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Ask Gerry : House Plants : Types

I need your help

, Tallaght Posted On: October 9, 2016

Do you know the name of the attached plant I purchased without card?

This si known as braided money plant!

What is this?

, Courtown Harbour Posted On: October 9, 2016

Could you please tell me the name of this plant. Are they outdoor or should they be treated as houseplants? There is another one with lavender floor flowers.I’ve had them out during the summer and they were very happy and flowered heavily. I’ve now taken them indoors and wonder will they last the winter. They are very thirsty, they droop but spring back to life when watered. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

That is busy lizzie or also called impatiens, an indoor plant, and there are forms that can be used as bedding plants in summer.

plant identification

, Rosscarbery Posted On: December 28, 2015

I recently moved to a new house and found some of these plants in a shed, all dried out but flowering. The flowers look like yellow pins in a pin cushion. Could you tell me what they are please?

That is Haemanthus albiflos, or white paintbrush, native to South Africa, used here as a house plant, thrives on neglect!

busy lizzie

, Roundwood Posted On: December 5, 2011

A tall Busy Lizzie with pale watery stems, can you give me a name for this plant please?


If this is a house plant, it is probably Impatiens hawkeri or a hybrid of it.

If it is outdoors, it is Impatiens glandulifera, the Himalayan balsam.

Umbrella Plant

, Lusk Posted On: July 31, 2011

I have a 20 year old umbrella plant that has taken over an entire side of a bedroom! The top has now hit ceiling and bent over by about three feet. It has seven branches already coming out from the base. The main stem looks like the bark of a tree as it has turned brown. I need to prune it and wonder can this be done. I would also like to know if this plant could grown safely outdoors?


Umbrella plant or schefflera can grow quite large, and can be cut back hard. But this is best done at the start of the growing season.

Just cut away as much as needed and keep it watered and liquid fed.

It is killed by frost outdoors.

Identify tuber

, near Naas Posted On: July 20, 2011

I bought several cigar shaped 7 cm tubers at Bloom this year. They have produced great lush foliage but no flowers yet. Can you identify them for me please? Regards Michele


Looks like marvel of Peru, Mirabilis jalapa

Angel wings

Posted On: July 9, 2011

I have a lovely angel wings plant which is green and turns red as it get a lot of sun. it also has small pinks flowers. It is growing great but I think there are too many big leaves on it. Can I remove the bigger leaves so that small leaves can have room to grow or will this kill the look of the plant?


Angel wings or caladium is lovely indoor plant and best left to grow, removing only old and withering leaves.

house plant name

, dublin Posted On: April 13, 2011

The name of house plant which looks very like a primula or a geranium, please and thanks


There is a form of primula used as a house plant, called Primula malacoides, or perhaps you are thinking of calceolaria, the slipper flower, or cineraria.

Air cleansing plants

, Stillorgan Posted On: February 18, 2011

I live in a small flat and would like to know where I can get effective and attractive air cleansing plants.


Palms such as kentia and areca palms are good, so too peace lily and Swiss cheese plant and rubber plant and its related weeping fig.

But really any plant helps as long as it is grown well, watered and fed as it needs it.

Apple-Blossom Geraniums

, Mullingar Posted On: January 21, 2011

I’m trying to source the double flowered “apple-blossom” variety of pelargonium. They’re available as plugs or plants from Thompson & Morgan ( )but they don’t deliver to Irealnd. I can’t find seeds listed in any of the online catalogies. Are they available in Ireland?


You might try Mr Middleton in Dublin or Hosford Geraniums in Cork.

Phalaeonopsis with multiple spikes

Posted On: July 25, 2010

I have a phalaeonopsis in a southern exposure window for about 8 months now that has done very well. After the first flowers wilted, I pruned the spike down and got two new offshoots from the spike, each of which carried a full load of blooms for several months. Throughout all this, the plant has seemed very healthy and has grown a couple of new leaves. About 3 weeks ago, just as the second set of blooms were beginning to wilt, new spikes began to develop at the base of the plant. There are now seven growing! There is also one that appeared in the soil several inches from the base of the plant. My questions are: 1) Should I allow all 7 of these spikes to continue to grow or should I prune all except on or two, and if so, should I keep the older (lower) spikes? 2) Is it likely that the spike growing from the soil away from the plant is a baby and if so, how can I determine when the best time is to separate it from the original plant? Any guidance that can be offered would be helpful. I’d love the idea of numerous spikes covered with flowers of course, but don’t know that this is feasable or even a good idea. Anyone run into this before? I am new to growning orchids and this moth orchid is my first attempt.

This plant must be very well suited in its position and care. It is unusual to see that many spikes, but leave them all and see how it does.

The shoot at a distance is probably a root as these push up often. It sometimes produces off-sets and plantlets on old flower stems. If you have an offset, let it get wll established, with its own roots, before detaching in spring.

red and yellow flowers

, Dublin Posted On: June 13, 2010

My mother was given a slip of this plant and it has gown very well. Unfortunately we don’t know what it is. Can you help please?


This is Impatiens niamniamensis ‘Congo Cockatoo’

cockatoo plant

, listowel Posted On: June 11, 2010

I got present of cockatoo plant is it a house plant and what type of soil do i need for it can i use multip soil??


Congo cockatoo is a form of busy lizzie or impatiens and it is a house plant. Watch for red spider mites and spray with houseplant spray, outdoors, if necessary.

musty indoor cheese plant

, greystones Posted On: February 9, 2010

Cheese plant very large and beautiful, i moved this to my bedroom due to lack of space, but it appears to be giving off a musty/bad odour. i completely changed the soil/compost and also the planter, wiped the leaves and stems from base to tip but still the musty smell pervades, it is upsetting me i have to say and wonder what i can do, the bedroom is not small and is airy, i never noticed this in its last place, the sitting room, where it stood on the top of a high cabinet and crept along the ceiling! what can i do next please?


This plant is a member of the arum family, many of which are malodorous. To continue with it is a personal choice.

Orchid Rescue

, Cobh Posted On: January 20, 2010

With great interest I read Rachel Darlingtons article on Orchid Rescue but she didn’t tell me what to do with the plant when it has finished flowering. Please let me know do you re-pot? water? feed? . What temperature it needs etc.


There are different kinds of orchids, with different requirements, but most of the kinds that are available for use as house plants can be given much the same treatment.

They generally do not need to be re-potted for a year or two. Give good bright light, not direct sunshine. Keep moist but drained and mist occasionally. Feed from April to September with quarter-strength liquid feed about once a month. Keep in a reasonably warm room but not near a source of heat or in a cold window.

Hostas indoors?

Posted On: August 31, 2009

I have a hosta growing in my garden which gets eaten by slugs every year before it gets a chance to grow. Could I expect it to do well indoors if I were to dig it up and pot it?


Hosta does very well in a pot, superb in  a conservatory or greenhouse, likes indirect light but too shady makes it straggly. Also it is deciduous.


, Clara Posted On: June 29, 2009

I have a 10ltr carboy (glass jar) that i want to make into a terrarium for the sun room, what plants would you reccomend?


A terrarium is not suitable for a very sunny position. It can take some sunshine but not much as the plants get too hot. and there is excessive condensation on the inside.

Good light but not direct sunshine is what you want. Use small ferns, selaginella, polka dot plant, peperomia, maranta and baby’s tears, for example.

plants for a terrarium

, crabsville Posted On: October 3, 2008

what kind of plants can grow well with pathos plants in a terrarium



Pathos plant is philodendron which is quite a big grower and will soon fill a terrarium. Use ferns, chlorophytum, polka dot plant, tradescantia, selaginella, bromeliads, maranta and pilea.

Some of these grow quite large, some are smaller and you should match each kind to the size of the terrarium.


Unusual growth on container citrus

Posted On: August 20, 2008

I have an indoor dwarf orange tree; recently a shoot has grown from it which is not normal compared with the others, its leaves are much larger and it has long thin thorns. The leaves also have winged petioles like a grapefruit. What is the cause of this unusual growth and should it be removed?

This is a grafted plant and the rootstock has thrown a shoot of its own. This will be vigorous and will take over, and should be removed when spotted.