Why am I showing you a pot of dirt? Because it isn’t, really, of course. It’s an exercise in patience. Or, in other words, compost no plant before its time.
This is a rhizamatous begonia–no really. I have found that for me, some grow just fine 12 months of the year. And obviously, as you can see by this post, some don’t.
For years, what I did with the ones that didn’t was to put the rhizomes in with some other plant–maybe a large banana or or something that I was over-wintering. I would have the large tropical plant to look at for the winter, and in the spring, when I took the large plant outdoors, it would have something interesting at its feet. My banana now has several begonias in with it.
But I have decided to just let these plants be, in an out of the way spot. I will keep them just moist enough so that they don’t turn to dust. And I suspect, come spring, I will have a begonia again.
And if I am wrong, well, then I can always compost it in the spring.
Was anyone surprised to see my post listing this plant as a “bulb?” If you’re an outdoor gardener in a cooler climate, you might have planted its smaller cousins in a shady spot.
With my heavy clay soil, cyclamen corms just rot away and don’t even come up in the spring, nevermind naturalize in the lovely drifts that I have seen in other gardens.
For that matter, this plant doesn’t do particularly well in my home. I am not entirely sure why. It’s certainly cool enough.
It may be my watering practices and the fact that it is a corm (which is a bulb-like structure. Crocuses are corms if that helps you visualize).
All “house plants” that grow from bulbs–calla lilies and caladiums are just 2 more examples I can think of–need to be kept evenly moist. Once bulbs dry out, it tells them to initiate dormancy.
In my house, I am not so good with “evenly moist.” So I suspect that’s why I fail with these. But they are lovely to look at for the season.
This is my oldest holiday or zygo cactus, also known as a schlumbergera. It’s probably at least 20 years old. And despite the post headline, if you look at the bud and bloom shown together in this photo, you’ll notice that they are the same color.
The other two plants on this windowsill, not so much. The pale pink one that you see in this joint photo? Its early buds are white. It currently has no buds so I can’t show you that.
And these attractive pink buds look like they belong to my ancient 20 year old zygocactus, don’t they?
This is how they open.
So the moral of this story is to try to ensure that the plant you acquire has an open flower so that you know what you’re getting–unless you like surprises!
Every year about this time I post about these pretty red and green plants, calling them “anti-poinsettias.”
These are aglaonemas, otherwise known as Chinese Evergreens. You often see them sold in pretty green and white varieties. I almost brought one of those home the other day, but it was so cold that I wasn’t sure that I could safely transport it from the store to my car so I will wait until warmer temperatures–in other words, July, in my part of the world!
Poinsettias don’t do well in my house. Like many New Englanders, we keep our house too cold for the heat loving plant from Mexico. So I have learned to stop killing them, and I grow these, which will tolerate my chilly low 60s.
Here’s another variety, a pinker version, that’s about to bloom as well.
And the best part about these plants? Once the holidays are over, they’re still lovely to look at!