Buying Diseased or Pest Filled Houseplants – Who’s To Blame?

This article on houseplants caught my eye from the Vancouver Sun.
As I read over much of the piece I had to agree with the columnist. He mentioned the plant craze of the 70’s and 80’s, plants cleaning toxins indoors and a new generation of homeowners developing an interest in houseplants.

Along the way the usual suspects of houseplant varieties were briefly discussed along with the names of a few updated cultivars including like the spider plant, golden pothos, Ficus, Dracaena, peace lily, ZZ plant, Sansevieria and lady palm.
Dracaaena fragrans growing happily in a home with plenty of sunlight


The piece touched on the exotic to add color – Bromeliads, Anthuriums, crotons but somehow forgot to list orchids as one of the most plentiful plants available for home color today.

Here’s where I sometimes get ticked as I read articles like these.

In general, much of the content is on the mark. However, I cannot allow some things to be written and at least not respond. I’m sure some readers will diagree with me but so be it!

About half way through the article there is this… which I quote- “And there is still a lot of demand for standard workhorse specimens like Boston ferns, golden pothos, dracaena, and old faithful standbys like the “majesty palm” (Ravenea rivularis.)”

I’ll agree with ferns, there has been a surge in the popularity of ferns. Pothos agreed! Again it’s one reason it could be one of the most popular houseplants grown. The Dracaena varieties – they do so well Dracaenas have 4 in the Top 10 of the clean air study… but then there is the Majesty Palm listed as a workhorse!

The only workhorse the Majesty palm may be as an indoor plant is the exercise required to throw it out – it sucks! and I said so years ago! Go for a Chamaedorea (bamboo palm), Rhapis or Kentia palm if you want a palm!

Finally there was the – BUYING AND CARE TIPS

In general the buying tips are accurate except for this quote, the one that set me off on the post!

“Beware of buying plants that have just come off the truck from Florida. Cheap, stressed-looking plants are a clue. Most imported houseplants need at least a couple of weeks in a greenhouse to acclimatize and sometimes need to be cleared of spider mites and mealy bugs.”

I’ll admit the care does not seem to be very good in some of the big box stores but if the plants are coming off the truck – CHEAP and Stressed Looking – the buyer buying the foliage should be the one to blame. As a grower of houseplants for many years most foliage does not LEAVE THE NURSERY as CHEAP STRESSED plants.


Also after reading the above paragraph you would think all the foliage is full of disease and pests.

It sounds like growers only sell junk! And you the consumer get to benefit from it! Growers work way to hard to be categorized as selling trash and cheap plants only fit for the compost heap!

Now any plant moving from one environment to another will undergo some stress. I would also agree that allowing plants to acclimate some to their new environment in a greenhouse would be great. But the above statement leads me to believe that a couple of weeks in a greenhouse in Vancouver will miraculously turn the garbage houseplants the brainless plant buyers purchased into gems is pushing the point of reason.

I’ve discussed my thoughts on purchasing houseplants and what you should look for.

Here’s one on Phalaenopsis orchids and other plant buying tips! Much of the article is fine however a few points can get you in trouble!

Tips To Improve Your Plant Care
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