Know Your Exposure

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I mentioned that our trees are usually in full leaf by the first week of May. One of the things that does is change the light inside our house.

Obviously this photo was taken on one of our innumerable rainy days. But you can pretty much tell that even on a sunny day, this window is not going to get much sun. Why am I even making an issue of this?

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This is what’s in that window. And from October until just about now, it’s fine. Now I am praying for some warm weather so that I can get all these (or most of them anyway) outside for the summer where they will be much happier.

So if your house plants suddenly start looking a little peaked, take a look at what’s happened to your indoor light. Perhaps, like mine, it’s gotten a little shadier than your plants care for.

Gardening Resolutions #2

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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.

More Seasonal Color

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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.

With Zygocacti, What You See Might Not Be What You Get

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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.

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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.

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And these attractive pink buds look like they belong to my ancient 20 year old zygocactus, don’t they?

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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!