Your floor plant looks a lot different in its home environment.

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Recently, I got back from vacation in Jamaica, where these babies grow naturally in the wild.

It’s always eye opening to see our humble office plants grow to the size of gargantuan trees and bushes in their native environment.

The Caribbean is the perfect environment for plants: Consistently warm, humid, and breezy–they get plenty of the three elements they most need for growth .

 

 

King Sago Palm Bush (more like a mini jungle)

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Often times clients might ask me:

“Why do the bottom leaves on plants turn yellow or brown?”

“Why has it lost leaves?”

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                            Dracaena Reflexa bush 

 

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As you can see on this Dracaena Fragrans to the left, the bottom leaves show signs of wear and browning.  This is a normal part of the plant’s growth pattern.  The growth hormones in tropical plants are concentrated near the tips of the stalks/branches, so as the plant generates more tissue, the older, more worn leaves naturally turn yellow/brown and die off.  In an office environment, we remove these for you as part of regular maintenance.

But in a rainforest, they’d just drop naturally.  So don’t panic if you see some brown or dying leaves on the bottom of your plants in between our visits.  Unless it’s widespread on the individual plant, it’s a normal part of the plant’s growth pattern.

 

 

 

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                                                                                   Mammoth White Bird of Paradise

 

 

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Anyway, it’s always a real treat to see our office plants up here used as outdoor landscaping plants down there.  This arrangement of neoregelia bromeliads around this fountain was really impressive–the size of them was about 6 times the size of the ones we use in flower bowls and flower rotations.  The color on these were a little past, but if you’re a plant geek like myself, just the scale of them is impressive.

 

 

 

So in general, remember that plants here in offices in New England do the best they can in the conditions that they’re in.  Grown in sunny Florida, we unceremoniously sleeve them up, pack them on a truck, and ship them far, far away from the climate they’re used to.  With a little TLC (and the   right fertilizer!) they can thrive in an office environment.