Saturday, December 22, 2012

Spider plant - Chlorophytum comosum

Spider plants are botanically known as Chlorophytum comosum, and from studies done by NASA, they are good at purifying the air in your home and adds oxygen. Spider plants are easy to cultivate both indoors and outdoors. The Spider Plant is characterized by its long shoots of thin foliage, with off-shoots at the ends of many of the leaves. The Spider plant's leaves is commonly known to be variegated. It has green foliage with either a white or yellow central strip or along the outside edges or it can also have ones that are all green. It looks similar to thick, wild grass.

white or yellow central strip

Spider plants favor natural medium to high light, but no direct afternoon sunlight. The variegated spider plants need more light than the plain green ones. If the leaves begin turning brown, try moving the plant out of the direct light.

Spider plants are delicate to the chemicals in tap water (reasons for the brown tips). They should always be watered with purified water, rain water, or if you have an aquarium, it will thrive on that water. Once you have changed the water source, all the new leaves should be normal, but you will have to trim the brown tips off the old leaves. You can remove the brown ends by snipping them off with sharp scissors (Tip: Cut the ends in points so the leaves look more natural).

Rot is caused by over-watering. Spider plants should be allowed to dry out before being re-watered. If rot has begun, the plant may die. You can try to rescue the plant by removing it from its container and dividing it. Discard the rotten part and re-pot the healthy parts in a clean container with new soil.

Pests and mites are not a problem with this houseplant, however if it happens simply spray a soapy water mixture over the plants a couple of times a day.

The off shoots can be removed and placed in soil or water which will then grow into its own plant in very little time. It is actually good to remove these off shoots from the main plant. Too many off shoots can cause the main plant to strain. Spider plants propagate very easily, with less care.

Off shoots


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Heliconia Psittacorum (Heliconiaceae)

Heliconia psittacorum

Grows to 1.5m high, favors well drained rich soils, full sun to part shade, flowers during summer.

Common Names:
Heliconia Parakeetflower
Parrot's Beak
Parrot's Flower
Parrot's Plant
Parrot's Tonque

Heliconia psittacorum ‘Andromeda’ is one of the most popular types of Heliconia, probably due to the fact that it is one of the easiest plan. It is an exotic plant, which blooms abundantly all year long. ‘Andromeda’grows up to 1.5 meters tall, with bright red/orange flowering bracts. The flowers make beautiful cut flowers which can last up to 3-4 weeks in water and will stay fresh on the stem even longer. Best when planted in large groups.

Planting instructions

  • Please plant as soon as possible after you receive the rhizome.
  • The rhizome should still have growing ‘buds’ or new shoots as well as the leaf stem.
  • The rhizome should be planted with the top (leaf stem/new shoots/buds pointing upwards) no more than 3-4 cm under the soil. New Shoots or larger buds should be above the soil. You can often look at the rhizome and see where the soil line had been while it was growing.
  • It is very important not to plant the rhizome too deep, as this will invite fungi and cause root rot. Freshly planted rhizomes need oxygen to grow new roots and will die if the planting medium is too dense or too wet.
  • After planting, water thoroughly, and then do not water again until soil is getting dry. Keep evenly moist, but not wet, when shoots to grow and leaves start to unfold.
  • If planted in pots, these should be of sufficient size - at least 10 to 15 cm wider than rhizome size. Keep the pots in a warm, sunny place.
  • When leaves start to unfold the plants can be planted out - again in well-drained soil.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mint - Mentha

Mints belong to the genus Mentha, in the family Labiatae (Lamiaceae) which includes other commonly grown oil-yielding plants such as basil, sage, rosemary, marjoram, lavender, pennyroyal and thyme. Within the genus Mentha there are several different species, varying in their appearance, aroma and end use. The most common ones are spearmint (M. spicata), peppermint (M. × piperita), eau-de-cologne mint (M. × piperita var. citrata) and apple mint (M. rotundifolia). All are low-growing plants, readily sending out runners, or stolons, which develop new roots and shoots at the nodes.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Dill - Anethum graveolens

Dill is a lovely herb that adds a refreshing flavor to any recipe. Dill is one of the easiest herbs to grow and would make a great first herb for someone who has never grown herbs before. You'll find lots of uses for both the leaves and the seeds in the kitchen. The best way to use dill is fresh from the garden, so during the growing season, cut your dill to use fresh as you need it. If not kept cut, your dill will go to seed, so cut often until you are ready to switch to seed production.

  • Dill, like most herbs, loves to bask in the sun, but will tolerate afternoon shade.
  • Dill grows up to 3 feet tall, so plant it in the back of your flower, vegetable or herb garden.
  • Sow seeds close together. This will allow the plants, which blow over easily to support each other.
  • Cover the seeds lightly, and allow a week or two for them to germinate.
  • For a continuous crop, sow repeatedly from mid spring to early summer.
  • Don't plant near caraway, fennel or angelica.
  • Caterpillars are fond of dill, and can be handpicked if they become a nuisance.
The taste of dill leaves resembles that of caraway, while the seeds are pungent and aromatic. Freshly cut, chopped leaves enhance the flavor of dips, herb butter, soups, salads, fish dishes, and salads. The seeds are used in pickling and can also improve the taste of roasts, stews and vegetables. In Mauritius dills are grown like wild herbs. They are widely used in the preparation of 'gateau piment'


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Coriander - Coriandrum sativum

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), also known as cilantro, Chinese parsley or dhania, Coriander, or cilantro, is an annual plant whose leaves and seeds are used in many parts of the world. Coriander seeds are often used in Asian cooking, and the leaves are widely used in Latin American cuisine. Plant care differs depending on whether it is being grown for leaves or for seeds
Plant coriander seeds in a sunny spot, with some shade for the hottest afternoon sun if the plants will be harvested for their leaves, as intense heat can cause the plants to flower and go to seed more quickly. They grow best from seeds directly in the soil, as transplanting them can also cause them to flower quickly.

If the coriander leaves are to be harvested, the plants should be at least four-to-six-inches tall.


Saturday, December 8, 2012


There are several types of basil. The most common is bush or sweet basil, a compact plant growing to 18 inches or so during the season. Basil is a heat-loving annual herb. If you do any Italian cooking at all, you'll want to include basil in the herb garden

  • Keep basil plant in a sunny spot in your garden
  • Water regularly, but do not allow the soil to remain flooded. Repot or transplant if the soil is not well-draining.
  •  Fertilize 1 to 2 times a month with a liquid plant fertilizer. Any well-balanced fertilizer will do, but avoid those designed to increase blooming.
  • Trim often by pinching center leaves. This will not only give you a tasty addition to your recipes, but it will also help your plant to stay productive longer.
  • Remove any flower stalks. Once basil starts to bloom it will put all of its energy into flowering instead of growing leaves.
  • Water when the soil is dry. Basil, like many herbs, prefers conditions on the dry side.


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