into even more houseplants to love.

4. Dish Gardens Are Unique Gifts

That’s right. You’re better than peer pressure. You’re above it. That’s why you will choose to send dish gardens. While everyone else is sending something cheesy and porcelain, you’re relaxing in the new found fresh air created by the dish garden that you had a local florist deliver. Mmm. Even the food will taste better when you head over to your grandparents house  for a holiday celebration.

5. Did I Say 5 Reasons? Let’s Go With Eco-Friendly Gifts

I can probably name several other reasons why dish gardens are awesome gifts, but I’ll stop with the eco-friendliness of sending a dish garden. First of all, the containers can be reused. Recycling is fun for everyone. Go recycling! Second, some dish garden plants can be transplanted. That’s great for the environment because plants replenish soil nutrients and create fresh air for us all.

Hurry! Grandparents Day is September 11, 2011.

Have another reason to send dish gardens? Even if you just want to comment on my comments, feel free to commence commenting below.

Now’s The Time To Pick Up A Heartleaf Philodendron Plant

One of the few things that I remember most about my grandmother, though still alive, is that she loves houseplants. Her favorite is one that reminds me of the Heartleaf Philodendron plant, though the name of the other escapes me.

Heartleaf Philodendron Houseplant

Heartleaf Philodendron Houseplant

Grammie’s favorite plant is very similar to heartleaf philodendron plants (Philodendron scandens oxycardium). Both have distinctly shaped leaves, are easy to care for, and are a beautiful shade of light green. Both make her smile when she receives one as a surprise gift from one of her family members. Both lighten the atmosphere in her dark house, made so by the architecture.

Grammie is a fun woman to be around. She always has a story of something that happened as far from my birth as today is only that many decades before it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat her dining room table while she sat in her personal chair and regaled her grandkids (my brother, sister, myself) with stories from her vague memories of the Great Depression, picking cotton as a young woman, marrying a sailor during the second World War, raising three kids and carrying for a physically disabled but mentally functional husband, and then raising her grandchild as her son when he was born just after my mother.

She’s a very strong woman and something about her makes me want to give back but I don’t usually know how. I’ve tried a lot of different gifts and she loves them all because she adores the giver (*smile*) but her favorites by far are houseplants. They cheer up her dreary days and give her something to tend that will occupy her mind. After 70 years of caring for other people, now she has only herself and her houseplants. It’s not as depressing as it sounds. She deserves the break and keeping her hands busy is what she prefers.

My gram is something of a trooper. I know that this year she’ll be getting a brand new houseplant from me as we transplant the bigger ones to her garden or give them to a neighbor. I couldn’t help but think of her and smile when I saw the heartleaf philodendron plant in the houseplant gallery. I smiled and I hope she’ll smile too when she receives her fresh, green houseplant. No–I know she will.

Be Smart. Choose Dumb Cane.

This particular “dumb” decision is the smartest decision you’ll ever make. Not surprisingly, I have a dumb cane story (“dumb” story for short).

Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia picta)

Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia picta)

My grandma is all about houseplants. She’s 82 now and has been keeping houseplants growing in her home as long as I can remember. She’s pretty good at it but age is starting to creep up on her. That’s the nice way of saying that she’s bound to her motorized scooter and can’t really care for plants herself anymore. Since she’s only an hour away at any given time, my mother, sister and I usually rotate turns going over there to visit and to water her houseplants.

I was around 18 when she had hip replacement surgery and I stayed with her for a week to help out. She was so funny! All I remember was receiving instructions on how to do everything. If I decided to water the plants, I had to be shown how it was done 70 years ago. If I was dusting the furniture, I needed to know how it was done 50 years ago and why the 50 year old furniture still looks good. She’s a hoot and a headache all at the same time.

I’d never seen houseplant leaves polished the way Gram did it. A military spit shine would’ve left something to be desire compared to this woman’s plant care skills. She has Dieffenbachia all over her house so the first thing I remembered when I saw Dumb Cane plants in the photo gallery was the image of her bending over from her then hand-powered wheelchair to show me how experts care for Dumb Cane.

She gently rubbed the leaves of her dumb cane with the ease of a bomb deactivator but none of the steadiness. She mixed up some concoction of soap and water that I’m sure was repeated to me but it just seemed like soap and water. She washed the leaves and turned to me with a phrase I’m trying to forget but can’t. It was too funny. Her brow was furrowed and a bit sweaty. Her hair was mussed from the day’s chores. She looked at me with as deadpan an expression as she could’ve had and said “that’s why I’ve had this plant since 1991.” Knowing my grandmother, she was probably right. I still couldn’t stop laughing, probably to keep from crying.

I’ve loved Dumb Cane since that day. One look and I’ll always remember my Grammie.

What do you think of when you look at dumb cane houseplants? Did you receive one as a gift? Ever given one as a gift? Let us hear your Dumb Cane comments below!

5 Ways Rubber Plants Help You Bounce To A Happy Life

So they don’t really bounce. Rubber plants are still pretty awesome. Even people who aren’t familiar with houseplants know what a ficus is. Well, rubber plants are among the most popular in the ficus genus. Rubber plants (Ficus elastica) are seen in households and offices all over the country. There’s more than one reason for it. Here are several reasons why the rubber plant is so popular with every type of person (*hint* they make great gifts too!):

Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)

Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)

For the person who has too much love to give, rubber plants require some loving. They need moderate attention because they require a moist but well drained environment, a balance of light and shade, and a steady fertilizer regimen over its life.

For the person who has a black thumb, rubber plants are good practice. They’re pretty resilient, even if they do require a little more attention than most houseplants. Ficus elastica can stand up to a moderate black thumb. If someone needs a houseplant to practice plant care on, try the Ficus elastica. It’s a beautiful houseplant and easy to love!

For the person who has a green thumb, it’s enough of a break to be easy but isn’t so “stand back and watch” that it’s boring. Rubber plant care is great for the houseplant lover who has been nurturing houseplants for years. Challenging but not draining, entertaining but not overwhelming.

For the cubicle dweller with a grudge, rubber plants slow the desire to permanently call it a day. Some days at the desk are just not worth enduring, or so it seems when the cubicle is lifeless. Rubber plants are convenient for the office and bring enough natural cheer to the room to inspire more productivity, creativity, and a positive demeanor.

For the sleepless new mom, rubber plants pose no fear of harming the baby. Rubber plants also last a while when properly cared for. This is something that takes only 3 minutes a few times per week. Easy to do when baby is sleeping! Plus, rubber plant baskets pose no threat when babies crawl into them. Use them for climbing support? Maybe.

These aren’t the only reasons why people love rubber plants but they sure are a great place to start!

These Flowers Make It Cool To Be A Cancer

Many readers probably remember last year’s post about zodiac flowers for Cancers.  Cancers are people with whose birthdays fall between June 21 and July 21. In my family, that’s a lot of people! Finding unique gifts for each of them becomes very difficult each year. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.  These are the people who have everything, enjoy only a few hobbies, and have spent many years collecting gifts so they don’t seem to need anything either. What to do, what to do!?

Just enough Delphinium to be exciting!

Just enough Delphinium to be exciting!

I can say that just like last year I stand beside cancer zodiac flowers as awesome and unique birthday gifts. I mean, come on. Who would expect something which requires so much thought and effort (or so it seems)?

My local florist makes it practically effortless to pick up a pretty birthday bouquet for my friends and family. I just call up June and say “I need an arrangement centered around zodiac flowers for cancer. They are roses, lily of the valley, hydrangea, iris, cornflower, delphinium, and ferns. Can I get something in an X price range?” That’s almost the entire extent of the conversation and the birthday gift shopping is done!

Yeah. As far as zodiac flowers are concerned, two thumbs WAY up for Cancer zodiac flowers!

I Can’t Think of A Corny Joke About Corn Plant

I racked my brain trying to think of something clever for the title of this blurb about corn plant (Dracaena fragrans massangeana) but failed. Whether it has the backing of my corny titles or not, Corn Plant is one of the best gift ideas you could consider when shopping for houseplants. I can’t think of a corny joke but here are three reasons why corn plant is the houseplant you need.

Corn Plant Houseplants

Corn Plant Houseplants

A Plant By Any Other Name Would Sound…Less Like A Delicious Vegetable??

Buying corn plant houseplants can go a long way for the person wanting to give a unique gift. It has a unique name and appearance. More clever people than I can think of funny card messages to go along with a plant called “corn plant.” If you want a gift idea out of left-field, try corn plant houseplants.

Popular Veggie, Popular Plant, Popular Gift Idea

It’s well-known that houseplants are great gift ideas. Many are easy to care for even for beginners. Corn plant is one of those anyone-can-do-it houseplants that requires a small amount of love but provides a large return. If you want a gift that you know will be well received but is unique enough to be remembered, send corn plants.

Corn Plants Provide A Taste of The Tropics

Though not a tropical houseplant, corn plants have that look. Whether growing as an evergreen shrub or a small tree, corn plants have very woody stems and elongated leaves that resemble something you’d see on a California boardwalk. This less traditional appearance makes corn plants perfect for the summer season where tropical plants and flowers are hot hot hot gift ideas.

Want to hear more reasons why corn plant houseplants are fun gifts? Contact your local florist today!

If you own corn plants or have recently sent this gift, please let us know what you think of corn plants by commenting below!

Planting In An Enclosed Three Season Porch

Ask the Expert: finding plants for an inside garden
We have a garden on the porch which is an enclosed 3 season porch and we live in the NorthEast.  All the previous plants have either died or never flower anymore due to lack of sunlight (even though we have windows entirely around the porch) and we hand water the garden but we need to find plants that would be happy with a drier soil.  The garden has been filled nicely with good soil and was originally an outside garden before we enclosed the patio.  Any suggestions would be appreciated. Lora


I assume you want plants that will remain all year long.  This makes it a little more difficult, if the 3 season porch is not heated during the winter. If your garden has enough depth to it, you can plant the following: hosta, liriope spicata, english Ivy, pachysandra terminalis, vinca minor vines.  These plants will give you great foliage with staying power and some will even bloom. For more blooms try: aquilegia, astilbe, dianthus, spotted dead nettles, snowdrops, bleeding heart.  Most of these plants will tolerate low light and drier soil.

I would also try planting New Guinea impatiens, annual impatiens and begonias.  These should be fine for three out of the four seasons.

I recommend dropping by your local garden center and nursery (not a box store) and discussing this with them.  They are your best source for regional plants that will work with your situation.  In fact, I’m sure they will be able to suggested and provide plants that I may not be familiar with.

Good luck and keep me posted.  As you create your new garden I would love to see pictures and learn which plants you choose.

If you need a name of a reputable garden center in your area, let me know and I’ll try to help.