Indoor Plants


Indoor plants:  I tend to kill them.  I'm outside so much taking care of the outdoor plants that the indoor ones are completely neglected.  Those that have survived do so because they spend the warmer months outdoors, where I pay attention to them.

Most long-lived is this bathroom Phalenopsis, which the home builder gave us as a housewarming present when we moved in some eleven years ago.  It went eight years without blooming.  I finally added just a few pellets of Osmocote and started watering with distilled water, and it has subsequently bloomed twice.


The Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) have also worked.  They'll survive and bounce back from three or four months of no water and a good layer of dust build-up (spending the winter indoors, in other words).  They grew their way down to the floor and were working their way towards the door when I gave them a  trim.  The cuttings root easily.  My goal is to have two identical sets that I can rotate in and out of the house, so I've always got a pair that are reasonably healthy.

One of the E. aureums, happy after a summer outdoors getting water:

I visited a "tacky real estate photos" blog some time back where one of the entries highlighted a resident Pothos that had just about taken over the house--the owner had trained it to encircle the entry and then the plant climbed up the stair railing to encircle the landing upstairs as well.  Another section slipped into the dining room and encircled that, too.  It was weirdly creepy enough to motivate me to immediately give mine that aforementioned trim.  

The Sanseveria trifasciata spends the summer outdoors on the patio, and comes in for the winter.  Since it is nearly indestructable, it's survived so far.   It has not grown much, but survival is all I ask.


Then there is the Ravenea rivularis, Majesty palm, which I got a couple of weeks ago.  It's still alive--so far.  Supposedly fast growing to 10 feet (3 m) it then slows down, and is far fussier than Kentia palm, Howea forsteriana.  I think it would be ever so cool to have a ten foot palm in the house.  It's a matter of actually taking care of the thing indoors and getting it to grow indoors that's the challenge.  Ample water and generous fertilizer is the general consensus.  And a trip outside as often as possible to get the dust and any pests sprayed off.  Can I do it?   Well, the outdoors part, sure.

Majesty palm, hopefully upwardly mobile:

Everything else has died, the many African violets, the Peace Lily, the other Peace Lily, an array of doomed Aglaonemas.  The Rabbit Tracks, Maranta leuconeura kerchoviana ended up outside, where it has grown and survived for five or six years now, content if not ecstatic, in a sheltered spot in the ground.

I wonder if I could kill an indoor Clivia miniata, a common houseplant in colder regions, and here a plant which is nearly indestructible outdoors, given a shady spot and complete neglect.  Maybe not, but why try?  So much better to be outside in fresh air with a bunch of fish staring at me.

My lack of success with indoor plants points out one of my major reasons for gardening:  just to be outside under the sky. 




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