Inland Northwest, High Desert

March, 2001
Regional Report

Water Houseplants


Water houseplants such as dumb canes with tepid or lukewarm water. This helps dissolve some of the minerals in our water. I find it easiest to add a splash of hot water from the tea kettle to the watering can to warm up the water.

Make Potting Soil


I like to make my own potting soil for houseplants. I use a mixture of three parts leaf mold to one part soil. The soil is well drained, and the plants appreciate the humus in the leaf mold. If the soil seems too heavy, add perlite to lighten it.

Be Careful with Dumb Cane


Keep dumb cane (Dieffenbachia) away from children. If the sap has contact with the face or mouth, it can cause painful swelling and may prevent speaking (hence, "dumb" cane). All parts of the plant are poisonous via the sap, so be sure to wash your kids' hands immediately if they touch the sap.

Houseplant Pest Control

Keep spider mites, aphids, thrips, and mealybugs away from your houseplants by giving the plants a bath. Put a few drops of liquid soap in a bowl of water and softly sponge the leaves to wipe away dust, eggs, and the occasional pest. Rinse the plant after you\'re finished.

Group Houseplants

To create a jungle-like atmosphere and help keep the air around houseplants humid, cluster wide-leaved plants, such as dieffenbachia, with spear-like plants, such as dracaena, and climbing plants, such as pothos, for an attractive display.


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