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Challenging Houseplants

February 01 2022 – Elliot Gregory

Challenging Houseplants
Challenging Houseplants

Turning hard-to-care-for into happy-you-did

Watson’s customers are generally a savvy lot. We aren’t surprised when people ask us for advice on caring for more temperamental houseplants. For home gardeners up for a little challenge, these hard-to-care-for plants are absolutely gorgeous and rewarding to grow. Most of the difficulty comes down to attention: these simply need a bit more of it; the actual skill required isn’t too technical.

Alocasia


Light

Very bright indirect light for 6-8 hours a day.
Humidity: High humidity which can be achieved by misting or placing the plant on a tray of pebbles and filling halfway with water. Make sure your plant is sitting on the pebbles and not touching the water. These plants do not like to have wet feet.

Watering

They want moist/damp soil, but do not like to be water-logged. Allow the top third of soil to dry before next watering. If you see yellowing along the edges that turn to brown spots this is most likely root rot and due to too much water.

 

Calathea

Light

Bright/Moderate Indirect light, but can tolerate low light.

Humidity

High Humidity. Like to be misted in the morning

Watering

They want to be evenly moist, but not water-logged. They prefer to be bottom watered so a self watering pot is a great option for these plants. If you don’t want to bottom water then having a consistent watering schedule is important. Water when the first inch of soil goes dry.

 

Maidenhair Fern

Light

Bright/Moderate indirect light, but can tolerate low light.

Humidity

High. Love to be misted in the morning and can be done daily. If you don’t want to mist the plant a pebble tray

Watering

They do not like to dry out, keep soil moist at all times (but not water logged!)
You know when the maidenhair is not happy because the fronds will start to turn brown

 

Ficus Benjamina (weeping fig)

Light

Bright Indirect light with some direct sun. Far less likely to drop leaves if it gets a good amount of sunlight. Place it a nice south facing window where it can get a good amount of filtered sunlight and a couple hours or direct sunlight.

Humidity

Ficus benjamina is a tropical plant so it likes to be kept under high humidity. If the humidity becomes too dry then it will start to drop its leaves.

Watering

Evenly moist soil at all times. Do not let it sit in water (that will lead to root rot). Water it when the top 2” is just starting to get dry. You don’t want these to dry out because they will drop leaves!

Be very careful with repotting these, as they do not like their roots messed with (they will freak out and drop all their leaves!)

 

Ficus Lyrata

Light

Bright indirect light with an hour or two of direct sunlight ,morning or afternoon sun is best. South facing window and a little pulled back works great.

Humidity

Fiddle leaf figs are tropical plants and enjoy humidity so having a humidifier nearby is a good idea!

Watering

Overwatering will cause leaves to drop. If the top 2” of soil is dry then it is ready for water. Water thoroughly and let water drain through. Best way to water these is to keep the plant in it’s grow pot and then you can take the plant to the sink and give it a good watering before placing it back in its pot. Inconsistent watering can lead to brown spots on the underside of the leaves.