Garden Guide: House plants as conversation pieces
January has been all about houseplants on Garden Guide, and we finish the month with tiny houseplants that make a big impression.
We visited Hicks Nurseries in Westbury to share three quirky houseplants that are fun to grow and sure to start a conversation.
Did you know you can grow pineapple fruit at home? These tiny, spiky tropical plants are bromeliads, which have shallow roots and stay small. They’re one of the few tropical fruits that can produce in a small container.
Although most of the pineapple plants for sale at local nurseries are grown for show and not for food, it is possible to get edible fruit from a homegrown pineapple.
Here are a few facts about pineapples:
- A single pineapple consists of dozens of fruitlets. Each one contains a tiny flower, but pollination is not required for fruit to form
- The top of pineapple fruit can make a new plant. Just peel off the lower leaves and place the bottom in a pot of dirt. If the center growing point is healthy, roots will develop from the area where the bottom leaves were pulled off.
- Some pineapples have pink and white flesh! In Hawaii, the sugarloaf pineapple has pure white flesh. Pineapples are one of the few fruit that the United States Department of Agriculture has approved to bring back to the U.S. mainland from Hawaii.
Mickey Mouse elephant ears
There are hundreds of elephant ears to choose from, but the “Mickey Mouse” alocasia are particularly trendy right now. Collectors love the unusual heart-shaped leaves that look a little like Mickey Mouse. They’re also popular for the white markings. Each leaf looks a little different! This slow-growing plant stays small and loves a bright windowsill or summertime outside.
Succulents are low maintenance houseplants that are perfect for someone who forgets to water their plants from time to time.
Although many succulents love sun, Curio rowleyanus (also known as string of pearls) can tolerate indirect light indoors. It’s a trailing plant native to Africa with modified leaves that look like balls. Their function is to retain water, and they look like a necklace of green pearls.
There are several other “string of plants”. String of bananas has oblong shaped leaves that look just like bananas. String of fishhooks has larger and longer leaves than string of bananas and take on a gray color. String of dolphins is even more unusual. It has modified leaves that might remind us of hundreds of dolphins.