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Traveling Plants

How my plants showed me the world 

The COVID Pandemic started my great journey to loving indoor houseplants. Aside from growing up with more than twenty houseplants in the Philippines. Yes, my mum was a plant hoarder, and yes she has a green thumb and I have lived most of my days with clean air thanks to the army of plants in our house. I guess the pandemic was a good trigger for my dormant love for houseplants. Nature always has it's ways through my heart and now that I'm a plant mum I feel closer to her, and my mum too.

I've also realized how my plants are native to different countries. My plants have shown me a unique way of traveling inside my home. I'm not going crazy but this thought has entertained my wanderlust soul to travel in a none typical way. Let's go!

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The plant queen of my life, none other than my mum mentioned to me about research conducted by NASA. She said the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) made a project called NASA Clean Air Study. A study where they find ways to clean the air from the space station. They have discovered that houseplants not only absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen but also has the power to remove or filter organic pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene in the air. How cool is that? I'm always amazed where my mum gets her stories but she was right, as they said, Mother's know's best.

I'm going to show you my air-filtering houseplants, which country they came from, and some houseplant care tips for keeping them alive. 

This plant talks to you, simply wait for the plant to droop slightly before watering. 

1. Peace Lily 

Scientific Name: Spathiphyllum

First stop is a native to the tropical regions of the Americas like Colombia and Venezuela and the Southeastern part of Asia. The peace lily started it all. I was told by the plant queen if I'm getting a houseplant it should be peace lily. I haven't been to South America, by the looks of it the Peace Lily gives me a slight feel to its motherland, moist like it's tropical gardens, a little bit shady in some areas and definitely a beautiful country just like the Peace Lily.

Sunlight: Prefers light partial shade

Water: Once a week and keep the soil moist. The leaves sags a bit when it needs water which basically telling you it needs some water.

Warning Signs:
a. Brown leaves or streaks mean too much direct sunlight. Try placing the plant in the north or west side of your room with windows. 
b. If leaves are crisp, curling, and with brown tips also mean too much sunlight exposure.
c. Yellowing leaves means the light is too strong.
d. Brown tips mean irrigation problem, it could be too much or too little water. 
Therefore, keep the Peace Lily in the shaded area and just wait it will tell you when it's thirsty.

It's like having a small tree inside your house.

2. Dwarf Jade Plant 
Scientific Name: Portulacaria Afra

Second stop is a native plant found in South Africa. It is also known as Elephant Bush, Porkbush and Spekboom. This plant serves as elephant food in this country. Can you imagine a giant elephant rushing to your house to grab a snack? - that would be a whirlwind adventure.

I have mistaken this plant with the Jade Plant or scientifically known as Crassula ovate, as they have the same name and the same looks, people should have classified them better with different names. One way to find out is to look at the stem, the Dwarf Jade Plant /Portulacaria Afra has a reddish stem compared to the jade Plant/Crassula ovate. 

Sunlight: Indirect sunlight

Water:  Water sparingly. Make sure topsoil is dry before watering

Warning Signs: 
a. Leaves dropping off means too much bright light
b. Leaves wrinkling means time to water. 

You can't kill this plant! Period. I say, "You haven't meet me yet!"

3. Snake Plant 
Scientific Name: Sansevieria trifasciata

Third stop is a native of West Africa. This plant is also called the mother-in-law's tongue, I don't know with you guys but I'm lucky my husband's mum is nice to me. I've never thought about traveling to Africa but I have always wanted to volunteer or perhaps join an organization to help out the depressed areas in the country. My mum told me I could never kill this plant but I overwatered it, my husband pressed the soil too much that it was too compact for the soil to dry, and thus killed the most notorious plant in history. However, we were able to save one leaf, it was sad and funny a the same time to look at it in the corner of our house. The only soldier that made it alive amidst the dangers of human brutality. We had to keep it alive as this is on the top list of air-filtering plants for the house and it was my mother-in-law's house warming gift to us - oh my! I hope things don't change after this catastrophe.

Sunlight: Low light, indirect sunlight and even full sunlight

Water: Water sparingly, make sure topsoil is dry before watering. I didn't water mine for 2-3 weeks and it was still alive, beat that Lily! 

Warning Signs: 
a. The soil must never be soggy as the base of the plant becomes soggy and soft and the leaf will start leaning to its side. I learned my lesson the hard way and I started losing some of my snake plants. Never overwater and make sure to use a good water draining soil mix. 

These are the lap-dogs of the plant world.

4. Succulents
I have four succulents with the scientific name of Crassula perforata, Aeonium stripe, Purple Echeveria and the fourth one is still unknown.

Fourth stop is a native to desert areas like Africa, Central America, the European Alps, South America, and South Africa. A desert area reminds me of running on Sand Dunes in Vietnam, wonderful travel memory with my mum. 

Anyways, these babies are adorable even thou they need lots of light which I can't provide in our house and so I have to put them outside every day then take them back in after I get home, I still love the way they are.

Sunlight: Loves light and needs about four to six hours of sun per day. Newly planted baby succulents need shade with a sheer curtain. I don't have that much light in our house so I placed them outside the door behind my bamboo curtain the whole day, my husband doesn't like this part of the task of taking care of them. 

Water: Less water is better, water it once a week or more than a week. Soak the soil. Do not mist or use spray water bottles as it will cause brittle roots and moldy leaves. 

Warning Signs: 
Soggy leaves mean too much water.
Leggy-looking leaves mean it's reaching for the light.

The colors of this plant will bring light to your corner.

5. Dumb Canes 
Scientific Name: Dieffenbachia Maculata 'Camille' 

Fifth stop is a native of the Caribbean and South America. This is exciting as I've never been to the Caribbean and I've always dreamed of swimming in their ocean. Those turquoise waters are live heaven on earth, absolutely beautiful!

Sunlight: It needs medium light or partial shade

Water: Water regularly, keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Make sure the soil is dry an inch down before watering. 

Warning Signs:
a. Droopy leaves can be caused by too little water. 
b. Leaves droop and fall without yellowing first means too much cold exposure. Normally, the lowest leaves turn yellow as part of its growth cycle. Brown bottom leaves are normal, snip them off.
c. Brown tips mean uneven watering. Make sure to never let your plant sit in water.
d. Curled, browning leaves means excessive fertilizer application.

It's attractive appearance will bring a smile to your day.

6. Chinese Evergreen 'Spring Snow' 
Scientific Name: Aglaonema

Sixth stop is a native of the tropics and subtropics of Asia. Most of my best unforgettable travels are in Asia. The continent boasts so much beauty. I even made an interview-like post about it with my travel buddy. We talked about our best backpacking travels in Asia and the best memories we had together. What I love about this plant is that it thrives both in low light and even bright lights. For such a beautiful plant it doesn't need that much attention.

Sunlight: Low levels of light

Water: Water regularly, keep the soil moist but not soggy. They said you can water once every few weeks but I water mine after more than a week.

Warning Signs:
Yellow leaves are a bit tricky it could mean not enough water or the plant is getting too much water. 

Also called the "Eternal Plant" as it can survive dry conditions and needs low levels of light.

7. ZZ Plants 
Scientific Name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia 

Seventh stop is a native of the Southern part of Kenya to the northeastern part of South Africa. This is one of the easiest houseplants to take care of in the face of the planet.

Sunlight: Low levels of light, but it's best to avoid direct sunlight. 

Water: Water sparingly, make sure topsoil is dry before watering

Warning Signs:
a. Leaves start to drop off means underwatered.
b. Yellow leaves and falling off means overwatered.

This plant is flexible, you can hang it or have it in a pot.

8. Golden Pothos 
Scientific Name: Epipremnum aureum

Eight stop is a native to the Solomon Islands and some parts of southeast Asia. A pristine island located in the South Pacific. The island's white-sand beaches remind me of the Philippines there's this very small island in Cebu called "Sumilon Island" the island that started this blog of mine.

Sunlight: Loves medium to low indirect light

Water: Once a week and make sure to allow the first inch of potting mix to dry out before watering. This plant thrives better with dry soil than being soaked with water.

Warning Signs: 

a. Leaves turn yellow and drop means overwatered.
b. Wilting leaves mean underwatered.
c. Soft or black stems mean rot or root disease.

Easy to grow and one of the best plants for beginners.

9. Corn Plant 
Scientific Name: Dracaena Fragrans 'Massangeana'

Ninth and last stop is a native to the regions of Africa. My mum calls this plant a "fortune plant" as it's commonly used in the Philippines for Feng Shui purposes. They said you're very lucky if the corn plant produces flowers as it rarely blooms.

Sunlight: Bright but indirect light.

Water: It needs less water than most indoor plants. Make sure to use filtered water as the plant is sensitive to chemicals.

Warning Signs: 
Drooping or yellowing leaves means overwatered or poor drainage.

10. Hunting for my next one. Right now my babies are doing great and I'm keeping my plant hoarding persona in the closet, ahahaa. 

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I'm not an indoor house plant expert but I've learned a lot from my babies. I  want to keep it simple and basic, here are my Houseplant Rules:

1. Keep it out of reach of children and pets. I try to keep in mind all houseplants are poisonous even if they're not, just to keep simple.

2. Well-draining soil needs draining holes. Keep it simple again. Buy pots with drainage holes to avoid overwatering and root rot.

3. Indoor plants need indirect light, they got the name indoor plants for a reason. The leaves get a sunburn if the light is too bright or shines directly on the plant. 

4. Every time you do your house rounds simply rotate the plant regularly. As it will provide adequate sunlight to all sides of the plant and prevent the leaves from reaching towards the light on one side.

5. Make sure to use filtered or purified water. Indoor plants are sensitive to fluoride, which is found in tap water. I used filtered water from our Brita water pitcher, whatever we drink my babies get it too. If you notice dark brown and dead areas with yellow edges on your plant it may indicate fluoride toxicity. I learned my lesson when I watered my peace lily with tap water and I saw the effects instantly the next day.

6. Control yourself human! Overwatering is a common issue with caring for houseplants. Allow the plant top layer soil to dry out between watering. This is the most important thing to remember as overwatering will lead to root rot. 

7. Give your houseplant a quick shower including the leaves to limit the accumulation of dust build-up. Make sure not to leave water in the tray or saucer.

8. Take note that some houseplants are dormant in the winter season and do not need to be watered.  

9. Don't worry too much if your plant bottom leaves begin to turn yellow and fall its part of the growth cycle. Simply remove the drooping leaves as part of your regular routine. 

10. Make sure to remove dead leaves to avoid attracting bugs and promotes growth. Check the leaves as it attracts spider mites, scale, mealybugs, and aphids. 

Have fun and be safe ^__^

Itinerary Reminders:

1. Flight Details
Make sure to write down your booking reference number, be at the airport two hours before your flight, and allocate time for your travel to the airport.

2. Accommodation Details
Write down your hotel/motel/resort/BnB booking number. Contact your place to inform them around when you'll be arriving — it really does help.  Also, ask if your accommodation has any discounted activities.  You'd be surprised!

3a. Transportation
List possible times your bus/train/boat arrives and leaves so you don't miss an activity.  Always give yourself an extra 30-45 minutes in case you get lost, get stuck in traffic, or are looking for parking.  Better early than late.  Of utmost importance: check for the last trip and fares!  So you still have time and money to get back.

3b. Car Rentals
Take note of your pick-up address and time allotted.  Our last car rental told us to bring the car back by a certain time with a certain amount of gas.  Allot money for fuel and parking.

4. Budgeting
Set aside a minimum and maximum spending amount for meals, transportation, entrance fees, activities, souvenirs, and emergencies.  3 meals a day + snacks add up quickly, so keep track!  As well as tips for restaurants and activities.

5. Activities
Call to confirm your booking(s) a day or so beforehand.  Set alarms and/or calendar reminders for things you plan to do (i.e- bungee-jumping, river-rafting, or even city/food tours).

Do you want more adventure?
Check out Europe for 2 weeks: Art Class in Paris, France then getting on a Hot air balloon ride at Siena, Italy, and relaxing by the beach at Amalfi, Coast with a side trip to Rome, Italy before flying back home.

Where am I going next?

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