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What Are Exotic Angel Plants?
The term “Exotic Angel Plants” doesn’t refer to one specific plant species. Instead, it’s a brand name comprising over 400 different houseplant varieties produced by Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses, Inc. over the course of the company’s 43-year history.
Exotic Angel plants are generally hybrid foliage plants. They come in a range of phenotypic characteristics, including different sizes, colors, and growth cycles. The plants are typically raised in greenhouses, where they’re bred to be grown as indoor plants.
Despite there being over 400 different varieties, the care and maintenance guidelines provided by Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses are general and apply to each plant under the Exotic Angel brand. However, the company also states that the ideal growing conditions may vary slightly depending on specific angels and the prevalent environmental conditions. All the same, Exotic Angels are fairly easy to care for, regardless of the varieties you choose.
Common Exotic Angel varieties include the Chinese evergreen, Dragon plant, Fig, Dumb Cane, and Laceleaf.
A Little History About Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses
The name “Hermann Engelmann” needs no introduction. At least not in the foliage plant industry.
The history of Hermann Engelmann can be traced back to the 1970s. It all started when Engelmann relocated from northern climes to Florida.
Being a plant enthusiast, Engelmann decided to venture into the houseplant business while in Florida.
Not only was Hermann Engelmann inspired by Florida’s favorable weather which offered ideal growing conditions for houseplants. He was also motivated by the houseplant boom that characterized the 70s.
Shortly after plunging into the lucrative houseplant business, Hermann Engelmann was operating as much as 3 million square feet of greenhouses in Apopka.
But Engelmann wasn’t just an enthusiast houseplant grower. He was also a shrewd businessman. To gain further control of the industry, he went on to establish a private label for his plants. Every houseplant bearing the brand name “Exotic Angel” would be grown exclusively in greenhouses owned by Engelmann.
Hermann Engelmann continued to establish himself as one of the most successful horticulturalists of his generation. But in 2014, the curtains came down on him.
Following Engelmann’s death, his lucrative houseplants empire was acquired by Costa Farms. Costa Farms pledged to continue supporting the Exotic Angel brand as a tribute to Engelmann’s heritage.
In 2017, three years after acquiring Exotic Angels, Costa Farms signed a partnership deal with Markel Ventures in a bid to expand its operations. Due to the partnership, the Exotic Angel brand became even more popular. Costa Farms sells its plants through retailers and not directly to consumers.
Exotic Angel plants are recognizable by their distinctive “angel” logo. The plants also come with extensive care instructions. These instructions include, among other details, color coding for light requirements.
Exotic Angels are also available in pot sizes as large as 8 inches. That makes them ideal for growing in any indoor environment.
How to Care For Exotic Angel Plants
The very first thing to note before adopting a suitable care and maintenance plan for your Exotic Angel plants is to know your specific variety. Remember, there are up to 400 varieties of Exotic Angels. And while the company offers general care and maintenance guidelines, these procedures may vary slightly depending on your Exotic Angel plant.
You can establish the specific Exotic Angel variety you’re dealing with by checking the plant’s name tag. If the plant you buy doesn’t come with a name tag indicating its species, you can always visit the Costa Farms website to find more about it.
Once you know the plant you’re dealing with, you can follow the company’s care and maintenance routine while also researching further on the plant’s ideal growing conditions. The good news is that all Exotic Angels are fairly easy to care for.
The following are basic guidelines to follow in caring for your Exotic Angel plants.
Most Exotic Angel varieties thrive in slightly moist soils. Oversaturated soils may lead to root rot.
The best soil options include those that are well-drained and peat moss-based. The soils should also be rich in organic matter.
The ideal growing temperature for most Exotic Angels ranges between 16 and 21 degrees Celsius. These conditions are fairly easy to achieve indoors, particularly during spring and autumn.
However, be sure to monitor your indoor temperature carefully during summer and winter. The plants will turn yellow if exposed to temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius, while extreme heat will cause the leaves to wilt.
Exotic Angels are naturally tropical plants. That explains why they easily thrive in indoor environments with adequate humidity. Anything around 50% is considered healthy for them.
However, it’s recommended to closely monitor the leaves for signs of unhealthy humidity. For instance, the leaves drying out indicate low humidity.
If it comes down to it, invest in a humidifier or dehumidifier.
Like most plants (indoors or outdoors), Exotic Angels flourish with moderate water intake. But the term “moderate” can be relative and misleading.
So, the conventional wisdom is to water the plants two to three times a week. Beware of underwatering or overwatering your Exotic Angels.
Wilting of the leaves indicates underwatered plants, whereas yellowing of the lower leaves suggest you’re giving your Exotic Angels a little too much water.
As they’re bred for indoor growing, Exotic Angel plants will be happier with indirect sunlight.
Direct sunlight may induce burn damage. That’s especially if the plants are exposed to direct sunlight over an extended period.
Exotic Angels are fairly resilient plants and will flourish without additional fertilizer. But note that a few varieties may need a fertilizer boost occasionally.
If you’re worried that your Exotic Angel plants are nutrient-deprived, you might want to add a water-soluble fertilizer every month. Most importantly, ensure the fertilizer mostly comprises plant macronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
7. Pest Control
Although Exotic Angels are reasonably resilient, these plants are susceptible to several pests. Common pests include scale insects, aphids, spider mites, thrips, and mealybugs.
These pets mostly attack the leaves and stems. Signs that your Exotic Angels have been infested by pests include the presence of dots or webs on the foliage, as well as a sticky residue.
The good news is that most of these pests are wired for outdoor living and will retreat to their natural habitats before causing significant damage to your Exotic Angels. But if they become a menace, you can always eradicate them using organic pesticides.
Propagation methods vary depending on specific Exotic Angel plants.
Here’s a general procedure on how to go about it:
i. Prepare a pot.
The pot should contain a mixture of perlite and peat moss.
ii. Saturate the soil thoroughly.
iii. Using a sharp, sterilized pair of scissors or shears, make 3- to 4-inch stem incisions.
Ensure each cutting has at least one node.
iv. Place the cut segments into the soil, open-faced.
v. Place the cuttings in a spot in the house with warm temperatures, ample sunshine, and average humidity.
vi. Water the stem cuttings 2 – 3 times a week, allowing the moisture to drain out of the pot.
vii. Continue watering until you start to see new roots, after which you can now transfer the stem cuttings to a new pot.
Exotic Angels are some of the most beautiful houseplants you can ever have in your home or office.
The plants are fairly resilient and highly adaptable for growing in most climatic conditions. What’s more, they’re incredibly easy to care for too.