28 February 2013

repotting and rooting

I took this bunch of plants and gave most of them new growing containers.
Some were destined for an exchange; so to make them look more attractive and use the pots I got in swapping, I repotted all the little Palms into groupings of three. Kind of ironic that I had spread them all out and now grouped them up again. Well, at least they're not as crowded as when they were forty in a six-inch pot! (I still have four pots of Palms for myself- which is made up of fifteen little individual plants).
This smaller pair of Crotons has been looking miserable for a while.
I cut the leggy stem off of the better-looking, larger one and stuck it in a jar of water to grow new roots. Then I can replant it and have the base of the foliage closer to the soil, it will look better.

The smaller one, with misshapen leaves, got discarded. Kind of a shame as it has lots of great-looking roots, and is growing new leaves faster than the other; but the distorted leaf margins make me think it has a disease, possibly still spider mites. So I tossed it.
The remaining plant looks quite small now sitting next to the bigger, healthy one in its SIP.
Also potted up to go were this rooted Pothos cutting and the baby Spider Plant. More pictures to come.

27 February 2013

my little onion family

Gradually a few days here and there are getting warmer. My Chives have begun to regrow
The Green Onions in the planter are doing well; I've tucked them under a bed of dry leaves against the still-chilly nights.
A lot of the Green Onions in the two round pots look like they've died, though. From getting frozen. So I started a bit more seed in a tray about a week ago. A few little green shoots are coming up now.

26 February 2013

state of a rose

My little miniature rose has some lower leaves turning yellow and then dropping off. I was concerned about this, but it also has quite a few fresh, new leaves growing
and some blooms opening
as well as a new tiny bud.
So I think perhaps the dying foliage is either from the overnight chill in my window, or because it is crowded. It's actually four little plants in one small pot, the roots are growing out the bottom. It needs to get split up one plant for each new pot. And set outside as well.

25 February 2013

honey VI

I'm down to only two jars of special honey in the cupboard (the desert mesquite and the one from Morocco) so bought another new variety when grocery shopping the other day.
This one is a sage honey. It's a light, amber color and has a wonderful flavor. It has a sweet zing and lingering aftertaste like the wildflower honey, but also a mellow richness that reminds me of my favorite, the starthistle honey. In fact, I think this one is going to be a new favorite. Love it already.

24 February 2013


I moved the one remaining Curry Plant cutting from its sheltered spot in the little corner windowsill, to the main window, thinking it needed more light. Either the increase in sunshine was too much for it, or the extra attention it gets being more in view causes me to forget and overwater it. Whatever the reason, it's wilting now.
The funny thing is that this plant sits near my toddler's spot at the kitchen table, and now she will often point to the little plant and say "P'ant sad. Cry." She always looks concerned when she makes this statement, too. I've often heard her say "p'ant happy" and never was sure if she said this because she thinks the plants are happy, or because she knows plants make me happy. I've probably said "this is a happy plant" once or twice, so perhaps she's mimicking that. But I never expected her to attribute sadness to a plant. She recognizes both that the plant is not in good condition, behaving opposite to the others around it, and also attributes an emotion to the shape of its dismay.

23 February 2013


I am thinking ahead, not only to what I'm going to plant on my balcony this year, but also what I want to do indoors. In regards to the houseplants, my intents are to:

Divide the African Violet
Pot up the Boston Fern
Pot up the started Pothos cuttings
Prune the Avocado
Prune and restart as cuttings the smaller Croton plant
Repot all the Palms into a better potting mix
Move the Poinsettias each up into new, bigger containers (when they regrow)

I'd like to divide my Norfolk Island Pine into groupings of three in two pots - right now it's six plants and a seedling in one pot- but that plant, I read, is particularly sensitive to getting repotted so I am leery of trying it yet.

Growing experiments I have in mind include:

Try to grow an orange plant from seed again
Try to grow wild rose from seed
Buy some fresh Ginger with root eyes and grow it!

All of this is still waiting for proper spring weather...

the sound of rain

My Norfolk Island Pine needs misting every single day. I'm hoping that in the summer when the light is stronger and I need to move it away from the window (and also the heat vent it sits near), plus there's naturally more humidity in the air, that I won't need to do this chore every morning. But for now, it's part of my routine. First I mist the Ferns, Schefflera, Palms, Crotons and Avocado tree. Sometimes the Mimosa, too. Then the Pine gets the rest of the entire spray bottle. I've folded a plastic mat under the plant to protect the carpet, and the sound of water drops falling off the green needlings reminds me of rain dripping on tent fabric, from days when I went camping with my family as a child. I love that sound. It makes the task one that I'm fond of, rather than irritated at sitting for a good five minutes to make this plant feel like it's in a cool, misty forest instead of inside my dry living room.
The plant also gets a bit of extra humidity from a large pot of water that usually sits underneath it. I like really hot showers, so I always collect the extra water that runs when I'm waiting for it to heat up. It sits here under the tree until I need it for watering cans.

22 February 2013


My African Violet flowers are fading.
I trimmed some out of the plant just to clean it up and make it look tidy.
In the process discovered plenty of new flower buds growing!

21 February 2013


Yesterday I gave this lot of Crassula plants away as part of my little trade arrangement.
It hasn't left me bereft of Jade Plants, though! I still have the two pieces of the parent cuttings, which are starting to look like nice, stout little trees, just what I want:
And I also have five more baby plants grown from leaves and cuttings. No end of jades, here.
The one growing in a mix of potting soil and crushed eggshells is doing just as well as the others, by the way. So I think that's a viable choice for lightening soil.

20 February 2013


Well, the Poinsettia experiment turned out about how I expected. One bract slowly began turning red, but doesn't look like it will give me any brilliant color. It is still growing new leaves but at the same time dropping lower ones at a faster rate, so I think soon it will be time to go dormant.
For the trouble it is to put the plant in darkness every night with such specific time requirements, the result isn't worth it. Maybe if I hadn't missed two days it would have worked better. I'm guessing the only real way to get nice, red poinsettias is to buy them from nurseries which grow them with timers and lights and whatever else fancy stuff gets them to look nice. But it was fun to try.

I'll probably still regrow this plant after its dormancy stage. I do like the foliage and watching it grow back.

18 February 2013


Been moving a few plants around, again. The Cyclamen is starting to look very nice, has lots of bold new foliage but I keep hoping it will bloom. Looked up online and discovered it prefers indirect light; I've had it in a sunny window but now moved it to my office desk where the light filters through both the trees outside and the venetian blinds.
The rabbit-foot Fern keeps drying out, even as it is still growing new fronds. I suspect it simply doesn't have enough humidity even though I try and remember to mist it every day. I've put that one into the bathroom. Not sure if this is a good move as the room has no windows, so the only light is very dim coming in from other rooms, or overhead when someone uses the room and turns the light on... I'll keep a close eye on it.
It's still wearing that dryer sheet collar, which seems to have done the trick. The fly numbers have dropped considerably, even around the Pothos they were breeding on. I feel certain that after another week I can discard the dryer sheets and find the pests more or less gone.

16 February 2013


You might have noticed I haven't mentioned this Dracanea in a long time. About six months ago it went to live at a friend's house. I happen to visit now and then, so it's nice to see it still growing and getting even bigger. It looks happy in its new home!

15 February 2013


I had a wonderful surprise yesterday. My sister sent me this gorgeous little miniature Rose. I never received a live plant in the mail before, and admit I was very intrigued at how it was packaged up!
It looks so perfect. I hope I can keep it healthy and blooming. This is the first time I've had a rose.


I've built myself a new "greenhouse" box from scrap material again. A week or so ago saw from my kitchen window a man carrying a wooden frame through the courtyard- both my daughter and I remarked on what a useful thing it would be. And then not ten minutes later when we went out to our car, there it was, sitting by the dumpster. So I brought it in, and simply stapled around the sides and top some plastic sheeting (that once packaged a mattress). I didn't need a peaked roof this time, as the balcony gets so little rain.
It's already been put to use outside, hardening off some Peas, Dill and the one sprouting Hibiscus.

14 February 2013

war with bounce

My next move against the annoying swarms of fungus gnats is bounce dryer sheets.
I picked up this tip from a gardening forum. I don't usually even buy dryer sheets because I don't like perfumes (in anything). Turns out the bugs don't like them either, and this has been proven. So I spent a good hour the other morning cutting dryer sheets into strips and taping them around the edges of various plant containers.
Not only the ones that are infested, but others too, in case the bugs try to move house.
Already I see their numbers dropping. And more are drowning in the cider vinegar, searching for moisture away from the soil. So I'm hopeful for this method.
But there's a downside. It turns out I also find the scent of bounce dryer sheets repellent. Ever since I put the strips around my plants, I've had a faint headache and feeling of nausea. It dissipates when I leave my home. But I think I can stand it for the week it will take to work through the bugs' short lifespan and break their cycle of egg-laying...

13 February 2013


I was happy enough that my Bell Pepper plant was putting out new leaves, as it still looks rather peaky. But this morning noticed that it has many tiny buds forming!
They are all over the plant, even emerging where there are few or no leaves on the stems.
It must be feeling a lot better since whatever-it-was got trapped inside the bamboo stake. Or its responding to the gradual increase of daylight hours...? Either way, I'm thrilled to see the signs of health.

12 February 2013


Another plant has suddenly decided it's spring here. This is the little potted Hibiscus that dropped all its leaves just about two weeks ago!

09 February 2013


My Avocado plant seems to be recovering in its new, sheltered spot with frequent, light waterings. All the leaves are lifting, even the older, lower ones. And it's sprouting a new set of leaves on top!

08 February 2013


I had hopes for my Sage cuttings because a week ago it looked like they were growing new little leaves. But now starting to wilt and dry up even though I keep them watered when the soil dries. I think they never grew roots and in the cold are faltering. O well.

07 February 2013

hopeful fern

My rabbit-foot Fern doesn't seem to be getting quite enough humidity. It's got patches of brown on the foliage.
It seems to be doing well otherwise, though. There are two new fronds unfurling from the ends of fuzzy "feet" dangling down
and one teensy fiddlehead emerging in the center of the plant. If you look close you can see that this is growing from a little fuzzy patch which looks like it will be a new rhizome!
So if it's growing new feet and new fronds it can't be unhealthy I think, in spite of the dryness. I'm trying to remember to mist it every day and put it in plant spa as often as I do that.