House Plants Outside, Where They Will Live.

Maranta leuconeura

Maranta leuconeura, common name "Rabbit Tracks" or "Rabbits Foot".  Usually a house plant.  I got it from my Mom.  She got it from her next door neighbor, Lori, who was getting rid of a lot of stuff because she was dying of breast cancer.  My Mom has been gone for five years, Lori for ten.  I still have the plant, a little living memorial to say, "You are remembered."  Better than a pink magnetic ribbon on the butt-end of my car.

My few indoor plants are a miserable lot.  Anything indoors gets ignored.  M. leuconeura lives in the ground, outside, in a protected spot too shady for most other plants, along with the chartreuse version of Philodendron 'Xanadu' and several Clivia miniata.  They are all quite happy in a mulch of red lava rock, which is a terrible mulch 99% of the time.  Mine is in that other 1%: undisturbed and unlittered, barely visible, it works.  Outside, Maranta leuconeura goes nearly dormant in January.   Cut to the ground in February, it reemerges, pristine, in early spring.    

I am always amused to think of Clivia as a house plant, which they are in much of the world.  Here it is the utterly reliable low-maintenance plant for dry, dappled shade. Nothing can hurt it, except direct sun and snails. 

I tried growing an Alocasia x amazonica outside, but it did not survive, twice.  Another beautiful Alocasia, 'Frydek',  dies down every fall but so far has come back every summer for 7 years, some years better than others.  It's just waking up now.  I'd keep it in the house, since I'd love that gorgeous foliage year round, but I doubt it would survive engulfed with spider mites.

Alocasia 'Frydek':
Alocasia 'Frydek' 

The black Colocasia, 'Black Magic' is awake early and is looking better than it has in years--was it the winter rain?  Another plant that loses all foliage in the winter, I normally kept it dry when it is dormant, but it was so sad and miserable the past couple of summers, I left it out in the rain all winter so it could rot and die.  Now of course it's more beautiful than it has ever been.  I should pop it into the fountain where it can live for the summer, drinking all the water it so loves.  

Alocasia 'Black Magic'

On a busy street nearby, surrounded by concrete and backed by a block wall so that it is bathed all day long in not only full blazing sun but also brutal reflected heat, is a huge clump of Sansevieria trifasciata, looking absolutely delighted with its lot in life.  Mine in the living room, where it gets watered at least once a year (I hope) is not nearly so opulent.  I think it might be discouraged.


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