Wednesday, February 18

Happy Houseplants, Grumpy Gardener

Pruned the hibiscus and planted the cuttings with a friend yesterday. Maybe in 4-6 weeks, we'll have some newly rooted, healthy, baby hibiscus plants. But then again, maybe not. It's a fun little experiment.

Also gave my houseplants some much needed attention. Seems like they go through a regular cycle of being fine--even flourishing--but then developing a bone-dry, brittle top crust while the bottom part stays soppingly rot-the-roots wet. Which makes them all start to die. So I repot them all and my plants seem happy again.

But the cycle eventually repeats itself. What's my problem? Am I watering them too much? Not enough? Too much salt in the water? Or other minerals? I just don't know. And that makes me grumpy.

Plus all that playing in the dirt inside made me even more eager to play in the dirt outside. But any grass that was visible yesterday is once again covered in snow. Grrr.


  1. OK...I kill plants, so...take this with a grain of salt. The dry, brittle top soil that you're talking about, are you sure that's not mold? It can kind of look like yucky dry dirt. If it's mold growing on top, and the soil underneath is sopping wet, you're almost assuredly watering them too much. That's a problem I have. Except when I cut back the watering, I still have mold on the dirt. (???) But my plants seem happier.

  2. I love all your plants. sorry to not have any advise, i've never been one that has had plants. it scares me that they will all die. though, they are so beautiful and I should really give it a try.

  3. Dee, now that you mention it, my mom told me the same thing a few years ago when the dried-out crusty top started to turn white in some spots: mold. OK, so I'll try less water for a while...

    Kerri, if I can keep some green things alive, then anyone can. To overcome my fear, I started just with cuttings from my mom's plants. That way, if they died, at least they hadn't cost me anything. Since then, I've bought some, but only when they're on super sale, because I still regularly kill things. That's the key: find someone with houseplants and ask if they'll give you some cuttings.

  4. I love houseplants! Especially, the Ivy/vine ones. (I have grown plants since I was little.) It makes the air a little fresher in the house during the winter. I also LOVE gardening in the summer. My Morning Glorys took over my front entry last year. I think I will do it again....although, I don't like all the bees that my beautiful flowers bring. Yes, I have about 20 hostas that are all from a friend. They are sooo easy to split. I am always trying to put in a new bed for flowers. Soon, Mark won't have any grass to mow. :) I planted a bunch last year and I am taking a break from new ones. Maybe, I'll just split what I have. The kids really like watching the veggies grow. Although...WE ALL HATE THE RABBITS!!!!

  5. Ooh, I do love ivy too. Had a beautiful plant that was going so well, but then that too died. Of dehydration. Maybe it was when I was out of town for a week and the other adults in the house forgot to water. But it was probably done under my watch. -sigh-

    Jenny, the morning glories sound wonderful! I'm trying to figure out what I can plant on the north side of my house -- doesn't get much sun. But I'd love to get rid of the grass there. It's a pain to mow, and that side of the house is so plain anyway -- just lone little window -- plus the big honkin' AC unit.

  6. I would suggest you don't water more than every other day, max. And then, maybe only a tablespoon or two of water, especially plants in those smaller pots. Feel the soil; if it feels dry, give it a small drink. If it still feels moist (sticks to your finger) then let it be. Some plants want to get totally dry before they are watered again. Which ones? Don't ask me!! Also, if I don't give my plants purifie water, they die. But you know how awful our water is!

  7. I am a plant killer! I can't even do cut flowers. Dave has stopped buying me cut flowers - he buys flowers in pots/planters and then ends up taking over the watering. My inlaws now give me fake plants because they know I just can't handle them. Plus I am not fond of caterpillars. Your plants look great - alive, for one, and thriving (as if I know what a thriving plant looks like). Your mom's advice is wonderful - I have a pot of tulips on my windowsill in danger of drowning. I shall cut back on the water. Thank you, Karin's mom!

  8. More good advice; thanks Mom.

    LiEr, too funny; glad your inlaws know you so well. : ) Save the tulip! You can do it!



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