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String of Bananas

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You might have seen the Mile Marker boards that parents create for their children – they highlight things like the height, weight, likes, and dislikes of their child at various stages of life. We at Nick’s Garden Center think Plant Parents should have something like this for their Plant Babies as well! Our Plant Parent Chalkboard Photos and blogs will provide you with an overview of what each plant needs in order to “grow up” happy and healthy!

Another of the “String Of” succulents group, String of Bananas is a cousin of the previously mentioned String of Dolphins. String of Bananas is native to Africa, and is a fast-growing plant when grown in the right conditions. Both String of Dolphins and String of Bananas are part of the family Asteraceae, and relatives of the Daisy. String of Bananas, or Senecio Radicans, grows in a vining habit and can grow to be around 36 inches in length. The leaves of the String of Banana vine, also referred to as Necklace Plant or String of Fishhooks, look like, well, bananas. They are curved and pointed at both ends, and if you look closely they are just barely striped thanks to sections of the leaf that are partly transparent. As with the String of Dolphins plant, String of Bananas will flower under the right conditions with blooms that resemble other members of the Daisy family, and those flowers are said to have a faint cinnamon scent.

Take caution when placing String of Bananas in the home as they are not pet safe. String of Bananas prefers bright, indirect light. It will survive in lower light, but it will not grow much or flower in such conditions. String of Bananas does great in a hanging pot, or it can be placed in a sitting pot and placed on a high shelf or near a stair railing where the vine can trail over the edge of the stairs. Use a cacti and succulent potting mix, and make sure your pot has good drainage.

Water String of Bananas only when the soil is almost completely dry. Use the Drench and Drain method to water, allowing water to flow over the soil and through the bottom of the pot until it’s gotten a good soaking. Let any excess water drain out of the bottom of the pot before placing it back into a secondary pot or replacing a saucer or tray. Be careful not to over water String of Bananas, as it is susceptible to root rot. If you have to err, err on the side of underwatering. Use a Moisture Meter if you are unsure of the moisture level at the bottom of the pot. If you do add too much water to a pot that has little or no drainage just gently tip the pot sideways to drain some of the water, being careful not to dislodge soil.

String of Bananas is great for beginner Plant Parents or people who travel and are unable to water a plant for weeks at a time. It will make an impressive addition to any Plant Parent’s collection, and will add an exotic touch to decor.

Happy Plant Parenting!

Peperomia Ginny

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You might have seen the Mile Marker boards that parents create for their children – they highlight things like the height, weight, likes, and dislikes of their child at various stages of life. We at Nick’s Garden Center think Plant Parents should have something like this for their Plant Babies as well! Our Plant Parent Chalkboard Photos and blogs will provide you with an overview of what each plant needs in order to “grow up” happy and healthy!

Peperomia Ginny stands out from other peperomia thanks to its beautiful coloring. The foliage of Peperomia Ginny looks almost as if a green leaf has been splattered with pale yellow coloring, and then the edges dipped in neon pink. These stunning colors have inspired other common names like Rainbow Peperomia, Red Edge Peperomia, and Tricolor Peperomia. Like most Peperomia, this plant is very easy to grow and to care for, so it makes a great plant for beginners. Peperomia Ginny, or Peperomia Clusiifolia, grows in an upright habit and will grow to be between 8 and 12 inches in height, making it a somewhat smaller house plant. It has no significant flowers, but offers plenty of color via its brightly colored foliage. Peperomia Ginny is pet safe and is said to be air cleaning, so it’s a great plant for any spot in your space that will get medium to bright indirect light, and maintains a temperature of between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Peperomia Ginny will even be content with artificial sunlight.

Plant Peperomia Ginny in a well-draining pot using a well-draining soil. Water it when the soil has dried out, and avoid over watering to keep root rot at bay. To water this plant, use the Drench and Drain method of soaking the soil with running water, and allowing any excess water to run out of the bottom of the pot before replacing it in a secondary pot or on a tray or saucer. Peperomia Ginny is very susceptible to root rot, so never let it sit in standing water. If you’re not sure whether the soil is completely dry, or to check moisture in a pot that does not have good draining both before and during watering, use a Moisture Meter to test the moisture level at the bottom. If you do happen to add too much water to a pot that doesn’t have drainage, tip the pot gently sideways, being careful to not dislodge the soil or plant and let the excess water run out as much as you can.

Peperomia Ginny is drought tolerant, but it also appreciates an occasional misting. This would make a place in a bathroom with a shower that gets used regularly or near a kitchen sink a great place for this plant as it will benefit from the humidity those sources create. Overall, Peperomia Ginny is a great plant for beginners.

Happy Plant Parenting!

Laceleaf

By | Blog Post, House Plants, House Plants Intermediate | No Comments

You might have seen the Mile Marker boards that parents create for their children – they highlight things like the height, weight, likes, and dislikes of their child at various stages of life. We at Nick’s Garden Center think Plant Parents should have something like this for their Plant Babies as well! Our Plant Parent Chalkboard Photos and blogs will provide you with an overview of what each plant needs in order to “grow up” happy and healthy!


Laceleaf, or Anthurium, are popular plants for offices and are especially popular around the holidays. This is due mainly to the bold and striking coloring of its “flowers” and the fact that it can survive in lower lighting situations. Laceleaf is comprised of bright green spade-shaped and shiny leaves and a stand-out “flower” of bright red, yellow, or pink. This flower is not technically a flower, but part of the spathe. Also known as Flamingo Flower, Tail Flower, and Painted Tongue Plant, this plant will grow to be around 12-15 inches in height, and grows in a habit much like a standard garden flowering plant – leaves and spathes grow vertically from the ground on stems.

Laceleaf is not pet or people safe (they are poisonous to both, so keep them out of reach of curious paws and tiny hands), but it is said to aid in purifying the air around it. Laceleaf will only “flower” if placed in bright, indirect sunlight, but it can survive in lower levels of light as well. For this reason, plant companies will often place these plants already “flowering” in offices and remove them once the “flower” is spent. Watch the leaves for leaf burn (crispy brown spots on the leaves in or near the center) as direct sunlight can cause these burns.

Laceleaf needs a balanced watering schedule. Take care not to overwater the plant, but don’t go too long without watering either, as the root ball can be difficult to re-wet if it becomes too dry. Laceleaf does prefer some humidity, and loves a lot of humidity. If you see the edges of the leaves begin to brown, this is usually an indication that the plant needs more humidity. Try placing a humidifier near the plant, or putting it in a bathroom where it will benefit from regular shower steam.

To water Laceleaf, wait until the top two inches of the soil are dry and then use the “Drench and Drain” method of watering by soaking the soil until the water runs through the bottom of the pot, and then letting all excess water drain out before putting the plant back in a secondary pot, or on a tray or saucer. Never let a houseplant sit in water as this can cause root rot for many indoor plants. A pot containing a mixture of orchid soil and houseplant soil will work well for this plant, and any well-draining pot should do nicely. Keep Laceleaf in surroundings that maintain a steady temperature between 70 and 90 degrees for best results, and keep it away from heating vents.

Laceleaf can be pickier than some, so we would suggest this plant for Plant Parents who are already somewhat familiar with basic houseplant care.


Happy Plant Parenting!

Golden Barrel Cactus

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You might have seen the Mile Marker boards that parents create for their children – they highlight things like the height, weight, likes, and dislikes of their child at various stages of life. We at Nick’s Garden Center think Plant Parents should have something like this for their Plant Babies as well! Our Plant Parent Chalkboard Photos and blogs will provide you with an overview of what each plant needs in order to “grow up” happy and healthy!

Golden Barrel Cactus is one of the rare natural plants that grows in a near perfectly rounded shape. Beginning at a size as small as a golf ball in nurseries, this plump golden cactus can grow to enormous sizes of three feet in diameter. With its golden spines spaced evenly around its ridges, it’s a truly beautiful and orderly plant. As a houseplant, which is what Golden Barrel, also known as Mother In Law’s Cushion and Golden Ball, this cactus will not get as big as it might outdoors, but a smaller size will not take away from the stuffing look of this cactus.

Golden Barrel, Echinocactus Grusonii in scientific and horticultural circles, is perfect for beginners, as most cacti are. They are drought tolerant and they have no humidity needs. The biggest danger with cacti is over watering them as they are susceptible to root rot. Root rot is caused when the base of the soil is soaked and the roots become suffocated or bacteria grow in the wet soil. To help avoid root rot, use a cacti and succulent soil which is well-aerated and helps water to flow out freely. If you begin to see the base of the cactus becoming soft, dark brown, and squishy it’s likely that root rot is setting in. One it begins, there’s usually nothing to be done to save the plant. At best, you can try to dry out the base and roots of the plant. Water Golden Barrel when the soil is completely dry, at the top as well as the bottom. Since this plant is rather prickly, a Moisture Meter can help you to determine the moisture level at the bottom of the pot without risking getting poked. (Pro Tip: Use regular kitchen or BBQ tongs when you do find yourself needing to grip a cactus!)

While most cacti, including Golden Barrel, grow best in bright, indirect sunlight (full sun windows are great!), they will usually survive even in low light – they just won’t grow much. So if you prefer to keep your cacti at a smaller size, keep them in more shaded areas. They prefer temperatures between 50 and 75 degrees, so watch those window seats when the temperatures turn colder as the windows often will as well. Unlike many houseplants, cacti are not bothered when the heating vents turn on in the winter, so no need to avoid those. Just keep them clear of cold drafts. Golden Barrel Cactus is not known to be poisonous, but it’s spines are very sharp and can cause harm to curious noses and hands. Keeping them out of reach of children and pets is a good idea.

Happy Plant Parenting!

Tectorum Ecuador

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You might have seen the Mile Marker boards that parents create for their children – they highlight things like the height, weight, likes, and dislikes of their child at various stages of life. We at Nick’s Garden Center think Plant Parents should have something like this for their Plant Babies as well! Our Plant Parent Chalkboard Photos and blogs will provide you with an overview of what each plant needs in order to “grow up” happy and healthy!

Maybe the cutest airplant that ever lived, Tectorum Ecuador is covered in fuzzy green fur called Trichomes. This fur acts as a sponge when wet, soaking up water to help hydrate the plant. This air plant is unique from most air plants in other ways too. For one thing, it doesn’t grow on other plants like many air plants. Native to the West Indies and Peru, this air plant grows on rocks and gets its moisture from low clouds that float around thy mountains they grow on. These little spongy hairs help Tectorum Ecuador to survive in areas with high sunlight and low humidity, which also sets it apart from many other air plants. 

Because they don’t require soil, air plants can be placed just about anywhere. They are often mounted with craft glue on decorative wood, placed in the crooks of deep frames, or used in terrariums. However, these air plants store their own water like succulents, so they shouldn’t be used in enclosed terrariums where they will be kept in a moist environment. 

Most air plants are watered by soaking them in water once a week or so, but because Tectorum Ecuador stores its own water, it only needs a misting, or at the most a quick dip, every couple of weeks. If your climate or environment is dry or very hot you may want to water the plant more often. 

With their wispy furry light green rounded leaves and their purple and pale pink flowers (in the right conditions) these air plants are a sophisticated addition to any Plant Parent’s collection. Plus, they’re the easiest air plant to care for since they can survive some neglect, making them great for any Plant Parent who is new to air plants, busy and likely to not have time to water, or travels often. The possibilities for placing this plant are almost endless. Christmas ornaments,  sea urchin shells, maybe even a headband or a barette? Get creative with yours and make living art!

Happy Plant Parenting!

Fairy Castle Cactus

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You might have seen the Mile Marker boards that parents create for their children – they highlight things like the height, weight, likes, and dislikes of their child at various stages of life. We at Nick’s Garden Center think Plant Parents should have something like this for their Plant Babies as well! Our Plant Parent Chalkboard Photos and blogs will provide you with an overview of what each plant needs in order to “grow up” happy and healthy!

Fairy Castle Cactus looks just like it sounds. This delicate cactus, Acanthocereus Tetragonus (formerly Cereus Tetragonus), grows vertical stalks close together, and turret-like arms grow off of these “towers.” These towers and turrets are five-sided. The ribs are packed with tiny white thorns. It is also commonly known as Barbed Wire Cactus, Triangle Cactus, Night-blooming Cereus, and Sword Pear. It’s a great plant for beginners as cacti are very forgiving and drought tolerant. 

This is a slow growing cactus, so you can expect it to remain fairy-like in size for quite some time. In fact, it can take up to a decade for this cactus to reach its approximate full height of six feet. Typically you’ll see these little guys around 3-4 inches in height at nurseries. It’s great for shelves or window sills that are tight on space and have plenty of bright sunlight as it can handle direct window light (windows filter out a significant amount of UV rays, making direct light from behind a window less intense than true direct light). While it will grow best with bright light, Fairy Castle Cactus and other cacti will survive quite easily even in low light. Fairy Castle Cactus will only flower very rarely, but when it does the flowers are white or yellow.

Place Fairy Castle Cactus in a spot that will receive bright indirect sunlight. It likes temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees. It’s not air cleaning, and while it’s not poisonous to pets or children, it is very poky and should be kept away from curious noses and tiny hands. Use a cacti and succulent soil, and plant in a well-draining pot. Water Fairy Castle Cactus when the soil is completely dry. Use the drench and drain method of watering – run water over the soil until it runs through the bottom of your pot, and then let the water finish running completely before placing it back in a tray or saucer. If your pot does not have good drainage, use a moisture meter to check the moisture levels at the bottom of the pot before and during watering. Like other cacti, Fairy Castle is susceptible to root rot, which happens when the bottom of the plant gets too wet and suffocates the roots or causes bacteria to grow. 

Happy Plant Parenting!

Crown of Thorns

By | Blog Post, House Plants Beginner | No Comments

You might have seen the Mile Marker boards that parents create for their children – they highlight things like the height, weight, likes, and dislikes of their child at various stages of life. We at Nick’s Garden Center think Plant Parents should have something like this for their Plant Babies as well! Our Plant Parent Chalkboard Photos and blogs will provide you with an overview of what each plant needs in order to “grow up” happy and healthy!

Crown of Thorns is the perfect combination of beauty and strength. With a combination of delicate pink, yellow, or red flowers and long sharp spines, this succulent is beautiful to behold, but painful to be held! It’s even believed in some places that the luck of the plant owner is reflected in the amount of flowers the succulent produces.

Crown of Thorns, Euphorbia milii, is easy to care for and can handle moderate levels of neglect, so it’s perfect for beginners. Crown of Thorns can be expected to grow up to 3 feet tall, but more commonly can be found between 4 and 6 inches in height. Like other Euphorbia plants, Crown of Thorns grows tear shaped leaves from its ridges. Specifically for Crown of Thorns these leaves are bright green in color. It’s neither pet safe nor air cleaning, but it’s easy to stow on a high shelf away from little fingers or paws (which you’ll definitely want to do because this plant is considered poisonous to both pets and people).

An ideal placement for Crown of Thorns is a location that will get bright indirect sunlight and has a temperature range of between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. However, Crown of Thorns isn’t picky and will make itself at home in a wide range of conditions. Water Crown of Thorns in Spring through Fall when the top inch is dry. In Winter, water less often, waiting for the top 3 inches to be dry. Use a cacti and succulent soil and make sure that your pot is well draining. Use the “drench and drain” method of water – flood the soil and let it completely drain out of the bottom of the pot. If your pot does not have good drainage, use a moisture meter to determine the moisture levels both before and while watering. Because Crown of Thorns is a succulent, it’s very susceptible to root rot. If you have to err, err on the side of under watering. If you do over water your Crown of Thorns, gently tip the pot to the side so that the excess water can run out. Be careful not to dislodge the soil. Crown of Thorns will also benefit from having its leaves misted. 


Happy Plant Parenting!

String of Dolphins

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You might have seen the Mile Marker boards that parents create for their children – they highlight things like the height, weight, likes, and dislikes of their child at various stages of life. We at Nick’s Garden Center think Plant Parents should have something like this for their Plant Babies as well! Our Plant Parent Chalkboard Photos and blogs will provide you with an overview of what each plant needs in order to “grow up” happy and healthy!

String of Dolphins might be the cutest succulent in existence. This plant, whose scientific name is Senecio peregrinus, has leaves that are shaped like little dolphins leaping out of the water. These little dolphins grow on trailing vines like other “String of” plants such as hearts, bananas, turtles, pearls, etc. String of Dolphins is actually bred from the cross-pollination of Senecio Rowleyanus (String of Pearls) and Senecio Articulatus (hot dog cactus)These vines can grow to be around three feet long, and look wonderful spilling out of a hanging basket or trickling down over bookshelves or the edge of a stair rail. Part of the Asteraceae family, the flowers that grow from String of Dolphin plants (when the plants are very happy and in just the right conditions) are daisy-ish and are said to smell like cinnamon. 

While most succulents rarely need water and like as much light as possible, String of Dolphins does better in medium indirect light, and needs water a bit more often than its cousins. String of Dolphins can, in fact, develop a sunburn in too much sun. The good news is that they are tolerant of artificial light as well as medium indirect sunlight, which allows them to be placed in a better variety of places within the home or office than some houseplants. Just keep in mind that String of Dolphins is not pet safe, so you’ll want to keep this plant away from pets and small children (and anyone who likes to chew on things). 

When watering String of Dolphins, use the “Drench and Drain” method. Give them a nice long drink by allowing the water to run over the soil (use Cactus and Succulent soil for String of Dolphins) for a few minutes, and then allow excess water to run out the bottom of the pot. You’ll want to let the soil dry out completely, but you can use the “squish test” to determine just how thirsty your Dolphins are. Since succulents hold their moisture in their leaves, they will be nice and firm when they’re full of water, and get a little squishy when they need a refill. However, if they become brown and squishy, that could be indicative of root rot setting in. 

 Follow these instructions and keep String of Dolphins in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees, and even our beginner Plant Parents should have few if any issues with String of Dolphins.

Happy Plant Parenting!

Alocasia Silver Dragon

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You might have seen the Mile Marker boards that parents create for their children – they highlight things like the height, weight, likes, and dislikes of their child at various stages of life. We at Nick’s Garden Center think Plant Parents should have something like this for their Plant Babies as well! Our Plant Parent Chalkboard Photos and blogs will provide you with an overview of what each plant needs in order to “grow up” happy and healthy!

With its silvery and dark green textured foliage, it’s no wonder that Alocasia Silver Dragon is a plant that is greatly prized by Plant Parents. This member of the Araceae family is not only beautiful, it’s also relatively easy to care for once you learn how to properly water it. Alocasia wants to be kept in bright light, but it is not as thirsty as most houseplants. This is due to the fact that its roots are rhizomes, which hold water in their bulb-shaped roots much like a succulent holds its water in its leaves.

Where other plants’ roots draw their water directly from the soil as it is needed, plants with rhizomes actually soak up the water in the soil all at once and the plant uses the water stored in the rhizomes as needed. However, rhizomes are (again, like succulents) very susceptible to root rot. For this reason, it’s important to let the soil completely dry out before giving the plant another drink. Try to keep Alocasia Silver Dragon’s leaves dry as well.

When watering houseplants, it’s important to allow the soil in the bottom of the pot to dry out. This is most easily done when the pot has proper drainage holes. Simply run water over the soil and allow it to run through the bottom of the pot. Once the plant has had a good drink, allow any remaining water to completely run out of the drainage hole. Never let your houseplants sit in pools of water as this can cause root rot and other problems. If your pot does not have good drainage, use a Moisture Meter to test the soil at the bottom of the pot. For the Alocasia Silver Dragon, you want the meter to read completely dry (remember, those rhizomes are storing water for the plant to use). Take care when watering plants in pots that have no drainage as it’s easy to add too much water. If this happens, tip the pot sideways and let extra water drain out, but try to avoid this altogether.

Alocasia Silver Dragon, or Alocasia Baginda, is not pet safe, but it is air cleaning. Keep this plant out of the reach of chewers – be they four legged or two legged as it is considered to be toxic. You won’t see flowers growing on Alocasia Silver Dragon, but it can grow to be a nice size at around 20 inches tall. Keep its silver and green heart shaped leaves happy with temperatures between 55 and 80 degrees, and keep its atmosphere as consistent as possible by keeping it away from vents, drafts, and cold or hot windows. As long as they are not over-watered, Alocasia should be fairly easy to take care of, but since it can be difficult to learn how to properly water a plant with rhizomes, we’re calling this one a good plant for Intermediate Plant Parents.

Happy Plant Parenting!

Aloe Vera

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You might have seen the Mile Marker boards that parents create for their children – they highlight things like the height, weight, likes, and dislikes of their child at various stages of life. We at Nick’s Garden Center think Plant Parents should have something like this for their Plant Babies as well! Our Plant Parent Chalkboard Photos and blogs will provide you with an overview of what each plant needs in order to “grow up” happy and healthy!

Aloe Vera might be the best-known of the succulent family. You have probably seen it listed as an ingredient in many skin care products – especially after-sun lotions used to help soothe burns. For this reason, and because they are very easy to care for, Aloe Vera is a great plant to keep around the house. To use Aloe Vera for mild skin irritations, trim a leaf close to the base of the plant. Split the leaf down the center, rinse away the “latex” (a yellow substance that can cause skin irritation), and rub the gel over inflamed or irritated skin. Unused portions of the leave can be frozen and thawed for later use. Aloe Vera is said to have soothing qualities for mild burns, and some have even used it as an acne or psoriasis treatment with effective results (but always consult a physician!). Aloe Vera can be harmful if ingested, so only use topically and keep away from pets and children (and anyone else in your family that likes to gnaw on plants). As long as only a small portion of the plant is removed at a time, a healthy Aloe Vera plant will continue to produce new leaves.


Aloe Vera is the common name of Aloe barbadensis, but “Aloe” is a common name used to refer to over 400 types of the Aloe plant. Part of the Asphodelaceae family, Aloe Vera is native to Africa, Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula. Aloe plants have either small or non-existent above ground stalks, and its leaves grow up to two feet long and high in a rosette fashion. Aloe will sometimes produce small bell shaped flowers in shades of yellow, orange, and pink, but they are rare. Aloe prefers medium to indirect sunlight (Aloe can be grown using artificial sunlight, too), and can actually get a tan in too much sun! If your aloe plant starts to brown and the leaves are still firm, just move in further away from its light source and it will return to its minty green shade. Aloe Vera prefers temperature between 65 and 85 degrees, and is perfectly happy in dry climates.

Plant Aloe Vera in Cacti and Succulent soil, and water it very sparingly. Aloe is a succulent and therefore needs very infrequent waterings. As with most succulents, Aloe stores its water in its thick leaves. The best way to tell whether or not Aloe needs water is to give the leaves a little squeeze. If they are nice and firm, no water is needed. If the leaf is still green and gives a little, go ahead and water it. The leaf gets a bit squishy when it’s low on water, much like an air mattress when it’s low on air. Be sure that your pot is well-draining as succulents who sit with their roots in soggy soil will most likely fall prey to root rot. If your pot does not have good drainage, buy a Moisture Meter and take care when watering to avoid soggy roots.

Happy Plant Parenting!