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Houseplants - Houseplants 3
Find out if a plant likes the heat before placing it close to a radiator.

Houseplants - Houseplants 3

This is the third quiz in the Education Quizzes series on houseplants and it concentrates on seasonal and festive plants. More often than not these are flowering plants that are given as presents at Christmas and other celebratory occassions.

It is usually difficult to persuade a plant to flower for a second time in the home and therefore the emphasis is to keep it in flower for as long as possible before discarding it. Many gardeners will tell you that it is possible to keep a poinsettia in a house and bring it into flower again the next Christmas but I have yet to talk to anyone who has actually done it!

What is the name of this winter-flowering houseplant?
Photograph courtesy of Josemazcona
  • Sometimes known as the Jerusalem cherry, Madeira winter cherry, or simply winter cherry.
  • The fruits are NOT edible - they are poisonous and belong to the nightshade family.
  • The taste of the fruit is said to be not unpleasant so make sure that pets are kept well away from the plants!
  • The red berries will last for many weeks in the house.
  • If you attempt to keep a plant from one year to the next it should be planted outside during the summer and brought in again before the first frosts.
Its full name is solanum capsicastrum
The houseplants that gardeners know as azaleas are known as what by botanists?
Photograph courtesy of Lumiago
  • There are few houseplants that can rival azaleas for profusion of flowers.
  • The cooler you can keep the plants the longer they will last in the home but ensure they don't get frozen.
  • It is imperative that the compost is never allowed to dry out. If this happens the developing buds will go brown and die without opening.
  • The most usual method of watering is to 'dunk' the entire pot in water until the compost is saturated.
  • Avoid getting water on the flowers because they are easily spoiled.
Azaleacea does not exist! Along with rhododendrons both camellia and skimmia are lime-hating plants
Anthuriums are often grown as a houseplant. What is the name by which they are commonly known?
Photograph courtesy of
Cormorant lily
Flamingo lily
Ibis lily
Pelican lily
  • Flowers are usually orange, pink or red.
  • Where a minimum temperature of 15 degrees C can be provided it will keep flowering for several weeks.
  • Tolerates dark conditions better than most flowering plants.
  • When the plants are actively growing make sure they are given a regular weak dose of fertilizer.
  • Keep the leaves clean by dusting or wiping with warm water.
  • Keep outside in a shady place during the summer months.
The plant is not a lily at all!
The plant called wandering jew is known scientifically as what?
Photograph courtesy of
  • Sometimes also known as inch plant.
  • This is the ideal plant to give to someone who does not have 'green fingers'.
  • It is almost impossible to kill!
  • Tiny pink flowers are produced when it is happy.
  • In very dark conditions the leaf colour will become less striking.
  • If the plant becomes leggy it is one of the easiest plants to propagate. Cut off a short length of stem, insert it into compost and it will quickly take root.
The plant illustrated is tradescantia zebrina
This houseplant is sometimes known as the China rose or shoe flower but what is its scientific name?
Photograph courtesy of
  • The plant is the national flower of Malaysia.
  • Flowers are edible and they are used in proprietary hair-care products.
  • Flowers can be many different shades of orange, pink, red, white and yellow.
  • Although each flower is short-lived the plant constantly produces new ones.
  • When kept at about 15 degrees C and given regular weak feeds the plant can be kept flowering for most of the year.
'Paperwhites' are bulbs that are often grown as a winter-flowering houseplant. To which plant genus do they belong?
Photograph courtesy of
  • Unlike most bulbs that are 'forced' into flower early, paperwhites do not require a cold period.
  • They are extremely easy to grow in containers - they don't even require compost!
  • Plant the bulbs in nothing more than stones and fill the container with water up to the base of the bulb.
  • A large drinking glass makes an ideal planter because you can easily see the level of the water.
  • Plant at two week intervals to ensure a continuation throughout the winter.
The poinsettia is named after what?
Photograph courtesy of
An animal
A climate
A person
A region
  • Latin Name: Euphorbia pulcherrima
  • The attraction of the plant is not the flowers but the vividly coloured bracts (leaves) at the top of the plant. The flowers are insignificant - in this photograph they are small and yellow in the centre of the red bracts.
  • Plants with red bracts are the most popular at Christmas but yellow, white and pink are also available.
  • To keep the plant looking good for as long as possible make sure that it is not overwatered or left in a drafty place.
Named after the first USA minister to Mexico - Mr. Joel Roberts Poinsett (the plant grows wild in Mexico and Central America)
Kalanchoes are popular houseplants. How often are they likely to require watering?
Photograph courtesy of Lumiago
Every day
Most days
Two or three times a week
  • Compact plants with tiny flowers in shades of orange, pink, red and yellow.
  • Frequently seen in mixed planted containers used as gifts at Christmas and Easter.
  • The plants do best where a temperature of 15 degrees C can be maintained.
  • Keep in a sunny position if possible.
  • Kalanchoes are known as 'short day plants'. This means that commercial growers can make them flower at any time of year by blacking out their glasshouses so that the plants get a reduced period of daylight each day.
Kalanchoes are succulent plants and as such they can go long periods without water
These succulent plants are often kept together in groups in the house. What is the plural of cactus?
Photograph courtesy of Stickpen
  • These plants come in a bewildering range of forms and sizes.
  • In the wild the smallest ones grow to only a few centimetres high whilst the largest can grow to nearly 20 metres.
  • Some varieties have magnificent flowers but they are usually very short lived - sometimes less than a day!
  • It is very difficult to kill a cactus in the home through lack of water but countless thousands are killed every year because of too much water.
How many different species of orchid are documented?
Photograph courtesy of
Less than 100
Between 100 and 1,000
Between 1,000 and 5,000
Over 20,000
  • Orchids are found in virtually every country on earth.
  • Did you know that vanilla flavouring is produced from the dried seed pods of an orchid variety?
  • The genus illustrated is cattleya - it is often used as a houseplant.
  • Cattleya is a large flowering orchid with individual flowers up to 15 cm across.
  • The plants are not as delicate as they look and they will withstand temperatures down to near freezing.
  • Keep in a cool place to ensure that the flowers last as long as possible.
Orchids are believed to be the largest family of flowering plants

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