Florida ghost visits WSU

This plant resurrects from dead; leaves begin almost white, then turn green

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SANDI KOBIESA

This collector plant is easy to care for. It’s placed in aroid soil and needs water only when it’s dry.

SANDI KOBIESA, Editor-in-chief

I have a ghost. A ghost from Florida. And not the type of ghost you’re thinking about (even though I do, in fact, have one of those as well). This week, I am sharing with all you beautiful planty friends my philodendron Florida Ghost.

My ghost is beautiful and definitely in my top five of collector plants. This bad boy stems from the philodendron Florida Green, which is more common than this guy. The only difference, and the most important difference, is the way new leaves mature. 

As in any traditional plant, a leaf emerges green and stays green as it hardens. Ghosty’s new leaves come out a very pale green, almost white color. And as they harden, the leaf turns green. Not many plants do that, and that’s why it’s harder to come by and a little on the pricey side.

That being said, the care for him is pretty simple. I have him in his chunky aroid soil that I water when dry, and he sits under a grow light. With this guy, I try to keep him next to a humidifier to make sure those pale leaves get enough humidity to mature and harden off properly, without any browning on the edges.

Something I learned recently is how resilient this plant is. I had a depressive episode and couldn’t care for myself, much less all of my plants. I left him in his cabinet for several weeks without water, humidity, proper air circulation and lighting. Somehow, thank the plant gods, I didn’t lose a single leaf.

I found that some plants (most plants) don’t survive in those conditions. But he really stepped up and showed me how much he loves me and wants to live with me. Maybe it’s because I spent $120 on him, or maybe because I whispered so many sweet nothings to him. 

I finally felt up for it and watered all my plants, and it was so fascinating watching the leaves perk back up. Ghosty looked very sad; I won’t lie to you. He was definitely down in the dumps, similar to his plant mom. But once he got a good drink, the light turned back on and the humidifier going, he looked better than ever.

The only downfall of my episodes, aside from potentially losing a plant, is the fact that it is a very inviting atmosphere to the scariest thing of all: pests. 

When plants are stressed and don’t have their ideal conditions met, the chances of pests increase by like a billion percent. The best way to prevent that (and treat that) is my best friend, neem oil. Neem oil is an all-natural systemic you spray on the leaves to kill off bugs. I use this to kill my archnemesis spider mites.

Ooooh, how spooky! Actually, they’re more than spooky; they are downright frightening. But trust me, with the proper treatments, there won’t be any issues.

Next time, I will teach you how to properly kill off those disgusting pests. But for now, let’s go back to focusing on this beauty. 

The Florida Ghost is a truly spooky, stunning plant that you should add to your collection. I mean, seriously, nothing beats those stunning new leaves.