Thursday, February 5, 2015

Pachypodium Lamerei

Common Name : Madagascan Palm
Despite it’s common name of Madagascan Palm (or a Pachy to its fans) the Pachypodium is actually a succulent and therefore more closely related to cacti than palms. Pachypodium lamerei, the Madagascan Palm. Not really a palm but a stem succulentIt hails from Madagascar and because it has leaves growing around the crown this combination gives rise to the common name of Madagascan Palm.
it looks a bit like a dieting pineapple (yes, you did read that right) we’re going to agree. It may not be the most popular plant to stumble across in the average nursery or garden shop, but for anyone who likes a quirky easy going indoor succulent this could be your perfect match.
The swollen stem grows upwards with the leaves surrounding the crown gradually falling and then growing new ones as it ages. All parts of Pachypodium contain a latex sap which is poisonous, although even if you do have pets this may not be a total deal breaker because the plant protects itself by way of tough hooked spines that will deter even the most curious cat. The leaves are fair game for possible gnawing though, so unless they are sitting high up on a tall plant and therefore out of the way, you will have to think carefully before purchasing.
Close up photo of the Pachypodium stem showing the spinesThere are several species, although the easiest and the most likely one you will come across is Pachypodium lamerei. They are sometimes confused with the Adenium (Desert Rose) but Pachypodium rarely flowers in cultivation and when compared side by side they are quite distinctive and different looking.
Pachypodium Plant Care Instructions
Light
Always pick the sunniest spot you have.
Watering
A common myth about succulents is that they do not need much water. It’s true they will survive with little water, but they won’t thrive if you treat them this way. Water your Pachypodium liberally in the Summer months whenever the soil dries out. In Winter water only sparingly.
Humidity
Unimportant.
Feeding
The Pachypodium is not a heavy feeder, so you will only need to fertilise a few times a year at most. As always only do it when the plant is in active growth.
Temperature
Warm. No lower than 10°C / 50°F in Winter.
Repotting
They take considerable time to outgrow their pots, however you may choose to repot your Pachypodium if it starts to wobble or topple from becoming top heavy. A standard soil mix is fine, but if you want to be extra safe add a little bit of grit to improve drainage. You can do it at anytime of the year, however take care when you do it because the spines can be painful if you grab the stem in the wrong way.
Propagation
Courageous readers may like to try and remove then pot up the offsets that are eventually produced around the base. However it’s very difficult for the average houseplant owner to do this successfully.
Speed of Growth
This is a slow growing plant. However if you water well and provide good light in Summer you will notice more growth at this time of the year.
Height / Spread
Natively it can reach staggering heights, although In cultivation it’s much more restrained. After many (and we do mean many) years the stem could reach upwards of 4ft / 1.2m in height and up to 24in / 60cm in diameter.
Flowers
Pachypodium has white, star shaped flowersFlowering of the Madagascan Palm is rare indoors because the plant needs to reach maturity and tall heights first. There are always exceptions of course and if you do achieve flowers they will be white, numerous and star shaped.
Anything else?
Pachypodium is a very adaptive house plant, it will take a wide range of temperature and light changes and adjusts accordingly. Our instructions above will help you grow a good specimen, but even if you treat it badly from time to time it should stay alive for quite a long time.
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Syngonium podophyllum

Common Name : Arrow Head , Goose Foot Plant
Syngonium podophyllum or the Goosefoot Plant is a simple but elegant and versatile houseplant. On our scale of Easy, Intermediate or Difficult, we ranked it Intermediate. Syngonium is a great looking houseplant which needs only modest careIt’s actually “Easy” to look after in most homes, however because it has a unruly nature and tendency to creep quietly around your home (if allowed), it needs a certain amount of maintenance and pruning that other plants ordinarily don’t. This is needed to keep Syngonium indoors looking great and to avoid the ugly flop effect, also because all parts of the plant are poisonous you really do want to know where all parts of the plant are growing and creeping around, especially if you have curious children or hungry pets around.
So let’s get down to business and lay down the plus points of this interesting plant. Firstly, it ranked in Dr Wolverton’s top 50 houseplants to clean the air. Secondly it is rarely troubled by pests and doesn’t object too much if you throw the occasional bit of neglect it’s way. Thirdly, it has amazing foliage with a variety of different variegation on the leaves. The cultivars you can buy are quite diverse although “White Butterfly” (below) is considered one of the best looking and consequently is the most popular. The White Butterfly cultivar of SyngoniumKeep a look out though for “Imperial White” and “Emerald Gem” both of which have a striking appearance.
The fourth plus is its versatility in that Syngonium can be grown easily as a compact bushy looking plant, or you can accept its creeping, climbing nature and grow it tall up a moss stick. It also plays well if you want to grow several different types of house plants together in a large container (although for the fashion and style conscious, that type of arrangement is currently, er, not “in”).
It’s cheap to buy and easy to propagate is our fifth plus. Our sixth and final selling point is more of an interesting observation about the leaves. As a young plant expect arrow head shaped leaves, with strong, bold variegation. As it ages however the leaves completely change shape to give a lobed finish. So if you compared a recent cutting with it’s parent you may even think they are different plants entirely.
Syngonium Care Instructions
Light
However Syngonium’s are displayed, when it comes to light requirements they will do well in a position where they receive good light but no direct sunlight.
Watering
Just remember to water well and then wait. Simple.
The soil needs to be evenly moist when you water, waiting for the soil to dry a little before evenly watering again. This means you should avoid the “little and often” approach, just remember to water well and then wait. Simple. In Winter the “wait” period will increase as the plant will take longer to dry out so adjust accordingly.
Humidity
Humidity is some what important for Syngoniums because very dry air will encourage brown leaf crisping which on mass will distract from the beautiful leaves. All the usual ways of increasing humidity can be used to prevent this.
Feeding
It’s good to try and feed an established plant a few times a month. Like most house plants Syngoniums do “rest” in Winter but for only a short period, so even in the middle of the coldest months outside (providing the indoor room is warm) it’s usual to see new leaves emerging. Therefore it’s fine to feed in Winter too if you want. But only if the plant is actually growing and therefore has need of the fertiliser. If in any doubt don’t bother.
Temperature
This is one house plant which needs to be at the heart of your home because it demands warmth, even in cold months. An unheated conservatory in Winter for example is a no no. A minimum of 16°C / 61°F.
As with a lot of climbers there is often considerably more green growth creeping around the place when compared to what is happening underground. For this reason they do pretty well in small pots, however if you are watering more frequently or growth has slowed (and you want more), repot into a bigger pot during Spring using any standard compost mix.
Propagation
Propagating a Syngonium is easy peasy. You can root cuttings in water, or straight into potting compost. Both methods have a good success rate – providing you cut the right part of the plant. Syngonium and Goosefoot plant propagation with waterYou want a new growth shoot that either has one or two leaves already, (or the formation of one). Follow the growth shoot downwards several inches until you reach a pair of “nodes”, these are a set of two small bumps (one on each side of the stem). The cut needs to be made just a few centimeters below the nodes because this is where the new roots come from (see the picture on the right and if you look closely you can see the nodes sticking out where the roots are forming).
If you are rooting using water, it’s just a case of dropping the cutting in and keeping the water topped up. A few weeks later you will hopefully start to see new roots. Wait until you have a network of roots before carefully potting up in a free draining compost mix. If you have opted to plant the cuttings straight into compost, then it’s a good idea to dip the cut ends into a rooting hormone first.
Speed of Growth
A Syngonium will grow steadily for much of the year providing it has good conditions. Left unchecked a stray vine can creep several feet in only a few months.
Height / Spread
As with many creepers and climbers you have to exercise a level of control and authority by pinching out stray growing vines, otherwise you end up with a unruly plant. A well trained mature Syngonium growing up a moss stick will, as a guide, give you the following dimensions: 1.8m / 6ft in height and a maximum spread of 60cm / 2ft. Plants grown with no height support wont grow very tall at all, although you can still expect a bushy looking plant.
Flowers
There are flowers which appear on mature Syngoniums, although they aren’t very exciting or interesting. The key selling point of this particular house plant is the foliage.
Anything Else?
If the juvenile foliage along with a more compact plant is preferred, cut off all the climbing stems that develop — this will keep it bushy and neat. The leaves will be arrow-shaped rather than the adult lobed style.
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Sansevieria cylindrica

Cylindrical Snake Plant is an African succulent that makes a carefree house plant.
Round leaves with a dark-green striped pattern give this eye-catching succulent its common name. Pointed leaf tips give it another name, Spear Plant. (Watch out for those points — they are sharp!) The gray-green tubular leaves grow in a rosette and are about an inch thick.
Long, creamy white flower spikes may appear on mature plants. If you’re lucky enough to get the blooms, you’ll love their beautiful fragrance.
This relative of Mother-in-Law’s Tongue is just as easy to grow, but has a fresh, bold style all its own. You’ll enjoy this striking accent among your indoor plant collection. Its easy-going nature and tolerance of dry air and soil also make it a reliable office plant.
Any problems with growing Sansevieria are usually related to watering. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. If in doubt, keep it on the dry side. The only things that will kill this plant is soggy soil and prolonged exposure to cold temperatures.
Repot in spring, only when plants get crowded and need dividing. Keep the rosette of the leaves at soil level. Use a wide, heavy container to prevent toppling — this tall plant can get top-heavy.
Cylindrical Snake Plant Care Tips
Origin: South Africa
Height: Up to 2 ft (60 cm)
Light: Bright light.
Water: Water thoroughly, then allow the potting mix to dry out before watering again. Don’t water the center of the rosette because the leaves will easily rot.
Humidity: Average room humidity. Sansevierias will tolerate dry air, but keep it away from air vents or drafts.
Temperature: Average to warm room temperatures 65-75°F/18-24°C. It will tolerate fluctuating temperatures, but not below 55°F/13°C.
Soil: Soilless or cactus potting mix.
Fertilizer: Feed monthly spring through fall with this fertilizer for succulent plants.
Propagation: Division. Propagate Snake Plant by separating the “pups” (offsets) that grow at the base of the parent plant. Dividing them is easy. Turn the pot on its side, then ease out the plant. Use a serrated knife to cut off the offsets and pot them up individually
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