Air plant care is often something that is forgotten. Though low maintenance, it is important to look after your air plants to ensure healthy growth.
What are air plants?
Air plants are an excellent starter plant for novice plant enthusiasts because they don’t require soil. Although they don’t survive on air alone, air plants are a fun and decorative way to spice up any room. As members of the Tillandsia genus, air plants are found naturally in forests, deserts and mountains of America.
Air Plant Care
Here are things you should consider when caring for your air plants:
Air plants do best when they receive bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight over prolonged periods of time may cause your air plant to wither. Meanwhile, a lack of light will mean your plant won’t sufficiently photosynthesise.
For a room where natural lighting is not sufficient, full-spectrum fluorescent lights are a suitable alternative. Keep your plants within close proximity of the light ensuring it has exposure for a minimum of 12 hours a day.
Both misting and soaking your air plant will ensure that it is receiving a sufficient amount of water without causing the leaves to rot. How often you mist and soak your plant will depend on the conditions of your plant’s location like the amount of light it receives and the temperature of your home. You can soak your plant for up to 10 minutes by submerging it in a container of water. Ensure that is able to fully dry within three hours to prevent any rot. You can also mist your plant frequently to ensure it is moist but not wet. Alternatively, you may also place your air plant near a humidifier. Water more frequently in Summer as opposed to Winter as your plant will be more likely to dry out during hotter weather.
Following up with your air plant care, and ensuring that your air plant continues to grow, you can incorporate fertilisers designed for orchids or bromeliads into the water in which you soak your air plants up to twice a month. This will encourage growth, reproduction and even blossoming.
Where to buy air plants?
If you are looking for some quick and convenient air plants delivered straight to your door, check out succulents box for a range of unique and collector air plants.
Flowering indoor plants are a wonderful way to spruce up your home with colour in an inexpensive way and there are options for plants with longer blooming periods. Flowering houseplants can bring enjoyment and fragrance to your home, although they look fancy, most of these plants need minimal care.
A lot of flowering indoor plants need humid conditions to flower. You can achieve this by misting the plant regularly.
9 of the Best Flowering Houseplants.
1. Christmas Cactus
Christmas Cacti are a wonderful succulent that isn’t fussy and produces a vibrant array of coloured flowers that range from white to corals, reds and pinks. Place them in bright indirect light and water when dry.
Cyclamens have heart-shaped leaves and pink, red, lilac or white blooms that hover above. Place them in bright light, and mist regularly. Cyclamens enjoy cool temperatures.
3. African Violets
African Violets come in a range of purples, whites and pinks and have been known to live for a long time. Place them in indirect light and keep the soil moist but not wet. Ensure that the water doesn’t touch the leaves, so it’s best to bottom water. African Violets enjoy peat moss, perlite and vermiculite. Water with room temperature water at the base. To encourage fresh growth, pinch off old flowers.
Kalanchoe succulents have waxy leaves and red, orange, yellow or pink flowers that last for a period of weeks. Place your Kalanchoe in bright indirect light and ensure it is allowed to dry out between waterings. Cutting the flower heads once they wither will encourage new growth and flowers.
Bromeliads are relatives to the pineapple! They are a tropical plant with vibrant red, orange, pink and yellow blossoms that are bound to bring an accent colour to your indoor living space. Place your Bromeliad in bright light and water sparingly.
6. Peace Lily
Peace Lilys are wonderful for their shiny, dark green leaves and spoon-shaped flowers. They are hardy and in the right conditions will bloom continuously. Place your Peace Lily in low to moderate light and ensure the soil is moist but not soggy by only watering when the flowers begin to wilt.
Orchids need low to medium light and have long-lasting blooms that come in a range of white, pink, purple and orange. Place your orchid in well-draining soil to avoid root rot. To encourage new flowers, snip the stem above the second node once the flowers have fallen off and wait a period of weeks for new flowers to form.
Anthuriums come in shades of pink, red, purple and white. Place your Anthurium in bright light. You can also harvest the flowers and place them in water for a long-lasting flower arrangement. Keep the soil moist but not wet.
Geraniums require cool growing conditions and bright to intense light. Keep the soil relatively dry and trim off dying flowers to encourage new blooms. Geraniums come in white, red, pink and occasionally orange and purple.
The African Daisy (Osteospermum) is a half-hardy perennial or subshrub which is most commonly grown as an annual. It self-seeds, so if it is grown in a garden bed, you are virtually guaranteed of seeing them in that spot year after year.
African daisy is delightful as it comes in a variety of colours, so you can create a colourful garden with african daisies. They do not like extreme heat and will flower sparsely in hot weather. They usually flower en mass in winter, providing a nice prelude to spring.
Common Problems with African Daisy
Diseases such as root or stem rot, powdery mildew – These can be prevented by not over-watering, reducing humidity or ensuring good air circulation around the african daisy plant.
Attack by pests eg. whitefly, fungus gnats, or aphids – Spray with pesticide if this happens. However, it is uncommon if african daisies are in good health.
Common Mistakes with Osteospermum
Over watering – African daisies are drought-tolerant when established, so just a moist soil will suffice.
Planting in an overly shady spot – This may result in less flowers.
Not pruning regularly – The african daisy plant may become leggy if not pruned regularly. Trim it to encourage its lush green leaves to grow closer to the ground.
Watering: African daisies are drought-tolerant once they are established. Therefore, is important to keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. Overwatering may result to fungal disease or rot.
Light: African daisies prefer a sunny to lightly shaded location and will flower best in full sun.
Temperature: Osteospermums prefer cooler weather. They are not fond of the combination of hot and dry. During periods of drought, it is common for the plants to gradually cease blooming and go dormant. Keep them well-watered during this time. They will bounce back in cooler months.
Soil: The african daisy prefers lightly acidic soil which is well-drained.
Fertiliser: African daisies are not fussy once established, so a light feed once a year usually suffices.
Pruning: If you want your african daisy to look a healthy lush green, trim it regularly to remove skinny stems. That will help to maintain it as a neat small bush.
Propagation:You may grow African daisies from cuttings. Just take a short cutting with stem and leaves, dip it into rooting hormone and grow it in moist soil. Alternatively, you can also grow african daisies from seeds. Let the seeds to dry on the flowers, then harvest them at the end of the growing season directly from the flower heads. The seeds need light to germinate, so cover the seeds with a thin layer of moist soil either directly where you want them to grow or in starter pots since they transplant easily.
Dropping of older leaves – Too much heat. In winter, this could be due to the jade plant being placed too close to a heater. Moving it to another spot should fix the problem.
Mouldy leaves – Humidity is too high. If it is too humid indoors, placing the plant outdoors may fix the issue.
No flowers – The plant is probably too young. Jade plants tend to flower when they are about 5 to 8 years old. They also tend not to flower indoors.
Watering: During spring and summer, when the jade plant is growing actively, it will require more water (eg. weekly). During autumn and winter, the jade plant will require less water (eg. monthly). It is best to ensure that your plant pot has sufficient drainage and allows water to escape the base of the pot. Water your plant deeply when the soil is dry to the touch and wait until the soil is dry again to water it again.
Light: The Jade plant (Crassula ovata) require at least 4 hours of sunlight a day. However, if the jade plant is exposed to too much sunlight, they may develop reddish leaves.
Temperature: The ideal temperature range for a jade plant is room temperature (ie. 15 to 24 degrees celsius). Jade plants are not frost tolerant. However, well-established outdoor plants usually cope well with mild frosts.
Soil: Jade plants love good drainage. So avoid growing them in clayey soil. A soil mix used for cacti and succulents is preferable.
Repotting: Jade plants cope well even if root bound in a small pot. Keeping them root bound keeps them small and manageable. However, if you would like to encourage growth, repotting every 2 to 3 years is a good idea. Alternatively, plant them outdoors into the ground and watch them take off!
Fertiliser: Feed your jade plant twice a year with a water-soluble fertiliser, keeping in mind that you should never add fertiliser while the soil is dry as this may damage the roots. Water the plant first the usual way, then add fertiliser.
Pruning: Jade plants require pruning at least once a year to keep their growth in check. It is easy to prune jade plants as they are soft.
Jade plants are toxic to animals including dogs and cats. If ingested, symptoms may include gastrointestinal distress such as vomiting, ataxia or lack of bodily coordination, depression or a lowered heart rate.
Jade plants are only mildly toxic to humans. Touching the plant sap may lead to itching and burning skin for some. If ingested, diarrhorrea and vomiting may result.
This collection of unique and unusual houseplants showcases plants that have interesting leaf shapes and patterning. Although some may be considered rare, I have spotted a fair few of these at local markets as well as larger plant retailers like Bunnings.
Check out our list to find the next plant to add to your collection!
10 Unusual Houseplants with Unique Leaf Patterns and Shapes.
1. Haworthia Cooperi
Haworthias are characterised by their jelly like appearance, with the leaves resembling a clump of bubbles. Haworthias come in a wide variety, but the Haworthia Cooperi is my all time favourite.
Caring for your Haworthia Cooperi is simple; water sparingly during colder weather and regularly during hotter, dry climate weather. Ensure that the soil has dried out completely before you rewater. Make sure that the soil used to pot your haworthia is well-draining to reduce the amount of excess water in the soil, which haworthias will not tolerate. Place your haworthia in a position that it will receive bright light, but not direct sun.
2. Rabbit Succulent
Rabbits succulents are what they sound like, and resemble little bunny heads with long ‘ears’.
Like the haworthia, to care for your rabbit succulent, the requirements are quite simple. Place your haworthia in well-draining soil, bright light and water sparingly.
3. Rex Begonia
Spiral-patterned leaves and vibrant colours are what characterise the Rex Begonia.
To care for your Begonia, water it regularly and mist your plant as it enjoys high humidity. Ensure it has organic well-draining soil for it to thrive.
4. Nerve Plants
Fittonias have bright, veiny markings which give them their nickname, nerve plants. They come in a variety of beautiful, warm-toned colours as well as a classic white, so there is bound to be one perfect for your home.
Check your nerve plant’s soil regularly as it enjoys well-drained soil that is kept moist but not overly wet. Water your nerve plant moderately and let it dry out between waterings. Place them in bright, indirect light to allow them to thrive.
As they look like rocks, Lithops are nicknamed ‘living rocks’. Lithops grow slowly and will die if you overwater them. If you care for them correctly, you might even see them flower!
Lithops are best adapted to direct sunlight, so place them in an area like your window sill that gets the most sun. Water your lithops extremely sparingly as they have a capacity to hold water for months. To ensure that you don’t overwater, place your lithop in a cactus mix or fast draining potting mix.
6. String of Dolphins
The string of dolphins has tiny leaves shaped like breaching dolphins. The name of this variety is Senecio Peregrinus. They are variegated varieties but they are super rare!
Place your string of dolphins in bright, indirect light and well-draining potting mid. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent root rot and aphid infestations.
7. Fishbone Cactus
Also known as the zig-zag cactus or Selenicereus Anthonyanus resemble a fern but are actually a cactus! It is low maintenance and produces beautiful, pink flowers when in bloom.
Place your Fishbone Cactus in indirect light for it to do best. Like other cacti, do not water your fishbone cactus as often as your other plants as it retains water.
8. Sweetheart Plant
Flat, heart shaped leaves have dubbed the Hoya Heart, or Sweetheart Plant the romance succulent.
Like most succulents, the Sweetheart Plant is extremely low maintenance. It is often sold as a single leaf and is easy to propagate, once fully grown, it takes on the appearance of a viney plant covered in a lush head of hearts.
Sweetheart Plants are quite adaptable to most indoor lighting conditions so place them in moderate-bright light. Neglect your sweetheart plant when it comes to watering and do not overwater it as it will become soggy and cause root rot.
9. Staghorn Fern
Staghorn ferns have leaves that resemble the horns of a stag.
Try mounting your Staghorn fern on your wall to create a vertical garden and a new way of decorating boring walls.
Water your Staghorn fern frequently, but let it dry out between waterings. They will enjoy a high humidity region with indirect to shaded light.
10. Lipstick Echeveria
Lipstick Echeverias are a succulent type with a signature, vibrant red colour. Their shiny, wax-like glossy leaves further seal the deal as the ‘lipstick’ echeveria.
Like other succulents, to care for your Lipstick Echeveria, plant it in a well-draining potting mix, water infrequently and place it in a sunny spot.
That concludes our list of unusual and unique houseplants. I hope you have found one or two to add to your wish list and growing home collection.
The Rubber Plant (Ficus Elastica) is a popular, ornamental indoor plant that range in height from 30 centimetres to 2.5 metres in height.
There are a variety of rubber plants that are commonly available, including the ficus elastica decora, ficus elastica robusta, ficus elastica burgundy and variegated varieties which feature lime green, pink and white leaves.
Loss of leaves – often due to overwatering, low temperatures, insufficient light or cold drafts. To remedy the loss of leaves, move your plant to a brighter location and change the soil.
Leaf edges yellowing – could be due to poor soil, overwatering and under-feeding.
Pests – the most common are mealy bugs, mites and scale.
Moving the plant around excessively
Placing your rubber plant in a location that experiences sudden drops in temperature and cold drafts
Watering: Ensure that your plant pot has sufficient drainage and allows water to escape the base of the pot. Deepwater your plant when the soil is dry to the touch and wait until the soil is dry again to water it again.
Light: Rubber plants can survive in low light conditions, but bright, indirect light is ideal to see your plant thrive.
Temperature: The ideal temperature range for a rubber plant is 15-24 degrees celsius. Avoid temperatures that drop below 12 degrees celsius.
Soil: The soil for your rubber plant needs to be well-aerated. A recommended potting mix for the rubber plant is made from 1 part peat, 1 part pine bark, 1 part coarse sand or perlite to ensure that water flows through and drains properly.
Repotting: Repot your rubber plant when it becomes root bound and stops producing new leaves. Repotting into a larger pot with more soil will encourage new growth of both the root system and its leaves.
Fertiliser: Feed your rubber plant during sprint and summer with a diluted fertiliser every two weeks.
Pruning: If you want a shorter, fuller appearance for your plant, cut off the top branch and prune back any unwanted branches. Pruning in Spring or Summer is ideal.
Cleaning: Your plant’s leaves will need a gentle wipe with a damp cloth to ensure the leaves are glossy and dust-free so they can absorb the sunlight.
All parts of the rubber plant (Ficus Elastica) are poisonous to pets if ingested.
In humans, the sap of the rubber tree can cause serious rash or irritation if handled by bare hands or exposed to bare skin.