House Plants

How to Avoid Deadly Mistakes with Poisonous House Plants

You might think that choosing a house plant is easy. But you’re wrong. Some house plants are poisonous so you need to be careful about the plants you choose.

House plants can really brighten up your home. They can make any room in your house look better and they also suck carbon dioxide out of the air and in return they provide pure oxygen the stuff that we like to breathe.

But the problem is that some house plants can be poisonous or at least irritating or allergenic to both people and animals. So if you have young children or pets in your home you may want to review the varieties of plants in your home to see if they have the potential to be harmful to pets or children.

A Few Potentially Poisonous House Plants

I eat house plants for breakfast!!

  • Amaryllis
  • Angel’s Trumpet
  • Angels’ wings
  • Azalea
  • Croton
  • Crown-of-thorns
  • Cyclamen
  • Devil’s Backbone
  • Dumb cane
  • English Ivy
  • Flamingo lily
  • Hydrangea
  • Jerusalem Cherry
  • Kaffir Lily
  • Mums
  • Philodendron
  • Poinsettia
  • Swiss-cheese plant

Now, please keep in mind that this is far from a complete list. If there is any doubt, the responsible thing to do is assume that the plant you are looking at is poisonous. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry. So I urge you to research as much as possible about the plant that you are buying.

Now if you do have children and pets and you want to keep a house plant that is poisonous. You need to make sure that you put your plant in a place that a child or a pet cannot reach it. A high shelf will generally keep things out of reach of a child, but not a cat that loves to climb. A hanging planter or pot may make it tougher for a cat to reach. But please keep in mind that nothing is completely fool proof. Remember, it is better to be safe rather than sorry.

Giving Your House Plants What They Want

All plants require varying amounts of light, nutrients, water and warmth. You need to make sure that you are going to be able to give your house plant what it wants. So if you are deciding on what kind of house plant you want to buy, you should first look for one that is suited to the unique growing conditions inside of your home, before you consider aesthetics or which plant looks the nicest to you.

One of the things to look for in a house plant is light requirements. Most house plants that you buy at the store are selected and bred to enjoy growing with the lower levels of light found inside a home. That is why randomly potting an outdoors plant that needs a lot of sun and bringing it indoors seldom works. But if you are inclined to bring an outdoors plant indoors, make sure you take it out of your house from time to time so that it can catch all the rays that it needs.

Of course you are in full control of water when it comes to house plants, so water requirements are not such a big deal. If you buy a plant that needs a lot of water, you can water it more. If you get a plant that needs little water, water it less. Simple, but don’t forget to water.

Humidity is a factor that is sometimes overlooked. Sure you can adjust the humidity for your plants to a degree, but generally it is easier and more comfortable for you to choose a plant that appreciates the levels of humidity in your home. For example you could buy a plant that requires high humidity, but high humidity might feel uncomfortable for you when the weather gets hot. Furthermore adjusting humidity takes additional effort. If you need more humidity you may need to get a humidifier, while if you need less humidity for your plants you will need to get a dehumidifier.

Temperature is usually easy for most of us to control in our homes. Just turn the dial on our thermostats and presto, the temperature is adjusted according to our desires. But some plants like temperatures that we do not. So pick a plant that is suited to the temperature inside of your home. Fortunately, most house plants are able to adapt to the temperatures that we find comfortable. But there are a few exceptions when you are looking at some of the more exotic house plants or are trying to adapt an outdoor plant to live indoors.

Nutrient requirements of house plants are all over the map. Some plants grow quickly and need a lot of nitrogen, while other plants grow slowly and need little to no additional nitrogen. The nutritional requirements of different varieties of house plants are so variable that you have to do a little research on what your house plant needs. Fortunately there are a number of great resources on the internet. All you have to do is look.

So remember, when it comes to house plants be careful to find out if the variety that you have your heart set on is poisonous, so that you can take appropriate precautions, and also make sure that your home provides a suitable environment for the type of house plants that you are considering.

I normally don't eat house plants, but when I do, I prefer Catnip.

Kona Coffee

Royal Kona Coffee

My Personal Stash of Royal Kona Coffee

Real Kona Coffee or Overpriced Impostor?

Are you buying genuine Kona Coffee or are you getting tricked? Many people think they are buying pure kona coffee but they are being taken for a ride.

There are a number of brands of “kona coffee” that consist of 10% kona coffee beans blended with 90% coffee beans coming from places like South America. Now I am not going to name names of the brands that are doing this, but just look at the label of the “kona coffee” that you are buying. If you are buying a “kona coffee blend” this is usually going to be 10% kona coffee, mixed with coffee from someplace else.

If you want pure kona coffee, you really need to read the label and it should say 100% kona coffee. Then you will know that you are getting the real deal. And if you haven’t had 100% pure kona coffee, I think that you are doing yourself a disservice if you call yourself a coffee connoisseur. I really struggle to come up with the words to describe it. But let’s just say that it is really good. And I urge you not to let a kona coffee blend muddle your experience of pure kona coffee.

Where does Kona Coffee come from?

Kona coffee comes from a very small region on a very small island. Yes, I know that we call this Island the Big Island, but it is very small in the grand scheme of things. It is so tiny in comparison to Australia, which is the biggest island in the world that it is almost hard to spot on a map.

The Big Island of Hawaii is located smack-dab in the middle of the world’s largest ocean: the Pacific Ocean. (As a brief side note, some scientists think that the Pacific Ocean was formed when a massive asteroid hit the Earth and gouged out a huge crater that eventually filled with water. What became of this asteroid and massive chunk of the planet? These same scientists say that it got trapped in the Earth’s gravitational field and became the Moon.)

Kona coffee is grown in what is called the Kona Coffee Belt. The Kona Coffee Belt is a small strip of land at roughly three thousand feet of elevation that runs through the districts of North and South Kona. Sure there are coffee plants grown on other parts of the Big Island of Hawaii and in other parts of the world. But only coffee that is grown in the Kona Coffee belt is allowed to be called Kona Coffee. The Kona Coffee belt is incredibly tiny. It is roughly thirty square miles. Now this might sound like a lot but it really isn’t. And keep in mind that the Kona Coffee belt isn’t packed solid with coffee trees, but it is just the region that Kona Coffee farms are located in. A lot of this area consists of lava, forests and hills that are too steep to collect enough dirt to support coffee plants.

What makes Kona Coffee so Special?

There are a lot of theories as to what makes Kona Coffee special. Some say it is the rich volcanic soil. Others say that it is the warm Kona sun and daily afternoon rain showers.

But for me, it just has an amazing aroma and taste that simply reminds me of home. It is just a really great coffee that I simply do not have the words to describe. You just have to taste and smell it for yourself. But I warn you, it’s easy to get addicted to its sumptuous taste. And your kona coffee habit can get expensive. But I think that it is well worth paying up to get some of the best coffee that money can buy. Don’t you?

Another thing that makes Kona Coffee special is that it is one of the few coffees that are grown in the United States. Sure coffee is grown in Puerto Rico, but Puerto Rico is a United States possession and not a state. At least, it was the last time I checked. So the only coffees produced in the United States are produced in Hawaii. Coffee is grown on some of the other Hawaiian Islands, but so far only Kona Coffee has gained international recognition. But hopefully coffees from other districts and other Hawaii Islands will gain the recognition that they deserve.

Most Kona coffee is grown on small family farms. Some of these farms are being run by the second or even the third generation of family farmers now. And this is another thing that makes kona coffee distinctive. It is not produced by some huge multi-national agri-business conglomerate, but it is produced by people with a deep passion and heritage with growing and producing coffee. A great deal of care is taken by these family farmers to grow their impressive coffees and they tend to take a great deal of pride in producing the freshest product. Beans are quickly, picked and sorted and processed. They aren’t left around to sit a long time after being picked. I’m sure that you can tell the difference that fresh coffee beans make.

Kona Coffee Berry Borer Beetle

Orchid Flowers

Orchid Flowers (they are much nicer than a mean beetle that destroys Kona Coffee)

The coffee berry borer is a scourge on the Kona coffee industry. The beetle originally came from Africa and it causes more than $500 billion dollars in damage to the world’s coffee crop and it is doing significant damage in Kona too. This pernicious beetle lays its eggs in the berries or fruit of kona coffee trees and when these eggs hatch they produce larva which then proceed to eat the coffee bean, which we kona coffee lovers cherish so dearly.

The coffee beetle causes an enormous amount of damage on the Kona coffee farms of the Big Island and they have made a huge dent in production. And we all know that when dwindling supply meets rising demand prices can go up significantly. So another reason why kona coffee prices are rising is that this coffee beetle is hampering kona coffee supplies, while kona coffee drinkers, like us, still keep on drinking more of this wonderful brew than ever.

Kona Coffee Controversy

Okay, so you’ve read my post and I know that I come across as critical of kona coffee blends.

Am I being too harsh? Or am I being too lenient?

If you are a Kona Coffee grower, do you feel that blends help the overall market or hurt the market for Kona Coffee?

If you are a coffee drinker, do you feel that the labeling of Kona Coffee blends is deceptive or is it fine that blends are marketed the way that they currently are?

I have opened up comments on this post, so feel free to have your say. All I ask is that you keep your comments civil and on topic. Arguing for or against a position on this matter is fine, but ad hominem arguments are not.

Please use the “tweet” or “share” buttons, if you would like to invite your friends to weigh in on this matter.

Types of Bromeliads

Bromeliad plants come in a huge variety of sizes, colors, and shapes. They have adapted to grow many different places, and I am fortunate to live among many thriving bromeliads on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The leaves on a bromeliad grow in a rosette shape, which helps pool water that the plant can use. The pools of water also attract insects and small animals (such as salamanders and frogs), which can help to create a symbiotic relationship. All bromeliads have scales on their leaves that absorb water and nutrients from the air. This helps the plant to be able to grow in a variety of places. Not all bromeliad varieties rely on soil and complex root systems to bring them what they need to survive. And bromeliad plants really know how to survive. Bromeliad care is for the most part very easy because they are such hardy plants.

There are three types of bromeliads: Pitcairnoideae, Bromelioideae, and Tillandsioideae.


The first, Pitcairnoideae, have spiny leaves. They usually grow in the ground and have a root system that brings them most of their water and nutrients. The scales on the leaves of this type of bromeliad are not needed so much for water absorption, but instead help to protect the plant from extreme temperatures.


The second type, Bromelioideae, also usually have spines on their leaves. This type contains an inferior ovary. It also produces fruit that is consumed by people and includes the most well known bromeliad: the pineapple. What I found most interesting about the pineapple was that instead of planting seeds to produce more, you place the top of the pineapple fruit in the ground and a new plant will grow from that. I have many new plants and delicious pineapples growing in my yard from this method.


The third type, Tillandsioideae, has spineless leaves. It also has the largest variety of colors and flowers. This type can be found growing in unusual places. It has adapted to grow on trees, rocks, and even on telephone wires. It relies heavily on absorbing water and nutrients from the air through the scales on its leaves. This type includes Spanish moss.

Bromeliads can be found in many different countries and climates. They are used for food, but mostly for ornamental purposes. They are unique and beautiful in their variety of shapes and colors. I hope you experience them for yourself, whether growing in the world around you, or taking care of them in your own home.

And now that you are done reading about bromeliads, please check out our kona coffee review. We will be adding more reviews of this amazing elixir very soon.

Amazon Bestsellers: Bromeliad Books and Plants


Bromeliad Care

Vital Guidelines to Caring for Bromeliad Plants

Bromeliad plants are some of the most exotic plants in the world and they are easy to grow. But one simple little mistake with watering can kill your beautiful bromeliad plant. So keep reading if you want to avoid making this common rookie mistake.

Bromeliad plants are members of the Bromeliaceae family, which includes the most famous bromeliad of them all: the pineapple. Bromeliads grow well indoors and come in a wide variety of colors. They are cherished because of the stunning flowers that they produce from the center of their rosette.

Proper bromeliad care involves addressing the following factors to ensure that your bromeliad plant stays healthy and grows well. The factors are:

  1. Water
  2. Light
  3. Temperature
  4. Humidity
  5. Air Circulation
  6. Feeding

Watering a Bromeliad Plant

Over the years, Bromeliads plants have adapted to survive harsh drought conditions and so they can handle periods of low moisture very well. You are much more likely to harm your plant by over watering it than by under watering it. Over watering your bromeliad plant can cause root rot and when root rot is left unchecked it can kill your bromeliad.

You should wait until the surface of your bromeliad’s potting mix begins to feel dry and then you should water it thoroughly until water comes out from the bottom of the pot. This will flush any excess salts out of the potting mix. If you don’t water your plant completely, salts will build up and harm your plant.

Bromeliad plants store water in the center of their rosettes, but in most instances you should avoid allowing water to collect in the center of your bromeliads for a number of reasons. First, standing water can stagnate and cause your plant to get a bacterial or fungal infection. Second, when your plant is exposed to low temperatures the water can freeze or serve to retain the cold temperature and cause your plant to be damaged by frost. Third, your plant can get all the water it needs through its root system, so there is no pressing need to put any water in its rosette.

If you have an epiphytic bromeliad that is attached to a piece of wood or a tree, it will lack a rosette and a large root system, so it will have a harder time getting the moisture it needs. You must make sure that you mist it with water regularly so that it receives the moisture that it needs to grow.

Finally, one rookie watering mistake that can kill your bromeliad is watering it with a metal watering can. Bromeliads are very sensitive to metals and using a metal watering can may harm or even kill your plant.

Light levels and Bromeliads

Most bromeliads can tolerate a wide variation in light levels, but to look they need the right amount of light. In general, bromeliad varieties with thick, hard, gray leaves tend to like higher levels of sunlight, while varieties with thin, green, soft leaves like lower levels of sunlight. When growing your plant indoors any area with bright light, as long as it is not direct sunlight is best for your plant.

To find out if your bromeliad is receiving the right amount of light look at its leaves. If your plant’s leaves are getting paler or more yellow, your plant may be receiving too much light. Conversely, if your plant’s leaves are becoming a darker shade of green and stretching or elongating, your plant may be receiving too little light. A helpful tip is to periodically snap digital photos of your plant to use as a comparison. But always take these photos under the same artificial light source or the colors may be distorted.

Air Temperature

Unless the area you live in has temperatures that exceed 100 degrees your bromeliad plant will probably be fine on the high end of the temperature scale. Usually the low end of the temperature scale is where most bromeliad growers run into problems. There are a few varieties of bromeliads that can survive short exposure to temperatures of 32 degrees, but in general 40 degrees is the lowest temperature a bromeliad can be exposed to. If you are growing a bromeliad indoors, you should strive to keep the temperature between 60 and 75 degrees. Bromeliads like temperatures of 65 degrees at night and 75 degrees during the day.

Bromeliad plants with soft leaves prefer higher temperatures, while bromeliads with tough leaves are able to handle lower temperatures a little better.

Humidity Levels

A relative humidity level of 50% is ideal for most types of bromeliads. And a range of 40 to 60 percent is best. If the humidity in your home is lower than this, you should consider installing a humidifier near your bromeliad plant. This will add moisture to the air and allow your bromeliad to thrive. Another option is to mist your plant with water regularly, and yet another option is to set the pot of your bromeliad upon a layer of gravel that is soaked with water. But remember the water level should never encroach on the base of the pot. If it does, capillary action will pull water into your bromeliad’s potting mix and cause it to become water logged. Please refer to the section on watering your bromeliad if you don’t already know why this is bad for your bromeliad plant.

Air Circulation: Good for people and for Bromeliads Too

You probably like good air circulation and hate stale air. Well your bromeliad plant is much like you. It doesn’t like poor air circulation either. Good air circulation is vital for keeping your bromeliad healthy. It will prevent the growth of fungus and alleviate attacks by various species of scale insects. You can ensure good air circulation with a small fan or by simply opening the windows of your home on a temperate day. You’ll breathe easier and so will your bromeliad plant.

Feeding your Bromeliad Plant

Just like you, your bromeliad needs to eat too. Only it doesn’t need to eat as often. In general, you should fertilize it when it is actively growing and hold back on fertilizing it when it is not growing, which generally happens during the winter time. During the spring and summer growing season apply a liquid fertilizer to the potting mix once every two months. Make sure that you dilute the liquid fertilizer to 33% of the recommended strength, because bromeliads don’t like to over eat.

When applying the fertilizer, be very careful not to get it into the rosette. If this happens, salts can build up in the rosette and harm your bromeliad plant. These salts can inflict painful burns on newly emerging leaves.

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  • The 3 most important things you must do to keep your new bromeliad alive
  • How to water your bromeliad properly, so it isn’t harmed by excess salts or bacterial growth
  • When to repot your bromeliad and how to avoid killing it during the repotting process

Rare Bromeliad Plants

Are you interested in buying rare bromeliad plants?

One of the foremost bromeliad breeders in the world is located a few blocks away from our farm. He has given talks about bromeliads to other bromeliad breeders around the world and he is the expert that other bromeliad breeders and growers look to when they need advice about bromeliads.

My parents have known him for several decades and he recently reminded me that he knew me since I was less than two feet tall. (Yes, I was only a few years old at the time.)

He has been developing exotic new varieties of bromeliads for a number of decades and he has quite a few varieties which are exceptionally rare, because he personally hybridized them.

I’m thinking of adding a few of these incredibly rare bromeliads to our catalog, but only if there is interest. I would expect prices to range from $75 to $150 and up to $275 (in a few exceptional cases) per plant.

Do you have interest in acquiring any of these exceptionally exotic bromeliads?

If you are, please use our contact form to let me know.

Amazon Bestsellers: Bromeliads