House plant set up/locations

greyandamyAugust 28, 2011

Several pages back, there was a long thread of some stating how many houseplants they had. The numbers were shocking to me, well, when I saw 40+.

I'll have....enough... some are sure to die as they do every winter, esp. some tropicals.

I wonder how/where you keep. Does anyone have photos on their setups? Shelves? I have a very sunny house (too much) though obviously winter is a time of clouds, low light often. But I only have certain rooms, and must keep the plants up due to pets.

How do you water, other than when known to be very dry? Do you have a schedule? Such as checking on once a week, etc?

What methods do you take (if any) of "Debugging" before bringing any outside plants back inside in fall?

Do you struggle with the gnats or whatever from moist soil? (I know, keep soil dry, keep air movement).

Do any of you use humidity trays? I never have before, and my heat is kept fairly low, but I read more and more about them. I haven't a clue what they could be that isn't too ugly?

How do you water larger numbers? Surely you can't take them each to sink, whatever? But do you let them sit in water that has collected in their base?

Sorry, lots of questions. I'm thinking ahead, of what's worth it to bring back inside.(i.e. spider plant that always looks crappy in winter, despite distilled water)...chenille plant, worth the effort, etc etc etc.

How do you keep from getting too large? Do you root prune?

Do any of you keep some in basement with lights (As I read in a fine gardening magazine, an article I should not have read!!!) was about overwintering tropicals/tenders and how "easy" it is..... articles like that should not get to my eyes.


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dellis326 (Danny)

I think I have somewheres around 75 to 100+ plants, I don't really know since sometimes I grow more than one of a species and sometimes two or three different species in one container. Plus I have numerous seedlings of several species of plants.

I keep them anywhere I can. I have no basement so many are in my living room near three south facing windows and two skylights and some are in my glass studio. I have three cats but none of them bother the plants so I don't worry about them ruining or eating them, They walk through them to get to the windows and sometimes sit in the pots. rarely they knock one over but it isn't often enough for me to care about it.

I water them pretty much when ever I feel like it, I have no schedule for it. Some need it more often then others. Once in a while one plant will look like it needs water when nothing else seems to need any so I'll take care of it.

I only put about a dozen of them outside during the summer so bringing them back in isn't so big of a chore. I spray everything with neem oil every four to six days for a couple of weeks before I bring them in. I never get bugs.

I don't get fungus gnats. I know how to water my plants. I used to get them, it takes a while to figure out what is right for your set up.

I don't use humidity trays either, I use a humidifier that makes steam, You gotta be careful with those things, I cooked the fronds off of my Cycad in a couple of hours cause it got turned and was blowing steam on the plant.

I don't normally prune anything, I like my plants to grow however they are inspired to grow. I do have a corn plant that is almost nine feet tall and will have to get the chop since it is inches from the cealing and has new growth on it

Here are some photo galleries of some of my plants, some I still have and some I don't. Also some photos of plants at various other places. there are some sets of photos of the same plants at various stages of growth.

Here is a link that might be useful: Plant galleries

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 11:43PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Wintertime for indoor plants isn't usually a visit to a spa. It's just gritty survival. Hang 'em, cram 'em in the window, rotate them, and don't overwater. Watering to overflow is not a good idea for most plants inside for the winter. The rate of growth is generally much slower, if at all, and the temp is much lower, causing significantly less and slower transpiration. Small sips of water also decreases guttation (water dripping off of leaves.)

Plants that go dormant can go to the basement, or any dark corner. If you investigate your plants, you might find some that can be triggered into dormancy by allowing it to get a light frost. Some may have tubers that can be stored instead of potted plants. Some can be preserved in water on a windowsill. Some might be less space-consuming and even invigorated by being morphed into a few small cuttings.

It's not usually hard to hang fluorescent shop lights from the rafters and put them on timers in the basement, and any surface you have to get plants up as close to the light as possible will do. This is an attractive alternative to me (when I had a basement) because it gives "winter ugly" plants a place to go and it's easy to clean up the dropped leaves with a shop vac.

For debugging, repotting makes sure there isn't a colony of "something in there." For plants I hadn't planned to repot, ants are usually my concern here so I use a big tub of water to submerge the soil completely and then I can see right away if the pot's infested. Also causes spiders to evacuate.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 12:56PM
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Dellis, I looked several times at your photos, thank you so much! I thoroughly enjoyed, though I admit I don't know how you do it!! THANK you for all the helpful advice in your posting, and your time to reply!!!! I smiled at the one photo of something you stated was rescued from garbage, I vow not to do that anymore!! I vow (??)...

Too many of my plants like sun/sun, and my rooms are smaller... and 2 spoiled dogs get ...out of shape at times if all their windows are blocked upstairs (oh well)... but it's an experimental year. I don't have any hanging things, hooks. I can't think my father would be willing to do that, claiming the plaster is too hard (or any excuse). Anyway, again... THANK YOU!!

purpleinopp, I sure as heck don't want winter to be a spa. I hope what's here decides to rest and not grow much. I've learned over years of trial and death of NOT overwatering, in any way/shape or form.

I plan to lose some, I always do, though I believe I got the gardenia thing down. 2 ficus (rubber trees) take neglect and low light, 2 big xmas cactus are again going to take the same as above (I inherited them). Fittonia is low light (low lights easier, more spaces...I know that doesn't mean NO LIGHT) and though it reported needs high humidity, if I lose all 3, oh well.

A dracaena lemon lime (from a friend, sigh) will just get some light, not direct..

2 crotons, reportedly high light and humidity, we'll see... a penta that's small enough that if I lose it, well, I tried...

polka dot (Hypoestes, spelling?)..I may regret, or later trim roots so it's in shallower container. I don't know what type of light, so it's getting southern. Coleus babies, they are cuttings so will be small and I know they like LIGHT.

A too big Norfolk Island pine has to be in corner, some light. a "dumb cane" isn't going to get a bunch of light or attention, if it dies, oh well.

I don't know if it's worth a spider plant, asperagus fern... chenille plant (that reportedly is hard to overwinter, high humidity, light)... a lantana I'll try to do the cool dark dormant, ditto with giant calla bulbs if it's even worth saving. An Alocosia Poly may/may not survive, high light and humidity.

IT seems so many.. and there was once a time I was to do more. Garage can take a few but not tons like last year.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 6:44PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

I have quite a number of trash can rescues, a Schefflera, several Dracaenas, a couple of sansevierias and quite a few epipremnums and philodendrons.

The elephant ear in the gallery is currently living in the kindergarten class that my girlfriend teaches. That giant jade plant died about a month ago, I just couldn't bring it back.

I would sorta disagree with purp, I don't find that for my plants winter is just survival. Some continue growing just fine but most do slow down with the lower light level and cooler temps. Many of them continue to be watered the same as I do during the warmer weather but there are a few I cut back on like the cactus and my A. 'poly' if it stops doing anything. I find that even if the plants are using less water during the winter the air is also drier and moisture is drawn from the pots faster than in the summer so it all (roughly) balances out.

The temperature in my home stays over 60f during the winter so for most plants that I have that keeps any kind of true dormancy from happening. I would qualify that by saying that Purp lives in a different part of the country than I do so plants may respond differently there.

If you have noplace to hang stuff on, consider one of those wardrobe/coat rack hanger things with wheels, they're 4 or 5 feet wide and 5 or 6 feet high and can roll out of the way when you need it.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 10:17AM
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I have to take a new count of my plants because I added some this year, but I know I had over 40 to start.

I understand what purple is saying.......sometimes I feel like that - hang 'em, cram 'em where ever you have the most light, etc. While it's never the same conditions as outside on my shaded deck, I usually don't lose any over winter. I have had hibiscus and chenille plants that looked pretty bad by the time they could go outside in spring, but they picked right up again.

I spray with houseplant spray before I bring them in, but I usually still get some spiders - ugh. Don't really get gnats.

I check weekly or so to see if the plants need water. The bigger ones sit on caddys, so if some water comes out it's not a problem.

I don't use humidity trays, but I do use humidifiers because it gets really dry inside. I keep the temp around 65 in most of the house and 70 in the room where my conure is.

I don't root prune, but I am going to start. I have 3 plants that are 7 ft or more.

I don't keep any plants in my basement, altho I had a large asparagus fern that I overwintered in the basement a few times because it just shed so many leaves all over the place.


Tree stand in bird room. Bird won't use it, so I put plants on it.


I have 2 hooks in the shower for hanging plants and I put two or three on stands in the tub. It's a pain to lug them out when you need to shower, tho.

We had part of the livingroom ceiling converted to cathedral with 2 skylights this summer, so that should help with the light situation.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 11:14AM
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Again thanks, you are a bad influence (Smile!). I used to work at a place where I could take many plants, and they thrived. Currently I can't work, illness and homebound, so plants are more of an obsession as they would be if I had more of a normal life.

I don't keep the temp in my house too high in the winter as I can't afford to, I don't know what it will be at but I doubt much over 65 (though cold hurts joints). But cooler is better for plants.

I don't worry about bringing in spiders, I worry about creepy microscopic bug eggs that may have came in and later hatch...though I hate spiders, yes.

It keeps me on a focus, to scheme, to think of how to arrange for most of the space. I have shelves in basement (would need major cleaning), I have severlsl 8 plant stands, and little tables. I HATE when some come to house and say too many, b/c it's not... it's NOT crammed.

Many are in, some aren't... there's still time to think... as I said, it's a focus for now...

Again, THANKS!


    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 5:25PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I would sorta disagree with purp, I don't find that for my plants winter is just survival. This wasn't meant as a recommendation or commentary on wintertime "houseplants" in general. The OP asked people what they do and I was describing my available light and attitude. I think, ideally, we would all have a beautiful sun room, greenhouse, or conservatory.

If I had some big, beautiful windows like elkay, I think my plants would think they were at the spa. They and I would very much enjoy wintering in conditions anyone might refer to as a spa.

Amy, I know what you mean about a cooler house. We don't run the furnace since it costs hundreds of dollars a month. We'd rather put on more clothes and spend money on other things. A few electric hot oil registers keep our house about 60-65 also. Very cheap to buy and operate, and it feels a lot warmer if you put one near where you usually sit. They also don't zap all of the humidity out of the air.

After living around palmetto bugs (that any born yankee can see are giant cockroaches) for a few years, I wouldn't give microscopic bugs a second thought unless I thought they were in my food.

I envy your "focus!" I usually am in a panic (byproduct of denial that "winter really IS coming - TONIGHT.") That night is coming soon. Sigh...

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 6:03PM
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I have two long south-facing windows and a lot of small and medium begonias. I wanted everybody together on something that disappeared beneath the terracotta pots and bright colored foliage; about knee high to clear the floor vents. I didn't want height; it's my living room and I want to see out the windows. After a lot of research, I got a long version of this greenhouse bench. I added black plastic trays and black blend pea gravel. Plants look great.

Here is a link that might be useful: greenhouse benches

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 12:33PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I think you might be a genius.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 2:56PM
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LOL, what is too many plants?

I have somewhere between 350-400. Some go way back, several were purchased online from 1999 on.

These pics were taken in winter..most plants are outdoors now..


The house was getting too crowded, so my hubby finally bought me an 8x12 green house..Citrus and larger plants are wintered in the gh.

Well, the list is endless, lol..Where there's a will there's a way..


    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 3:46PM
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OMG Toni, that's what my house would've looked like and I would've gotten divorced a lot sooner than I plants suffered longer and worst than me because some of them are still stuck there until I can rescue them..say a prayer for my poor babies.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 9:57PM
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Purple, I think you know we've never had a/c or c/a. After days and days of 102/3/4 with 65% + humidity, we finally bought an a/c.
Since 7/5, I've turned on the air about 5 I can't tolerate cold, but can't breath when air is dry during winter months.

If you're home is kept at 65F, how do you get out of bed to shower? lol. I shower daily...just the thought of hopping out of bed in the cold, blah, blah, getting in the shower when temps are cold gives me goose bumps. lol.

Donning extra clothes is fine, but hopping in the shower on a daily basis at 65F would be misery for me. lol
How do you do it?

First I'd like to say sorry about your health issues.
I pray you get better.

Funny about getting divorced sooner so you could keep plants indoors. lol

I don't mean to laugh, but the way you said what you did. Actually, sorry about your divorce, too, but if you did the leaving, more power to you.

How many plants do you have to move and are you planning on getting more?

It's nice having various plants, on the other hand, a lot of work is involved. Plants need quite a bit of care.
If one has a true love of plants, and motivation, it's not a problem.

The end result will be gratifying. Especially when a plant flowers and/or fruits.

Hope you get your plants soon. Toni

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 9:52AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Toni, I don't know how you keep your mind wrapped around all of those plants! Wow! I'm so glad you got the A/C! Even if you only run it to sleep, that's got to be such a relief. I like to spend as much time sitting on my porch as possible but don't think I'd enjoy it as much if I wasn't able to count on cooling off when I come in. Thinking about you a lot while sweating out there lately. It sounds like it was you that really pushed for getting the A/C. Usually guys are more wimpy about heat. When I ask honey where my flannel shirt is because, at 76 degrees I'm "a little chilled," he thinks that's hilarious and says he's finally cooling off.

After a long hot shower, the bathroom is nice and warm, steamy. And with 70-80% humidity, 65 degrees feels a lot warmer than if we used the heat pump which eliminates all of that lovely humidity. I can't breathe dry air and would rather shiver a bit than have static hair. I have these boot slippers that kind of look like moon boots and they are awesome. And hey, the money we saved paid for a trip to New Orleans in April, gas, parking, really nice hotel, souvenirs, 5-star meals and a night on Bourbon St. Ooooh the plant-filled brick court yards there... All plant lovers should visit NOLA (and I recommend April!)

My house plants are all outside for the summer, too. I keep hanging more of them up and wish there was a way to hang them all. They can't get blown off that way. Not all of the porch plants are house plants, some are just summer pots, mostly Coleus, that I will dump in the beds after I take next year's cuttings and frost kills the roots. And some are dupes waiting to go live with a friend who had a baby last week, when she's ready to handle more plants. I have a back porch too but there's too many mosquitoes to hang out long enough to look at plants so they're all out front. I love moving them around a lot out there as they change and grow, making the 'wall of foliage.'

Marybright, I wish I had at least a dozen of those nursery benches to use inside for the winter. They would be a perfect height by the windows. I've always thought there was a "hole" in this area regarding available items at the garden center. Putting plants on the real furniture is often disastrous and ruinous - and too high. There's often guttation and the inevitable failure to notice the one time water unexpectedly, silently overflows the saucer. I hate the plastic tablecloths I use but would rather look at them for a few months than ruin the furniture, especially my gramma's cedar hope chest which is such a perfect plant bench height and size.

P.S. Why does drought only kill the grass you never even thought about digging out to make a new bed? A little-known codicil of Murphy's Law I'm sure.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:44AM
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wow-- i feel like a baby starter compaired to all of you-- i only have 12 plants! lol.. Hoping to catch up with some of you tho. ;)

Marjie :)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 12:36PM
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Purple. It's a hot one today, but mainly high humidity. I PRAY it rains..once again, the earth is dry.

No a/c though, lol.

Think I can't tolerate cold because my mother kept the house HOT!!! Year round.
My dad bought an a/c, but she kept it in the LR, where we weren't allowed to sit.
On the hottest nights of summer, I'd get out of bed, turn on the a/c, and sleep on the LR My sister ruined it when she joined..She had/has a big mouth, and woke our dad..He yelled, GET IN BED!!!
But the following night, in the LR I'd sleep again.

Up until a couple years ago, when temps were 95F and higher, I'd be outside working, mostly weeding, while neigbors were tucked in their a/c'd homes/cars/workplace. lol.

95 is tolerable, but when in addition humidity is 70%+, and the sun is blazing, I admit it's too hot..although I still enjoy tanning.

Thinking about me while sweating..what an image..LOL

Humidity and hair..That IS a problem. The last few days I braided my hair.

I notice your porch plants have plants look fantastic, Purple.
You're soooo lucky living where you do. I love AL, the people and climate...miss the south.

I'd like to go to NO, but I'm semi-agoraphobic, so we no longer travel unless absolutely necessary..usually to funerals down south. TN. My dh is from TN, though he was raised in Chicago.

The contrast of your Begonia is striking. Purple, you need more purple

Can you add Citronella plant/candle to keep mosquitoes away?

Purple, if our electric bill goes too high, dh will have a bird. I'd rather deal with the heat than argue. Know what I mean.
He can withstand hot and icy temps.

The bedrooms are upstairs, so even if the a/c is on, it's still very very hot up there. We run a fan.

Marj, you'll get there..Rome wasn't built in a day. lol. I started buying plants in my teens, long, long

How's your Spiders doing? Have you added any new additions? Do you like cuttings? Toni

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 3:32PM
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