Thursday, November 11, 2010

NYT " Hard To Kill: Houseplants for the Inept"

I am pleased to share with you that Mike Rimland of Costa Farms was part of an article in The New York Times Home and Garden section by Michael Tortorello! At the Garden Media Group we ring bells when our hard work pays off - so I hope you can hear the bells ringing where you are!

To read the entire New York Times article - click here.

Mike Rimland

THE DIRT As director of business development for Costa Farms, an international wholesale nursery, Mr. Rimland, 54, racks up more than 100,000 frequent-flier miles a year finding hardy new plants to sell.

DIGS Mr. Rimland previously helped lead Costa Farms’s three-acre research-and-development greenhouse in Miami. He continues to run trials there on some 5,000 plants, representing 200-plus varieties. (Though he has helped to introduce dozens of commercial plant varieties, his recommendations below are widely grown cultivars.)

MOTH ORCHID (PHALAENOPSIS) The colors and cultivars of these popular orchids may outnumber iPhone apps. The cultivar called Baldan’s Kaleidoscope is yellow with red stripes (“I’m horrible at naming colors,” Mr. Rimland said); amabilis resembles a clean white kimono. Though some consumers think of these gift-plants as disposable, with enough sunlight they will flower again and may ultimately span two or three feet. “You could keep it forever — 10, 20, 30 years,” Mr. Rimland said.

PEACE LILY (SPATHIPHYLLUM) Growing a peace lily for its “dark shiny leaves” might be like listening to Rufus Wainwright for the bass line. What sells this plant, be it desktop-size or six feet tall, is the cup-shaped white flower with the studded stamen. From a commercial standpoint, Mr. Rimland said, “If it didn’t have those flowers, it probably wouldn’t exist.”

PONYTAIL PALM (BEAUCARNEA RECURVATA) Name aside, this native of arid Central America isn’t a true palm, Mr. Rimland said. And the burst of long, thin leaves on top looks less like Charo than Rod Stewart (in his “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” years). In any event, this plant is no diva, subsisting on weak light and occasional watering. “There’s not a lot you need to do to it,” Mr. Rimland said.

MALAYSIAN DRACAENA (PLEOMELE REFLEXA) With its thin, upright trunk and tangle of shiny green foliage on top, this Pleomele resembles a pompom noisemaker from New Year’s Eve. In the winter warmth of Florida, Mr. Rimland said, plant growers “look for the reds and the purples.” But the “consumer in Boston or Minnesota, stuck inside, really likes to see green.”

★ SAGO PALM (CYCAS REVOLUTA) “You could drive a truck over it, and you couldn’t kill it,” Mr. Rimland said. Do we hear a challenge?

TRY THIS AT HOME Many gardeners will install a light-loving plant in an east- or west-facing window. But they may not place it close enough to the glass, Mr. Rimland said. One way to gauge the intensity of the sun is to conduct a kind of Groundhog Day test. If you put out a hand and see a shadow, “you have good light,” he said.

Costa Farms has great information available online. Visit if you have an orchid and want some tips! I think I want to pick up a Sago Palm ! Which do you want to try? Leave your comments below! Kathleen :) Garden Media Group

No comments: