Saturday, May 28, 2022
May 28, 2022

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Gardening With Allen: Get the hang of trailing plants


I would like to grow more hanging houseplants but I don’t have a lot of experience. Would you suggest a few that are easy to grow?

Here are five trailing houseplants that are easily grown by almost anyone. They would even be good choices for a child to grow if they have a window. They will grow best if near a window but could be grown with primarily artificial light.

Devil’s ivy or pothos is probably the most popular indoor hanging plant. It is a variegated ivy with heart-shaped leaves. It comes in both yellow-and-green and white-and-green versions. Stems can be cut back to stimulate branching and maintain a compact plant or left to grow several feet long and trained over doorways or similar locations. Devil’s ivy is often grown on an upright pole. You can start a new plant by pinning a stem or two on top of a pot of soil.

Heartleaf philodendron is very similar to devil’s ivy, but is solid green without variegation. It can be used in most of the same ways.

Probably the easiest to grow of this group is the inch plant. The purple-leaf type is the most popular but it also comes in a green-leaf version. It will grow in a jar of water with only a small amount of liquid fertilizer. If well fed, it can be a rampant grower. Cut the tips of long stems to stimulate more compact growth.

Swedish ivy or creeping Charlie is a fast growing plant with shiny, scalloped leaves on long, vining arms. Variegated Swedish ivy has green and white leaves, and grows a little more compact than the green type. With plenty of fertilizer, Swedish ivy grows rapidly. It is actually more compact and attractive if it has less fertilizer.

Spider plant is the most novel looking plant of the group. It grows little plantlets on wiry branches like strawberry plants. The little offset plantlets are similar in appearance to spiders. These offsets form small roots like toes in the air and grow readily if they touch the soil. They hang down like a charm bracelet over the side of the pot. Roots are so thick that plants need to be moved to larger pots regularly before they push themselves out of the pot. The green-and-white variegated leaf variety is more attractive than the solid green one. While this exceptionally hardy plant will survive in less than perfect conditions, when well cared for, it is stunning.

I have started several of these plants by sticking several 3- to 5-inch stem cuttings into a 6- to 8-inch hanging basket of potting soil and covering with a clear plastic bag for a week or two until they are rooted. Because they are easy to grow they make great gifts for friends.

Allen Wilson is a Vancouver gardening specialist.


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