Most plants grown as indoor plants are found in their natural state in tropical, sub tropical and temperate climates and there are also cool climate plants. An indoor plant is really a shade loving plant which in most cases will not grow in full sun. The climatic region in which you live in will determine which varieties are suitable, and for us in the Sydney region we are fortunate to be able to grow a wide range of subtropical and temperate plants, like ferns, ficus (fig varieties) palms and epiphytes such as orchids.
During the cooler winter months where the temperatures drop to zero or lower, most tropical varieties need to be kept indoors where the night temperature in the home rarely drops below 15 degrees.
As a production nursery, where we grow our plants in climate controlled glasshouses, which are heated in winter and cooled in summer, we choose plants that are tried and proven for our climate, remembering that a lot of varieties are found growing in nature in our forests and rainforests. In the 1970s the varieties of indoor plants available were Begonias such as Cleopatra and Rex, Devils Ivy on totem poles, Ferns like Maiden hair and Boston fern, Ficus creeping fig, Ficus Lyrata, Philodendron Selloum, Schefflera Umbrella trees and many more varieties. Some varieties not indigenous to our area are imported from other countries like Ecuador, Brazil, El Salvador, Indonesia, the Phillipines, New Guinea and many other countries, these are usually imported by enthusiasts requiring an import permit.
As not all varieties do well in glasshouses, we trial grow them to see which are suitable, as some prefer a shade house environment rather than a glasshouse. Good light, adequate water and good air circulation are most important, as is cleanliness of the growing areas.
The popularity of indoor plants varies with time, certain varieties being in high demand at a particular time. In the 42 years as a grower we have seen many varieties making a resurgence, like the Aeschynanthus Lipstick plant, Aphelandra Zebra Plant, Ficus Lyrata, Monstera Adansonii, Begonia Rex, Epipremnum Devils Ivy to name a few. Currently there are a number of plants on the must have list, and in recent times this has been driven by social media like FB and Instagram. Plants in high demand currently are anthurium, aeschynanthus lipstick plant, aphelandra zebra plant, begonias sizemorea Maculata Whiteii Rex & Venosa, Codonanthe Central American bell flower, Chlorophytum Bonnie, Epipremnun Devils Ivy and Neon, Maranta Leuconeura red vein, monstera Adansonii Swiss cheese plant, monstera deliciosa, monstera variegata, monstera Siltepecana El Salvador, Monstera standleyana variegated, pilea Silver sprinkles, Peperomia Sandersii water melon Pep, Philodendron Cordatum heart leaf, Philodendron Golden Heart, Pilea Peperomioides Chinese Money Plant, the many Rhipsalis varieties , the list goes on.
About 90% of our production of indoor plants is grown in house from either division or, leaf or stem cutting. These remain in glasshouses equipped with misting systems, coolers (and heating in the winter months) for an average of 4 to 6 months in trays, depending on the time of year, before we pot then into either 140mm or 175mm pots. Normally we grow them on for another 6 months before they are mature enough to be sold to the retail outlets. On average, from cutting to mature plant the journey could take 12 to 15 months. Some varieties grown from tissue culture like the Aglaonema varieties, Spathiphyllum Madonna Lily, Ficus Lyrata Fiddle Leaf Fig etc are sourced from Queensland, as well as are ferns grown from spore propagation like the adiantum maiden hair fern, Davallia Hares foot fern, Holly fern etc.
We also grow cymbidium orchids, where Gordon has devoted a lifetime (66 years) hybridising these. This is one crop that requires patience as it takes a minimum of 6 years from seed to flower, but 7 years is more the norm. Some cymbidiums showing excellent results as far as growth and flowering habit, are tissue cultured, and every plant is a replica of its parent. These also take about 6 to 7 years to flower.
“Once you purchase plants from Keith Wallace, you will realise how spectacularly healthy plants can truely be…”Layla Sandilands