Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Houseplant Companions

Neon pothos under planting.
Using houseplants as an under planting for bigger plants is a great idea. This practice is commonly used in botanical gardens, but can be used in your home, as well. Large houseplants in enormous pots have a large amount of bare soil showing. Under planting them with smaller plants, commonly trailing plants, can cover the bare soil, and soften the edges of the container.
Cylindrical sansevieria under planted with variegated pepperomia obtusifolia.

The most important point, though, is to choose plants that have the same soil and moisture needs. Putting pothos or philodendron under a cactus will result in the certain death of the cactus. Keeping the pothos or philodendron watered correctly would rot the cactus. The under planting above with the sansevieria and pepperomia works well because they are both succulents and need the same growing conditions.

Neon pothos under spathiphyllum.

In the picture above, the neon pothos is perfect for the spathiphyllum. In the picture below, the syngonium looks great under the variegated rubber plant. All of these plantings are at Kingwood Center in Ohio. 

Variegated rubber plant under planted with syngonium.

In the picture below, there is a grass-like plant (Carex or Liriope) under a Manihot esculenta 'Variegata'.  This was at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh.

Manihot esculenta 'Variegata'

English ivy under a Hemp palm.

The ivy under planted with the hemp palm adds a lot to the container. It softens the edge of the pot and covers the bottom of the palm. The above and below plantings were at Longwood Gardens in PA.

Gerber daisies and Algerian ivy under a palm at Longwood Gardens.
The gerber daisies in the above picture are a temporary addition to this container. I'm not sure, but I assume that they would be changed out for the season~ mums in the fall, poinsettias during the holidays. The Algerian ivy is probably a permanent part of the planting. What a great idea for a party or dinner party. Putting the temporary flowering plants around the bottom of a large planter adds a festive look to the pot.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dolls' Shoes

Thunbergia mysorensis
I have discovered a beautiful vine. I saw it last year at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, as well as this year. And then, recently, I saw it at the New York Botanical Garden. It is so interesting. Its common names include Indian Clock Vine, Lady's Slipper Vine, and Dolls' Shoes.

Vines hanging down the wall at Matthaei

I can certainly see the concept of  lady's slippers and dolls' shoes in the flowers. It appears that fairies have hung their slippers up together on a string. Thunbergia mysorensis is an evergreen climbing vine, found in Southern Spain and India. The mysorensis is derived from the city of Mysore in India. It can grow up to 20' and in its natural habitat it is attractive to hummingbirds.
At Matthaei it hangs down from a wall and at the New York Botanical Garden, there is a huge arch of them. The whole arch is dripping in yellow and burgundy flowers. 
Isn't it a gorgeous vine?

An arch of them at the New York Botanical Garden

Arch of Dolls' Slippers at the New York Botanical Garden.
Fountain in front of arch at New York Botanical Garden.