Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Winter refugees

During the summer months my houseplants live outside on the screened patio; with the threatened frost this past weekend I brought them inside from their fair weather sojourn. The problem now is where to put them all. For the moment I'm keeping most of them in my office where they'll be safe from marauding bunnies and clumsy dog tails. They're crowded together on this little plant stand in front of the sort-of-south-facing window, up high enough that Peeper can't reach them without really trying. I've found her once or twice atop my desk, so it's possible.

The Asparagus Fern in the back is my longest lived houseplant; I think I've had it for 3 or 4 summers now. I like to keep it out on the sunporch with the big bunnies, but it has grown considerably this summer and I found Boomer and Cricket doing some inspired pruning when I first brought it in and put it back in its usual spot. I have fairly good luck with Peace Lilies, so I keep quite a few. I can't manage to make them bloom ever, but the foliage is pretty enough without flowers. They aren't so happy spending the summers outside, as I can never seem to keep enough water on them. My jade plants do terrific out on the patio, though. Last year I took a few cuttings and was able to *trade* them with friends (I read that it's bad luck to give Jades as gifts, so I only trade them for cuttings of other plants. lol!)

The orchid that I bought back in April is still alive and is sending out these funny things (pictured at right) that I'm not sure are roots or stalks that will bloom. I'm not sure what to do with them. Ideas anyone?

I like to have my houseplants back inside because it's so much easier to care for them, but they do seem to suffer with the darker days and dry conditions inside the house.

5 comments:

Julie Zickefoose said...

Hey Laura,

Those are air roots on your phalaenopsis orchid. They help the plant breathe, and shouldn't be tucked into the pot (very brittle and liable to breakage). The white coating is called velamin and it's very absorbant. At first they look strange, but think of them as part of the unique charm of orchids and soon you'll think they're pretty. When you repot, go ahead and leave them sticking out into the air.

LauraHinNJ said...

Thanks, Julie. I was hoping you might have something to say (you being the only orchid queen I *know*).

I was hoping they were going to become flowers. ;-(

Do I want to repot it? Do I need to repot it this spring? Help!

Lynne said...

I bow to those of you who can keep houseplants alive! My houseplant nurturing abilities (or lack) are a longstanding joke in my family.

Go Peeper! :)

-llm. said...

I love Peace Lilies as houseplants. I think of them as my early water detection system -- they are so dramatic about their need for water that when they get droopy, I know it's time for everyone to get a drink! :)

I've read that they are quite wonderful at cleaning pollutents out of the air too. But that could be just a myth! :)

I haven't devoted time to houseplants lately. I have an African Violet in my bathroom that is decrying the myth that AVs are delicate and sensitive plants. It is thriving on neglect. And, I have another plant that if I didn't know better I'd think it was a plastic plant -- it is alive and going strong despite the fact that its lucky to get water once every 3 months. Amazing!

LauraHinNJ said...

Lynne: It's a pretty tenuous survival. ;-)

-llm.: The peace lilies are very dramatic when they flop! They do that a lot here.

I think the trick with African Violets is finding just the right spot for them - I haven't.. yet.