Please help identify these plants

AloniusJanuary 30, 2013

I inherited these two plants and I'd just like to know what they are so I can do some research to take better care of them.

Thank you!

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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

My vision keeps getting more mature as time goes on, but I see only one plant. Spathiphyllum.

Make sure the bottom tray is emptied after watering.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 5:58PM
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Oops! Here's the second!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 10:38PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi there. That's a Ficus elastica, aka Rubber Plant. I've grown the green & white variegated version of this.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 10:47PM
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Ficus elastica I think.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 10:49PM
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The only pic is a spathiphyllum. They are kind of a pain to care for because every time something isn't exactly to their tastes they get brown tipped leaves or wilt (either from over or under watering) or don't flower. Basically they are a bog type plant with such a need for air at their roots that they are easy to kill in regularly watered normal potting mix which compacts and saturates to the point that the spath gets no air and wilts. Since this wilting looks like the wilting it does when it's under watered (which kills roots too) it usually gets even more water which just rots whats left of its little roots right off. So, the spath wants consistently moist fast-draining mix with lots of air. Unfortunately I think spaths are one of the plants that hate perlite which is in most fast-draining mixes so they really need a mix of large bark bits (orchid mix minus the perlite) and some potting mix and it might be worth trying some of those ceramic cylinder pieces that aquarium stores sell to put in filtration systems (they look like small ceramic rigatoni noodles but smooth). I always wanted to try that but my spath is apparently a small cultivar and won't be getting a big pot. It sits on my counter and gets watered every other day. In my opinion the best, easiest and most expensive way to grow spaths (mini ones) is in a fish tank planted in a special mix in a cup stuck in the water so that the stems and leaves are above water level. The filtration system keeps the water around the roots aerated, the plant's roots get consistent water and the plant enjoys the humid environment and high lighting. I never even knew that was possible until my large tank was a thing of the past but the pictures I've seen are amazing; perfect leaves AND blooms too. Makes me wonder why they are thought to be a really a great houseplant since even in a perfect mix they dislike dry air and should have their own humidifier or at least a pebble tray underneath.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 12:00AM
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I hear some people say that Spaths are hard plants to grow. My experience has been to the contrary. Wide shallow pots filled with a good airy plant soil and copious amounts of water grows these well. As a matter of fact, about every 3 years I throw several cubic feet of Spathyphyllums into the mulch pile. I had some that grew over 2 ft. tall and blocked too much light. Since then, I found that if you grow them in small pots they stay shorter.

So far as the bloom, they are easy to bloom most of the year. Bright light with some direct sun works at this latitude. If somebody were to ask me how to grow them, I would recommend a 16 inch wide pot that is 4 inches deep. Fill it with a peaty soil, add leaf mulch, make sure the drain holes work and water it every day.

Vae Victus, the aquarium method you outline sounds like heaven for the plant. The roots get nutrients from the tank. The nutrients, whose presence is detrimental to the fish, are removed. I wish my tank was close enough to the window to do that. Just a few questions: how far down do the roots go in the tank? Also, do the fish nibble or use the roots for cover?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 9:01AM
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