Thursday, February 10, 2011

Some TLC For The Houseplants

In the depths of winter, when everything is frozen and spring seems an eternity away,  I get my gardening fix with my houseplants.   I gave them a "spa day" today.  That means I drug them all into the shower and turned it on.  The shower spray gets the dusts off their leaves and gives them a good soaking.   It's nice for them, since they get ignored for most of the rest of the year while I'm busy with the outdoor garden.  Luckily, they were all chosen for their hardiness and weather my neglect well. 

Actually, "chosen" is probably not the best word to describe how I ended up with this particular selection of houseplants.  I choose them randomly, usually based on what's on the clearance rack at the local garden center, then they come home to enter the natural selection experiment that is my sunroom.  If they can survive sporadic watering, occasional fertilizing (if I remember) and the not so tender affections of the cat, then they are welcomed into the fold. 

Many a noble plant has fallen here, but the ones that have survived are hardy Super Plants. Among their auspicious ranks are several Spider plants (started with one, they're good at reproducing!), a Draecaena, a Ficus, a Majesty Palm (Ravenea rivularis), and a Spathiphyllum.  Quite the eclectic collection.  The only thing they have in common is survival.

I've had several Ficus over the years.  I like Ficus, they have a nice form and I think the contrast of the light bark and dark leaves is lovely, but I've never had much luck keeping them alive. Turns out they don't really like being used as a litterbox, which is a bit of a problem around here.  I put large rocks in the bottom of this one, which seems to be helping deter the cat.

This Spathiphyllum was a gift.  I stopped buying Spathiphyllums several years ago after killing too many of the poor things to count.   I always forget to water them.  I figured this one was doomed as well.  Surprisingly, it's done quite well.  It even survived being put in the bed of the pickup and driven 30 miles at 70 mph when we moved.  It's still a little ragged from that adventure, but it bounced back nicely. 

The Majesty Palm hosts the Houseplant Retirement Home.  When plants get so pathetic and sad from my neglect that I finally decide to use their pot for something else (natural selection is a cold-hearted thing), they go to the Majesty Palm to die.  It's currently hosting some Rheo, a Wandering Jew, a mostly dead Philodendron and some twigs that may have been a Pothos, I don't quite remember.  The Rheo and Wandering Jew (Tradescantia sp.) are actually recovering.  If they survive, they'll make a nice little ground cover for the Palm's pot.  I've heard that Majesty Palm is not really suited to living in the house, they like too much water and light to do well indoors,  but I've had this one for several years.  It does go outside during warm weather, perhaps that's why I've had good luck with it. 

This weekend is promising warmer weather.  Hopefully I'll be able to get outside and do something.  If not, I suppose I could always go to the local nursery and get a few more victims, er.... houseplants to cheer me up.  Any suggestions?


  1. You give your houseplants such royal treatment, no wonder they look gorgeous. I agree ficus (especially the rubber fig) are tough, but still quite elegant.

  2. Shannon - Your sunny room looks gorgeous. Put a sleeping bag on the floor for a nice winter nap in the sun. The ficus should root quite easily from short branch cuttings if for some reason you want more of it. Avoid getting the milky sap on your skin as it is an irritant. We are going to warm a bit in the next few days!!!! Whoopee!

  3. What a great idea, I my indoor plants would enjoy a nice shower. Whatever you are doing must be working because your plants look wonderful.

  4. Your houseplants look like they are doing well. I have a hard time finding enough light for mine, so I have very limited plants indoors. You seem to have a lot of light coming through - how wonderful!

  5. Dear Shannon, Although I have no success with houseplants and now do not own a single one....yours look absolutely wonderful. Perhaps it is all the tender loving care that you give and the neglect that any houseplant gets from me!!

    I am so pleased to have discovered your weblog and have added you as a Favourite on Blotanical as well as signing up as a Follower. I look forward to staying in touch.


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