The Flanagans of Fairfield County, Connecticut - Chapter 2
The philodendron has been a mainstay in interior gardens for years. When the weather is ideal, the plant can be exposed to the elements outdoors without repercussion, but inside is where the plant does most of its growth.
Indirect sunlight is ideal during the majority of the year, and most experienced gardeners will tell you that while growing a philodendron, one needs to allow the top inch of soil to dry out in between waterings. Inserting a finger into the top most soil is a great way to test moisture level. The leaves of a philodendron tell much about the state that they are in.
Droopy or sagging leaves means that the plant is either getting too much or not enough water, and for an inexperienced horticulturist, trial and error is really the only way to perfect the watering of your philodendrons. Once watering is corrected, drooping leaves recover quite quickly. During the spring and summer months, fertilization is of utmost importance.
A balanced, liquid foliage houseplant fertilizer containing macro-nutrients should be administered to a philodendron plant once a month in the spring and summer, and every six to eight weeks during the fall and winter. However, do not be make the mistake of believing that the plant doesn’t need micronutrients as well.
Keep in mind that the philodendron is one of the fastest growing house plants in existence, meaning that if the plants leaves seem to be experiencing slow growth and small leaf sizes, it means that you are not giving the plant enough fertilizer. New leaves sprouting that are pale in comparison to older leaves are another sign that your plant isn’t receiving enough calcium and magnesium, both of which are vital micronutrients for philodendrons.
Oftentimes, the pathos plant is mistaken for a philodendron. If you’re not sure what to look for when buying a new philodendron plant, look for yellow or white splotches on the leaves - this indicates that the plant is a pathos, not a philodendron. Pathos plants are almost always much smaller, oftentimes being sold in hanging pots rather than the traditional pot that a philodendron is sold in.
Ellen paced around her living room, cell phone in one hand, an old plastic watering jug for her philodendron and fiddle leaf fig plants in the other. She loved gardening, but years of severe sciatica pain had rendered her completely useless in the outdoor garden surrounding the Flanagan estate.
That area was tended to by a groundskeeping crew that visited twice weekly to manicure when it was warm out. As she waited for a response from Rosie about coming by for lunch, she noticed that her husbands laptop was sitting open on the kitchen counter. Oftentimes Terry would work from the laptop late into the night or while he sipped his morning coffee, and he must have forgotten to bring it along with him to the office on this Monday morning.
Ellen knew the password to the laptop - it was the name of their country club (Roton Point) - no spaces with a 0 and the @ sign, plus the birth year of their daughter, r@t0npoint1991. Ellen refilled the empty glass with a healthy pour of chardonnay. She set the cell phone down and then the watering jug. Taking a swig of chardonnay, she entered the password on the laptop and found that Terry’s e-mail inbox was already pulled up.
Ellen was a nosy person by nature. Years and years of gossiping with the gals at Roton Point and Noroton had shaped her into the woman that she was today, and while at first she saw nothing out of the ordinary, something told her that she should click to the second page of Terry’s inbox - just to see. She opened a thread between Rosie and Terry and began reading. The philodendrons in the living room would have to wait.