Skylight Plants

vikingboy2013September 19, 2011

I just moved into a new house and it has a 7 x 7 ft. Skylight that is 20 feet above the ground. It gets light all day but thr glass is not transparent so the light is diffused so that no direct sun hits the floor. I live in Mexico so I get sun most of the year. What plants would grow and look best here. I would like this indoor garden area to have a forest or jungle look to it with a large tree and other plants. I was wondering if I could grow a citrus tree in this spot or maybe a coconut palm?

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dellis326 (Danny)

There isn't likely enough sun for a citrus tree or coconut palm but almost any of the commonly sold Aroids, Philodendron, Epipremnum, Monstera, Aglaonema and Anthurium as well as plant like Dracaena, and some Begonias. In fact most of the plants sold that evolved as rain forest undergrowth (plants evolved to grown under the forest canopy) will do fine in that sort of bright indirect sun light.

The fruit trees may grow fine but not flower and fruit but you can try it.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 11:21AM
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vikingboy2013

Those plants seem like a good idea but what trees or tree-like houseplants could grow there. Maybe a banana or white bird of paradise?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 11:43AM
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birdsnblooms

Vikingboy, your skylight sounds terrific, but because of its distance and pane type, you're limited to lower light plants.

Fruit trees 'citrus/bananas' to Palms, 'coconut,' are desirable, but require higher light. Especially for flowering/fruiting.

Is there another window in the room? If so, which direction does it face and what's the distance from the skylight?

There are some Palms that flourish in lower light, and plenty of Dracaenas that should do well. They grow into tall and full trees. D. Marginata and D. Draco, 'although draco needs more light than other Dracaenas,' are very pretty trees. D. marginata tri-color has red, pink and green foliage.

Air circulation and humidity is something else to consider. Palms and bananas require high humidity. Citrus do, too, but not nearly as much as the other two.

How much room do you have? You can still make a tropical garden. Imagine the area with tall trees and smaller, plants like Bromiliads, orchids, and viney plants growing on the trunks of taller trees. Toni

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 7:12PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Chamaedorea elegans or a Ficus such as Ficus benjamina might be possibilities though additional light as from other windows would improve the situation. Too bad your ceiling isn't lower so you could count on more intense light -- Codiaeum variegatum could be quite a sweet option if it was.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 8:03PM
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vikingboy2013

The area has L shaped stairs so I have about 5x5 feet of space in the L-shape for containers. I thought of putting a rubber plant/ ficuelastics as the main tree and a container of pothos on the staircase which I would train up the wall toward the skylight. I'm planting some African violets on two different railing posts and would mount some phalaenopsis on the trunk of of the rubber plant tree. I wil upload photos once all is planted.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 8:28PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

You don't say where in Mexico you are but if there are any tropical or sub-tropical forests near you, you can go visit one and see what kind of interesting trees grow under the canopy and then see if you can find one or similar species you can buy to put in your home.

Think twice about training an Epipremnum (pothos)on your stairs. They can attach themselves to the structure and cause damage if you pull them off.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 11:27PM
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birdsnblooms

Vikinggboy...the way you describe your house reminds me of a picture in one of my plant books.

The owner of the house did a lot of work preparing and mantaining their indoor garden. They too have beautiful, wooden, semi-winding stairs in the background.
On either side of each step, from top to bottom, are two Poinsettias.

But, the indoor garden is the focal point of the room. Walls are painted bright white. The garden has one large tree, a few smaller trees, orchids and moss hanging/attached to the tree, and smaller tropicals growing from the soil.

I'd have to hunt down the book w/this picture since I can't recall tree types. But, what a view!
One other thing. They added a small fountain, too. Toni

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 11:40PM
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birdsnblooms

Vikinggboy...the way you describe your house reminds me of a picture in one of my plant books.

The owner of the house did a lot of work preparing and mantaining their indoor garden. They too have beautiful, wooden, semi-winding stairs in the background.
On either side of each step, from top to bottom, are two Poinsettias.

But, the indoor garden is the focal point of the room. Walls are painted bright white. The garden has one large tree, a few smaller trees, orchids and moss hanging/attached to the tree, and smaller tropicals growing from the soil.

I'd have to hunt down the book w/this picture since I can't recall tree types. But, what a view!
One other thing. They added a small fountain, too. Toni

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 12:29AM
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