Hargrave Triffid

A Photographic Record of Plant Growth

A Matter of Care

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As well as being a documentary record of my progress and problems, this blog is also meant to be a repository of information to provide a single point of reference for useful information and to enable me scientifically to learn from my mistakes. For this reason I am including some care instructions for the new arrivals:


Calathea 01-07-14

My previous calathea didn’t last very long and for this reason I wanted another go to atone for my sins. The last calathea was resident in the bathroom because a helpful chap in the shop where we bought said that the plant would appreciate high humidity and would not be too worried about a lack of light. Gronda has been given a much sunnier position, although admittedly this is probably not going to be in particularly humid conditions. The other problem is that some of the advice I have read on caring for calatheas states that they do not like drafts. As Gronda is next to the back door this may, therefore, pose a problem and this situation will have to be monitored.


Growing Calatheas

  • Keep Calathea in bright indirect light.
  • Calatheas actively grow from march to october when the soil is moist.
  • During winter allow the top soil to dry between waterings.
  • The ideal temperatures are 60-70 degrees farehheit.
  • Feed Calatheas once every two weeks.
  • Repot during late spring when the plant becomes crowdy in its containers.

Calatheas Plant Care

  • Calathea do tolerate a wide temperature range and do well indoors so far as a high degree of humidity is given.
  • Calathea show brown edges on the leaves if the air is too dry.
  • Humidifiers or pebble trays can be used to maintain humidity around Calathea.
  • Calthea thrive in water controlled containers.
  • Caterpillars, mealybugs, mites, and scales are the major arthropod pests of Calathea.

Calatheas are ideal for removing toxins from the air, caused by cleaning products, modern furnishings that are made of synthetic materials and so on.

Source: http://www.theflowerexpert.com/content/aboutflowers/exoticflowers/calatheas


Tropical plants need soil that holds moisture but is also well draining. Without good drainage, the roots will rot. ‘Wet feet’ is probably the major cause of failure when growing zebra indoor plants. A lack of water, however, will cause leaves to curl.

A good potting mix consists of one part soil, two parts peat moss and two parts perlite. A good quality African violet mix will also meet these requirements. When potting your newly acquired zebra plant, care should be taken to water thoroughly, allowing the excess to drain from the bottom. From then on, the plant should be kept moist, not wet.

Fertilize occasionally with a half strength solution of liquid fertilizer. Too much and your plant will grow leggy.

Humidity is the next problem to be conquered when growing zebras indoors. Plants should be misted several times a week. If the environment is particularly dry, which often occurs during the winter months, rest the pot on a shallow tray filled with gravel and fill the tray with water without its touching the pot. One of the first signs of low humidity is brown edges along the leaves.

Many gardeners mistakenly believe that high heat and strong light are requirements for how to take care of a Calathea zebra houseplant and its tropical cousins. Most tropicals only need temperatures above 55°F. to survive and temperatures around 70°F. to thrive. These plants grow in the shaded understory of the tropics and don’t need strong light. Diffused light should be enough. After you’ve been caring for zebra plants a while, you might want to experiment a bit to see how much light your plant needs to bring out the brightest color in the leaves.

As time passes, caring for zebra plants will also include repotting. This should be done in the spring about every two years. These plants do not like to be pot bound. If there are several rosettes at the base of the plant, now is the time to divide. Use a sharp blade to separate the rosettes and plant each in its own pot.

Source: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/zebra-plant/calathea-zebra-houseplant.htm


Snake 01-07-14

The ‘plant-graveyard’ spot in the bathroom has this time gone to Snake on the basis that according to a number of websites Snake Plants are virtually indestructable or at least, highly unkillable. Will keep a close on this fella though.


Sansevieria is a durable plant and high light is best to keep the foliage full. It will survive in lower light provided it is allowed to dry. Temperatures need to be kept above 50°F. The Sanseveria Laurentii is the most common variety, with a broad, yellow edge on the thick, sword shaped leaves. The center of the leaf is cross-banded with pale markings.

Sanseveria has upright growth and a shallow root system and is best kept somewhat potbound. It has thick rhizomes that store water for a long time. While you may be able to keep a Snake Plant that is in high-light slightly moist, in low light the roots will rot and the leaves will turn mushy and smelly. Always err on the side of less water with this plant.

Watering Sansevieria – Sansevieria has rhizomes that store water, so stay more to the dry side with this plant. In low to medium light, allow pot media to dry down 3/4 of the way or more. In higher lighting, allow to dry down 1/2 to 3/4 of the pot depth. You may need some type of soil probe in a really full plant to check for moisture. …

There are a few things to watch for with Sansevieria. They are prone to scale and mealybugs and if you notice these pests they should be wiped off immediately with a cloth or cotton dipped in rubbing alcohol. Also, be careful when you do water your Snake Plant that you do not pour the water in the leaf rosette as it may cause them to rot. Water the soil only and use room temperature water.

Source: http://www.plantandflowerinfo.com/sansevieria/sansevieria.html


Eve's Needle Cactus 01-07-14

Surely I can’t kill a cactus, even one that looks so un-cactuslike as this little fella.


Needs full sun to light shade, with a well drained soil mix (e.g 1 part peat moss to 2 parts loam and sand) adding small gravel to ensure good drainage. This cactus likes a little more water than other cacti. Plants are regularly watered and allowed to dry before watering again. Regular watering helps to keep the leaves from dropping. …

During the winter months, water is restricted and the plants are watered only enough to keep the leaves from shriveling. During this period, we let nighttime temperatures drop to 50° F (10°C). At temperatures lower than this, the leaves will take on a pinkish hue and will eventually drop.

Source: http://www.plantandflowerinfo.com/sansevieria/sansevieria.html


Flapjack 01-07-14

This rather endearing chap was my girlfriend’s choice and was a bargain at only 99p. Am not quite sure where he’s going to live and he may even be whisked off to another city. We’ll wait and see.


Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
*if kept in low-light conditions, they will become leggy and create interesting shapes …  In bright to full sun, expect them to get wide and bushy.

Water regularly, when soil dries about an inch down into the pot or ground.  Kalanchoe thrsiflora and luciae are very drought tolerant.  They are susceptible to overwatering, however, so err on the side of not watering when unsure.

Bloom Time
Late Winter/Early Spring

Source: http://thepalmroom.wordpress.com/plant-care-discussion-forum/kalanchoe-thrysiflora-kalanchoe-luciae/

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