In my new house there is a porch which is a little odd. Someone visited and called it a “Florida Room” which reminded me that there are such things. However my porch is not the traditional type that is on a corner or out back. My Florida Room is situated between the dining area and the back bedroom. Only one wall contains screens. It is not enclosed and will get very hot (or cold) depending on the weather outside. More sun comes in during the winter months than will in summer, which is perfect.
It’s also not very big, considering we have a bar height table and chairs in the center, a chest freezer in the corner, and a long wooden table from my northern home along one wall. Amidst all this I have added some new tropical plants to the few I dragged with me from New Hampshire. (By the way, the New Hampshire born plants are loving all this sun and warmth!)
Some of these plants are new to me and some I am familiar with because I have grown them before. In Florida, only certain plants can take the full sunshine. It can be deadly to others by burning the leaves. Light (doesn’t mean direct sun) and warm conditions are what most of these need.
To be honest, growing plants in Florida is fairly easy. It’s almost greenhouse conditions year round. Keeping plants alive was nearly impossible in my New Hampshire home. They had hardly any sunshine and no warmth since I couldn’t afford to keep my house warm. I would set the plants near the wood stove to warm them up! And it was a very dry climate, which didn’t help either.
But I love to have plants inside. They clean the air and add a homey feel, in my opinion.
One of the plants I brought with me is this corn plant. It was not doing well, but has really begun growing like crazy in my Florida room. It’s happy now! It’s hard to see, but there are two stalks growing here in this one pot.
The Corn Plant (as I call it) is easy to grow but it likes sun and warmth. This one can take the full sun for part of the day. Water when the pot feel light weight.
One of the new plants I have is a Ponytail palm. This was purchased in a small pot but I replanted it in a larger, cheap black pot. I had a nice ponytail palm a long time ago. I took it with me when I moved to New England and it died, of course. It was wishful thinking that a tropical plant would survive in a freezing cold climate, but I’d had it a long time and it was really big.
So I am growing one again for old times sake. They are easy to grow. Water when lifting the pot feels light.
This next picture is my rubber plant. I love the unique look of this one. Those big, purple, rubbery leaves are so fun. I’ve grown them before and they can get quite large. They are shade tolerant and don’t like direct sunlight, as far as I know. But I’ve seen this type growing outside in a front yard here in Florida (in the sun) and it looks nice and healthy. My landlady up north had a big one in her front window! I was amazed when I saw it. So I guess up north they will need more sun to stay warm.
For now, this one is small enough that I can take it outside when it needs water and spray the leaves too.
The Peace Lily is also called a “spath” which is short for spathiphyllum. This plant will grow well in a dark corner, but it can take some light too. The leaves will turn obviously toward any light, so it will have to be turned to grow upright and look nice. When the leaves begin to droop it’s time for water!
I take this one outside and spray it down when I fill the pot with water, but don’t leave it out in the sun! This is a plant that will stay bright green without any sun. Mine has a couple of white flowers, and hopefully it will get more. It was recently re-potted.
The pothos ivy, which is a common hanging plant, loves the warm and humid porch area. My hanging basket broke, so I had to put the pothos in the plant stand. It works out well because I can move the whole thing out the door and give it plenty of water outside when needed. Most plants like to have their leaves sprayed, which gives them a good cleaning.
I also have some succulents scattered around the house and two orchids. I have managed to kill some beautiful succulents by overwatering. Certain types can’t be watered very often. If you are tempted to water them, set them someplace out of the way. It’s best if you can forget about them for a while! Believe me, you must be strong and NOT WATER THEM. Some succulents only need water every few MONTHS.
More on growing succulents in my next post.