so what is it? I call her pink grass.

roseyd(6)February 12, 2013

I've been trying to recover from the winter doldrums. The blizzard and all that snow took its toll and I needed some new plants to keep my spirits up. This one, I brought to the office - but other than the label saying it was a mid light plant - there's no name.

So what is she?

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Dracaena marginata 'tricolor.' It will develop a trunk and start looking like a tree soon. Pretty!!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 3:31PM
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auron22(6b OH)

I would try to find one or two more of it's kind and plant them all in one pot. By itself it tends to look leggy when it is older. Could even loosely braid them to add interest to the trunks. Love this plant, it's a shame its always sold as an annual in my area.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 4:13PM
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Nice! I had one years ago and killed it by over-watering. They like to stay on the drier side. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:12PM
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I bought it because it was pink, and in a tiny pot. That sill is thin. How big will this get? What pot size should it really be in? And does it grow slow? Quick? This is a North West window. Lots of indirect light and after 2 , direct for a few hours . The lighting will improve considerably as we approach summer though.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 7:47PM
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Eventually it will reach 8 to 15 feet tall with a 3 to 8 foot spread! :)

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:55PM
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Lol. I seem to have trouble finding plants that stay small and cute.... It's a 3 inch ledge. And I buy a tree-wannabe. Figures.

Why couldn't she be pink grass, and stay 1 foot... To think I was told to get 3 of them. It sounds like this will only be a temporary office plant. And I should keep looking. Unless I can bonsai her? Off with her head, every so often?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:01AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Yes, you can keep this plant whatever size you like. It's quite slow growing, so would be many years before it got too big and needed to be trimmed.

The little tree pictured below was about 8 years old at the time. Yours is a 'tricolor' and this is regular D. marginata, but their habit is identical. The tall top has since been removed. I broke it trying to wind it spirally around a coat hanger, so I put the broken top in a pot and it has grown roots and is growing well.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:40AM
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it's interesting - so, I marked the tag with the name and on reading it - it says "keep evenly moist, medium diffused light, fertilize once a month"...

they can't even put a name on the tag, and yet they tell me these three to-do's... but are they accurate?

So, in a few years I can behead my plant, and get my multiples. It sounds so easy. Do I need to use any rooting formula?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:16AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

No rooting hormone needed for this. If you're using tap water, I'd let it get pretty dry between waterings. It won't mind, and the less water, the less chemicals. That's another reason I like a bigger pot, as well as the fact that as one gets taller, it can really catch the wind and blow over outside, needs a heavy base if going outside. And, since it's a tree, it will have significant roots that need space.

Medium diffused light is not enough except for it to not die. By that window looks great. Which way does it face? I put these trees in quite sunny spots on my porch, to get sun either all morning or all afternoon. Rotate often to avoid leaning.

You don't want fertilizer advice from me, but with any slow grower, go easy on that.

Can you tell if there's actually more than one crown in the pot yet? Looks like a TON of leaves for just one...

The tall tree in the middle is probably about as old as I am, the same 'tricolor' as yours. It's been chopped on MANY times, after getting to look like something Dr. Seuss imagined, and every time it makes more vigorous tops. After a few years of selective pruning, and recovery from being blown over and the main trunk broken, it has this lovely double-upright appearance.

To the left of the big tree you can see what used to be the main top of the tree I pictured before. When it broke, I snapped most of the trunk off, then literally just plunged it into a pot of soil, burying the broken end about 4". The section of rootless/leafless stem also propagated.

A very fun plant to play with if you enjoy propagation experiments.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:41AM
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This one belongs to my BF, and came from his grandmother. It has about 5 babies at the bottom. He keeps it mostly dry in the winter, and for the rest of the year he puts it outside in full sun (!) and lets it get mostly dry between waterings. He said it's never gotten a sunburn. The new growth from the bottom has happened over the past year or so.

Here is another GW convo. that may be of help to you: Maybe if you know these things while your plant is still little, you can avoid some of the mistakes that many have made with these plants. Maybe one day, now that I know, I will try again with this beautiful plant.

I know the tag says "keep evenly moist", but from my experience, that's a sure way to kill it. But of course, back then, I had much less experience and may have perceived "evenly moist" as more like "sopping wet", which was definitely not what the plant wanted. Good luck with your new baby!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:49AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

"But of course, back then, I had much less experience and may have perceived "evenly moist" as more like "sopping wet"

Great line! And advice.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 1:02PM
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Have to say, they look beautiful in other people's pots. :) I'm gonna have to see what will come of her in that spot for a while. I don't have room for a large pot (my office is the size of a small walk in closet) - but the window is a great size, and with a north/west exposure.

Lots of indirect light - but until summer lengthens the day - not a lot of direct light.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 1:26PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

That's an awesome window!! Can't even see the top of it, wow! I would love an office like that. Too small for people to come in & bug me, but OH the window. LOL! (Lots of light!)

They're not the most common things, but sometimes you'll see a pot that's quite cylindrical, much taller than wide, perhaps without any tapering. A pot like that would give the roots plenty of room for going deep without being too wide. Looks like the bottom window ledge is pretty wide though, and is just food for thought for the future, years from now. Just going to the size the other plant is in (when it outgrows its' current pot,) would be a big step up in size, and moving to the lower ledge would allow for more height when necessary.

We know the tops don't mind being cut, and the roots thrive on a nice pruning as well, once they've filled a pot, so there's no reason to worry you haven't gotten a plant that could live there for decades.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 6:02PM
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yes, the window is fantastic - about 10 feet high - and 4 feet wide - but mostly indirect sun thus far - so I'm missing out on putting fragrant plants there - which would be my wish...

The window has an automatic metal blind that shuts as soon as the sun is full upon the window. - hence I am limitted to the rather thin window frame area to hold pots. The blind itself comes down and allows for only enough room for a 7.5 space between the glass and the blind. Also - there's a space between the glass and the top ledge that drops to a lower ledge - (this is 5" thick) - and a 7" drop.

This will limit me to under 8" pots - and if they are under 5" - they'll have to be 7" tall - so that the plants will be visible. And, on top of that - in regards to a plant with a large head (it too will be restricted to that under 8" size - or it will be shredded by the blinds dropping down on it).

Yes, great window, regardless - but I have been attempting to figure out plants that will fit a mostly indirect light profile but will keep a small/yet verticle profile. Orchids may do it - but I was told last week that fragrant orchids don't do well unless they're in full sun.

Voila! So, I found some pink grass - which will become a tall vertical tree - but, I don't know what to expect from the pot equation now - or how I'll be able to fit it to that sill.

There is about a Foot of room between the sill area and where my desk drawers open - that may be able to take a 8-10 inch pot though, some-day... but, with the way that shade drops? this spot never sees more than indirect light.

Welcome to the challenges of a small office. :)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 10:33AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

So you want 2-dimensional plants that fit between the blind and the window? (And while the blind is closed, the plant will still be getting light?)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 11:09AM
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YES! that's exactly what I'd like - so that even on the weekends - the full indirect light will hold true - vs. having the blinds down and the room being even less lit.

Not that the lighting with the blinds down is horrible - the blinds crack open and shut with the stregnth of the sun hitting the glass. But, when I'm here - I have the blinds open because I love natural light. (I'm like a plant - days with sun - I'm so HAPPY.) :D

I guess I was named the way I was, on purpose.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 11:54AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Well that's a fascinating challenge! Other plants to consider...

Sansevieria, the completely upright ones like trifasciata.

Coleus always wants to arrange itself flat against the window. You could turn halfway every other day or so, whenever you realize you're looking at the backs of the leaves again. They will get very wide but not full that way.

Cane Begonias also do that too, turn each leaf and stem toward the window, arranging itself flat to do so, bloom often. Wax Begonias are straight upright things that never stop blooming.

You could grow Pothos, heart-leaf Philodendron, Syngonium vines on cute little (but hopefully nice and tall) trellises. Maybe Cissus discolor AKA Rex Begonia vine.

Someone will probably suggest Hoya (vine, scented flowers) although I don't have any experience with that one.

You could get some of those suction cup shelf things (look in bathroom accessories) and put a few tiny pots that way too, may something dangling down like Tradescantia zebrina, Gibasis geniculata, Callisia repens, Tradescantia pallida. You'd just need to trim often to keep in the small pots.

Or do something like Tillandsia or air fern that doesn't need soil at all, just a dunk or mist once in a while. You could put a suction hook on the window and hang those glass balls with these in them. How cute would that be?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 12:23PM
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Purple, You've given me quite a few options I'll have to research most of them, because I don't know what they look like.

I like the idea of the ball/suction cups... that would look really cool if they can stay compact enough. They would be bottom glass only though, since the top window can crack open and I'd hate so see a bit of wind knock em out the window. :)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 1:01PM
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They all look very "Big" ... I'm hoping for more delicate looking plants. I may even attempt some sort of African Violet, if research proves that the lighting will suffice.

The vines ... are just "big".... If I take a vine route - it will have to be a very slow-growing one - perhaps a hydrangea vine? 2 or 3 years before I need to consider trellising, and if meant for shade, maybe I can keep it out of the window and put up against the back wall. If it got big - I could sacrifice the coat hanger.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 2:51PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Your taste won't be the same as mine, so nothing personal if you don't like any or all of the suggestions, or the jungle-style suggestions for growing them. Some plants take many years to get big. You might get some ideas looking at the tiny plants in this discussion.

You may also be able to use window box planters, long and skinny...

Coleus loves to live in a jar of water in the windowsill. This one gets turned, so is more 3-dimensional.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:48PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Some much smaller branches in a spice jar.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:49PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

This bunch doesn't get turned, so all of the leaves are within 2" of the window, like a crowd watching a sporting event.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:51PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Tiny Philodendron vines on tiny trellis.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:52PM
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I've always loved coleus. The colors are really vibrant. :)

That one is definitely worth considering. because water jars or smaller vases would fit perfectly on that shelf.

Are there any other plants that have that type of rich coloring which can live in water like that? :)

It'd be a breeze to bring in vases instead of pots with dirt. :D

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 5:20PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

With over 2,000 named Coleus hybrids out there, it's not hard to find a few you think are pretty.

Yes, there are other plants that will survive in water.

The creeping Tradescantias, like zebrina, pallida
Tradescantia spathacea
Perilla 'Magilla'
Persian shield
Cordyline fruticosa
spider plant
Other Plectranthus besides Coleus
Dracaena sanderiana (lucky bamboo)
the Pothos & heart-leaf Philodendron mentioned before

...and probably others I'm not remembering or haven't tried.

I would recommend NOT using a glass piece you'll "want back" later. Hard water deposits can be impossible to remove. Plastic containers usually work fine also but I've seen some roots stick to the really thin, crinkly water bottles. Change water once a month or so, trim roots a bit if they fill container too much (a wide opening is usually easiest, like a vase or jar instead of a bottle,) trim foliage if/when it gets too heavy or full. Don't allow fallen leaves or any organic debris to sit in the water or it will rot and make a foul odor, discolor the water.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:54AM
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dellis326 (Danny)

As I was reading this thread I kept thinking that your window would be perfect for Passive-Hydro (P-H) and then towards the bottom, Purp shows a photo of something growing in water and the conversation turns in that direction.

Glass and ceramics work fine in P-H and you don't have any drainage to be concerned with, just changing the water every four to six weeks. You can often even use a lot of those interesting vessels, vases and pots you'll often see that would otherwise be unsuitable for plants because there is no drainage holes.

I guess the biggest difference between hydro and just growing in water is that rather than just having a container full of water is that you use a water tight container with a grow media such as LECA, rock wool or sphagnum moss for the plants to root in and there is only an inch or two of water at the bottom. You should fertilize more often, ideally with a hydro nutrient solution rather then a regular fertilizer but many people just use the regular stuff.

There are a couple of others here that keep plants this way, maybe they'll chime in here too about it. I'll take some photos of a few smaller plants I have set up and post them later.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 11:53AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Excellent input, Danny. Yeah, I'm like a terrier, just keep nipping at ideas until I get a bite. LOL!

The surface hasn't really been scratched, as far as what one could do in/with/to that window. But it's always best to ease the lobster into lukewarm water, then turn up the heat... if it wasn't deep in the middle of "forums are slow season" more of those other people and their great ideas would already be involved. Don't be too hasty to fall in love yet, Rosey.

And btw, forgot to say, how funny - the comment about not wanting anything to go flying out the window! But what's even funnier, in another thread I read earlier, someone was hoping for plants to fall out of the sky. which way is the wind blowing...?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 1:00PM
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Ok, so I've got a whole new topic to research - P-H. and fertilizers - and where to buy the spagnum moss stuff? ... and yes, this window will make a great project as we approach the spring.

I was thinking I'd like to attempt growing lavender here, and maybe a tuberose but, perhaps both would require to much light?

I'm going to have to look for some cool pots to turn into vases. I have 3 rectangular pots that are currently hosting some of my aloes... they may work - I'm going to have to measure them to see if they'll fit onto that lower ledge. And if they do? - I'll have to look for some cuttings or plants

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 1:38PM
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Only to add air conditioning. Office building HVAC will play a roll for plants you choose.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 5:46PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

Philodendron elegans cutting in sphagnum moss

I think this is a Ctenanthe lubberiana, also in LECA

An Anthurium seedling in LECA

An Anthurium plowmanii in sphagnum moss

About 20 something Peace Lillies in LECA

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 12:59AM
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AsarumGreenPanda(z6 MA)

Roseyd, I can see a garden grown in water in that (fantastic!) window. You could mix in temporary elements--cut flowers and seasonal stuff, as well as more permanent passive- or semi-hydro plantings. What a fun project.

Danny, I'm curious how you use LECA and other media in passive hydro. I've only used LECA in s/h. How do you flush vessels with no drainage without disrupting their contents? (I would think occasional cleaning/flushing would be necessary, but maybe not...?)


    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 11:36AM
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dellis326 (Danny)

Amanda; Every 4 to 6 weeks, no particular schedule involved here, I either siphon the water out or for the plants in the basket type pots, Like what you see above with the picture of the Anthurium plowmanii, I can lift the pot out and dump it.

To siphon the water out I use a piece of silicone air line sold for aquarium use, with a hard plastic tube on one end, silicone is more flexible than clear vinyl tubing so I prefer it. Many pet shops sell this stuff for fixing, modifying or building tank filters. The size of the hard tubing is 3/16" to fit in the air line.

I just push the hard tube through the media to the bottom of the container and start the siphon. Most of these small containers have less then a cup of water in them so they only take a few moments to empty, though a few of the larger setups I have may have more then a pint and they do take longer. A few of these containers have a larger(1/2") glass tube that extends to the bottom and I'll just slide the siphon tube down that.

I use General Hydroponics Flora Nova Grow to fertilize when I refill the container and just top off the water every 4 - 7 days. Distilled if I have it, Tap water when I don't but I don't concern myself too much over which I use.

Overall, I find this a very easy way to keep most of the plants I've tried with it


    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 12:13AM
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