Maximus2 has reviewed 2 plants

Strelitzia reginae 'Dwarf' Bird of paradise

Posted: 09 February 2012
Overall: Hi Gary,
There are several things you need to know to ensure that this plant thrives, as I have discovered:

1)Keep the plant indoors in a pot by a window away from the radiator. Even a coldish June night in the UK (by which I mean less than 10 degrees celsius with a nice northerly breeze) can cause damage to the leaves.

2) Keep the plant in the sun as much as possible. By a south-facing patio door is ideal, or if you're lucky to have one, a conservatory. The brighter and hotter the sun on them the better. They don't come from S. Africa for nothing!

3) Water very sparingly between November and February. Let the soil dry right out before you water. The roots don't like to be wet so make sure the pot you put it in has good drainage (sand/gravel mix, with John Innes No.2 compost is good).

4) Don't plant it in too big a pot. For BoP to flower profusely, they need to be slightly pot-bound. From mid-Feb to mid-July (the growing season) feed it every 2 weeks with a liquid fertiliser like Phostrogen or Tomorite. The plant will grow new leaves and flower spikes. They can be slow to flower if they're in too big a pot.

And lastly remove any dead leaves/ flower spikes when they're brown.
I hope this helps - when they're in flower they are truly stunning, and I think the most beautiful flower in the world.

Cycas revoluta Sago palm

Posted: 09 February 2012
Overall: Despite being touted as an easy plant to grow, this plant does need care. You won't be able to just leave it in a pot. You have to be careful not to over or under water (yellow leaves or crown rot will result), over/under feed (again yellow leaves) and although it likes full sun, I have also read not during the middle of the day or for too long. Rather indirect light is best, perhaps filtered through a voile curtain. It won't tolerate frost, so don't plant it outside in the UK, and this plant doesn't like to be repotted. So if you pot it up wrong to begin with (e.g. not enough drainage in the bottom) you have a problem on your hands. It's very slow-growing, although if all the leaves turn yellow and you cut them off, you might have a big flush of leaves that grow 20cm or more in the space of a month.