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Rosemary Hart

To people who kill plants - the commonest mistake is overwatering. "Stand it in water and it can suck up what it needs..." Fatal! You rot the roots!

This doesn't apply to plants that normally grow in bogs (hardly any houseplants) or to a few remarkably tough ones. I don't know this pothos, but spider plant babies grow in water, and I put them in places where I like some greenery, but haven't room for a big pot. I tend not to grow plants in small pots - they dry out too fast and my plants have to manage without me during my frequent summer outings.

I didn't discover my "green thumbs" until I was about thirty. All you have to do is to read a couple of books or articles aimed at beginners. With most plants, they are either sunlovers, for a sunny windowsill, or else prefer to be in a bright position out of direct sunlight. The sunlovers are usually succulents, with fleshy leaves for storing water. Any book will tell you if your latest buy is one of these or not. Succulents can get very dry in between waterings without coming to harm. The other plants need to be almost dry between waterings. I stand pots on things that keep the base of the pot clear of a fairly deep saucer, so if I water generously, they are still not standing in water. What things? Go to a car boot sale and use your imagination. Dip dishes divided into three or small tealight holders work well.

The hardest thing I've ever learnt to do is to persuade phalaenopsis orchids to flower again. Feed and water them *much* less than you are told to! Otherwise, there is one spot in my house where they do well, now one of my trees is big enough to cast dappled shade onto the window. Apart from this, I can't really describe why they like this room - not much help - I know...

   
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Rosemary Hart

And I remember a very silly woman who thought she could be rude because I let plants dry out instead of keeping them standing in water.

(I bet she wondered why they kept dying, but she wouldn't let on...) She quoted cuttings that grow in water. This is temporary! Keep them in water too long and their roots rot as well!

   
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Rosemary Hart

I've just looked up "pothos". It's called Scindiapsus in Britain and I've got several. One grows all the way round a room as a frieze of living leaves just below the ceiling. It looks so nice I'm trying to encourage several others to do the same.

BTW, in Britain the Money Plant is a succulent - a totally different plant like a stubby tree with thick round fleshy leaves. I've got a 20 year old plant and a lot of its babies, but I forget its Latin name.

   

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