Indoor Plants with Thyme and Place - Modern Gardener | KUED.org

Indoor Plants with Thyme and Place

Caring for indoor plants is a great way to keep your green thumb active throughout the year. Modern Gardener visited Thyme and Place, a botanical boutique in Salt Lake City, to learn about some great indoor plant options and get tips about great ways to keep your houseplants happy and healthy.

Indoor Plant Varieties

Dracaena Janet Craig (compacta)

Light: Tolerates low light - grows best in filtered light.

Water: Easy going, but prefers dryer over soggy soil. Allow top few inches of soil to dry out before watering, and don’t let it sit in water.

Air purification: NASA’s 1989 experiment indicated that these are one of the best plants for removing VOCs from the air.

Additional notes: Native to Africa. The JC dracaena is a workhorse. The compacta version is especially durable. It has been around for about 25 years only and has recently been put on canes. Dracaenas are fluoride sensitive, so avoid perlite in the soil. Do not fertilize. Brown tips may indicate a build up of salt in the soil - good idea to flush the pot with water once a year or so.

Pilea Peperomioides  

Also known as Chinese money tree, missionary plant, or “pass-it-on” plant, this is a darling of Pinterest and Instagram. Cuttings were brought from the Yunan province of China by Norwegian Agnar Espegren in 1945 and were propagated and passed on as a houseplant from family to family throughout Scandinavia. Details of this plant were relatively unknown to botanists for sometime. The first known photograph appeared in Kew Magazine in 1984. (Has been awarded RHS Award of Garden Merit). They are extremely hard to find in the US. 

ZZ plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia)

Light: Does fine in any light, including fluorescent, but at its very best in bright, indirect light. In fact, curling or reaching can mean the plant is getting too much sun/light.

Water: Let soil dry completely before re-watering. They do well when ignored. Can go up to 6 months without water.

Air purification: Like all plants, puts oxygen in the air.

Additional notes: The bright/waxy leaves are completely natural - no leaf shine added.

Marimo Moss Balls 

Indigenous to shallow lakes in the northern hemisphere, specifically Japan, these algae balls can live to be over a century old and grow very slowly. They are often passed down from generation to generation, and are considered a first pet to children in Japan.

General Rules for Houseplants

Watering

  • With regard to plant care, the goal is to mimic the plant's indigenous environment. So rather than following a regimented schedule, keep an eye on how the plant looks and the soil feels. If it's drooping, it's probably thirsty.
  • Too much water will kill most plants faster than not enough water. 
  • Watering until water drains through the bottom of the grow pot doesn't always mean the plant has had enough. Once soil completely dries out, then it takes a little time to rehydrate. You might need to let water drain through the pot a few times. Make sure to empty drainage pots that collect excess water, or you risk root rot and fungus gnats.
  • When watering, apply stream at the base of the plant, directly at the soil level. Succulents and cacti don't like getting water on their leaves.

Sun Exposure

  • All plants need light to photosynthesize, but many will adjust to and tolerate less than ideal light.
  • Be aware that direct sun in the winter can be very different from direct sun in the summer (especially in Utah where we have four seasons). The same foes for morning sun vs. afternoon sun.
  • The best way to see how a plant is doing is to watch how it responds to its environment and watering schedule. Checking the leaves is a good way to see what's going on. Look for drooping, yellowing, leaf damage, and (worse) and tiny pests, which can attack any plant.

Bugs and Infections

  • Control bugs and fungal infections through light pruning (removing damaged, yellow or brown leaves), and keeping the leaves clean. Clean leaves help them breathe in carbon dioxide and fill the air with oxygen.
  • Use a solution of water with a few drops of dishwashing liquid to clean the leaves, drying the top and bottom of each with a soft cloth. Wipe down the stems too. This organic approach helps control everything from bugs to fungal infections.

Melinda Meservy

Shop Owner, Thyme and Place

Melinda Meservy owns Thyme and Place, a botanical boutique in Salt Lake City focused on connecting people with plants and each other. After 20+ years in the corporate world, Melinda chose to align her passion for plants with an awareness of and commitment to ethical sourcing - locally and globally....Read more