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Dry, medium, wet ... each house plant gets just the watering it needs.

Dry, medium, wet . . . each house plant gets just the watering it needs

Like works of art, indoor plants are usually bought to stand alone and live out their lives in separate containers. That makes watering easy: thirsty plants and succulents, watered individually, get exactly as much as they need.

But it's not so easy when you combine different plants in the same soil mix. The planter pictured here contains plants with three varied water requirements, which are taken care of by using different containers and watering methods.

Dry. The bottle palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) likes it dry, so it grows in a 16-inch clay pot nested in an 18-inch fiberglass one. Both pots have holes for drainage, and gravel fills in between the two. Sunk to their rims in the soil, the pots are all but invisible. This plant is hand-watered as needed.

Medium. Dracaena marginata is easy to grow--as long as you don't give it too little or too much water. In this planter, it sits in a 17-inch self-watering container sunk to its rim in the soil. The container is refilled with water about once a month.

Wet. Spathiphyllum (S. "Mauna Loa' and S. wallisii grow here) and creeping fig (Ficus pumila or F. repens) like lots of water, and Dracaena deremensis "Janet Craig' can tolerate it. All grow together in the open soil, which is native loam amended with peat, sand, and a little pumice and charcoal. A timer-controlled drip system handles watering.

Roland Jadryev of The Greenery, in Seattle, designed the planter and arrangement for Judi and Harry Mullikin of La Conner, Washington.

Photo: Different plants have different water needs: bottle palm in corner at right and dracaenas against wall at left sit in buried pots for individual treatment; drip irrigation tends ground covers and white-flowered spathiphyllum, which need more water

Photo: Drip-irrigation emitter can produce a drip or fine spray

Photo: Funnel fills reservoir in self-watering pot that holds Dracaena marginata

Photo: Giving plants no water, pond is just for looks. Skimmer keeps it clean
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Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Feb 1, 1988
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