Houseplants

Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

The Ideal Plant for Overwaterers

décembre 4You know who you are. You love your houseplants so much you just can’t look at them without watering them. And the result is none too satisfying: few plants can take being watered every day and they soon die.

But there is at least one exception, a plant that will adore your ministrations: the umbrella plant or umbrella palm (Cyperus alternifolius). This grasslike sedge (not a palm at all) is semi-aquatic: in the wild, it grows with its roots entirely immersed in water all times. In fact, if you try growing it like a typical houseplant, sitting in a low saucer, you’ll probably lose it, as the saucer can’t hold enough water to keep it happy. Instead, place its pot in a larger container without a drainage hole. Now, keep the container full of water, topping it up as needed. Ideally the water should at least cover the bottom third of the rootball and can cover it entirely if you prefer. If you want to water this one daily, or even twice a day, go right ahead. It won’t be bothered at all.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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