The Apartment Faces South…

An apartment with Plants

Today on Day #2 we dig deeper into a readers email. If you missed day #1 you care read it Here.

I live in an apartment that faces South – I get good direct MORNING sun, and some good early afternoon sun; shade in the afternoon.

I lost one small hosta (but because I think it was infested with something – the other, larger one is growing like mad!).

While the large one currently shows brown leaves, I suspect it’s because of the absurdly high temperatures, lately.

Growing Location?

For many plants it is probably better to have morning sun than blazingly hot afternoon sun.

However, there are some questions we need to ask about this “growing location.”

I’m not sure if the plants are growing inside or out. I’m not sure if the information is relevant at all.

Way too often we look at the “growing conditions” and stop at – the plant gets plenty of light or I water it regularly.

But what kind of temperature? For how long? Do the pots get direct sun? Are the pots inside of other pots what we call cache pot?

If the apartment has a balcony and the plants are growing on it. How much wind are the plants getting? How fast are the plants drying out?

What is the “real temperature” outdoors for the plants?

Is there lots of reflected light?

All these play a part in each of the plants and the care you provide.

I have no details on the “growing area” but I have to wonder about the Hosta.

The email said…

I lost one small hosta (but because I think it was infested with something – the other, larger one is growing like mad!).

You Think it was infested. What makes you think that? What did you do to combat the infestation? Buy another plant? Did you try to find out what the possible “infestation was” and how to battle it?

And from the Day #1 message…

Part of the problem I have is that, after having killed two philodendron, two Boston ferns and a bromeliad…

These plants all have some different care needs and all of them died?

Were they all growing outside or inside?

Let’s wrap this up.

We have 6 plants with a variety of care requirements. All have now passed away.


Step back and try to find some common thread in their care. Retrace the steps of the plant.

How fast did they go downhill?

How much different were the “conditions” of where the plant was purchased and where it was grown.

Possibly the problem started before the plants ever made it home!

However, I think tomorrow’s “exam” will give us a clue!

Tomorrow we look at:

I think I overwatered the Boston fern. Not sure about the philodendron. I’m terrified of repotting anything now since it seems things look great when I bring them home from the garden center and after I repot them, things take a turn for the worse.

Either I spend TOO MUCH time tending them, or too little.

I can’t decide which. And every gardening website I go to says something different.

I’m used to not having to “do” anything for my garden… it just grew.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

dmltrusty July 4, 2012 at 8:56 am

Be sure that the water you use doesn’t go through a water softener. Many houseplant problems are created by using water that has been through the water softener. The salt in the water will eventually kill the plant.

willcreed July 4, 2012 at 10:06 am

One of your questioners lamented the conflicting advice dispensed by various plant care experts. I share her concern. On the internet, people who fancy themselves as a ‘green thumbs’ feel free to offer their advice. Consequently, today there is now far more bad information than good information available in regard to indoor plant care.

My advice is to pay attention only to those who have professional experience caring for plants in indoor office and residential settings. Ignore amateurs and watch out for professional horticulturists who grow plants in greenhouse environments. Plant care required in a carefully controlled greenhouse environment is vastly different from that suited for a typical home or office. Professional interior landscapers are often your best bet for reliable information.

Will Creed, Interiorscaper

admin July 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm


I would agree… always going to someone who is an expert in their field would be a first choice.