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Compatible houseplants - two in the same pot

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
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by Raenkatz on May 06, 2004 02:33 AM
Hey folks! I'm wondering if I can get feedback from anybody on successes and failures you've had with combining plants in the same pots.

I'd like to fill in the base pots of some of my tall stalky friends to make them look even more beautiful.

I don't really want to cover the soil with mosses (my beautiful little Blonde Kitty would have a heyday with moss stringers) or all of them with pebbles, marbles or rocks...but I also don't want them all just sitting there with exposed soil either.

I read somewhere that Ficus and Philodendron are compatible, so could I plant some philodendron in the ficus pot and have it work out? Would they compete for anything more than water (ie pot space to the detriment of the other).

How 'bout parlour palms...what is compatible with those?


Is there any other sites I can go to that gives good suggestions for multi-plant container gardening?

by Will Creed on May 06, 2004 04:36 AM
The plants that you mentioned don't "compete" with one another for water, pot space, etc. The issue is compatibility in terms of soil moisture and light.

For example, Ficus trees prefer soil that is more moist than do Philodendrons, so that is a potential problem when they are potted together.

The best solution, and the easiest, is to use plants in small pots that can be placed on the surface of the larger plant. Small pots of pothos, ivy, and philodendron work very well. By keeping the smaller plants in their individual pots, you can water each according to its specific needs. Also, if one of the small plants dies or develops a pest problem, it is very easy to remove or replace it.
by Raenkatz on May 10, 2004 06:37 PM
hmmmmmmm...yeah, the individual pots is actually the direction I was thinking of going...saw that in a nursery and thought "Great idea!" [thinker]

Is it okay to have the individual pots drain directly to the soil of the larger plant? Should you worry about hidden diseases or pest problems flowing out with the water and into the base plant? I guess if they're all healthy it's a non issue, but what about minerals leaching? Should the smaller plants have their own saucers or does it matter?

by Will Creed on May 11, 2004 04:10 AM
I guess you can be neurotic and worry about minerals, pathogens, and excess water washing through and into the larger plant. But I don't think it is much of a risk if you exercise reasonable precautions.

Use healthy plants that are potted in sterile or soilless mixes. Be careful not to fertilize excessively - half-strength is more than enough. And water the smaller plants just enough that little excess flows through the drainage holes. You may have to lift each small pot as you water to monitor this until you get a feel for just how much water to add.

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