In the wild, Heptapleurum arboricola can be found growing in Hainan, Taiwan.  In the UK, Heptapleurum arboricola is grown indoors as a popular houseplant; here Heptapleurum arboricola is commonly known as the Umbrella Plant or by the synonym, Schefflera arboricola.

This is a hardier and more resilient houseplant than most.  When my heating didn’t work for a week during a period of very cold weather in January 2023, my Heptapleurum arboricola was entirely unaffected and lived to tell the tale, unlike many of my other houseplants! 

Alocasia ‘Ninja’ plants thrive in a very humid environment making these plants ideally suited to growing inside a terrarium, vivarium, or bottle garden.  However, terrariums and bottle gardens are not universally the same, different enclosures will provide contrasting growing conditions.  When choosing a terrarium and deciding on a location to cultivate Alocasia ‘Ninja’, remember that these plants won’t be happy in a shaded environment – Alocasia ‘Ninja’ require bright but indirect light to be able to thrive. 

Phalaenopsis equestris f. alba is the white flowered form of Phalaneopsis equestris.  Many of the orchids I write about are miniature or even mini-miniature sized; however, Phalaenopsis equestris is a small sized orchid species, which forms plants that grow too large in size for this orchid species to be considered for planting inside many terrariums and orchidariums.

Aspidistra elatior is a herbaceous perennial from China, Japan, and Taiwan.  This species produces large lance shaped leaves in a dark bottle green colour with a lovely glossy finish.  If you fancy something a bit different, look out for variegated, spotted, or striped leaf forms, which are sometimes available from specialist houseplant nurseries and online auction sites.

Plants bloom each year in the wild; occasionally, indoor plants will also flower, but this doesn’t happen very often. 

Arctium lappa can be found growing wild across Europe, Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean, as well as other locations around the world.  In the UK, Arctium lappa is more commonly known as Greater Burdock, but I’m sure that this plant has a range of common names, as it’s a native plant of so many countries.

This is an edible and medicinal plant that is grown or foraged for food and medicine. 

Heptapleurum arboricola ‘Janine’ is one of the miniature, cultivated forms of Heptapleurum arboricola, which is also known as Schefflera arboricola ‘Janine’.  Heptapleurum arboricola is a mid to dark green leaved, evergreen shrub that originates from Taiwan and Hainan.  This cultivated form of Heptapleurum arboricola differs from the wild form, as this dwarf form features mid green coloured leaves that are decorated with a soft cream coloured variegation. 

Heptapleurum arboricola ‘Variegata’ is an evergreen plant that’s often grown as a houseplant.  Also known as Schefflera arboricola ‘Variegata’ and commonly known as the umbrella plant; these plants produce palmately compounded dark green leaves, with soft creamy yellow coloured variegation.  Heptapleurum arboricola ‘Variegata’ plants’ leaves display a distinctive shape and form that resembles that of an umbrella.

Plants are often long lived and resilient. 

Polypodium formosanum is a fern that originates from the island of Kyushu, in Japan; this same fern species can also be found growing in Taiwan, in China.  Polypodium formosanum’s common name is the Grub Fern, the Green Caterpillar Fern, or Blue Feet – after this fern’s striking rhizomatous growth – the protruding, glaucous blue-green coloured extending growth this fern produces.

If you want to grow more of these ferns, you can divide Polypodium formosanum to propagate it, or alternatively, you could raise more plants by sowing the spores.

I tend to focus my attentions on miniature and mini-miniature sized orchids; however, Phalaenopsis equestris is a larger orchid species.  This is a small to medium sized orchid, which grows too large to be considered inside any small or medium sized terrariums or bottle gardens.  Phalaenopsis equestris is an epiphytic orchid species, which originates from Taiwan and the Philippines.

These orchids thrive in warm temperatures. 

Dendrobium moniliforme is a miniature epiphytic and lithophytic orchid species, which originates from a number of regions, including: Assam, China, the Himalayas, Korea, Nepal, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Dendrobium moniliforme plants produce beautiful, white flowers, which are fragrant.

Humata repens is a rather lovely species of fern, which originates from Indochina, Taiwan, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Humata repens is a dear little fern which grows to just 8cm (3 inches) tall.  This fern can be grown terrestrially – when it is grown planted in the soil or peat-free compost, or as an epiphyte, when this same fern is grown upon another plant, or grown mounted onto a piece of cork bark (or mounted onto a branch, or grown on a tree trunk). 

Gastrochilus retrocallus is an orchid species that was previously known as Haraella retrocalla.  Gastrochilus retrocallus is a miniature, epiphytic orchid species, which originates from Taiwan.  This miniature orchid can be found growing upon trees in forests, at elevations ranging from 1000m to 2200m.

Gastrochilus retrocallus is a sequential blooming orchid, which can be almost always in bloom – making this plant an attractive acquisition, if you’re looking to purchase a miniature orchid.