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Indoor Plant GU I D E

You can experiment with plants potted from your own garden, but generally the tried-and-true specimens found in covered displays at your garden centre are best suited to an indoor environment. Golden cane or parlour palm, cordyline, philodendron, dieffenbachia, dracaena, aspidistra, zanzibar gem, various ferns, terrariums and crotons are some of the foliage favourites. A trough containing several tall plants can make an effective room divider, and a climber, such as devil’s ivy can be trained up walls and across exposed beams to great effect. Flowering plants such as African violets, orchids, begonias, cyclamen, Cape primrose, impatiens, peace lillies, anthuriums and bromeliads do well indoors but will need sunlight to flower successfully.

• Check the plant’s care label for their ideal light requirements. Natural light is essential to indoor plants. Though some do quite well in dim surroundings, most need at least indirect sunlight for several hours a day to flourish and produce better flowering. Indoor plants love bathrooms, kitchens and living rooms where bright indirect light is generally in abundant supply. • To prevent uneven growth, quarter-turn pots regularly so all sides of the plants are exposed equally to the light. • It is advisable to remove indoor plants from time to time to a sheltered position in your garden or on a verandah or patio for a week or so of outdoor living. • Plants don’t enjoy extremes of temperature. The living areas in your home suit them best as these rooms tend to be kept at a fairly constant comfort level. Try to avoid draughty spots and don’t place plants too close to heating vents or open fires, as this will cause pots and plants to dry out too rapidly. Always monitor soil moisture carefully when air-conditioning, either hot or cold, is in use as most climate control systems will reduce humidity. A water fountain or room humidifier can help to redress the balance. • Don’t place large, spreading plants in walkways or landings where they may suffer from passing traffic.

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1. Devil’s Ivy

2. Zee Zee Plant

3. Dracaena

best indoor plants for

4. Air plant

5. Spathiphyllum

6. Calathea

1. Golden Pothos or Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum) - Extremely easy to grow trailing plant. Devil’s Ivy is synomnous for its long trailing habit, where you can train its stems to hang along ledges, up posts around corners. They can trail up to 3 metres if kept happy. Stems can a trimed if necessary. Glossy, heart-shaped leaves emerge green and become variegated with yellow or white colourings. This plant can tolerate low light well, though its leaves may lose their variegation. 2. Zee Zee plant or Zanzibar Gem (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) - Bring a touch of prehistoric jungle indoors. ZZ plant is an extremely easy-care plant that loves low light conditions. Water occasionally but allow the plants’ soil to dry out well between watering. They can be easily divided if the pot becomes over crowded. 3. Dracaena ‘Costa Rica & ‘Paradisio’ - Easy-care indoor plant with excellent ‘feng shui’ and colour. Low maintenance and a noted O2 generator. What more could you want from a houseplant? Great in pots. Tolerates low light. Water once a week for best results, however, will flourish on considerable neglect. 4. Air plants (tillandsia spp.) - These lovelies don’t need soil to grow happily. Support their growth by mounting them onto tree branches or a timber structure by hot glue, string or stockings. They are ideal plants for terrarium displays. Mist air plants once a week to keep them hydrated. 5. Spathiphyllum - The graceful, white blooms of the spathiphyllum (peace lily) belie this plant’s hardiness. Very forgiving of neglect, this plant is perfect for beginners and ‘lazy gardeners’. The stems will start to droop when it gets too dry, but will recover quickly when the plant is watered. Spathiphyllum will grow happily in homes with poor natural lighting (although it probably won’t flower in such conditions). If given a brightly lit position (such as against a north-facing wall, out of direct sun) it will bear its milky coloured blooms in profusion. Place it in a shady position outside and douse it with SeaMax Fish & Kelp occasionally to keep its leaves shiny and vibrant with health. 6. Calathea - There are over 300 different types of Calathea, traditionally having colorful stripe like patterned leaves in a compact form. Calatheas originate from the tropics and prefer a shady warm spot in the house. They do grow well when the soil is kept moist but free draining. Calathea ornata ‘Sanderiana’, known as the Pin-stripe calathea has stunning pink stripes on its leaves. Premium Garden Products


1. Monstera deliciosa

1. Monstera adansonii Swiss cheese plant

1. Monstera deliciosa ‘Albo-Variegata’

best indoor plants for

3. Senecio ‘Dolphin Necklace’

3. Senecio ‘String of pearls’

3. Senecio ‘String of bananas’

2. Peperomia

2. Watermelon Peperomia

1. Monstera deliciosa - Is climbing the popularity ladder lately for its deep forest green, large shiny leaves which bring jungle fever to any interior space. Monstera adansonii (or swiss cheese plant) a variation of the above mentioned, is a trailer and as the name implies its leaves are more perforated and delicate than deliciosa‘s and the plant is smaller in comparison. A great choice for hanging baskets or training around a room. Create a structure such as a totem pole for potted specimens or hanging environment for them to trail and grow upon. Monsteras do best in a bright position. High on the sort after list is a stunning variegated white and green mottled variety, Monstera deliciosa ‘Albo-Variegata’. Also look out for the popular ‘Thai constellation’. Similar in variegation to ‘Albo-Variegata’ but smaller in leaf. 2. Peperomia - Now these plants are very hardy and are available in a large range of shapes, colours and patterns. Easy to propagate. Great for terrariums and mixed plantings. Let the soil dry-out before re-watering. Look out for the popular ‘Watermelon peperomia’ featuring variegated tear drop compact leaves. 3. Senecio spp. - are a large genus of succulents. Look out for the striking and uniquely shaped Senecio ‘Dolphin Necklace’, where it appears like leaping dolphins trickle down long stands; ‘String of Pearls’, as the names implies and ‘String of bananas’, fabulous crescent shaped leaves that closely resemble tiny bananas. All are ideal for hanging basket displays. Senecio crassicaulis has a lovely shrubby form, growing 80cm high with vertical blue-grey leaves with purple edges whilst staying compact. Do not over water these succulents, let the soil dryout for a few days before rewatering. Premium Garden Products

3. Senecio crassicaulis


4. Moth Orchid

5. Philodendron ‘Birkin’

8. Pileas

5. Philodendron ‘Rojo Congo’

6. Alocasia

9. Fiddle Leaf Fig

4. Moth Orchid - Phalaenopsis are also called the “moth orchid”, as their flowers resemble the shape of a moth or butterfly. These are one of the very easiest orchids to grow, and often bloom for over 3 months! Water often enough to keep continuous moisture just below the surface of the medium, but be cautious of over-watering. Feed with Searles Flourish Orchid Booster for better flowering.

5. Philodendron ‘Pink Princess’

5. Philodendron - This plant creates a tropical feel in any room space with its lush, compact, tidy growth with glossy lobed leaves. Position in bright, well lit areas. Look for ‘Pink Princess’ featuring hot pink variegation which gives them such striking foliage. Philodendron ‘Birkin’ are also varietgated but in a striking white and green form. 6. Alocasia - The tropical foliage of the Alocasia genus feature large Elephant ear size leaves, hence its common name, ‘Elephant Ears’ Their large presence is welcome to create a jungle, tropical centerpiece of a garden or room. In the right conditions, they can grow very fast and require large pots. Ensure you give them the right conditions as they are known to be sensitive plants. Make sure the mix is well draining. They love to be watered but not kept in a soggy mix. 7. Bromeliad - Bromeliads can bring an instant touch of the tropics to living rooms. Their lush, tropical foliage brings year-round colour and the colourful bracts they bear periodically can make them show-stoppers. This, combined with their easy-care nature makes them quite irresistible! 8. Pileas (Pilea Peperomioides) ‘Chinese Money Plant’ or ‘Pancake Plants’ as they are affectionately named are compact plants ideal for terrariums and smaller spots in the house. Easy to grow and available in varying leaf colours and foliage shapes. 9. Fiddle leaf figs - These beauties easily fill up a rooms’ interior with their large glossy leaves and compact growing habit. Fiddle leaf figs prefer warm, humid environments, position away from heaters and airconditioners. Premium Garden Products

7. Bromeliad


10. Maidenhair Fern

11. Ficus ‘Turban

13. Lady Palm

14. Zebra Plant

12. Weeping Fig

15. ‘Madam de Smet’

10. Maidenhair fern - Adored for its fine delicate foliage. Keep soil moist and position in a well lit area. 11. Ficus ‘Turban’ - This hot little number is finding popularity as an attractive and hardy house plant. Great in large containers in a medium to high light situation. Keep moist and well fed in summer; a little drier in winter. 12. Weeping Figs (Ficus benjamina ‘Exotica’ and Ficus ‘Midnight Beauty’) - ‘Exotica’ has been available for some time and are hardier than the original weeping fig. ‘Midnight Beauty’ is a newer variety with dark, almost black foliage and a dense growth habit. Great in pots positioned in a bright, filtered light spot with regular watering in warm conditions. 13. Lady palm Rhapis excelsa - Water regularly but make sure the water doesn’t pool at the bottom of the cover pot. 14. Zebra Plant Aphelandra spp. - Celebrated for its large shiny leaves and dark green foliage deeply veined in white or yellow, reminiscent of zebra stripes, hence the common name. Position in bright light, a warm spot and water moderately. 15. ‘Madam de Smet’ Schefflera arboricola - This tropical foliage plant is a popular choice for ease of care but not lacking foliage intrigue with their large oval-shaped glossy green and gold variegated leaves in compact form. Plant in a large pot. Loves bright filtered light and moderate watering.

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• Re-pot your plant soon after it is purchased using a potting mix which has the Premium Australian Standards ‘red ticks’ logo on the bag. This standard ensures the mix is manufactured to a consistent high quality providing plants the optimal drainage, aeration, water holding capacity, pH, fertiliser and nutrients for healthy plant growth. Searles Platinum Potting Mix meets and exceeds the requirements of this ‘red ticks’ standard. Searles Platinum Potting Mix contains an 18 month fertiliser.

Step 1 Water plant thoroughly


Step 2 Choose a new pot 1/3 larger than original

• Do not use soil from garden beds or straight from the ground. This soil may contain weeds, fungal problems and unwanted bugs. Searles potting mix products have been treated through a heating process to destroy these unwanted nasties and deliver a clean weed free, nutrient rich mix. • Select the right type of pot with drainage holes and a size for good growth. For good drainage and adequate aeration, choose a container that is taller than it is wide, and ensure that if repotting, move to the next size pot only.

Step 3 Fill pot with mix 1/3 its height

• Re-pot indoor plants into a larger pot when the roots appear protruding out of the bottom of the pot or if the potting mix is more than two years old and lacking nutrients. • Follow the growers advice on its plant tag. Keep the tags safe in a zip lock bag in the house if you can. They provide vital information about ideal light requirements, growing habit, water and feeding needs. Following this advice will go a long way to producing the best results out of your plant. • Some indoor plants perform better in potting mixes designed specifically for their needs. Look out for these professionally designed Searles mixes in garden centres — Terrarium & Fern Mix, Cyclamen & African Violet Mix, Cymbidium Orchid Mix, Orchid Mix, Cacti & Succulent Mix, or Bonsai Mix.

• What to do with old potting mix? Remember opened bags of potting mix do degrade over time. If you have an opened bag in the shed for over 12 months, spread the old mix onto a garden bed and buy a fresh new bag of potting mix for potting new plants. The old adage applies, ‘fresh is best’.

Step 4 Gently remove plant from original pot

Step 5 Fill the pot with the remainder of mix to the same level on the stem as it was on the original pot. Gently tap mix down.

Step 6 Water plant thoroughly. Avoid leaving plant in strong sunlight for the next two days.

• Common reasons for plant death is under watering or overwatering; more often the latter. Don’t be tempted to fix your watering routine. Time of year, humidity and lighting conditions all play a part in water absorption. Rather, use the soil moisture as an indicator on whether to water or wait another few days. Some plants like their soil to dry out a little before re-watering. Others like their soil more on the wet side. • Cover pots are a stylish way to feature your pot plants. Periodically check the cover pot is not holding excess water at the bottom of the pot. We don’t want to drown the plant’s roots and kill the plant. • Look out for water repellent soil. Old potting mix, infrequent watering may lead to hydrophobic soil. When the soil is watered and the water pools on top of the soil and doesn’t soak into the soil or the water runs of to the side, the soil is considered hydrophobic. Sprinkle Searles Penetraide onto the soil to promote better water absorption. This is ideal for pots and garden beds, as its benefits last for up to 12 months after each application.

• Indoor plants grow slower than outdoor varieties and consequently need less feeding. Be careful not to overfeed. A liquid fertiliser, such as SeaMax Fish & Kelp applied no more than once every two weeks, is ideal for strong, healthy houseplants. Alternatively, for an instant fertiliser use Searles Flourish to provide fast acting nutrients of balanced NPK and chelated trace elements for abundant leaf growth and deep greening. • Searles Robust – Pots & Indoors controlled release fertiliser can be added every six months for long term feeding. For the ultimate sustained feed, use Searles Recharge for 12 months feeding and rewetting. This product is ideal in all pots, especially those that are too heavy to re-pot but need soil to be revitalised. • Fertilise regularly during peak growing season, generally throughout spring, summer and autumn. Fertilising can be reduced during winter. Premium Garden Products


Leaf spot


Powery mildew

Fungus gnats

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• Maintain your vigilance for the more common pests plaguing indoor plants such as aphids, whitefly, mealy bug, mites and scale. Searles has a range of ‘Ready-to-Use’ trigger sprays ready for you to take aim.


• Fungus gnats are tiny black flying insects, in their adult form, buzzing about in large groups around your indoor plants. But it is their larvae which do the most damage to plants’ roots. Visit our website for simple solutions to stopping their breeding cycle. click here • Many ailments affect plants due to nutrient imbalance or variable watering regimes. Poor plant health can also make them more suseptible to disease and insect infestations. Check out our ‘Indoor Plant Problem Solver Chart’ (next page) to correct any ailments early.


• Root rot is a fungal disease in the soil blocking the plant roots ability to access oxygen. Yellowing and wilting leaves and stems is the indicator root rot is present. The roots will be blackened and have rotted into a mushy mess. Main cause for root rot is over-watering of the plant. Either the water is not draining properly or the pot plant is sitting in a pool water at the bottom of the cover pot. Once root rot is present it is hard for the plant to recover. Your best chance for recovery is to remove affected areas and re-pot remaining plant into fresh potting mix with proper drainage. Water plant when the soil is dry. Outbreaks can also be controlled by repeat applications of Searles Root Rot Systemic Fungicide. • Spots of yellow, black, or brown on leaves may be a symptom of another fungus disease, Leaf Spot. High temperatures and humidity levels encourage leaf spot. Increasing air circulation and separating house plants placed too closely together will reduce the fungus spreading. Early detection is vital. Remove affected leaves promptly and avoid watering over the leaves to reduce water Control with Searles Copper Oxychloride.

White fly


• Powdery Mildew, as the name suggests is a layer of white powder covering the leaves. If left untreated the fungus will spread to the whole plant affecting its ability to photosynthesize. Good air flow is essential in and around plants and physical removal (while wearing gloves) of all affected foliage should be swift. Greater exposure to indirect sunlight could also benefit the plant. Control powdery mildew by spraying with Searles Wettable Sulphur.



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Sudden leaf drop

This is particularly evident in plants such as Ficus (figs) and can be caused by a move to a new location. A change in light levels, temperature (air conditioning is a common cause) or even localised air movement can trigger this response.  Solution – Don’t move your plants too often!

Leaf drop, yellowing, leggy growth

Is a fair dinkum indication that light levels are too low. Gradually move your plants to a better-lit area or select plants that can tolerate the dingy corners of your home or office!

Wilting during the day but recovering at night

A sure sign that moisture levels are getting low. You’re probably not watering often enough, maybe too little water per application, or your potting mix is too open to hold enough water for the plants’ needs. Use a moisture probe to indicate when things are drying out (your index finger is well-calibrated for this!) and think about using Searles Penetraide Re-Wetting Granules or a change to Platinum Potting Mix!

Leaf drop, wilting, leaf margin damage, rot in succulents

Usually indicates that the potting mix is too wet! Can occur in shallow pots, old and decomposing potting mix, or by simply watering too often! Make sure that if using pot saucers, they aren’t always full of water.  Re-pot and research your plant’s water needs.

Plant gradually loses vigour, older leaves start to yellow, stunted growth

Nutrition levels are falling. For instant topping-up of nutrients use Searles Flourish Soluble Plant Food. If the potting mix is still in good condition, sprinkle Searles Recharge around the tops of pots.

Brown spots and leaf margin burn, white residue on surface of potting mix, wilting, soft new growth

Can be a sign of over-fertilising. Use clean water to flush fertiliser from the mix, then take it easy on the plant food! Follow the application directions for indoor plants on the product label.

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Searles Gardening Indoor Plant Growing Tips  

How to care for indoor plants and the best varieties to grow. Top popular indoor plants for beautiful indoor gardens.

Searles Gardening Indoor Plant Growing Tips  

How to care for indoor plants and the best varieties to grow. Top popular indoor plants for beautiful indoor gardens.