Tropical or indoor plants are absolutely captivating. The best way I can describe my tropical plant preference is a love for velvet leaves, dark or heavily textured leaves, or for climbers that put out giant leaves that look drastically different from the juvenile forms.
I don’t usually have tropical plants for sale in my Etsy, but occasionally a few will be available. I’ll share them first with my email list, but you can also click below to check:
Some species need humidity in the 60 – 70% range, others tolerate conditions as dry as 30% as long as they remain well watered. This is a group where knowing your species and their natural environment is essential.
It’s more about how damp the plant’s soil is than about a specific routine. Rather than adhering to a strict routine, you’ll have to learn the plants to determine how much water is enough…or maybe too much.
Different genus have different needs, and a blend that works well for one group might not for another. Some plants, such as pothos, don’t even need a special blend – any old houseplant mix will do.
Aside from orchids, I don’t keep any of these plants for their blooms. The main attraction of houseplants is typically for their foliage. Getting them to put out perfect leaves can be more challenging than you’d expect.
This is a large group of plants, but most of what I really obsess over are the (relatively) tiny little Jewel Alocasias. Many of the genus grow to be quite large, but jewels stay small with striking leaves.
Alocasias basically have large tubers as their main root stem, and some species will readily die back to the tuber in cold weather. In San Diego, this rarely if ever happens, but winter dormancy is the norm.
This genus ranges from the giant elephant ear to little jewel alocasias. The smaller the species, the more they thrive in bright, indirect light, with large leaf plants able to tolerate full sun.
They generally like to be under-potted rather than given room for their roots, and you’ll often see surprisingly large plants in surprisingly small pots. I’ve found them to be finicky to figure out at first, but once you get their care dialed in, they’re resilient plants that make people say “wow” when they see them.
Alocasia baginda - Silver Dragon
Alocasia "Black Velvet"
Alocasia "Green Shield"
Variegated + Normal
Alocasia "Okinawa Silver"
Alocasia "Pink Dragon"
Alocasia "Regal Shields"
Ranging from the common waxy red flower anthurium you commonly see at the supermarket to the jumbo leaves of the “queen” velvet leaf anthurium, these are humidity-loving aroid plants.
I’ve had the best success with these by viewing them as basically orchids for lazy people. They have the same giant roots, like plenty of air in the soil, but don’t quite need the full orchid-pot and bark experience.
With the right environment, these plants develop robust, alien-like root systems. They like regular water, but not an excessive amount, and for the best leaf development, high humidity is a must. My original velvet leaf anthurium has been through so much abuse that I’m amazed it’s alive – but with a thriving root system, they can survive just about anything you do to their leaves.
I’m hoping to produce hybrid seeds this year, although we’ll see if I get enough plants flowering at the same time for them to pollinate.
A mystery hybrid – I welcome anyone letting me know what this could be!