What makes a good houseplant? Bulbine, Correa, Roldana, etc.

mark4321_gwFebruary 9, 2012

I've often wondered about what makes a good houseplant. Clearly, many things can be grown inside, given the proper conditions. But what sorts of plants typically thrive, given a variety of conditions? Can we tell before growing them, or is it all trial and error?

I just divided what one might consider a typical houseplant, Stromanthe sanguinea 'Triostar'. I bought one plant yesterday and now I have nine. I assume this plant outside likes the shade and warm but not hot temperatures. So the fact that it adapts so well to inside is perhaps not surprising. However some plants that like full sun outside do fine inside. Many Ficus species come to mind. Jade plant is another.



Bulbine frutescens does well in a variety of light conditions outside. I've read that some grow it as a houseplant. Does anyone have any experience with this? Does it bloom?

I bought a couple odd plants recently:

Roldana (Senecio) petasitis and Correa baeuerlenii. I was told both are shade lovers. Does either stand a chance if tried inside?

Roldana petasitis

Correa baeuerlenii 'Lemon Drop'

Or how about Abutilons? I have Abutilon megapotamicum 'Little Imp'. I'm not finding my Abutilon photo now--it's not a particularly good photo.

Anyway, I'm willing to send out Stromanthe plants, Bulbine rooted fans, Correa cuttings (if they root for me), Roldana (when I get seeds). I may be able to send rooted Abutilon cuttings, depending on my supply. I should also be albe to send Kalanchoe 'Pink Butterfles', small rooted plantlets. This likely won't be for a month or two. I would encourage (but not insist) that recipients report back their findings.

I should have about 4 or 5 sets, unless something dies. Probably in exchange for postage.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Mark,

The place to post what you've got for exchange is the Exchange Page (see top of this page). I believe they have discouraged exchanges for postage & wish us to do more exchanges meaning a plant traded for another plant, not for postage or cash. Pls. check for Special Instructions for Exchanges, I believe it's posted right there at the top of the Exchange Page.

You've got some beautiful plants there too.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 1:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pirate girl,

The question of whether a plant will make a good houseplant and what general qualities lead to this is an important one. As far as I am aware it has not been addressed yet in this forum.

I have a number of specific candidates I would like to try. These are all tough shade plants that like environments that are frost free or nearly so. To say that I'm requesting others' opinions but not mention that I will even provide them with the materials to address the question would be very odd.

By offering the plants here it should minimize the number of people who just want to grab free goodies and actually target those interesting in addressing the question that I am posing.

Gardenweb does not discourage trades for postage. I suggest you reread the instructions. They prefer that people not post that they are looking plants or seeds and then say that they are willing to pay postage. That is the opposite.

If Gardenweb were to adopt such a policy I would protest and most likely abandon the site entirely.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 2:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)


The question of what makes a "good" houseplant is an interesting question, am curious to see peoples' responses. Maybe is we give folks a little time, at least a day or two, they'll start weighing in w/ some considered responses. [don't be surprised if someone first suggests we might have to define the term "good" for this question].

I believe we'll have to disagree completely about Exchange restrictions. I know what I read & just to be sure, I went back & read it again. I don't know how to invoke bold or underline in here so am quoting the entire text where I suggested you go to the area marked "Special Instructions for Exchanges."

I draw your particular attention to the SECOND & PENULTIMATE items. I've highlighted those several items by using BLOCK CAPITALS (Copy & pasting it in here lost the bullets as in the original, I've inserted paragraph breaks in here from memory, my apologies in advance to GW/IVillage).

"Special Instructions for Exchanges:

This area is for the purpose of exchanging seeds or plants of the type covered by this forum.

The exchanges were created to facilitate the arranging of trades of plants and seeds between members. PLEASE DO NOT use them to solicit donations, ask for free plants or seeds, or ASK FOR ITEMS IN EXCHANGE FOR POSTAGE. ALL REQUESTS MUST BE IN THE CONTEXT OF ARRANGING A TRADE. If you have nothing to offer at this time, please wait until you do.

All exchanges are restricted to users from a particular country, region or state. If it isn't indicated otherwise, the exchange is restricted to residents of the U.S. To find an exchange for your location, check the the exchange index.
Each post must have a type of trade, subject and a message.
Trading is done at users' discretion. GardenWeb has no control or responsibility over trades arranged here. Keep in mind some traders may let you down, so it might be wise to keep your initial trade with someone limited to smaller items.

Messages addressed to or meant for particular users should be sent via email and are not allowed in the exchanges.

If you have trouble with another person coming through with their end of a trade, you must deal with it privately. It is the consensus of the forum users that this type of thing be kept out of our forums. Any public accusation in this forum, or elsewhere at GardenWeb, will result in the accuser being banned.

To avoid problems when shipping across borders and some state lines, it is best to ship plants bare-rooted and to label the container as such. It is up to the users involved to determine what is legal and what is not.


Trading of patented material is unlawful and is strictly forbidden."

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 6:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I stand by my interpretation. They object to people requesting items and saying that they will send postage in exchange. I will email the administrators and chemocurl (Sue) for a clarification.

Requesting money has nothing to do with saying one will send something for postage. They are in fact the opposite in intent. Why do you capitalize that section? When I say that I will probably exchange it for postage that means that people can feel free to offer me seeds/cuttings/plants, but that I will probably send it for postage instead. I simply trade mostly for postage--please check my rate and review.


I actually checked this thread because it turns out I forgot a plant. This is Monopsis lutea (from Annie's Annuals):


(scroll down for the best picture)

The Annie's description says:

"P.S. It seems like it would make a good house plant. "

I actually have a huge number of little (at the moment tiny) rooted cuttings and can include one with the other things, likely for postage.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 6:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I capped it to draw specific attention to those points (which I also clearly explained to you, why need to question that too).

I did not say that questing money has anything to do w/ sending things for postage alone. It's that you asked about both issues & since they're both addressed in the post, I highlighted them both.

There's not much interpretation required it seems to me they've stated it pretty straight forward.

Perhaps IF the Administrators respond to your question, you'd favor us all by posting the answer.

In the meantime, there is a place at your Member Page, to list what one has to offer for trades, I noticed you haven't filled it in there, might be a good place to start.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 7:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Hi all...chemocurl Sue here...not affiliated with GW, but an active longtime trading member on the exchanges.

How about this? You are both right. Pirate_girl posted the Special Instructions as they appear on the Exchanges.

Per the instructions: PLEASE DO NOT use them to solicit donations, ask for free plants or seeds, or C. ALL REQUESTS MUST BE IN THE CONTEXT OF ARRANGING A TRADE. If you have nothing to offer at this time, please wait until you do.

The key words here are ASK FOR ITEMS IN EXCHANGE FOR POSTAGE. What Mark is doing is generously offering his excess plants (in exchange) for (the cost of) postage (being paid by the receiving member.)

also per the SI:
again...this is subject to interpretation, and is mainly meant to address those who attempt to sell their wares or excess garden goodies.

I think GW knows that a large part of the joy of gardening is getting to share ones love of plants by sharing their excess. They (GW) have never had a problem with members offering up seeds, plants, cuttings, bulbs in exchange for postage. Many of the members with excess are long time gardeners and often there is just not much that they don't already have or want, so they choose to share rather than composting their excess.

I simply trade mostly for postage--please check my rate and review.
Maybe instead of saying "trade for postage", it would be better to say, "I usually share my plants for postage...(ie meaning that the receiving member pays the offering member the 'actual' cost of the postage.)

Clear as mud? Hope I haven't confused things further, and will admit that the SI as they are written, are a bit confusing, and subject to interpretation.

Hopefully someone from GW Admin will weigh in here, and help to clear things up. Mark, have you emailed GW?
Below is a link to a Special Instructions thread, with some remarks/interpretations I have added. I'm pretty sure I had GW OK my remarks before posting them, but the original thread was posted back in 2008 or so and I've slept since then. Maybe my remarks there will make things clearer.


Here is a link that might be useful: Special Instructions for the (Seed) Exchange

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 10:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Collectively, I think "good" houseplants are those that are genetically vigorous enough and sufficiently tolerant of indoor conditions that they have at least the potential to look good, in spite of what we regularly subject them to.

From individual grower to individual grower, in some instances we can add to the list covered by what I mentioned above, some plants that often give most others fits indoors, but we might have a gift for bringing along in good health. It's not uncommon to find growers here & there who are consistently able to provide the cultural conditions a particular plant with a reputation for being uncooperative indoors responds very well to. While these plants might not make the collective list, they deserve a position on the individual's list. Conversely, some plants that are collectively considered 'easy', might present themselves as difficult to a few individuals. These plants would then be included on the collective list, but most likely scratched from the individual list. I greatly admire the growers who, having taken on a challenging plant and failed, keep trying until they get it right.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 1:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What Al said... :)

Many people have problems growing Pothos.

The same people might feel they'd never be able to keep an African Violet to a ZZ Plant. At first..in many cases, those same people end up with 350-400 plants..lol.

We keep indoor plants that orignate from tropical rain forests to arid deserts.

I for one would never buy an IL native and grow as a house plant.
Aw, a beautiful Dandilion! Crab-Grass in a 4" pot..lol.

BTW, I love the OT's Stromanthe trio. Perfect specimen. If the Poster is still around, I'd like to know if the other plants can be grown as house plants?? Toni

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 5:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Toni,

I really haven't tried any yet. I'm still propagating most of them and keeping the mother plant outside.

I have had a Bulbine inside in a glass of water for a while, but that doesn't count. I really need to put one of those inside and see what happens.

I've had a little Monopsis lutea inside for several days and already it looks like it wants more light.

I should think about adding Agapetes serpens to that list. I think (?) people already grow it as a houseplant some places.

Another semingly odd choice that should be added to the list is Rojasianthe superba. I just picked it up yesterday ($7.50 for a 1 gallon plant at Annie's). Some sources recommend it as a houseplant, not so much because it is particularly well-suited, but because of claims like this (quoting from the SF Botanical Garden/Strybing blurb):

"Does not tolerate heat and will die back to the ground if it is exposed to 80 degree temperatures for 3 days or more."

It will be at least a few weeks before I can try to propagate the plant.

The little guy in the pot is a mature sized Gunnera monoica--smaller than some others in the genus...

Here is a link that might be useful: Rosjianthe superba at Strying (SF Botanical Garden)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 5:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Howdy Mark,

I Googled pictures of your plants..very impressive.

Before Googling, I had no idea plants 'mentioned above,' could be grown in containers.
Apparently, most if not all, can be.

Do you grow variegated varieties?

Although all your plants are lovely, my favorites are, Bulbine and Agapetes serpens.

Thanks for the photos. Hope you continue posting more. Toni

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 1:52PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Do I have natural original Chlorophytum comosum?
I have bought Chlorophytum comosum but I don't know...
My Spider Plant Again......
Out of all my plants this one just seems to get everything....
Dying Yukka Plant! Help!
Hi everyone, I have a yukka tree that is about 9 years...
Pothos Problems
My poor pothos is struggling. I've attached a few pictures,...
Good Growing Practices - An Overview
I am reposting this thread because the transition from...
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™