I decided to bring a different perspective to this week’s blog by asking some of the ladies of Amsterdam Garden Centre to share their thoughts on a popular topic these days, favourite houseplants. There are two ulterior motives here: one, to balance our plant selections (as I tend to lean towards perennials and nursery stock), and two, to introduce you to our hard-working store staff who provide advice in this department. So, with no further introductions, here are their choices for the finest indoor flora.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema ‘Tigress’)
As co-owner of Amsterdam Garden Centre (with her husband, Jason), Lindsay takes great pride in creating those beautiful displays of houseplants and containers that you see in the store endcaps. She chose the easiest plant that grows in her own home, the Chinese Evergreen. It tolerates infrequent watering and the beautifully variegated foliage looks great sitting in a basket in her all-white bedroom. This is also a good choice for beginners as it tolerates low to medium light and works well to purify the air.
Fishbone Cactus (Disocactus anguliger)
The health and well-being of our indoor stock are Kelly’s primary concerns, as I will often see her grooming the houseplants with a discerning eye. Her favourite is the Fishbone Cactus because "she loves the shape of the foliage" and the "funky texture" it adds to your living space. This native of Mexico grows on trees as an epiphyte and produces starry white to rose flowers in late fall, as well as the occasional edible fruit. She suggests an east-facing window, regular fertilizing throughout the year (Orgunique Plant & Tropical 2-1-3 and Gaia Green 4-4-4), and a well-drained soil medium. Kelly also lets her fishbone cactus’s soil dry out totally and then waters immediately afterward.
Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis)
Neely handles our social media and online presence and can be found in the store before opening, taking photos of our newest houseplants so you can know they have arrived. Her reasons for choosing the only flowering houseplant featured are simple: Moth Orchids are beautiful and they come in a myriad of colours and varieties, including miniatures. She also likes the fact that they are easy to take care of, bloom for a long time (averaging 2-3 months), and adapt to a number of growing systems, including hydroponics, water culture, and bark media.
Wax Plants (Hoya Spp.)
Jennifer is in charge of our quality control and inspects every new shipment of houseplants, ensuring that they meet our high standards. She chose to feature an entire genus, the Hoya family, and since she has 20 species or cultivars in her personal collection, I wasn’t about to dispute her ‘multiple’ selection. Hoyas have become one of her favourites as there are over 500 different varieties available to collect (she has only 480 to choose from now). They are long-lived plants that flower profusely as they mature and those blooms come in many colours, shapes, and fragrances. The foliage can also be quite distinct, as evidenced by the wonderfully marbled leaves of the Hoya curtisii she has chosen to feature here.
Fruit Salad Plant (Monstera deliciosa)
Whenever I see a pile of new houseplants accumulating in the lunchroom, I know Silvia has been shopping for her own home. Her choice is the mammoth Monstera deliciosa, a Latin name that roughly translates as ‘Monstrous’ (a reference to the huge leaves) and ‘Delicious’ as this plant produces an appetizing fruit (tastes like pineapple and banana) when found outdoors in its native environments from Mexico to Panama. This giant among houseplants can grow 8’ tall indoors and prefers bright, indirect light with high humidity.
Foxtail Fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myers’)
You’ll find Candice out in the perennial house and nursery during the summer, but come late fall she will be in the store proper creating both indoor and outdoor planters. She has chosen the Foxtail Fern with its tapered, wispy fronds of lush greenery and unique structured form that looks amazing in any indoor space. It is also a practical choice as it is one of the top five plants to clean the air in your home. This species prefers bright indirect light or even morning sun. It should be kept away from children and pets, however, as the foliage is toxic if ingested.
Rattlesnake Plant (Calathea lancifolia)
If you have ever been wandering in the front overhang and heard a cheerful can I help you, then chances are you have already met Victoria. Her plant choice is equally exuberant despite its common name, Rattlesnake Plant, as the uniquely variegated foliage looks like a dark green fern laid over a lime green leaf with a purple reverse. The foliage closes up at night. This easy-to-grow plant prefers higher humidity with bright, indirect light.
Button Fern (Pellaea rotundifolia)
Rei is your go-to person whenever you need to order a new houseplant, diagnose an ailing specimen, or just choose the "right plant for the right place." Her houseplant choice is the versatile Button Fern, which adds interesting form to indoor dish gardens as well as temporary texture to outdoor shade planters. This houseplant with button-like fronds prefers bright, indirect light and is easy to care for, preferring to be well-watered and allowing the soil to dry to the touch before watering again. Her sentimental second choice was the common Prayer Plant (Maranta spp.), as this was her first houseplant.
Round-Leaf Prayer Plant (Calathea orbifolia)
During the summer Kathryn can be found in the bedding house caring for many species which are also sold as houseplants during the winter season. She chose another Calathea, but one that looks entirely different than the aforementioned Rattlesnake Plant. Calathea orbifolia is a native of Bolivia with beautifully variegated rounded dark green leaves and sharply contrasting silvery-lime striping. Over time these leaves can get as large as dinner plates. They prefer their soil on the dryer side, love a weekly misting, and don’t mind being rootbound — so they are definitely not high maintenance.
Of course, this is just a brief glimpse of the hundreds of houseplants we stock on a regular basis, so we encourage you to take the time to come into Amsterdam Garden Centre in person to peruse our amazing indoor tropical selection and meet our helpful staff.