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BLOG: The House Plant Gift

17 December 2010
BLOG: The House Plant Gift

This is the time of year when houseplants arrive across the country as gifts for friends, colleagues and neighbours.  In fact more than at any other time of year a number of plants will have been grown to grace our homes.  Plants such as cyclamen with their large marbled leaves and abundant blooms ranging in shades of white through to intense purple and the Winter cherry, Solanum capsicastrum, with its pungent scent and round vivid orange miniature tomato like fruits.

Both require a steady temperature and plenty of moisture to keep them going. Cyclamen prefer a cool room, such as a hallway, where the temperature does not exceed 16C.  Water is best given from the bottom, allowing the plant to stand in a saucer with a little it can draw up, if watered from the top there is a risk of rotting the corm.  The Winter Cherry requires a slightly warmer atmosphere and an occasional mist with tepid water to keep it really healthy.  Yellowing leaves on either are generally a sign of too little or too much water so only water when the top couple of centimetres of soil feel dry to the touch.