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Horrible Houseplants!

Setting the scene for Halloween? Cater to your houseplant loving customers by putting together a suitably spooky selection.

Creepy Cryptanthus

If ever a plant was named for Halloween, this is the one.

Cryptanthus, also known as ‘Earth Star’, has distinctive strap-like leaves marked by bold stripes and bright colours which grow in the shape of a rosette.

A member of the Bromeliad family they are low growing with a shallow root system so don’t like to be overwatered. In summer they produce fragrant white flowers.

  • Colour Range: Bright red, green, cream and bronze.

  • Temperature: Warm/hot. 15-27°C.

  • Watering: Keep on the dry side, use rainwater if possible. Never leave standing in water.

  • Light: Indirect light, will tolerate semi-shade.

  • Where in the home: Small Cryptanthus are ideal for terrariums, they are also happy in kitchens or bathrooms where there is more humidity.

Little Shop of Horrors: Medinilla magnifica

Don’t forget to feed this one…

Medinilla or Rose Grape is a spectacular flowering specimen from the Philippines. An epiphyte, it can be found in its native country lodged in the forks of trees, taking its food and water from its surroundings. Capable of growing up to 3m, its leathery leaves can be as much as 30cm long. Medinilla can be a tricky plant to look after, it needs warmth all year round, high humidity and bright sunlight. However, it is a hugely rewarding plant to nurture if you get the conditions right.

  • Temperature: Hot. 18-27°C.

  • Watering: Weekly from below during spring and summer, reduce watering in winter. Allow compost to dry out slightly in between.

  • Light: Lots of bright light, but shade from direct, hot sun.

  • Where in the home: A large, warm conservatory or porch.

Spider’s Legs or Bony Fingers: Rhipsalis

Another rainforest native, Rhipsalis are spineless succulents with cylindrical branched trailing stems that are ideal for hanging baskets. R. pilocarpa, which has the splendid common name of the Hairy Fruited Wickerwork Cactus, has tiny bristles on its joints, not unlike a large spider…

  • Temperature: Warm/hot. 15-27°C.

  • Watering: Water thoroughly in its growing period during the spring and summer, more sparingly in autumn and winter.

  • Light: Prefers indirect, filtered light out of direct sun.

  • Where in the home: Any north or west facing aspect that has plenty of space for it to grow.


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