Living Room Plants

 Living Room Plants

In late October, once most of the houseplants had been moved back indoors for the winter, I posted a series of photos to my social media accounts documenting the main spaces in my home where plants are kept. I thought I’d post them here with some explanatory text.

As I have written before, my living room is fairly dim. The window is south-facing, but because there is a covered porch in front as well as a sloping roof, the light is indirect. Between that, the dry, forced heating system, and the television that blocked all of the available light, I’ve grown few plants in this room until this summer when we decided to remove the television and grow a jungle. Removing the television opened up space and light, and adding a humidifier has helped create more moisture for the tropicals and epiphytes (air plants) plants I’ve added.

Some of the plants you will see here are: Monstera deliciosa, pothos ( Epipremnum ), 3 species of Rhipsalis and a Hatiora salicorniodes (all are jungle epiphytic cacti), a Hoya (not sure which species, but it is a species with elongated leaves), several tillandsia that I have mounted myself onto corkbark and affixed with hangers, Calathea ornata , a Maranta , 2 Syngonium aka arrowhead plants , a large shell ginger ( Alpine zerumbet ) that will only stay there until spring (I’ve been growing this behemoth for a few years now), and an assortment of ferns . Most of the ferns are in deep dish with pebbles, but some are in the terrariums shown. I won’t list them all as there are several. There is also a Cryptanthus in one of the terrariums.

Of course, I have moved plants since all of the photos were taken. No space is ever done. I move, arrange, and rearrange plants regularly, primarily because I am always trying them out in new spots and quickly learn which ones don’t work. At the time that I took this photo, I had space for one more plant, but then one died, a beautiful Calathea medallion that I purchased for a steal at $6 at my local greengrocer, only to accidentally spray the plant (quite liberally, too) with homemade vinegar spray that I use for cleaning. The bottle was not marked and looked the same as the one filled with filtered water that I use for spraying plants. The bottle has since been marked, and the Calathea is dead. The other difference since the time of this photo is that I have moved a Silver Pothos ( Scindapsus pictus ) along with a few mounted Tillandsias to my office window where it’s a bit brighter. The Tillandsia could have stayed where they were — they were fine. And they are fine where they are now, too. However, even though Scindapsus can tolerate fairly low light, this one has never been particularly happy in the living room. That may be because I had not repotted since I bought the plant months ago and I find that the nursery soil is rarely as well-draining as I like it to be. I have since repotted into terra cotta with my own mix (in this case just a regular tropical mix with more perlite added). I placed the plant in an indirect spot above my desk and the plant is much happier there. I also bought a rabbit’s foot fern ( Davallia fejeensis ) and added it to the living room window menagerie.

So far, group consensus is that plants trump the television. We haven’t missed it at all and much prefer sitting on the couch facing the backlit wall of plants. It’s very serene, and even though my office is its own jungle, I’ve found myself choosing this scene as my place to write most days.

Quincy S. Austin

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