TEXAS CERTIFIED EXPERT GARDENER — Try these houseplant trends for 2024

Published 12:16 am Saturday, April 27, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

This past weekend was pleasant, though a bit muggy at the beginning but by Sunday morning a cool snap greeted us all, which was enjoyable-while I did mutter a few indiscernible grumblings…something about having to wear a jacket to feed livestock!

Honestly, this gardener enjoys our temperature shifts during spring, as they help to motivate me into working outdoors, getting things in order before the ‘blistering’ begins.

There is always something requiring my focused attention outdoors, due to my varied gardening interests that necessitate time commitments, such as lawn maintenance, flower bed and vegetable garden amendments, weed removal, harvesting vegetables, greenhouse, and numerous other tasks.

Most days, and almost every weekend requires dedication and failure to spend time outdoors, for example to travel to see family or for a much needed vacation) will ensure pangs of guilt…mine! Self-imposed guilt from gardening? Gardeners, who knew this could ever happen to us!

Perhaps I’m over-reaching by saying this and I’m going out on a limb here (pun intended), but I’m certain I’m not the only gardener who feels this way (hahahaha), and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

As a plant enthusiast, I’m always searching for new plant varieties to increase my collection. Locating trees, perennials, annuals, and vegetables that will perform well in SETX growing conditions can be challenging but to me- enjoyable & time well spent! My search always includes houseplants which I find amazing and perhaps you will too!

Monstera (Thai Constellation) – this plant is an amazing, variegated cultivar (due to a rare gene mutation) of the monstera deliciosa and is characterized by the same large, fenestrated leaves of the deliciosa with speckled patterns of creamy white and pale green (resembling a constellation). Some of you may be familiar with ‘Thai Constellation’, especially the astronomical prices (hundreds of dollars per cutting) which made this gardener mutter (insert an expletive) as the price was unattainable. Recently the plants have become more affordable due to increased production. It’s now possible to purchase a 4” potted plant (which I recently did) for less than $30. Shop around as many retailers continue to list the plant for up to or more than $100. The plant grows slowly but requires the same care as the Monstera deliciosa.

Alocasia (Variegated-Frydek) – these variegated plants are amazing and beautiful because every leaf is unique. The variegated pattern is always going to be a surprise! This plant is slightly rarer and more difficult to get your hands on than other houseplants on this list. Let it be known that Alocasias are known for being notoriously picky about their growing conditions and this plant is not the best choice for beginners.

(Dragon’s Breath) – looking for something a bit unusual, the dark green and deep purple lance-shaped leaves lend this plant a remarkable presence, a dynamic look resembling a dragon. Most Alocasia plants require well-drained soil with indirect light and need high humidity.

Anthurium (Selby’s Silver) – amazing large, heart-shaped leaves of this plant feature an exquisite pattern of brightly contrasting veins, which makes each leaf a work of art. This plant addition will add a topical flare to your home. Plant requires bright, indirect light with added humidity (yes-even for us in SETX), so consider locating it in the kitchen or bright bathroom.

Philodendron – varieties were once incredibly expensive and often difficult for plant lovers to find, costing many tens of thousands of dollars. Production has now increased to meet demand, reducing cost, but do your research before purchasing plants which are now easier to locate. Now, there seems to be an over-abundance of variegated plant varieties, which either you ‘love’ them or not so much! I am a huge fan of variegated plants, but philodendrons specifically, which (to me) are the most appealing of all houseplants. Some of my favorites being ‘Prince of Orange’, ‘Pink Princess’, ‘Birken’, and ‘Golden Crocodile’, though my collection contains numerous other philodendron varieties and keeps growing.

(Pink Princess) – this plant is an amazing addition to any collection. This plant has diverse leaves that can feature bubblegum-pink variegation. Plant enthusiasts everywhere are always seeking ‘pink’ plants of any kind. The plant has pink splotches all over its dark green shiny leaves. Once considered rare, this plant is much easier to find. Every plant is unique, and plants require medium to bright, indirect light to maintain its coloring, watering as needed when the top inch of soil is dry.

(Moonlight) – a tropical hybrid that begins with a stunning neon yellow leaf which darkens to a bright green. The plant will provide a dramatic vibrant splash of nature in any room that has just a couple hours of direct morning sunlight. After that, indirect sun is essential to keep the leaves of this beautiful plant from burning.

(Golden Crocodile) – The plant has huge golden leaves (can reach to 2-feet in length as the plant matures) with serrated edges, that is similar in appearance to a crocodile’s back…perhaps? This new philodendron variety, like most others, is easily cared for requiring bright, indirect light and needing water when the top inch of soil is dry.

(Tortum) – This plant is also known as ‘Fernleaf’ philodendron due to its lacey foliage, which has beautiful frond-like leaves that unfurl in a curly, cool way. It’s all about the texture of this plant! One of the easiest type of plants to grow, more varieties are becoming available to plant lovers. This plant requires bright, indirect light and water when the top inch or the soil is dry.

Dieffenbachia (Crocodile) – it’s true, Dieffenbachia has always been an easy-care plant, but some gardeners might consider it- blah (though I’m not one of them as I have 3 varieties)! This new variety features spotted foliage and a fresh ruffled midrib up the back of the plant. Each leaf can reach more than 2 feet in length. The plant is low maintenance requiring bright, indirect light and needs water when the top inch of soil is dry.

Ficus Audrey (Ficus benghalensis) – also known as the banyan tree. The tree is a wonderful ‘statement’ plant having slim leaves and muted colors that add a touch of sophistication and elegance. The plant is considered by many plant lovers to be easier to care for than its cousin the fiddle leaf fig.

Send Certified Texas Expert Gardener John Green your questions and please continue sending comments to jongreene57@gmail.com.