Philodendron Rojo Congo

Philodendron Rojo Congo

Philodendron Rojo Congo

Say hello to my new friend Philodendron Rojo Congo. We met a couple of weeks ago, when this curiously coloured character found its way onto my desk. It took me several google attempts to ascertain it’s species, but I wasn’t completely surprised to discovered it to be yet another Philodendron – the Araceae family does after all, have close to 500 different species.

Philodendron Rojo Congo
Philodendron Rojo Congo

Philodendron Rojo Congo

The Philodendron Rojo Congo can be identified by the bright red colour of young foliage. As the plant ages, the lance shape leafs turn a deeper darker green while the leaf stems retain their deep Auburn hue.

Philodendron Rojo Congo
Philodendron Rojo Congo

From the ancient Greek “philos” which means “love” and “dendron”, meaning “tree”, the name philodendron describes the species’ propensity for winding around trees. But unlike it’s brother Monstera, the Rojo does not share this climbing character. Instead, like the Xanadu, this philodendron is self-heading, which means it grows upwards and outwards.

Philodendron Rojo Congo

Philodendron Rojo Congo
Philodendron Rojo Congo

Native to South America, the Rojo Congo prefers partial to shady areas but does not tolerate cold temperatures. This low maintenance perennial makes an excellent houseplant thanks to its sculptural appearance and good looks, plus it keeps the air clean while doing so.

Names: Philodendron Rojo Congo
Family: Araceae, native to South America
Water: At regular intervals – keeping the soil moist but never soggy
Location: Diffused natural or indirect sunlight like a northern exposure
Soil: Fast draining acidic to neutral soil
Toxicity: Toxic to pets and children

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THE WEEPING FIG i.e FICUS BENJAMINA

Close-up of branches from the weeping fig, on sitsitso.com

THE WEEPING FIG

i.e Ficus Benjamina

 

With the cheerless winter lingering on, we’ve been enjoying the company of our leafy friends at home and so the choice for this weeks houseplant post was as much inspired by it’s personality as by it’s name.

The Weeping Fig is a handsome character; it’s downward drooping branches and glossy pointed leaves giving it a moody charm. And with the whole of Berlin still gloomy and grey, the weeping fig is both a splash of happy greenery as well as a reminder of the melancholy of winter.

Dried leaves of the ficus benjamina or weeping fig
Dried ficus leaf of the weeping fig

 

The Benjamina (as it’s scientifically called) is part of the ficus genus and a popular choice for a houseplant, due to it’s relative ease in care. The reason I call it moody is because this beautiful tree can be quite temperamental. The weeping fig is rather intolerable of disturbances, and will quickly shed all of it’s leaves if you dare to move it. A protesting tree can look rather bare and dull, as if winter has find it’s way indoors.

 

Weeping fig or ficus benjamina on sitsitso

Close-up of leaves from the weeping fig tree
Beautiful leaves of the weeping fig on sitsitso.com

 

Weeping figs enjoy bright areas with a bit of sun and shade, so a spot near a west or east facing window should provide a good setting. Once in it’s place, let the ficus settle, and only move it if you have to. Benjamina’s are sensitive to colds and drafts so best not place it in areas with fluctuating temperatures. Make sure your pot drains quickly and well. The ficus dislikes soggy soil so be sure to water it less often during the colder months.

 

Close-up of leaves from a weeping fig on sitsitso.com
Ficus leaf ensemble on sitsitso.com

 

Much like introverts, Benjamina’s are great company as long as you don’t expect them to go anywhere. They will silently grow without any bother, and will look great doing so throughout the year.

 

Names: Weeping Fig, Benjamin Fig or Ficus tree
Family: Moraceae, native to Asia and Australia
Water: Moderate watering in Summer, less during Winter

Leaves dropping from over-watering: Fallen leaves fold easy
Leaves dropping from under watering: Fallen leaves are crispy

Soil: Fast draining soil mix
Prune: After Summer and before Spring
Toxicity: Mildly toxic to cats & dogs
Propagation: During Summer months by placing branch-cuttings into soil 

 

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Philodendron xanadu

The philodendron xanadu
 

Philodendron xanadu

 

Add some latino flare to your home with the Philodendron xanadu. Native to Brazil this Araceae practically bounces with tropical delight. With it’s sleek long stems and heavy flared leaves it’s not hard to imagine this guy sambaing through your living room.

 

Close-up of philodendron xanadu on sitsitso.com
Philodendron Xanadu

 

The Philodendron xanadu belongs to one of three subgenera within the Philodendron genus named Meconostigma. As part of the Araceae family you might already know its brother; Monstera Deliciosa. Other than the Monstera, the xanadu is not a vine, but grows upright to form wide dense clumps of green foliage. They are very easy to care for and grow prettier with age.

 

Close-up of philodendron xanadu on sitsitso.com

 

The Philodendron Xandu are said to tolerate low light conditions but the plant will be much less dens with long stems and smaller and sadder leaves. So if you want it to really dance, place it an area with lots of bright natural light (preferably diffused or it may develop leaf burn or Chlorosis ). Enough sun will also keep the stem from rotting, given that you water it at moderate intervals. 

 

Top view of Philodendron Xanadu on sitsitso.com
A leaf from the Philodendron Xanadu on sitsitso.com

 

Location: Bright area with lots of indirect or diffused sunlight

WaterGive it a good soak when watering and wait until the soil is completely dry to the touch before watering again. The number of days will depend on the temperature and location of the plant in your home but usually it’s no more than once a week.

Propagation: A happy Philodendron xandu will grow fairly quickly, forming many new stems and eventually becoming too big or top heavy for it’s pot. This allows you to propagate by division. To do this, remove the entire plant from its pot and gently divide the root cluster into sections using your hands or a small shovel. Then you can repot each section in its own container in well draining potting soil.

 

Sitting between the leaves on sitsitso.com
Sitting between the leaves on sitsitso.com

Plant corner with Philodendron xanadu on Sitsitos.com

 

Pothos, Golden Pothos or Epipremnum Aureaus

01_Pothos_Epipremnum Aureus on sitsitso.com

• Houseplant Hour: Golden Pothos or Epipremnum Aureus •

Pothos sounds rather more like a character by Dumas than a long leafy vine. And perhaps in direct opposition to its actual mythological greek counterpart, this easy growing houseplant doesn’t symbolise yearning or longing but can and often does, grow really really long.

This ever growing characteristic of Pothos explains one of it’s more dubious names. Also known as the Devils Ivy, Golden Pothos belongs to the Araceae family and have been naturalised in many parts of the world due to it’s resilience. Their enthusiasm for growing means Epipremnum Aureus make truly fantastic houseplants. They just have a knack for staying alive. I have one in a bathroom with zero windows. It happily lives on. Perhaps it doesn’t grow as quickly as it’s window-sill-bound buddies, but it lives, and it looks pretty happy too.

Golden Pothos or Epipremnum-Aureus on sitsitso.com

Common names: golden pothos, hunter’s robe, ivy arum, money plant, silver vine, Solomon Islands ivy, taro vine and devil’s vine.

IdentificationAn evergreen vine with smooth and shiny heart shaped leaves that are bottle greens and spectacled in mustardy yellows and white hues. The sturdy stems can climb by attaching their aerial roots to surfaces. This trailing quality mean they work very well as hanging plants too.

Golden Pothos: Epipremnum-Aureus on sitsitso.com

Care: Pothos grow well in any good draining potting soil. They can survive in varied lighting conditions, from low light to bright light, but preferably not in direct sun. Plant’s that live in low light conditions won’t grow as quickly and abundantly as others but they’ll stay green and pretty.

Water: Golden Pothos can thrive with sporadic watering. Once a week to two weeks in moderate temperature and during winter months even less. As you get to know your plants you’ll learn how frequent or infrequent to water them. Always test the soil with your finger, and only water once the soil is dry. I usually give mine a good shower of water in the bath every 10 days or so, but I recently came across this neat drip-free trick for watering hanging plants. Drop a couple of ice cubes into your pot and let the water slowly melt away into the soil.

Propagation: Pothos are extremely easy to propagate. Simply cut a stem just above a leaf node (where a leaf attaches to the stem). Remove a couple of leaves closest to your cutting, and place the stem in water. You should see roots shooting out in a couple of days. You can also just remove the leaves and stick them directly into wet soil. eHow has a great video explaining exactly how to do this here.

Propagating Golden Pothos on sitsitso.com

A great way to display your Pothos is to hang it up, allowing it’s branches to drape down and soften your walls like a type of tapestry. Or for an even more dramatic effect place a pot at the top of the stairs (or if you have a mezzanine or entresol) let it drape down to the lower level for a curtain of greenery.

Hanging golden pothos on sitsitso.com

Very tetchy Echeveria

echeveria close-up

Houseplant Hour: Echevaria

Counter to what the name might suggest our next succulent is not as prickly as its thorny peers, but just as chubby and charming.

The Echeveria, a rosette forming succulent, belongs to the Crassulaceae family and is native to the arid areas of Central America. Echeverias are closely related to Graptopetalum, and have been hybridized to form the Graptoveria. They’re so similar in fact that you’ll have a hard time telling the difference. In any event, these fat fingered succulents make very popular houseplants, due to their hardiness and beautiful colours.

Bunch of echeverias

Care: Echeverias like dry air and plenty of sun, so position them in spots where they get loads of sunlight for most of the day. They require well draining potting soil in containers that drain thoroughly.

Water: Allow the soil to dry out completely between watering. This will depend on the location of your plant and the conditions of your home so stick your finger in the soil to make sure it’s bone dry before you give it a good watering. During the winter months they require even less water. As with most succulents overwatering will cause your plants to rot.

Propagation: Echeveria’s produce offsets or baby plants that you’ll see popping up around the parent. Carefully pull these out and replant them. You can also propagate them by laying leaf cuttings on top of the soil. Sometimes plants can grow heavy and break off when you handle the pot. Simply stick them back in some soil and they should take again.

Wonderful green hues from BHG
Wonderful green hues from BHG

This large genus of succulents produce a myriad of colour varieties that can range from turquoise to a light lime or mint. These cool hues are perfect for creating a calm and tranquil atmosphere in your home. Some species have magical gradients like light green to pink or purple. Use these tones together for a surprising colour scheme that’s a perfect balance of serenity and zeal.triptych of echeveria

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Fiery pink works surprisingly well alongside cool tranquil greens on beppebrancato.com

pink echeverias

Add a sense of luxury with green velvets alongside light orangey pinks.
Add a sense of luxury with green velvets alongside light orangey pinks.

Aloe Vera houseplant

Aloe Vera Close-up

 

Aloe Vera

 

It’s speckled tentacles reach and bend like the liquid legs of a giant Octopus and yet this prickly pirate lives far from the sea and don’t swim well at all. The Aloe Vera, a short stemmed succulent, is cultivated throughout the world and widely regarded for its medicinal and cosmetic qualities.

 

Aloe Vera belongs to the largest succulent genus Aloe, which encompasses an elephantine number (450) of species! These are widely distributed across sub saharan Africa in dry climates with little rainfall so it’s no wonder a potted aloe adds instant warmth to indoor spaces.

 

Aloe Vera pot plants
Aloe vera potplant

Aloe vera in Terrakotta pots

 

Common names: Aloe barbadensis, Aloe Vera, Aloe vulgaris, Medicinal Aloe

Care: Plant your Aloe in well draining potting soil with corse grit or sand in a container that drains very well. I prefer keeping succulents in plastic containers inside terra-cotta pots as they drain far better this way. Keep them in sunny, bright areas, but preferably away from direct sunlight.

Water: Give the soil a thorough soak then allow it to dry out completely between watering to assure the roots do not rot. Test if it is dry by sticking your finger deep into the soil (about 4cm). In winter they need less water so be very careful of over-watering your Aloe. It can be anything between 1-4 weeks.

Propagation: Aloe’s produce offsets or baby plants that you’ll see popping up around the parent. Allow them to grow a couple of centimetres to ensure they develop a stable root system of their own. You can easily separate them by holding them closely to their roots and pulling them out gently. Be careful not to tug too roughly, you don’t want the roots to break off. Plant them into a similar potting mix and leave in a bright sunny location.

 

Propagating an Aloe Vera
Propagating an Aloe Vera

 

I’m fond of these nuggets not only because they grow so easily and proliferate so well, but they’re said to be superb air purifiers – releasing oxygen and absorbing CO2 at night. And although they’re not entirely as majestic as the Aloe Ferox, they do bring a little bit of South Africa into my Berlin home.

 

Aloes from the top 

STORY + PHOTOS: BARBARA CILLIERS

 
 

Delicious Monsters aka Monstera deliciosa

Close-up of monstera deliciosa

 

Monstera deliciosa

 

I am quite obsessed with houseplants, and there’s one particular guy that I simply cannot get enough of; with it’s massive leaves and funny tentacles the Monstera Deliciosa or Philodendron Pertusum is quite a character.

 

Monstera deliciosa
Close-up of Monstera deliciosa

 

There’s something about them that’s simply captivating. Perhaps it’s their allusion to the tropics or the sense of humour they embodythat swiss cheese smile and goofy elegance. Paradoxes aside though, this hardy philly will liven up any room, even if you forget to water it sometimes.

Description: The monstera is a member for the arum family Araceae. This climbing plant is native to the tropical rainforests from southern Mexico to southern Colombia and has large leathery green heart shaped leaves. Adult leaves develop holes and split edges that protect them from strong tropical winds (in their native environment) and can measure up to 45cm when grown indoors, giving them a beautiful sculptural quality.

Common Names: monstera deliciosa, splitleaf philodendron, philodendron pertusum, swiss cheese plant, monster fruit (to name a few)

 

Swiss cheese plant also known as  a monsteria
Monstera deliciosa in the home
Home with pretty Monstera
The home of Christopher Bastin for Åhléns Magazine from petrabindel.com

Location: Medium brightness. Bright location away from direct sunlight. Your plants will quickly show you when they’re happy or not with their location. A happy plant will grow big and look healthy. A sad one will look dull and remain small. Watch your plants closely to judge wether they’re comfortable in their spot, but be careful not to move it around too often, the monstera doesn’t like to travel.

Water: Once a week to once every 10 days.

Notes: Super poisonous! Best to keep them away from children and pets.

I absolutely cannot imagine a house without plants. However, if you cannot seem to keep plants alive no matter how hard you try, try adding some tropical greenery with illustrated artwork, fabrics or wallpaper.

Botanical wallpaper on etsy with tropical split leaf philodendron and monstera delisciosa
Botanical wallpaper on etsy