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Name this houseplant, please!

Posted by onika9 NYC (My Page) on
Fri, Dec 21, 12 at 18:20

I inherited a bunch of houseplants that need help, and I'm hesitant to do anything to this one before knowing what it is. It is about three feet tall, has long, blade-like leaves that are edged in tiny spikes. A ridge of similar spikes runs the midrib on the underside of the leaves as well. I'm sure it needs transplanting since the smooth, light brown roots are completely mounding out of the soil. The main stem is sprouting dozens of little babies, which seem to emerge from, or extrude, smooth root-like appendages.

I posted more photos of the leaves and this weird growth habit on Flicker:

Any ideas about what this plant could be? Because of the strange growth and the spiny leaf edges and under-ribs, I don't think it's the common house plants in the Dracaena family like a corn plant. It looks similar to an astelia or Diaanella, but these aren't common house plants and I don't think they'd grow like this, no matter how much they were neglected (as this poor plant has been.)

Any help on the plant ID and care would be so appreciated! Thank you!

~ O.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Name this houseplant, please!

Howdy...Your plant is Pandanus or Screw Pine. Treat like a succulent in winter, and semi-succulent/tropical in summer.

More water and little fertilizer during growing season. Pandanus is slow-growing, but will eventually outgrow a room. lol


RE: Name this houseplant, please!

Hopeful is correct, it's a Pandanus (probably the species veitchii) from tropical South Pacific. Closely related to palms btw. You are right, nowadays they are uncommon, but used to be more commonly sold. May be less available due to their large eventual size and the minor dermititis that many experience when brushing against its leaves. Easily propagated by removing te side shoots once it develops some roots. Prefer a sandy, well- drained soil. Keep semi-arid in winter, more water the rest of the year. Hard to tell from the pic if it needs a bigger container, but looks okay to me. Remember, a bigger pot means a bigger plant and already kind of big there. It wants to be a tree eventually! I finally got one after searching for years to replace one I had a long time ago. good luck with it.

RE: Name this houseplant, please!

Oh, I should have added, that the roots that you see growing above the soil are typical of its growth. In fact, eventually, the plant will rise even higher out of its pot supported by the prop roots. Do not feel that the appearance of the prop roots is a sign to pot up.

RE: Name this houseplant, please!

This seems exactly right. Thank you so much!

RE: Name this houseplant, please!

Onika..What other plants did you inherit?

NJ is right. Pandanus are harder to find these days. I got mine at HD, 1999, only 3 available.
Also, back in the 90's the plant store I worked for ordered five or so.
I haven't seen Pandanus for sale since.

There are 600 known Pandanus species. One, P. Amaryllifolius is used for Asian cooking.

I looked at your Pandanus here on GW and Flickr. Having difficulties figuring out which type you have.

Here's the Pan bought at HD.


Notice the trunk? It's thickened quite a bit since purhased. No roots like yours Pandanus.

Now, here's another plant we named, Polish Plant, because it supposedly came from Poland.
I was told it too was Pandanus, but trunks do not grow upright. Leaf edges are jagged though. New foliage is white, then turns green as more new growth fills in.

New leaves.

Polish Plant

Viney and foliage growing off horizontal trunks.


Mother plant..whatever it is, mom plant was originally owned by my brothers MIL.
She gave me a cutting 1994...later gave mom to my brother and his wife. They killed this beauty.

Polish Plant

The tallest branch is held by a I said, it doesn't stand erect.

Do you or anyone else see a resemblance? Toni

RE: Name this houseplant, please!

Hey, that Polish plant looks like the Pandanus veitchii "white" variety that I've been scouring the internet for. There are a few places (in Europe and Australia) that sell them, but none in the states. Here are the links I've got:



Any chance you'd be willing to propagate that plant and send me a cutting? I have a few houseplants I could send you cuttings from in exchange. Let's see, I've got a nice hoya, a Monstera deliciosa, a lipstick plant, a few philodendrons...

RE: Name this houseplant, please!

What a Beauty. I gotta have 1..

RE: Name this houseplant, please!

Cool to find out I wasn't the only one trying to figure out what this plant was :) yep pandanus Veitchii white aka screw pine. This is my 1st time even knowing about this plant until my sister gave me one. I posted this on my own thread too seeking help an was thankful to get it. Y'all plants look amazing :)) happy growing :)

I'm caring for mine like I do my ZZ & succulent plants, since I read its like that or a palm in means of care. I'll be keeping it on the dry side 1-2x month watering (more if needed), partial sun, and supplemental light will be from my waterfall. It's summer here in Maryland so AC day 75 and night 73. Will see how this goes an i'll adjust if needed. Only had this plant for 3 days now an my sister been caring for it like a cactus but waters it weekly.

RE: Name this houseplant, please!

Night time pic of we plants living space by my ZZ plant

RE: Name this houseplant, please!

hi onika9 your pandanus is quiet simply searching for more sun light that's why it has grown lenky and is reaching out for more light
Its what all plants do in low light conditions
the droopiness is just a side effect of this

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