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Identifying Unknown Plants/Mystery plant - please help?


mystery plant1
mystery plant1  

mystery plant2
mystery plant2  
I've been caring for this little pot of plants for a little over a year now, with few problems overall. I got it from my mother as a valentines day gift last year, but as well as it's growing, I have no idea as to what it could be.
A friend of mine claims that it (the one with the whitish leaves, not the fern) is a form of Yucca palm, but I don't think that's correct, as Yucca's appear to all have a great number of sword-shaped leaves in ball-like clusters, not at all what my nameless plant looks like.
Although I don't know what it is, it seems to thrive with lots of water and sunlight, which I'm glad for as that's really the only conditions I can give it.
It's almost always growing new leaves, on all of the stalks sprouting up from the soil. The younger stalks leaves are all pure green, however, and only the older/bigger one seems to have that white-colored inner pattern.

Both it and the fern (I don't know what that one is either, to be completely honest with you) seem to be growing wonderfully, but if you could help me figure out exactly what it is, I would be very grateful - my own searches have turned up nothing, as I have no idea where to start looking.

Hi Brittaney,

Thanks for your question.  It's a Dieffenbachia, or Dumb Cane. It's called that because eating it will paralyze your vocal cords for about 20 minutes.
It is a common houseplant.  The one you're calling a fern is actually a parlor palm (neanthe bella)(Chamaedorea).  Just go to google images and type in either the latin or common name.  My advice is this:  If you want them both to live, give them each their own pot.  In my experience, they both are subject to spider mites, and they'll do very much better in their own space.  It won't be difficult to separate them. When you take them out of the pot, You will quickly see that their roots are different and you can gently pull them apart. Get some house plant potting soil and a pot the size you have them both in.  Feed them with a liquid houseplant food, but give the palm a pinch of epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) every month or so.  Palms require more magnesium than most other common houseplants.  

Identifying Unknown Plants

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Susan Tabor


I can identify most weeds, ornamentals,and wild plants by description or photo. If it is completely unknown to me, I can usually type info into a botanical search engine and find it. I am familiar with unusual plants from all over the world.


Thirty-five years of research and experience in horticulture.

You already have that information. I'm just listing myself in a new catagory.

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