Indoor plants? what are they?

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by Nandan Kalbag, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. Nandan Kalbag

    Nandan Kalbag Active Member

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    Jaro_in-Montreal's question makes me think: what is an "Indoor plant" or a "House plant"? I feel these terms are unscientific. All palnts are from open nature. However, some plants are quite small & can be kept in shady palces. This perhaps makes us call such plants as House plants. But Ficus elastica, Ficus benjamina etc & Brassaia actinophylla - such huge trees are also shown as Indoor plants. In fact one can make tree houses on such large trees. Though smaller plants of these trees can be kept indoors for some time, or pruning them constantly over the years, Still they are not indoor plants. I had seen On National Geographic, huge trees grown under gigantic domes. So that way any plant, tree or a succulent, even a parasitic plants, mushrooms, fungi are house plants. I feel this subject needs to be discussed a lot.
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The terms are absolutely unscientific. However, there are special culture and care requirements for plants grown indoors, so it makes practical sense to separate them from plants grown outdoors. Some people only participate in the indoor plants forums, which is reason enough for me to keep them separate.
     
  3. MDNemec

    MDNemec Member

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    Although I do agree, in theory, with your statement, Nandan ('all plants are from open nature'), I would like to point out that in the face of today's scientific advances, that statement may be a bit too broad (or at least need a little clarification to avoid being flawed).

    For numerous reasons, scientists have begun to modify plants by selecting for specific (ideal) characteristics (such as those that make them better suited for growing indoors), as well as hybridizing plants to create completely new strains (I am not sure if 'strains' is the correct word here for plants...it's the word we use for bacteria!). This is an ideal situation for retailers who can now offer a product that is better suited for a specific niche of its' customers (ie, those wanting to add plants to their interior).

    It is possible many of these new plants were created, grown, and propagated without ever seeing the outdoors. Additionally, although I cannot offer a specific example, it is possible many of the plants that are now ideally suited for growth indoors are poorly suited for outdoor growth. And, infact, some of them, even if placed in the best suited outdoor environment, might perish in the face of natural selection.

    So, maybe it would be better to say 'all of the ancestors of today's plants were, at one time or another, from open nature', b/c it is obvious that all of the plants we have today are not. However, I'm sure even that statement is flawed. As a scientist, I find, in general, statements that contain the words 'all, every, always, or never', can almost always be argued from the other side.

    I enjoyed your post, it was interesting to contemplate this topic as it is not one I had ever given any thought to!

    Edit* On a side note, I am not implying that all plants that are typically used indoors were created by scientists, I realize many of them were not!
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2006
  4. globalist1789

    globalist1789 Active Member

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    Well, a obvious example is the common African violet. These aren’t grown outside anywhere that I know of. They are all hybrids that mark easily and are quite picky about light and water. Just as the domestic chicken could not live long in nature, neither could many plants. In some ways, chickens and african violets are more technology than nature (but don't tell PETA I said that!)

    “Houseplant” means a plant that can grow well indoors. Scientifically, inside and outside are very different environments. Nandan, while it may not be a common issue for you in India, here in Canada we grow many plants that must spend a good part of the year indoors due to cold. So it is a houseplant or a dead plant, and scientifically speaking there is a big difference between the two.

    Just as high altitude, tundra, tropical/semi-tropical, temperate and so on describe the environment that a plant lives in, so too does “house”. It is hot, dry, and dim.

    M.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2006
  5. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

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    all i have to say is that possesion is a human invention
     
  6. Nandan Kalbag

    Nandan Kalbag Active Member

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    Thank you both MDNemec & globalist1789. I fully agree with views. However my question was with reference to a thread started by Jaro_in-Montreal about import of plants from/to USA & Canada, about indoor plants. I suppose there is no restriction on import/export of Indoor plants between USA & Canada. But how is it establshed that a particular plant is indoor or not.
     
  7. Rima

    Rima Active Member

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    There are definite restrictions on sending things across the US/Canada border! I cannot just order some little plant (or bonsai) from a company in the US (or ask a friend to send me one) without either paying for a 'phytosanitary certificate' (about $20.USD or more for one small shipment or likely losing the plant to confiscation at the border (customs officers on either side will oblige!). Yes, I have had friends send me small pkgs with cuttings, etc. and they have 'declared' on the outside that it was a .. paperback, or something else appropriate to its size and weight, but there are no guarantees at all that anything will make it through (without the proper paperwork) and that your plants won't die along the way either due to being held up (for no good reason) at Customs, or because it's a cold time of year and trucks may be left outside at night with mail inside them freezing up enough to kill some things. Whether or not anything is an 'indoor' (tropical) is irrelevant as far as it all goes (the official part). There are laws as well within countries (the U.S I think more so than Canada) whereby certain types of plants or trees are not allowed into certain states because of 'pest' problems - California in particular has had a lot of trouble with certain insects destroying whole forests, etc., so even commercial growers can't send certain trees, etc. to Calif. and/or other states legitimately. But that's a good reason for regulation, after all.
     

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