House Plant Wisdom: where your plants originated

To become a better plant parent, you must understand where your plants came from and what they think of your home...

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What's going on at the plant nursery?

  • Perfect Light: these plants get an unobstructed view of the sky and, in the case of tropical foliage, direct sun is partially blocked by sheer fabric that lines the greenhouse roof.  And most importantly, the light is directly overhead so plants grow in the expected upright direction
  • Ample Watering: with so much light, plants will be photosynthesizing rapidly, which therefore necessitates a consistently moist soil environment.  Because of rapid water usage by photosynthesis and good air circulation, there's little chance of mold
  • Fertilization: again, with all the growth happening, other nutrients will need to be replenished
  • Root Aeration: notice that in most commercial greenhouses, potted plants are in plastic pots with holes that we typically refer to as “drainage holes” but in the nursery, they also serve the purpose of allowing plants to be aerated from below in addition to on top of the soil

So plants growing at the nursery are hard at work producing carbohydrates from photosynthesis and using that stored up energy to grow structurally.

How does this compare to your home environment?

  • Light: if we're only considering tropical foliage plants that do not need full sun, even for indirect light, the inside of your home is getting at best 25% the light they got at the nursery.  This drastic reduction in light completely changes how we must look after a plant in a home environment
  • Watering: light is the major determinant of how quickly soil moisture is used up so you must check soil dryness before adding water.  Never blindly follow a schedule and never copy the routine used at the nursery
  • Fertilization: there's really no need for fertilization unless your plant is growing rapidly under greenhouse-like conditions.  It is most certainly NOT a supplement/replacement to good light/water
  • Root aeration: for some reason, people have a tendency to repot their plants directly into decorative containers.  Whether or not they have a drainage hole, this potting method reduces root oxygenation and thus, overall root health

Stay tuned for the next blog post where I'll give some ideas about what can be done in light of these growing conditions.  I hope this has changed your perspective about the plants growing (or starving) in your home. 

House Plant Journal - Vintage Snake Plant

I call this a vintage snake plant because I got it from an elderly lady who had received it as a propagation from her grandmother.  So it is essentially a clone from the early 1900's.

October 18, 2015 - a nice elderly lady was moving and had several of these shorty snake plants to spare - this was one of at least a dozen!  They grew happily in her south-facing windowsill getting some sun but blocked by a large bush part of the day.  As you can see, they are exploding out of this tiny 3.5" pot (nursery pot inside a ceramic cachepot).

October 18, 2015 - a nice elderly lady was moving and had several of these shorty snake plants to spare - this was one of at least a dozen!  They grew happily in her south-facing windowsill getting some sun but blocked by a large bush part of the day.  As you can see, they are exploding out of this tiny 3.5" pot (nursery pot inside a ceramic cachepot).

October 31, 2015 - the weather was still nice enough to repot outside.  I had some extra 5" nursery pots to use - the plant will recover faster from repotting when it is moved to a slightly bigger pot instead of a significantly larger one.  I like to line the bottom of the pot with landscape fabric to prevent soil runoff as I water the plant - the fabric is cheap and can easily be cut to size.

October 31, 2015 - the weather was still nice enough to repot outside.  I had some extra 5" nursery pots to use - the plant will recover faster from repotting when it is moved to a slightly bigger pot instead of a significantly larger one.  I like to line the bottom of the pot with landscape fabric to prevent soil runoff as I water the plant - the fabric is cheap and can easily be cut to size.

You can see the roots have almost completely taken over the original pot.  Here I'm hosing down the entire plant in case there are any pests that may have stowed away under the leaves - I did notice some webbing on the other plants at the lady's house so I had to be cautious.

You can see the roots have almost completely taken over the original pot.  Here I'm hosing down the entire plant in case there are any pests that may have stowed away under the leaves - I did notice some webbing on the other plants at the lady's house so I had to be cautious.

Inevitably, there were some leaf casualties.  For potting soil - I used a mix of 2 parts sphagnum peat moss and 1 part coarse sand (and a pinch of perlite).  You can also use any soil marked for cacti.

Inevitably, there were some leaf casualties.  For potting soil - I used a mix of 2 parts sphagnum peat moss and 1 part coarse sand (and a pinch of perlite).  You can also use any soil marked for cacti.

And here she is, freshly repotted into the 5" nursery pot, which fit perfectly into my vintage ceramic pot.  To the right, we have the Sansevieria 'japonesa'.

And here she is, freshly repotted into the 5" nursery pot, which fit perfectly into my vintage ceramic pot.  To the right, we have the Sansevieria 'japonesa'.

December 12, 2015 - one time I had to do a studio photoshoot so I naturally used my plants as models to test the lighting.  On the left is S. cylindrica.

December 12, 2015 - one time I had to do a studio photoshoot so I naturally used my plants as models to test the lighting.  On the left is S. cylindrica.

February 2, 2017 - snake plants are slow growers.  After a year, I can only notice a bit more spreading of the rosettes.  Perhaps this year she'll put out some offshoots!

February 2, 2017 - snake plants are slow growers.  After a year, I can only notice a bit more spreading of the rosettes.  Perhaps this year she'll put out some offshoots!

How I care for my snake plants:

Light: whether they get direct sun or just bright indirect light doesn't really matter - they seem happy either way so if you can provide this, read the 'Growth Strategy'.  If your snake plant is sitting in a corner where it cannot see any part of the sky, then skip over to 'Survival Strategy'.

Growth Strategy: compared to other house plants, Sansevieria are considered slow growers even with bright light so if you were hoping to get a lush snake plant from a small starter plant, you'll be waiting a couple years.  Most of the larger snake plants I have put up just 1 or 2 new leaves per year.  My smaller ones appear to grow faster but it's probably just a perception thing because the overall plant is smaller so one leaf makes a big difference.  Snake plants are considered succulents - their thick leaves store lots of water - so you can wait until the soil is bone dry before watering.  At my light levels (about 150 foot-candles at the brightest point of the day), I'm watering these guys once every 2 weeks - but remember, always go according to your light and potting situation; for instance, if you're using clay pots, the soil may dry out sooner.  No matter what type of pot you have, the soil will become compacted so it's best to aerate the soil maybe every other watering but since snake plants live in almost desert environments, they are used to hard soils.

Survival Strategy: the great thing about snake plants is they will look great even when starving but the "snake plant for a dark corner" idea is probably how people started spreading the idea that overwatering is the number one killer of house plants.  Death by overwatering is just a symptom of the true cause, which is not enough light to use up the excess moisture.  If you must put your snake plant where it is basically not growing, then you must also keep the soil as dry as possible.  Perhaps once a month, you could extend its life by giving it a good soaking and then leaving it beside a window for a day or two so it can store up some food for the next round of fasting.  Hopefully after a few times, you'll come to your senses and just leave the snake plant by the window so it can by happy!

House Plant Journal - Monstera Deliciosa

In the true spirit of 'House Plant Journal', here is a complete account of my relationship with my Monstera deliciosa:

September 17, 2014 - I responded to a classified ad for someone wanting to sell off this Monstera deliciosa because it was becoming too unruly for their small space.  Asking price: $10

September 17, 2014 - I responded to a classified ad for someone wanting to sell off this Monstera deliciosa because it was becoming too unruly for their small space.  Asking price: $10

November 27, 2014 - here's the monstera enjoying some bright indirect light (sun filtered through white blinds).  As these winter days become shorter, there's less photosynthesis going on - therefore, less frequent waterings.

November 27, 2014 - here's the monstera enjoying some bright indirect light (sun filtered through white blinds).  As these winter days become shorter, there's less photosynthesis going on - therefore, less frequent waterings.

January 30, 2015 - each individual monstera leaf has a predestined pattern, meaning that it does NOT develop more cuts/holes as it ages.  Instead, it is the NEXT leaf that may have a more complex pattern if the overall plant is happy.  How do you know if the plant is happy?  It starts with light: if the plant can see the sky and not necessarily the sun, then it is getting so-called "bright indirect light" - the ideal light for just about all tropical foliage plants.

January 30, 2015 - each individual monstera leaf has a predestined pattern, meaning that it does NOT develop more cuts/holes as it ages.  Instead, it is the NEXT leaf that may have a more complex pattern if the overall plant is happy.  How do you know if the plant is happy?  It starts with light: if the plant can see the sky and not necessarily the sun, then it is getting so-called "bright indirect light" - the ideal light for just about all tropical foliage plants.

May 12, 2015 - using a small bamboo trellis from the dollar store, I tied up the vines to give the overall plant a more compact look.  This is just how monstera grows - they are vines that want to grow along some surface.  So in a container, it will always become "unruly" as the vines grow past the edge of the pot.

May 12, 2015 - using a small bamboo trellis from the dollar store, I tied up the vines to give the overall plant a more compact look.  This is just how monstera grows - they are vines that want to grow along some surface.  So in a container, it will always become "unruly" as the vines grow past the edge of the pot.

It's not necessary for the aerial roots to actually attach themselves to something like a moss pole or tree trunk.  I'm just holding them against the trellis with soft rubber ties.  Just google "soft rubber ties" and you'll find them - they are super useful and you can cut them to the required length.

It's not necessary for the aerial roots to actually attach themselves to something like a moss pole or tree trunk.  I'm just holding them against the trellis with soft rubber ties.  Just google "soft rubber ties" and you'll find them - they are super useful and you can cut them to the required length.

June 13, 2015 - it's a bittersweet day as I decided to move monstera to my church where she could have a room all to herself.  With the front seat all the way up, my monstera fits just right in my Honda Civic (bought it just a month before).  An important care routine change should be noted: I'm only at my church once a week (and it's far from where I live), which means that I would be forced to water at fixed intervals.  But since the light she will be getting is even brighter than in my home, I know that she will be thirsty within a week. PLANT WISDOM: problems of overwatering typically occur when there is NOT ENOUGH LIGHT for the plant to make use of all the soil moisture.  So instead of watering less (okay solution), increase the light (best solution).

June 13, 2015 - it's a bittersweet day as I decided to move monstera to my church where she could have a room all to herself.  With the front seat all the way up, my monstera fits just right in my Honda Civic (bought it just a month before).  An important care routine change should be noted: I'm only at my church once a week (and it's far from where I live), which means that I would be forced to water at fixed intervals.  But since the light she will be getting is even brighter than in my home, I know that she will be thirsty within a week. PLANT WISDOM: problems of overwatering typically occur when there is NOT ENOUGH LIGHT for the plant to make use of all the soil moisture.  So instead of watering less (okay solution), increase the light (best solution).

Don't worry, monstera!  I'll be seeing you every week - this place has more space for you to grow and better light.  LEFT: a west-facing windowed door.  BACK RIGHT: a large north-facing window.

Don't worry, monstera!  I'll be seeing you every week - this place has more space for you to grow and better light.  LEFT: a west-facing windowed door.  BACK RIGHT: a large north-facing window.

October 11, 2015 - just like kids outgrow their clothing, monstera has outgrown her first trellis.  I'm glad I decided to pick up one of these sturdy vegetable trellises before the winter since the big box stores close up their gardening centers - would have had to wait until spring!  This was at Rona Home & Garden.

October 11, 2015 - just like kids outgrow their clothing, monstera has outgrown her first trellis.  I'm glad I decided to pick up one of these sturdy vegetable trellises before the winter since the big box stores close up their gardening centers - would have had to wait until spring!  This was at Rona Home & Garden.

Again, I'm just tying the vines against the trellis with rubber ties.  As aerial roots reach down, I gently direct them into the pot so they can enjoy some soil moisture.  I'm honestly not sure if that does anything for the vine but I would imagine that those roots would contribute to water/nutrient uptake.

Again, I'm just tying the vines against the trellis with rubber ties.  As aerial roots reach down, I gently direct them into the pot so they can enjoy some soil moisture.  I'm honestly not sure if that does anything for the vine but I would imagine that those roots would contribute to water/nutrient uptake.

January 6, 2016 - wow, this is the first leaf with a full set of cuts and a couple of holes along the midrib!

January 6, 2016 - wow, this is the first leaf with a full set of cuts and a couple of holes along the midrib!

May 23, 2016 - and here's a newer leaf with a full set of holes along the midrib

May 23, 2016 - and here's a newer leaf with a full set of holes along the midrib

September 26, 2016 - at this rate of growth, I may need an even taller trellis next year.

September 26, 2016 - at this rate of growth, I may need an even taller trellis next year.

December 25, 2016 - correct light is the first step to house plant success.  Second is watering.  Third is soil structure (aerating occasionally).  Fourth is fertilizing.  Fifth is getting rid of dead foliage and not crying about it.  Remember, BOTH light and water are fundamental requirements for plant growth.  Don't focus on watering while ignoring the light!

December 25, 2016 - correct light is the first step to house plant success.  Second is watering.  Third is soil structure (aerating occasionally).  Fourth is fertilizing.  Fifth is getting rid of dead foliage and not crying about it.  Remember, BOTH light and water are fundamental requirements for plant growth.  Don't focus on watering while ignoring the light!

And now, here's the typical "plant care" rundown with not-so-typical-but-more-helpful instructions:

Light: monstera is a big plant so make sure you can provide enough light.  Use your eyes: can you see at least a bit of the blue sky on a clear day from where your monstera lives?  If yes, then read "Growth Strategy".  If no, then skip ahead to "Survival Strategy".


Growth Strategy: with bright indirect light, your monstera will happily use up water so you can give the soil a good soaking whenever it becomes dry to a depth of 2 to 4 inches.  If you see several new leaves growing, then you can safely apply some fertilizer for the next few weeks (I've used 10-20-10 at the recommended strength) but it's not absolutely necessary for growth.  Soil structure is usually pretty good (nice and loose) so I just aerate the soil occasionally - maybe every third or fourth watering.

Long Term Relationship: although I have not yet reached this point, I know the soil will eventually be depleted of nutrients but since I sense that my pot is large enough, I will opt for a "top dressing" instead of a complete repotting.  Top dressing is when you remove some of the old soil from the surface (maybe 2-3 inches down) and add new soil WITH SIMILAR DRAINAGE PROPERTIES as the current soil.  Gently mix in the new with the old - it doesn't have to be perfectly mixed like you're baking cake.


Survival Strategy: I can only speculate how one might care for a barely growing plant as I would never knowingly place a plant in a dark corner.  IT JUST DOESN'T LOOK RIGHT!  Still, it's possible to starve it gracefully and not kill it because you followed instructions for a growing plant.  Definitely keep the soil on the dry side and once a week or so, you should loosen it with a chopstick so the roots don't suffocate.  When the leaves look really floppy and thin (because they are finally dehydrated), loosen the compacted soil and pour in just enough water to cover the entire surface to a depth of about 2 inches (I'm assuming the pot is at least 8 inches in diameter) - if the plant is thirsty enough, you shouldn't get any water running down to the bottom of the pot where it may linger for weeks.  Be prepared to cut off older leaves as they yellow - this is the plant abandoning them as the food reserves are depleted without being replenished.  New growth will be small, weak and if the soil happened to be too moist at the time, it may have dark brown tips.  Weak plants are also more susceptible to illness.  Overall, if monstera is living in a dark corner, I'd say it has several months to a year to a long drawn out death with lots of disappointments (leaf loss) along the way.  I hope you understand that I'm writing in this morbid fashion so at least some of you plant newbies will decide to hold yourselves to a higher standard of plant parenthood...

House Plant Wisdom: "how often should I water this plant?"

For anyone who understands plant biology, this is a loaded question.  But a good percentage of people who ask it are looking for a simple answer, so we give them one: "whenever the plant needs it"; "when the top inch of soil is dry"; "when the soil is completely dry"; and (worst answer) "once a week".

But if you're reading this, you're probably curious about exactly what makes watering such a complex yet fundamental part of plant parenthood.  So allow me to ramble about plants and their relationship with water (and other factors) in hopefully simple terms...

Light: plants sustain themselves using light but the photosynthesis reaction also uses water.  So more light = more water usage; less light = less water usage.  Also remember that day length and daily weather patterns affect how much light reaches your plant.

Temperature: when it is hotter, evaporation of water and other chemical reactions move faster.  So higher temperature = more water usage/loss by evaporation - this happens at the soil surface but also from leaves, which is given a special term: transpiration.

Humidity: affects the rate of evaporation and transpiration.  More humidity = less evaporation.  Transpiration may still occur because plants are keeping their pores ("stomata") open for other survival reasons (like gas exchange).

Soil and container: the composition of soil and the physical structure of the container both have profound effects on the water available to the plant.  House plant soil is typically a mixture of peat (holds water), sharp sand (drains water), perlite (drains water), vermiculite (holds water and drains water).  Mixing these in different ratios allows the grower to optimize the overall soil moisture for each type of plant.  Some moisture-loving plants will have mostly peat while cacti grow best in mostly sand.  Adding to these factors, the container material and drainage characteristics greatly affect soil moisture: plastic nursery pots hold moisture better than clay pots; a drainage hole allows excess water to leave the conatiner when there is a sudden increase.  Although this may be obvious - the more soil there is, the more water it can hold.  So the overall pot size affects the watering frequency.  Lastly, over time, your soil will become compacted as roots repeatedly absorb moisture.  Compacted soil has poor water retention ability so it is important to gently loosen it occasionally to restore optimal soil structure.

The plant itself: different plants have different abilities to store or release water.  These abilities are adapted for each of their native environments.  

Most importantly: once you can appreciate the myriad of factors affecting your watering habits.  It is important to realize that you must choose which factors are worth taking control of and which ones you will simply accept.

Propagation of Philodendron Silver

Note: this method also works for pothos and other vine-type philodendrons. I imagine larger philodendrons and even monstera deliciosa could be propagated this way though I've never tried.

Problem: the original philodendron silver plant is looking quite bare near the pot but still has several healthy vines - this is completely a matter of opinion, if you like the way your plant looks, then no need to change it.

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Solution: salvage as many healthy leaves and start a new plant.

Concept: a cutting of the original plant (in this case, a stem) develops new roots. In time, a new vine will emerge as well.  The "new" plant is genetically identical to the original, a clone.  Other types of propagation are root division, leaf cutting, and seed.

Method: if your original plant looks nice near the pot, then you need only to prune a few vines.  In this case, I want to re-start the entire plant so I'm going to cut the vines back all the way to the soil.

Selection: in order for these cuttings to root, you must include a section of the main vine.  I've never seen it work with just the leaf and stem.  I cut the main vine into short sections that comprise of a leaf, a stem, and a section of the main vine.  While the cuttings are in my sink, I gave them a quick rinse.

Rooting: a cute little laboratory flask is helpful because the narrow opening naturally keeps the cuttings bundled together and submerged.  Else, I find these soft rubber ties very helpful in keeping the cuttings together and securing them to the lip of whatever rooting container you're using.  You basically want their cut ends to stay submerged in the water.

Other considerations/FAQ:

  • How long does it take to root?  One can never say for sure.  Just make sure the cuttings are getting some indirect light (no direct sun) and be patient
  • At what point should I transplant (if at all)?  Once you see at least a half inch of root emerge, you can transplant to soil.  Some people say you don't even need to root them in water but I sort of prefer having a few cuttings in glass peppered around my growing areas.  If you want to keep it growing in water indefinitely, that's also possible!
  • Do I need to replace the water?  I typically just pour in some fresh water when I see the level has decreased after a week or two.  I haven't had issues with algae or other stuff growing but definitely replace the water if it's looking murky.
  • Don't roots grow better in the dark?  Yes, so I've been told but I like to see them emerge so I like using clear glass
  • How do I transplant to soil?  I've been most successful with planting 6-7 rooted philodendron/pothos cuttings into a 4" plastic nursery pot, using regular potting soil with some added perlite.  I've had problems with more cuttings in a larger pot - I think the roots just never established themselves
  • How do I care for a newly transplanted cutting?  Even though your cutting has roots, they aren't yet fully established for moisture uptake in soil (yes, water-only roots are different from soil roots).  Thus, you need to fully saturate the soil AND put the plant where it will get bright indirect light (at least 200 foot-candles).  It's very important that you do both!  If you only soak the soil without giving enough light, then there won't be much photosynthesis action and the lingering moisture will be used by opportunistic mold/bacteria, potentially causing rot.

Hope you found this helpful!

 

 

How to ID Some plants with Google

A good proportion of questions I receive involve identifying a plant. I'm pretty familiar with most common house plants but there are times when I just can't remember a name, even though I've seen it before. Here, I will go through one example of how I found the name of a plant with only a picture.

Question: Do you know what this plant is? I bought it unlabeled and had it in my yard all summer, and now have brought it indoors. It is so lush and happy. It has a lot of yellow on the leaves.

My Thoughts: I know I've seen this plant before and I'm pretty confident I could pick it out in a lineup of possible suspects.

Open web browser; type "green and yellow plant", search images:

Excellent, it's the first result! Clicking on the image reveals a caption that reads: "Green and yellow stripes on Ginger plant." So now we just search "ginger plant" and we're done, right? No, if you then simply googled "ginger plant", you would get results mostly for the ginger root:

Here's the trick: you want to keep relevant words in the search while adding new ones that match the plant you're looking for. In this case, I just added "ginger" to my original search:

Now I can browse the captions to find a botanical name: Alpinia zerumbet - search this on its own to confirm that you've found the name:

And just because common names are so, well, commonly used, I googled "variegated ginger" - it appears to be the common name.

So that's how you can find the names of some plants by yourself. I personally enjoy researching things on my own but, if you'd rather not, you can always ask people like me!

Other ways of identifying a plant: uploading an image directly to Google image search; reddit.com/r/whatsthisplant; Facebook groups

Pothos vs. Philodendron

An important aspect of identifying plants is to notice the details.  Here, I will attempt to point out the differences between the house plants commonly referred to as pothos and philodendron - these are mostly just the visual differences.  In terms of care, they are basically the same.  The variegated types require higher light to stay strong and keep their variegation - beware of direct sun though, younger leaves will get burned.  Both will signal they are thirsty by slightly drooping leaves.  Loosen their soil occasionally and they'll happily produce long vines that are easy to propagate - that will be a separate article!  But first, you should know how to tell them apart:

1) Leaves

Pothos: mottled, waxy, somewhat rougher texture

Philodendron: smoother, sometimes velvety texture

 

2) Growing Tip

Pothos: the new leaf and its stem are roughly the same color as the rest of the plant; the growing tip is the leaf itself

Philodendron: reddish color (exception: philodendron silver's tip is always green); the main vine of philodendron extends while the previous leaf continues to unfurl

 

3) Aerial Root and Vine

Pothos: bigger, woody root nub with other smaller one; they're spiky!  Vine has a grooved, rougher surface and sometimes shows variegation

Philodendron: smaller, not quite as spiky.  Vine is smooth and purely green

 

4) Leaf Sheath

Pothos: always against the stem of the previous leaf; may get brown edges

Philodendron: loose, against the main vine; often falls off after becoming dry

 

Lastly, it might be helpful to simply see all the varieties of pothos and philodendrons in one place:

Pothos: Marble queen, Golden, N'joy, Neon, Pure green

Philodendron: Heart-leaf, Brazil, Neon, Silver, Micans

There are other types of philodendrons (e.g. xanadu, selloum, rojo congo) but the ones mentioned in this article are the small, vine-like types that are commonly confused with pothos. 

Names we should stop using: silver pothos, satin pothos (both refer to Philodendron silver).

Here is a great, in-depth article on pothos.
 

I hope this was helpful!

Q&A: artificial light for pothos

Question:

These pothos at work survive with only office lights, and absolutely no light from windows. I just think that’s crazy! Also, these are the plants that got me into plants. My boss gave me a cutting and told me how to root it in water and I fell in love!! :)

Have you ever grown any plants with only artificial light?


Answer:

Thanks for this photo - lovely pothos! Before I answer your question, let me elaborate on light.

At the core of photosynthesis, plants just need a photon’s energy to start the reaction. It doesn’t matter whether that photon comes directly from the sun, bounced off the sky (clear or cloudy), or from an artificial light source. So then what other factors make natural vs artificial light different?

Intensity: download a light meter app for your phone. Measure how bright it is outside (pointing the meter up to the sky with no sun - let’s say you get 300 foot-candles). Then measure the brightness under artificial lights - at a normal distance from the ceiling, you’ll probably get 30-60 foot-candles. Move the meter closer and see how close you need to be in order to achieve 300 foot-candles.

Duration: natural light lasts as long as the daytime while artificial light lasts as long as you keep the light on. Some plants are very sensitive to changes in light duration - most flowering plants take their cue to flower based on day length. Plants also need night time rest, which can only be accomplished in darkness. So if your office leaves lights on well into the evening, you might be tiring out your plant (although pothos is very hardy so you shouldn’t have a problem).

Dynamics: think of how much the weather forecast varies throughout the week; this is how natural light varies. It gradually gets brighter as the sun rises; it may get dimmer as clouds roll by; and it gradually gets darker as the sun sets. Artificial lights are essentially on or off. I honestly don’t know what effect it has on plants - that would be an interesting experiment!

So to answer your question, no, I haven’t grown a plant in only artificial light - I am fortunate enough to have 2 big skylights in my home, which let in tons of natural light. And my office has terribly dim lighting - getting about 10 foot-candles at my desk - so I simply do not keep a plant on my desk - I don’t want to starve a plant to death. But your office seems to have much better lighting! Thanks again for sharing :)