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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - May 07, 2010

From: Chevy Chase, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Container Gardens, Poisonous Plants
Title: New house plant in pot in Chevy Chase MD
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is it possible for one house plant to eventually die in the pot while a completely different plant grows in its place? The new plant looks similar to the potted plant next to it but it is not quite the same. I'm curious about what happened and if it has got a name for it. Thank you

ANSWER:

Without knowing anything about what house plants you have, and in view of the fact that most house plants are non-native tropical or sub-tropical plants, we probably can't help you. It sounds like you have a number of houseplants in pots close together. One of those dying is not particularly surprising; it may not have been getting enough water or light, or too much of both or who knows? Another one coming up in its place could mean that seeds from another plant got into the dirt vacated by the dead plant, or that some roots of the dead plant had survived and came up looking different, but still the same plant. One note of caution - you should always know exactly what plants you have, and whether any of them are toxic. Many house plants being, as we said, tropicals that will only grow indoors in your climate, do indeed have poisonous parts, seeds, sap, even the roots. If you have children or pets it's important that you know that, and take whatever measures are necessary to remove the danger.This website, Guide to Houseplants.com How Well Do You Know Your House Plants? could help you begin to understand what you have.

 

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