Thanks so much for subscribing to the Botany Box!
We hope you’ll enjoy each month’s selections as much as we enjoy sending them out to you.
Please note that plants may appear a bit frazzled when you receive them. This is normal, and they should perk up within a couple of weeks when following the care instructions provided in this blog post.
This month’s featured plants are:
Hoya Carnosa, Senecio Stapeliiformis aka Pickle Plant, and Strawberry Begonia
This month’s featured crystal is:
How long does it take for plants to recover from shipping?
Your plant has been shipped in a completely dark box, potentially for days, so tread lightly when you receive it. Wait at least 2 weeks before repotting your houseplant. It’ll give your plant some time to adjust “out of the box” and regain some strength. It’s perfectly OK if your plant loses a few leaves in the process.
Hoya Carnosa is an Asian native plant introduced by Scottish botanist Robert Brown and named in honor of the 18th-century botanist Thomas Hoy. Gardeners today find it a fragrant, low-maintenance tropical flower. They are slow to moderate growers, and should be planted outside in spring or early summer.
The Hoya Carnosa is luckily non-toxic to pets. Just be sure not to let your cat or dog chow down on the leaves – while they’re pet-safe, eating too many can give animals an upset stomach.
Place your Hoya Carnosa plant in a hanging basket where you can admire it from your favorite seat on the deck or porch. Hoya Carnosa plants will cling to a small trellis, providing a vertical accent in your tropical container garden. It would appreciate the humid conditions alongside any pond, fountain, or other water feature in your landscape.
Hoyas thrive best when they get bright, non-direct sunlight.
A well-draining, lightweight soil mix is what Hoyas should be planted in. Too much moisture and the roots will rot.
Hoyas should be watered weekly, and left to let dry completely between waterings.
Temperature and Humidity
As a tropical plant, Hoyas thrive in warm and moist, humid climates.
Hoyas should be fertilized monthly; The International Hoya Association suggests feeding them with a fertilizer that includes nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
When your Hoya plant finishes blooming, leave the flower stalk, as it may produce new flowers. Removing the stalk forces the plant to produce a new stalk, which delays blooming and wastes the plant’s energy.
Senecio Stapeliiformis aka Pickle Plant
Senecio Stapeliiformis [Sen-ek-ee-o, Sta-pel-ee-ih-FORM-iss], also known as a Pickle Plant, is an attractive succulent plant perennial which has distinctive pencil-shaped stems with soft spines and purple-green patterns. This succulent species has reclining to erect stems, which branch out from its rhizomes stem base.
Senecio Stapeliiformis aka Pickle Plant is non-toxic to dogs and cats.
Senecio Stapeliiformis prefer a bright space without direct sunlight. A south facing window may be too bright for this plant however morning sun will not be a problem.
For optimal growth, the Pickle Plant should be placed under full sun to partial shade. Give this plant at least three hours of direct sunlight every day; make sure to place it on a balcony or in a garden when the temperature increases to 50° degrees Fahrenheit or more.
Senecio Stapeliiformis are not too fussy about the pH of soil. They can thrive in a neutral range of pH. However, it is essential to ensure the soil is well-draining and more towards the sandy side. If the soil is left damp for a prolonged period, the pickle plant will start rotting. The ideal mix for this plant is a mixture of pumice, bird sand, and potting soil, or any usual mixes used for succulents and cacti are fine for this plant too. It will also grow in pure pumice.
Once the Pickle Plant has become well established, it is highly drought-tolerant. It still needs water, especially in the summer season. However, you need to make sure its soil doesn’t stay wet for an extended period. In between watering, it is recommended to let the soil dry out during winters. These plants grow in sandy soil, which means nutrients must be replenished.
Temperature and Humidity
The pickle plant prefers warmth throughout the year. It can tolerate cold temperatures up to 50° – 59° degrees Fahrenheit. Frost hardy to 23° degrees Fahrenheit.
It is best to fertilize it lightly as an extra amount of fertilizer annually can result in leggy growth. Feed this plant from spring to fall with cacti and succulent liquid, standard, or organic fertilizer after every four to eight weeks.
The taller the pencil-like stems grow; they tend to start getting floppy, which is a problem if they are in a potted plant. These should be pruned back towards the firmer side of the stem during early spring. If there is a need for repotting, it is best to do it during late spring.
Strawberry Begonias are eye-catching plants native to Asia. As they mature, the plants send out long, thin runners that end in clusters of rounded leaves. When grown indoors and allowed to hang over a sill or edge, they form a very interesting display of hairy, red-hued leaves.
Begonias are considered non-toxic to pets and humans.
Strawberry Begonias can be planted and cared for indoors during any time of the year and will grow rapidly, allowing you to enjoy their beautiful foliage quite quickly. With the right conditions, the plant may even bloom in the spring, but their flowers are rather inconsequential.
They prefer bright—but not direct—sunlight. Typically, an east- or west-facing window is perfect. Be careful of letting your plant get any direct rays of sunlight—they can burn the plant and put holes in its leaves.
Preferably housed in lightweight, fast-draining potting soil. It should be moist, but not stay waterlogged.
These plants are fast growers and like a lot of water during their growing season. As with other hairy-leaved plants, avoid getting water on your Strawberry Begonia’s leaves to reduce the risk of fungal diseases. Water your plant once the top two or three inches of the soil have dried out, and saturate the plant until water runs from the drainage holes in the base. During winter, reduce your watering cadence, but don’t let your plant dry out completely.
Temperature and Humidity
Strawberry Begonia plants prefer to be cool rather than hot; in order for your plant to thrive, aim to keep its surrounding environment between 50 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Your plant will not thrive if it’s hot, so be sure to move your begonia to a cooler space. When it comes to humidity, strawberry begonia plants can thrive in moderate to high humidity, but will not need most average levels increased in the home.
Feed weekly during the growing season with a weak liquid fertilizer that includes micronutrients and encourages blooming. Controlled release fertilizer pellets are also excellent.
Use sharp shears to remove any wilted or dead leaves, which encourages energy to go towards healthy growth.
Yellow Aventurine is a rare variety of Aventurine, which is famous as a green stone but actually comes in every color of the rainbow. Aventurine has a distinctive natural sparkle, an optical affect known as aventurescence, which is caused by trace inclusions of Mica minerals.
It is said to have an exceptional joyful, happy-go-lucky energy that attracts laughter-loving friendships. It invites us to be brave and hopeful and to trust that everything is working out in our favor.
History & Lore
Aventurine was first discovered in the 18th Century. Its name comes from the Italian, “a ventura,” or “all’avventura,” meaning, “by chance.” One day sometime in the 1700’s, a worker accidentally dropped metal filings into a vat of melting glass. When the glass cooled, it was used to make jewelry as it had beautiful, random iridescent sparkles throughout it. The name “aventurine” was later given to the natural stone as it looked like this glass.
Origin & Regionality
This stone is abundant in India, China, Tibet, Brazil, Tanzania, Spain, Austria, Nepal, Italy, Zimbabwe, Chile, and Russia. Yellow Aventurine gets its name from its yellowish hue and its “aventure scence” quality which refers to its ability to reflect.