Episodes

  • Phalaenopsis orchids are the most ubiquitous of flowering houseplants: love them or hate them, you can’t escape their good qualities, from their ability to survive in the home to the longlasting flowers. In this episode I gather the best care tips for your moth orchids, decode all the Phalaenopsis jargon and find out whether you really do need to water these plants with ice cubes (spoiler alert: the answer is no).

    In this episode I find out how to look after moth orchids properly from watering to repotting with Raffaele Di Lallo, take a visit Double H Nurseries, the huge orchid nursery on the south coast in England, to find out about the latest developments in orchid breeding, and offer up an extended Q&A with orchid expert Susanne Masters.

    Visit janeperrone.com for full show notes

  • Darryl Cheng - timelapse photographer extraordinaire, Instagram maven and houseplant doctor - is my guest this week.

    We discuss everything from why instructions to grow a plant in ‘bright indirect light’ doesn’t really help houseplant growers to the dangers of anthropomorphising plants. Follow Darryl on Instagram and Twitter and support his Patreon here, and read the full show notes for this episode at janeperrone.com.

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  • Palms are one of the most enduringly popular houseplants: stars of the Victorian glasshouse, darlings of the art deco hotel dining room and now denizens of terrariums and terraces alike. This week's episode looks at some of the most commonly available palms to grow as houseplants, finds out how to look after them, and investigates some of the more unusual members of the clan. My guest, botanist Scott Zona, is a Miami, Florida-based palm expert: you can find him on Twitter as @Scott_Zona.

    And I answer a listener question about a cactus that's refusing to produce new prickles, with the help of British Cactus and Succulent Societypresident Colin Walker (who I interviewed back in episode 59).

    Visit janeperrone.com for full show notes.

  • 'Campfire' ... 'Spiced Curry' ... 'Alabama Sunset' ... 'Dipt in Wine' ... no, I am not reminiscing about my summer holiday, I am of course talking about varieties of the fantastic plant that is the Coleus. I was once rather dismissive of these plants, but in recent years I've come to realise how wrong I was. Dr Hessayon calls Coleus 'the poor man's Croton' and he's right - they are a lot cheaper and easier to grow! They come in a fascinating range of shapes and colours, from 'Dark Chocolate' to 'Pink Chaos'.

    Many people treat them as annuals, and they are cheap and easy to grow enough that there's no shame in this approach, but it's also possible to overwinter your Coleus going over winter. I sowed a packet of 'Rainbow Mix' Coleus seed as part of this spring's On The Ledge sowalong and it's further cemented my love of this plant family.

    I talked to Kelly Norris, director of horticulture and education at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, about the garden's incredible Coleus collection, find out why Coleus goes under so many different names including Solenostemon and Plectranthus, and discuss how to overwinter Coleus indoors. Visit janeperrone.com for full show notes.

  • Leslie Halleck's book Gardening Under Lights (published by Timber Press) is a really welcome book for those of us who haven't fully dipped our toes into the confusing world of artificial light for our plants.

    In this episode, I find out about what kind of light houseplants need, investigate the pros and cons of the difference types from LECs to LEDs and beyond, and discuss how cannabis growing fits into the picture.

    I also find out whether you need to invest in a light meter, whether IKEA's LED offering is worth a look, and whether it's possible to buy a non-ugly growlight!

    Visit janeperrone.com for full show notes.

  • Colin Walker has been growing succulents for 50 years, and he just happens to be the president of the British Cactus and Succulent Society. I interviewed him this week to find out about his two specialisms, Aloes and Agaves, and also found out about his penchant for putting succulents in odd containers such as teapots - and why cat litter can help with your succulent propagation (as long as you get the right type). Visit my show notes at janeperrone.com for full details of this episode.

  • Ferns. Love them, hate them, want them to go away and stop taunting you with their crispy leaves? This week I am attempting to give serial fern killers hope by discussing some tips and tricks to keep ferns happy, interviewing someone who's got their fern game sorted, and naming some of the species I find just that bit easier to keep alive.

    Visit janeperrone.com for full show notes.

  • I've come to a bit of a standstill this week: I don't know if it's the heatwave the UK has been going through, the pressure of making a weekly podcast or England's exit from the World Cup, but it's left me feeling rather weary.

    So I thought I'd dedicate this episode to some really quick and easy projects for indoor growers that take two to five minutes to complete, and (mostly) use items that you may well have in your storecupboard, or can be bought from your local market. It's nice to plan out and complete complex, high-maintenance indoor gardening, as per James Wong's brilliant projects in the last two episodes, but sometimes it's great to do something that's what I call a 'quick win'.

    Visit Janeperrone.com for full show notes.

  • I had so much fun and fascinating stuff to chat about with expert botanist and houseplant maverick James Wong that I am bringing you another chunk of our chat this week. If you haven't yet listened to part one of my visit to James Wong's flat, please do so before you click play on this. The show notes at janeperrone.com will fill you in on all the plants, shops and products we discuss in the episode, so please do check them out as you listen.

  • British-Malaysian botanist James Wong is sparking a one-man houseplant revolution. With no outside space to garden, for the last 18 months James has been focusing all his horticultural energies into many fascinating plant experiments inside his small London flat.

    If you follow James on social media where he's @botanygeek, you can't fail to have seen some of the results of his efforts, from a nano pond made from a glass fruit bowl that garnered 125,000 likes to terrariums no bigger than a lightbulb. If you've ever wondered how he made a coffee table terrarium of a mini green wall in a display unit, or where he sources his tiny aquarium plants from, wonder no longer, because this week's episode has all the answers for you.

    If you haven't come across James before, he's got an impressive CV that includes presenting on BBC TV's Countryfile and being an expert panellist on BBC Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time, writing numerous books - the latest one is called How To Eat Better - and of course his column for the Observer magazine. His homepage is here if you want to find out more.

    I first interviewed James last year back in On The Ledge episode 13, but when I bumped into him at the Chelsea flower show this year, he invited me to take a look at his houseplants in person so I could share all his tips and tricks with all of you. Hurrah!

    Oh, and I got two for the price of one, because you'll hear another voice in the interview, and that's garden designer and fellow London-based plant genius Rob Stacewicz (he's on @RS_MCIHort) . And YOU get two for the price of one, because next week's show will feature more of my chat with James, including the secrets of his nano pond and his top tips for keeping fussy houseplants happy.

    Please visit janeperrone.com for the full show notes, including all the suppliers and plant names that come up in this episode.

  • Regular listeners to On The Ledge podcast will have heard me waffle on many times about how much I love Streptocarpus. The name may be easily confused with a throat infection (it actually refers to the plant's twisted seedpod) but this genus is an under-appreciated gem of the houseplant world.

    It's a member of a wider family called the Gesneriads, which also includes the African violets, the Achimenes (aka hot water plants), Sinningia, Primulina (aka Chirita), Columnea, Episcia (aka flame violet), Petrocosmea and Kohleria.

    I speak to Dale Martens of the Gesneriad Society to find out everything from what to pot them in to why breeding your own Streptocarpus may just involve a trip to the dentist (really).

    Visit janeperrone.com for full show notes.

  • Behind an unassuming bungalow near Poole in Dorset, Mike Clifford's garden may measure up to just 65ft long, but it's absolutely packed full of wonderful plants, both in greenhouses and outside.

    Mike - @mikesrareplants on Twitter - is a huge fan of all kinds of tropical plants, but he's got a particular penchant for big-leaved plants such as the tree dandelion (yes there is such a thing) and the tree fern. I was privileged to get a tour of Mike's garden and greenhouses, meeting everything from his huge American pitcher plants to his iridescent begonia species.

    You can hear my tour of his unheated and heated greenhouses in this episode; if you'd like to hear Mike talking about his outdoor plants, you'll need to be a Patreon subscriber, donating $5 or more a month to On The Ledge. That way you'll unlock extra content a well as helping to support the show.

    (Like the sound of this plot? Mike's garden is being thrown open to visitors for a few days in July and August - visit the National Garden Scheme website for times and details.)

    Below is a list of all the plants we talk about: do take a look at the images of Mike's plants below as you listen.

    Dionaea 'Great White' Arisaema Sarracenia flava 'Strained' Begonia maculata Begonia bipinnatifida Begonia sizemoreae (pictured left) Begonia fusca Begonia pavonina - iridescent begonia Nepenthes robcantleyi Epiphyllum Impatiens parishii Elaphoglossum crinitum Polypodium formosanum Manihot grahamii.

    If you're intrigued about how to propagate begonias, there are various different techniques that can be used for different kinds of this plant - cane, rhizomatous and so on. There is good advice on begonia propagation on the American Begonia Society website, and a step-by-step guide to begonia leaf propagation (for Rex begonias and the like) is worth looking at on the excellent houseplant blog Plants Are The Strangest People.

    Question of the week

    @thegardeningengineer asked whether I could suggest a precautionary pest treatment for a new houseplant that was looking a bit peaky. My advice was that the best way of making sure that houseplants don't fall prey to pests is to make sure that they are healthy, because most pests target plants that are already showing some sort of weakness. It's not wise to treat a plant with soap sprays and the like unless you know there's an existing pest problem, as these substances aren't great for the plant so should only be applied when absolutely necessary.

    Want to ask me a question? Tweet @janeperrone, leave a message on my Facebook page or email ontheledgepodcast@gmail.com.

    Are you supporting On The Ledge on Patreon yet?

    If you like the idea of supporting On The Ledge on a regular basis but don't know what Patreon's all about, check out the FAQ here: if you still have questions, leave a comment or email me - ontheledgepodcast@gmail.com. If you're already supporting others via Patreon, just click here to set up your rewards!

    For those who prefer to make a one-off donation, you can still buy me a coffee! A donation of just £3 helps keep On The Ledge going: helping to pay for me to travel to interviews, and for expenses like website hosting and audio equipment. Don't forget to join the Facebook page for news of what's coming up on the show and bonus blogposts!

    If you prefer to support the show in other ways, please do go and rate and review On The Ledge on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you listen. It's lovely to read your kind comments, and it really helps new listeners to find the show.

    On The Ledge talks, live show and houseplant chats

    I am going to be at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show on the afternoon of July 4 giving talks on houseplants in the roses theatre at 1pm and 4pm - do join me if you can. And on the evening of Friday October 26 I'll be bringing a live show of On The Ledge to the RHS London Urban Garden show, with special guests including Alys Fowler and all kinds of leafy fun! Put those dates in your diary NOW!

    Credits

    This week's show featured Roll Jordan Roll by the Joy Drops, Hot Lips by Bill Brown and HIs Brownies, An Instrument the Boy Called Happy Day Gokarna by Samuel Corwin, and Overthrown by Josh Woodward, all licensed under Creative Commons.

  • Buying plants online is ridiculously easy - a few clicks and some fancy foliage plant or flowery specimen is on its way to you in the post. But it's a process that's fraught with potential problems. I recently did an interview for the BBC* about problems with online garden centres, but it was such a short chat that I really didn't get the chance to give many of the tips and suggestions I have up my sleeve, so I thought it was a good time to return to the subject here on On The Ledge.

    In this episode I offer up my tips for buying online and plant swaps by post. I also chat to Paul Holt (@greenwizzard on Instagram), creative director of N1 and W6 garden centres in London, to get some tips on what to do when you visit a plant shop in person.

    *You can listen to my interview for BBC Radio 4's You & Yours consumer programme here - scroll down to 'online chapters' and select 'online gardening' to skip to the right segment.

    Want to hear me talking about gardening more generally?

    Listen to my two-part interview with US gardening podcast Verdant North here and here. And you can listen to my other podcast recommendation, Sharp, here.

    Perrone's rules of plant ordering online

    1. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is

    Amazing deals do come up online, but generally you do get what you pay for, so if you see that Philodendron 'Pink Princess' for $5, do think before you jump, because rare plants don't come cheap. Be extra suspicious and check everything out very carefully before you buy.

    2. What you see isn't always what you get

    It's easy to be wowed by pictures of houseplants, but ask yourself, are the pictures showing the actual size of plants delivered? Some sellers will put up pictures of a plant that's the eventual size of the plant you have ordered, rather than the size it will arrive at your door. Look for information about pot size, plant height and so on: good sellers should make it abundantly clear whether the picture next to a description is the actual plant you are buying or not. If it's a cutting, are you buying rooted or unrooted? Will the plant be sent still in the pot or bareroot? All of these factors should influence the price you are paying. If it's not clear to you from the website, ask the seller - a good seller should be upfront about all this.

    3. Check the courier

    Many houseplant sellers fall down not because of anything they have done wrong, but because the delivery company they employ to get your plants to you is unreliable. Check what company your seller uses, and investigate their reputation online. Steer clear of couriers who have poor reviews that talk of parcels being flung over fences. When buying multiple plants, make sure you know whether you'll pay a flat delivery fee for all of them, or an individual fee per plant - this can add considerably to your bill!

    4. Be extra-cautious when buying from overseas

    Sometimes the only place to get hold of more choice varieties is a supplier outside your home country, but think carefully before proceeding on this one. Delivery costs can be sky-high, delivery slow, and there can be unexpected roadblocks like phytosanitary certificates and customs charges. Always choose a seller that has lots of experience selling overseas.

    5. Reward great service with a five-star review

    The best plant sellers build their reputation on excellent customer service, so if you have had a good experience with a particular company, spread the word online and offline.

    And what about online plant swaps?

    There are many groups on Facebook and elsewhere that are forums for those who want to swap houseplants, and it's a great way to expand your collection at low cost. That said, you have to have something to swap in the first place, so it can be hard before your collection really gets going. Bear in mind that not all swaps will be a good 'fit', so if someone doesn't want what you are offering, don't get grouchy, just find someone who does!

    Once a deal has been agreed, keep your communications timely, polite and clear - let the other person know how and when their plant will be dispatched and hopefully you'll get the same information from you. If things do go wrong, try to resolve things calmly rather than going off the deep end - bear in mind that delivery services are not always reliable, and sometimes life gets in the way of plants! If you have an issue with a swapper, get in touch with the admin on the relevant group. Personally I'd avoid 'naming and shaming' posts as I just don't think they are helpful.

    We're discussing online plant buying and swapping etiquette and tips over on the Houseplant fans of On The Ledge Facebook group - please do join if you haven't already and add your thoughts!

    And finally, if you've got a plant seller you think deserves a mention in my houseplant buying guides for the UK and the US, please let me know in the comments below, or drop me a line to ontheledgepodcast@gmail.com.

    Question of the week

    Audrey has a problem with a poorly Syngonium, aka goosefoot plant with browning leaves. This could be a symptom of many things, but if the leaf tips and edges are browning it's probably a sign of dry air. Syngoniums are, after all, close relatives of the Philodendron, that lover of moist air. I suggest popping the plant in a clear plastic bag for a few days to help pep it up.

    Want to ask me a question? Tweet @janeperrone, leave a message on my Facebook page or email ontheledgepodcast@gmail.com.

    Are you supporting On The Ledge on Patreon yet?

    If you like the idea of supporting On The Ledge on a regular basis but don't know what Patreon's all about, check out the FAQ here: if you still have questions, leave a comment or email me - ontheledgepodcast@gmail.com. If you're already supporting others via Patreon, just click here to set up your rewards!

    For those who prefer to make a one-off donation, you can still buy me a coffee! A donation of just £3 helps keep On The Ledge going: helping to pay for me to travel to interviews, and for expenses like website hosting and audio equipment. Don't forget to join the Facebook page for news of what's coming up on the show and bonus blogposts!

    If you prefer to support the show in other ways, please do go and rate and review On The Ledge on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you listen. It's lovely to read your kind comments, and it really helps new listeners to find the show.

    On The Ledge talks, live show and houseplant chats

    I'll be making an appearance at Gardeners' World Live in Birmingham this month. The show is on for four days (June 14 to 17) but I am *only* appearing next Thursday - June 14 - on the Blooming Interiors stage - check out the schedule here. I will, with any luck, be wearing my brand new On The Ledge t shirt so I should be easy to spot the OTL logo!

    I am also going to be at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show on the afternoon of July 4 giving talks on houseplants in the roses theatre - do join me if you can. And on the evening of Friday October 26 I'll be bringing a live show of On The Ledge to the RHS London Urban Garden show, with special guests including Alys Fowler and all kinds of leafy fun! Put those dates in your diary NOW!

    Credits

    This week's show featured Roll Jordan Roll by the Joy Drops, Hot Lips by Bill Brown and HIs Brownies, An Instrument the Boy Called Happy Day Gokarna by Samuel Corwin, and Overthrown by Josh Woodward, all licensed under Creative Commons.

  • This week's episode sounds a little bit different - as it's half term and I have a relative staying who is sleeping in my office where I usually record the podcast, I headed out to the potting shed for the intro and Q&A. I hope you enjoy the early morning background noise of birds singing!

    Matthew Biggs (@plantmadman on Twitter) is a legendary British gardener, writer and broadcaster, and delightfully for On The Ledge, he's also a big fan of indoor gardening too: he even wrote a book called What Houseplant Where with another legendary plantsman, Roy Lancaster. I ordered a copy which arrived a couple of days back after my interview with Matt, and having flicked through I'd say it's a useful addition to anyone's houseplant book collection.

    Here's a list of a few of the plants and people we mention, in case you didn't catch them:

    If you've never heard the BBC Radio programme Gardeners' Question Time, have a listen. This is their recent episode from Chelsea. Aphelandra squarrosa (zebra plant) Gloxinia Euphorbia milii (crown of thorns) The legendary Japanese plant hunter Matt mentions is Mikinori Ogisu - there isn't much in English on the net about him, but here's a piece by Roy Lancaster that gives him a mention. Here's the Chelsea piece I mention, including my recommendation for (outdoor) Euphorbias that was condemned by some readers. Here's a list of Matthew's gardening books of recent years.

    I talk to Matt about finding the right spot for your houseplant, why Gloxinias are the Barbara Cartland of the houseplant world, and what we'll be getting up to on the Blooming Interiors stage at Gardeners' World Live on June 14.

    Question of the week

    Listener Mary Beaton is worried that her Phalaenopsis orchid has red edges to the leaves: I suspect that this is due to the plant getting a bit too much light, and suggest moving it to a north or east-facing window.

    Moth orchids can also show leaf stress from too much light by turning yellow, although this can also be an indicator of overwatering, too. The rule with Phalaenopsis is - if in doubt, don't water! And don't fall for the old saw about watering with ice cubes as this can shock the plant. Room temperature water is far better.

    Want to ask me a question? Tweet @janeperrone, leave a message on my Facebook page or email ontheledgepodcast@gmail.com.

  • The Chelsea flower show is the world's most famous gardening event, but houseplants are starting to make big inroads into this fixture in the horticultural calendar. I visited the show to check out the indoor gardening displays in the Great Pavilion, and met up with friend of the show Alys Fowler. Here's a summary of all my Chelsea interviews:

    Ian Drummond of Indoor Garden Design shows me around the stand he put together in partnership with houseplant mega-seller IKEA: I find out how easy it is to grow Sansevieria in water and why plants in the office are good for you. Alys Fowler and I cover everything from the dearth of peat-free houseplant compost, the difference between perlite and vermiculite, and how to keep a Begonia luxurians alive. Jo Jackson of Ottershaw Cacti gives me a tour of the delightful display of succulents, including Beaucarnea recurvata, Senecio rowleyanus, Haworthia truncata, Ceropegia linearis subsp. woodii and Echeveria 'Compton Carousel'. Follow them on Instragram as @cacti_dan. Robbie Blackhall-Miles (who you'll remember from On The Ledge's bathroom plants episode) introduces me to the world of Aspidistras beyond A. elatior at the Crug Farm Plants stand, including the unmistakeable A. 'Uan Fat Lady' (pictured below). Robbie also recommends trying Oreopanax from Crug Farm as a big bold houseplant for spots with limited light. Every Picture Tells A Story is a nursery specialising in bromeliads including air plants, Vriesias, Neoregelias and more. Julia Carder explains how to look after these intriguing members of the houseplant world.

    Visit janeperrone.com for full show notes and images.

  • Whether you're a hashtag natural or tend to get your #Monsteramonday mixed up with #philodendronfriday, Instagram is a bit of a jungle for houseplant lovers: fun to negotiate but sometimes rather confusing. I talk to Kimberley Aston aka @kingstreetjungle, who's a houseplant lover of the Instagram generation, and one of the faces behind smash hit accounts @philomemedron and @therealhouseplantsof_ig. We discuss how to get the best out of hashtags, how to take great photos of your plants, why real houseplant photos should show the unvarnished truth about your plants, and more.

    Here's a guide to some of the things we talk about in this episode so you can read on and click through as you listen...

    We talk about the range of hashtags to use with houseplants, including #Monsteramonday, #philodendronfriday, #glasshouses and #aspidistraaddict and Kimberley explains why it's useful to follow hashtags on Instagram - here's how. I mention some of my new Peperomias including P. maculosa, P. bangroana and P. prostrata. I single out the Aglaeonema picta tricolor meme and the plant knowledge meme on @philomemedron. Kimberley singles out Epiphyllum chrysocardium as a plant on her wishlist - check it out on Instagram. She also names some of her favourite IG accounts including @jamiesjungle, @foxhollowfarmer and @botanygeek. I would also recommend these Instagram accounts to follow - @plantsandcollecting, @arapisarda and @warsawjungle: have a look at this piece I wrote for Gardenista for more suggestions. How to support On The Ledge

    If you like the idea of supporting On The Ledge on a regular basis but don't know what Patreon's all about, check out the FAQ here: if you still have questions, leave a comment or email me - ontheledgepodcast@gmail.com. If you're already supporting others via Patreon, just click here to set up your rewards!

    For those who prefer to make a one-off donation, you can still buy me a coffee! A donation of just £3 helps keep On The Ledge going: helping to pay for me to travel to interviews, and for expenses like website hosting and audio equipment. Don't forget to join the Facebook page for news of what's coming up on the show and bonus blogposts!

    If you prefer to support the show in other ways, please do go and rate and review On The Ledge on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you listen. It's lovely to read your kind comments, and it really helps new listeners to find the show.

    On The Ledge talks, live show and houseplant chats

    I'll be making an appearance at Gardeners' World Live in Birmingham on June 14 on the Blooming Interiors stage - check out the schedule here, and stay tuned as I'll have a ticket giveaway coming up in the next few weeks.

    I am also going to be at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show on the afternoon of July 4 giving talks on houseplants in the roses theatre - do join me if you can. And on the evening of Friday October 26 I'll be bringing a live show of On The Ledge to the RHS London Urban Garden show, with special guests including Alys Fowler and all kinds of leafy fun! Put those dates in your diary NOW!

    Credits

    This week's show featured Roll Jordan Roll by the Joy Drops, An Instrument the Boy Called Happy Day Gokarna by Samuel Corwin, and Oh Mallory by Josh Woodward, all licensed under Creative Commons.

  • One of the best ways of learning how to care about your houseplants is to find out more about how they live in their native habitats. If you can't go and visit them in the wild, a trip to a botanic garden such as Kew in London is the next best thing. The Temperate House at Kew is a huge Victorian glasshouse that's home to thousands of plants from temperate climes, including many plants you'd recognise from your collections.

    The Temperate House reopened to the public last week after a five-year restoration programme, so I went along to see the transformation. In this episode you'll hear me getting excited about a gully of tree ferns, an interview with Temperate House horticulturist and houseplant fan Jess Snowball, and more. Below are some links to help you find out more...

    Read the Guardian's story about the reopening of the Temperate House, read the paper's architecture correspondent Oliver Wainwright's piece on the architecture of the building and see a gallery of images. Watch this video from Kew about the history of the Temperate House, including how it looked before the restoration. Read about Australian tree ferns on the Kew Gardens website. Follow Temperate House horticulturist Jess Snowball on Instagram. Read about the 'lonely plant' Wood's cycad on the Kew Gardens website. See an image of the Chilean wine palm (Jubaea chilensis) that was touching the roof at the Temperate House before the restoration, and find out more about this palm here. Find out more about the two plants from St Helena that I mention in this episode: Trochetiopsis ebenusand Trochetiopsis erythoxylon.

    Just before I left Kew, I bumped into the legendary plantsman and Kew horticulturist Carlos Magdalena, whose book The Plant Messiah is a wonderful read. Tragically my sound recorder gave up the ghost after just five minutes so I didn't manage to get all of our chat on tape, but if you want to hear what I did manage to salvage of my interview with Carlos, become a Ledge-end by pledging $5 or more a month to On The Ledge via Patreon. Click here for details.

    Also on Patreon right now is a new episode of On The Ledge: An Extra Leaf, my subscription-only series for Patreon subscribers. You can hear an extract from my chat with aroid expert Dave The Plant Guy aka Dave Janas about mystery Monsteras in this episode to whet your appetite.

    Question of the week

    Pam wanted to know whether she can keep a plant happy in its pot and not have to upsize it. She writes: "For instance, I have a bird's nest fern that I love on my desk in it's pink pot but know that it could use a new, larger home. Can I simply cut the roots back, give a dirt refresh and keep it in the current pot? Or, will it get depressed on me and die off?" I advise that as bird's nest fern is an epiphyte, it doesn't have a big rootball so will probably be ok in the same pot for several years: another option for houseplants that aren't epiphytes (or epiphytes that really have got too big or their container) is root pruning or top dressing. There's a good piece on root pruning in this New York Times piece and the Laidback Gardener has a good post on topdressing.

    Want to ask me a question? Tweet @janeperrone, leave a message on my Facebook page or email ontheledgepodcast@gmail.com.

    How to support On The Ledge

    If you like the idea of supporting On The Ledge on a regular basis but don't know what Patreon's all about, check out the FAQ here: if you still have questions, leave a comment or email me - ontheledgepodcast@gmail.com. If you're already supporting others via Patreon, just click here to set up your rewards!

    For those who prefer to make a one-off donation, you can still buy me a coffee! A donation of just £3 helps keep On The Ledge going: helping to pay for me to travel to interviews, and for expenses like website hosting and audio equipment. Don't forget to join the Facebook page for news of what's coming up on the show and bonus blogposts!

    If you prefer to support the show in other ways, please do go and rate and review On The Ledge on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you listen. It's lovely to read your kind comments, and it really helps new listeners to find the show.

    On The Ledge talks, live show and houseplant chats

    I'll be making an appearance at Gardeners' World Live in Birmingham on June 14 on the Blooming Interiors stage - check out the schedule here, and stay tuned as I'll have a ticket giveaway coming up in the next few weeks.

    I am also going to be at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show on the afternoon of July 4 giving talks on houseplants in the roses theatre - do join me if you can. And on the evening of Friday October 26 I'll be bringing a live show of On The Ledge to the RHS London Urban Garden show, with special guests including Alys Fowler and all kinds of leafy fun! Put those dates in your diary NOW!

    Credits

    This week's show featured Roll Jordan Roll by the Joy Drops, An Instrument the Boy Called Happy Day Gokarna by Samuel Corwin, and Oh Mallory by Josh Woodward, all licensed under Creative Commons.

  • One of the many satisfying things about succulents is just how easy they are to propagate: this week I take a look at how to propagate succulents from existing plant material, aka cuttings (take a listen back to On The Ledge episode 36 for information on sowing from seed).

    Most succulents can be propagated from cuttings, but it's useful to know which species need to be propagated from stem cuttings, and which can be propagated from leaf cuttings. Adromischus, Crassula, Echeveria, Haworthia, Sedums, epiphytic cacti such as Epiphyllum can be propagated from a single leaf: Senecios such as string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) and spear head (Senecio kleiniiformis) need to be propagated with a piece of stem attached.

    Whether you are propagating from leaf or stem, the key advice is to give the plant material a few days on a tile or somewhere dry so that the cut end can callus over: only then will it be ready to put out roots. When removing leaves, make sure you remove all the leaf, as the meristematic cells at the base of the leaf (where it joins the stem) are essential in kickstarting root production. It doesn't matter if you leave them a bit longer than that, and if you do you may even find baby plants start forming before you have a chance to do anything else! Once this stage is done, your leaves can be laid on damp gritty growing medium or kitchen paper and left to start growing. Once they are in growth, you can then nestle the leaves into the surface of the growing medium so the roots can start to attach. The starter leaf will gradually die off as the baby plant grows.

    If you have an Echeveria that hasn't had enough light over winter, you can carry out drastic surgery but cutting off the top and treating it as a stem cutting - as I did for the Echeveria on the left here. Stem cuttings can be placed straight into gritty compost; they shouldn't need covering with a clear plastic bag like other cuttings as this may cause them to rot.

    You can also propagate many succulents by division: removing offsets or pups growing around the base of the parent plant on Haworthias, Aloes, Gasterias and so on. Take the whole plant out of the pot and tease away the babies, taking any new roots with them. Pot these straight up into gritty growing medium if they have roots: if not, performing the callusing procedure above first before potting on.

    Grafting is the next level of succulent propagation: the process of joining together a "stock" plant (the bottom bit with the roots) to a scion (the top bit). I am hoping to cover this in detail in a future show, but if you are curious, check out these resources:

    What are grafted cacti? - World of Succulents How to graft cacti - Sunday Gardener Additional techniques for grafting cacti - Baetanical Root stock suggestions - Kada's Garden Question of the week

    Nicole wanted to know what to do about her jade plant (Crassula ovata) that had developed a split in the thick bark, and a branch coming out of it. I suggested she remove and propagate the branch, but not worry too much about the split, which seems to be healing over anyway - these are tough plants!

    Meanwhile Sophie wanted suggestions for the shelf above the bed. After a cautionary tale about my own shelf-above-the-bed disaster, I recommended members of the Peperomia family, including Peperomia polybotrya 'Raindrop', P. prostrata and P. caperata.

    Want to ask me a question? Tweet @janeperrone, leave a message on my Facebook page or email ontheledgepodcast@gmail.com.

    On The Ledge joins Patreon

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    On The Ledge talks, live show and houseplant chats

    I'll be making an appearance at Gardeners' World Live in Birmingham on June 14 on the Blooming Interiors stage - check out the schedule here, and stay tuned as I'll have a ticket giveaway coming up in the next few weeks.

    I am also going to be at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show on the afternoon of July 4 giving talks on houseplants in the roses theatre - do join me if you can. And on the evening of Friday October 26 I'll be bringing a live show of On The Ledge to the RHS London Urban Garden show, with special guests including Alys Fowler and all kinds of leafy fun! Put those dates in your diary NOW!

    Credits

    This week's show featured Roll Jordan Roll by the Joy Drops, An Instrument the Boy Called Happy Day Gokarna by Samuel Corwin, and Oh Mallory by Josh Woodward, all licensed under Creative Commons.