Episode 40: cats and houseplants
I have heard from so many cat owners who find their pets just can't stay away from their plants: either they're chewing them, or pulling them out of their pots, or finding some other way to destroy that cool jungle vibe you've been cultivating. So this episode is dedicating to giving cat owners some help in keeping cats and plants equally content.
For instance Anne Kostalas, who lives in Montreal, wanted to know what plants would cause no harm to her kitten Norman - he's on Instagram! She wrote: "Can you help me come up with a list of houseplants that won’t poison him, that look nice and perhaps some he won’t even want to nibble?"
The ASPCA website has an excellent list of plants that are toxic to cats and those that are non-toxic, so if you are not sure, check this out. I speak to the ASPCA's Dr Tina Wismer about what plants are particularly dangerous - the most prominent being members of the lily family - and what to do if you think your cat has eaten something it shouldn't have. (Clue: Speak to your vet sooner rather than later...)
I also hear from cat owners Rachel Morgan, Amie Gillingham and Karen Hugg about the havoc their cats to cause when it comes to houseplants: Karen has an excellent blogpost on her website on her solution to the problem - protecting her plants with decorative birdcages she sources from TK Maxx and elsewhere.
Question of the week
Andy Jack wanted to know what on earth was going on with his houseplant, pictured left...
After a little bit of digging (not literally!) it was clear that this plant - often known as a Calathea, but officially known as Stromanthe sanguinea 'Triostar' is about to flower! Enjoy your blooms, Andy. If you want to see what the flowers look like, check out this image on Flickr.
I will soon be devoting a whole episode of On The Ledge to the Maranta group of plants, which includes Calatheas, Stromanthes and Marantas. Can't wait!
And Caroline had a common dilemma for a new plant owner... I suggested that she repots her plant straight away - mid to late March is a great time for potting on plants as spring starts specimens into growth, and a Calathea left in a china pot with no drainage won't last that long.
Morrisons and other supermarkets can be a cheap way to buy houseplants but they are often poorly labelled, potted in the wrong kind of pot and/or compost, so it's best if you do your homework and find out what your plant needs as soon as you bring it home. This avoids the disappointment of a dead plant once the 'honeymoon period' is over.
News on the newsletter...
Subscribe now for a chance to get hold of my monthly newsletter, and it's packed full of useful info for plant parents, including my 'lust list' of plants you are going to be crushing hard on, four incredible plant lover Instagrammers to follow, and links to some excellent resources for the #OTL sowalong. Not signed up yet? You can get your email address on the list for the March edition here.
On The Ledge live show and houseplant chats
I am going to be at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show on the afternoon of July 4 giving talks on houseplants in the roses theatre - do join me if you can. And on the evening of Friday October 26 I'll be bringing a live show of On The Ledge to the RHS London Urban Garden show, with special guests including Alys Fowler and all kinds of leafy fun! Put those dates in your diary NOW!
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