Secret Houseplant Care Tips From a Master Houseplant Grower

Kevin from Epic Gardening met with John Clements, the Director of Gardens at the San Diego Botanic Garden. He took him behind the scenes in their houseplant greenhouse, home to some of the rarest houseplants in the world – including the fabled Philodendron spiritus sancti, pitcher plants being held as criminal evidence, and some of the coolest terrarium gardens you’ll ever see.

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Corpse Flower – A plant that’s not for the faint-hearted

Let’s start with the infamous Corpse Flower: a rare and challenging plant to grow, but oh-so worth it once it blooms. If you’re having trouble getting your Corpse Flower to thrive, try putting it in a new spot – sometimes all they need is a change of scenery. Keep in mind though; this flower requires patience as it can take up to a decade before it finally decides to bloom.

Pitcher Plant – Cleaning is key

Next on our list is the Pitcher Plant – an exotic-looking carnivorous plant that catches and consumes insects for food. These plants require regular cleaning, so make sure you remove any dead or dying insects out of their “pitchers” regularly. Doing so will prevent mold growth, reduce scent build-up, and maintain proper respiratory function.

Talanzia – Keep moist

Now onto the Talanzia – another fascinating tropical beauty that thrives when kept moist. This lovely green heart-shaped foliage grows quite quickly under moderate light conditions so don’t be surprised if yours starts taking over! It’s essential to keep its soil soaked regularly but not sodden as too much water can kill these delicate plants.

Lightly fertilize your plants frequently

All houseplants love receiving extra nutrients every now and then, which leads us nicely on how often we should feed our leafy babies. Lightly fertilize them frequently – about once per month during spring through to fall: you can switch down during winter watering periods or use specific winter fertilizer solutions.

Reverse Osmosis/Filtered Water Is Best For Plants

A common mistake that many plant owners make is using plain tap water or hard water for their plants when in fact, reverse osmosis or filtered water is best. Doing this will prevent salt build-up and mineral buildup over time, consequently reducing the risk of rot and disease.

Philodendron Spiritus Sancti – Aka Supernatural Beauty

Now onto an absolutely stunning foliage plant – the Philodendron Spiritus Sancti. This masterpiece’s mature leaf sets resemble a luxurious piece of art with flashes of white on its leaf tips symbolizing spiritual enlightenment. It prefers bright indirect sunlight and moisture-retentive soil—fertilize once per month during growing season and prepare to be charmed by its otherworldly beauty.

Dome Plant Terrarium Tips – Creating your own tiny world

If you’re someone who loves creating miniature gardens, terrariums are perfect for you. Building your own little world inside a glass dome can be lots of fun but also challenging depending on what type of plants you choose to grow. When building one, be sure to use only slow-growing varieties such as moss, ferns, and some succulents: they tend to thrive under enclosed conditions while still providing enough space and options for decoration.

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Caladiums – Easily Overwatered

Are you ready for another challenge? Caladiums are incredibly temperamental fancy plants that require much more attention than others in our houseplant collection. They quickly drop leaves due to excess watering or fertilizer spikes – always remember less is more when it comes to these beauties!

Boston Fern – Humid Home Required

Lastly, we have Boston Fern – perhaps the most popular hanging indoor plant among households all around the globe! These magnificent ferns require high humidity levels plus moist soil at all times – so always keep its soil moist but not soaked; otherwise they could easily fall ill from root rot growth.

FAQ Section:

1) Q: How often should I water my houseplants?

A: Depending on your plant’s specific requirements, but typically once or twice per week is sufficient. If the soil feels dry, it needs watering.

2) Q: Can I use any type of water for my plants?

A: No – reverse osmosis or filtered water is best as it contains fewer minerals and prevents salt build-up.

3) Q: Can I grow Caladiums outdoors?

A: Yes, these are tropical plants so they thrive in warm, shady areas outdoors such as on a patio or balcony.

4) Q: What do you suggest to help alleviate drafts near windows during winter months?

A: Simply moving your plants away from cold drafts will help prevent leaf damage in colder months. If relocating is not an option- try covering smaller window frames with plastic film.


I’m just a plant lover from Central Florida with a passion for sharing knowledgeable facts about all things plants.

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