New to forums - Pics of my Tropical Collection :)

bedtimeMarch 3, 2013

I'm new to the forum and just wanted to show off my beauties...

Some information: I live in an apartment about 10 floors up facing South-west in South Ontario. Currently the days have been around 0 C and cloudy. There hasn't been much sun and nowhere near the temperatures needed to let the plants sit on the balcony (15 C at a min). That aside the plants have been doing great but not at their full potential in this area.

I know about as much as is needed to properly water the plants and get them enough sun but I don't know much about repotting, cropping, and getting rid of mites and such. So I am looking for any suggestions and general info anyone might have. So if someone notices there can be improvement or has an idea for the plants my ears are open.

Btw, there are 7 plants and 7 posts as I didn't know how to properly post them...

spathiphyllum sensation -

Had this one for about a year. The latest leaves are quite small as the plant has not had nearly as much sun these days. You might be able to see some towels at the base of the plant. I just thought of this by myself and don't know if it's a good idea but it seems to keep the top of the soil from drying out. Only a few weeks after doing this I've noticed so many new roots ontop of the soil, big green ones and pure white one ones popping out. They are no longer brown and dry and crumbling, so I imagine its helping.

This post was edited by bedtime on Sun, Mar 3, 13 at 11:02

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heartleaf philodendron -

Not much to say about this one yet as I just purchased it only a few days ago.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 10:56AM
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ficus elastica burgundy -

Had this one for about a year and its doing extremely well. You might be able to see some arial roots at the bottom of the plant. I'm hoping these roots get bigger as I find them pleasing to the eye. I specifically picked the plant with the most arial roots. You may notice that it's foliage is green and not burgundy. I imagine it'll change back when it gets more sun in the month to come.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 10:57AM
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ficus elastica variegata -

This plant was purchased the same time as the ficus elastica burgundy. It is in need of repotting which I'll do soon as I get a new ceramic pot. Also could use more sun to liven the colour up. Looks so much more beautiful when I gets more sun.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 10:58AM
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ficus elastica -

Was purchased a few days ago. There are about maybe 16 individual ficus trees in this one. The container is actually bulging at both sides and there is enough pressure to make me a little skeptical of trying to pull it out to view the root structure. I'll be repotting in May/June.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 10:59AM
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schefflera amate soleil -

Just got this one a few days ago as well. We'll see how it fairs.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 11:00AM
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monstera deliciosa -

Best for last. This is my favorite. Had it for about a year or two. Repotted it about a year ago with sand, particulate, vermiculite, and dark rich soil. I didn't fully know what I was doing so I packed the soil really tight but it's been doing so well that I figure best to leave well enough alone. I like to call this plant, 'the plant with a drinking problem' because it seems to need so much water even though not much drains out the bottom and I feed it almost it's base volume in water. I water it when the top is fully dried out. It's never complained and looks perfect at all times. Seems to grow at all times of the year. I've been tucking the arial roots into the soil when they get long enough. Amazing plant.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 11:01AM
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you have a lot of very nice and healthy plants.....
its not hard to repot...just pick a good well draining soil and a pot with drain pot size up I do 1 inch bigger.....I mostly use nice ceramic pots for big plants to keep them standing and water catchers if I over water, and then dump out the extra water and also they look nicer then the plastic pots.....good growing....linda

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 12:39PM
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I like Lind'as advice..Have you ever seen hers?

I just wanted to welcome you and a good choice selection in plants that will do very well in your type lighting.

You are so lucky! You could of got stuck with north facing window..Oh, what a difference a nice bright south facing window will do.

Thank you for the stories behind each plant and the photos:-)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 1:47PM
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Nice looking plants! Especially the Monstera - that's one of my favorites, too!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 4:30PM
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great plants. but they need to be repoted soon, all except hanging philo. but especially the ones in small pots. they are all very large. do not let them dry out - they will drop leaves. unfortunately in a small pot it's very easy to underwater. scheflera grows like crazy. ficuses not so much. but if humidity is not enough or they are kept too dry - the variegated ones will get brown tip/margins. the one that needs most sun is scheflera. philo, reg ficus elastica the least.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 4:33PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

They are all beautiful plants

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 4:43PM
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Definately more nice looking with ceramic pots, but I do like the ease of just picking the pot up to see if it needs watering.


True, I also don't have any other apartments blocking the sun. I got really lucky! :)




I'm not sure if you see how large the pot is for the spathiphyllum. Its about 14" or more. Same with the monstera, which has been repotted only last year. I managed to pull the schefflera out and check the roots. Its barely rooted at the sides.

Anyways, maybe in a few years perhaps but not yet for the repotting. I'll repot the ficus trees in the summer. The variegata i'll repot soon as it seems to lose water very quickly even when soaked.

But if there are others that feel the monstra or spathiphyllum need repotting I'm listening. I just dont think its necessary and often I find repotting does more harm then good unless its urgently needed.

* hugs *



    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 6:21PM
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Lovely, lovely plants. Whatever you're doing, it's the right thing, bedtime.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 6:58PM
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i can see browning on the edges of spathiphylum - you should give it at least more water or more humidity. it's a huge plant for it's pot size. so is monstera. 14" is not much really ;) but i have never grown that one : too big for nyc apts. though it's an aroid and i grow those: they need to be evenly moist , but free draining. which is hard to achieve in a smaller pot. of course you can water more often then. as far as i know monstera will take whatever space you give it and then some...

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 7:23PM
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thank you :)


The spathiphylum definately could benefit from more humidity. For the past few months the humidity has been at around 50%. There is no increasing it. All I can do is make sure to keep the soil evenly moist as you have said. That aside, the colour of the leaves are uniformly dark green and healthy so I'm okay with it. Also, I can see a bloom coming which might be a good sign, but then again blooms seem to be more prominate in spathiphylums that are root bound so, hmmmm, you might be on to something. I'll have to find the courage to pull the plant out of the container and check the root structure. Same with the monstra, which scares the heck out of me to pull out. its really packed in there tight. : /

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:00PM
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Which ones are your favorite? I love flowering plants, most of mine are. My flowering maple flowers non stop almost completely covered in pastel pink flowers. I love the jasmine sambac as well, such a beautiful scent and crazy bloomer as well. I love my phal orchid. My adenium are starting to get there hopefully this summer will give flowers.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:30PM
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Those plants look great, they're a credit to you.

One suggestion, you can use sphagnum moss instead of a towel to retain moisture in the Spathiphyllum pot.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 9:22PM
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AsarumGreenPanda(z6 MA)

They are beauties, indeed. Thanks for the lovely photos.

Does your balcony also face SW? I'm curious how the plants like that much sun outdoors). Do you do anything to help them acclimate? Again, just curious.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 8:22PM
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I'm not a big flower guy myself, but maybe it'll 'grow' on me! xD


I just happen to have some sphagnum moss kicking around so might try it.


Yes, the balcony faces SW and I imagine in the summer they will get even bigger, especially the peace lily. As far as acclimating them to the changes, not all will be going outside. Only the peace lily and monstra. At first I will be bringing them out only when the temp is above 15C and then bringing them back in when the temp has dropped to 15C again. Eventually they'll be out full time. Then when as it approaches fall and it hits 15C again bring them in and out...

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:48PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Hi bedtime, welcome to Gardenweb!

Your plants are beautiful!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 10:56AM
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Thanx, and thank you all for your awesome welcoming me to the forums. :)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 11:45AM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

Your welcome. i am jealous of your collection. i have mostly small collectibles. i do have a large peace lily starting to grow alittle bit

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 1:51PM
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Hi bedtime -
I'm pretty much of a newbie around here myself, but welcome to you. Your plants look really great. I see several of them are still in grow pots...have you thought about double potting? That's where you get a pretty container, doesn't have to have a drainage hole - works better without, actually - make sure it's big enough to hold your plant in its grow pot, put a plastic liner inside, then set plant and grow pot right down into the decorative container. This is the way interior landscapers set up their plants. Got a short video on this if you want to look at it If you want to talk about anything, you can ask me here, or leave comments on the site.

If you're looking to do some repotting, you'll find some great advice/experiences here on GW.

Thought I'd toss in a couple of thoughts on your spath. I know, if you've done any reading, you've found there's lots of conflicting advice out there on practically everything to do with houseplants, and nothing worse than what you'll find on spaths, or peace lilies. Some people will swear that you have to let them dry out to wilt between waterings, others are adamant that they must be kept evenly (whatever that means) moist. You might wonder how this can be. I believe that it arises because spaths are among the most adaptable of plants; they adapt to a wide range of light, soil, and moisture, and still manage to look beautiful.

Here's my experience. I've been an interior landscaper for 30 years, and I've had the opportunity to take care of probably thousands of spaths in all possible light conditions. I have found that while you don't want to allow them to actually dry between waterings, you don't want to keep them always moist, either. The soil moisture should reach the point where, if you spoon up some soil from well down into the pot and squeeze it between your fingers, it should feel cool and soft, stick together when you stop squeezing it, but fall apart easily if you touch the clump. I would call that "slightly damp."

You can also test the soil by inserting a wooden dowel all the way to the bottom of the pot. There will be a little dirt sticking to the probe, and you will feel a trace of moisture if you run it between your fingers.

When the soil reaches this level of aeration, it's time to water. At this point, you should water until you get a run off in your liner of 1/4 inch. I mention all this because if I saw a spath with the tip and margin yellowing/browning that yours has, I would advise the tech that the plant might be staying a bit too wet.

You want the surface of the soil to dry out, and you don't want to inhibit the airflow in and out of the soil. If you're seeing green and white roots on the surface under the towels, that suggests to me that the bottom areas of the pot are too wet, so the plant is trying to find soil to colonize at the top of the pot.

Also, humidity is really not the factor that many people think it is. I say this because, again, as an interior landscaper I have had the opportunity to deal with thousands of plants in interior, closed, very dry situations. Spaths do just beautifully without anyone ever worrying about humidity.

One thing you might want to do is cut off the bottom, raggedy leaves. This will encourage the growth of new leaves, which will incidentally produce more flowers. (A thing I've noticed is that a spath leaf supports only one flower in its life time; if you want more flowers, you need more leaves.)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 2:20PM
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Thank you so much for your detailed reply.

I have been watering it so that there is alot of water left at the bottom. Maybe 1/5 of the containers amount though the plant does not sit in it. I will water with much less water next time as you have recommended.

I pulled the plant out and took a picture. the roots do not seem rotted to the touch as none were slimy, nonetheless they do all have a brownish/yellowish tinge to them that was consistant throughout. The colour remained when I tried rinsing with water. Should these roots be white? And do these roots look to have root rot?

I cut the plants leaves back about 1/3. I hope this was not too much. If it was it's too late, but that was how many I had to take off to get rid of the raggedy ones, and I kinda got sick of them anyways.

This post was edited by bedtime on Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 23:08

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 10:29PM
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Hi bedtime! that is one rootbound plant there :) Welcome to the forum! If you ever, cough cough, need to divide that monstera or take cuttings, I am totally here for you to home the pieces :P

Lovely plants though! The balcony must be lovely.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 9:01PM
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