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  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Winter Gardening

    Thought I would start a new thread to tell you what's been happening with the indoor garden so far this winter; here goes.

    Not much of anything! I did have one of the small Mammiliarias cactus put out a few lavender blooms, which was nice to see. Unfortunately I didn't get to photograph it.

    The cacti/succulent dish gardens are all holding their own to one degree or another. Several of the tall growing Sedums and Crassulas have lost a lot of their lower leaves and I am seeing base growth on only one and I think it's a Kanchaloe (?). Being in the main part of the house, most of the dish gardens are really staying too warm and though under the fluorescents lights, aren't getting enough light to sustain optimum growth. I need to re think where to place them next year when it's time for them to come back in.

    All of the large Aloes and Agaves are holding their own in the N-E window in my bedroom. They stay on the cool side there and don't get much water - only once a month, IF I remember!

    The threesome of Avocado seedlings have absorbed nearly all of the remaining nutrients from their "pits" and they have all but disappeared. The "Money" tree seems to be very happy in spite of my neglect. Both of these are in the office window (NNE facing) and stay relatively cool. Out in the living room, the small Streptocarpus is doing very well. It has been through at least one bloom cycle and may have yet another before winter's end. ALso in that window is one very sad looking Angel wing Begonia. It just isn't getting enough light to do really well, but it is alive and growing, albeit very slowly. The Papilo amaryllis I have in that window is in serious need of being turned. All the foliage has grown toward the light, turning it now would move all the foliage away from the light so I will leave it as it is. No sign of buds yet.

    In the entry, by the side light I have two "Zig-Zag" or "Devils' Backbone" plants. These are good sized plants and normally loses a lot of foliage during the winter. So far they have kept most of their leaves. I water them only enough to keep the stems from shriveling and that seems to do the trick. Also with them is one of my surviving pots of Euphorbia cuttings. This has several main stems and has made a good many side stems/branches so is quite full look. It is right in the window and must be happy as it is in active growth with hundreds of red-green leaves along the upper ridges. This plant normally does grow foliage in winter and then sheds them all come summer, leaving shiny, black thorns exposed. I had a second pot but lost them this past summer - I think they may have gotten over-watered. This one is doing very well and has grown from it's original height of 20-inches to nearly 3-feet tall. The parent plant was approaching 7 feet tall when I cut it ll back and rooted the cuttings. The "African Milk Tree" is down in the basement and I finally saw some actual new growth on it the other day. This thing has been sitting still for years, not doing a thing expect not dieing! I once attempted to take a cutting from it and did manage to lop off a good portion of one of the main trunks, but it did not do well and ended up rotting. This plant did come from a cutting, well actually, it was the top of the original plant I had when I moved up here 25 or so years ago. The poor thing got toppled over and the top of the only stem broke off. This was a monster plant, a good 7.5 feet tall and the chunk that broke off was at least a foot long. The original sprouted side branches and I kept it for many years before giving it away. The plant I have now is still growing in the original 6-inch pot it was planted in and is in dire need of a bigger pot. Something I will try to get done come spring. I'm still trying to get the top portion of a very large and tall "Pencil" Euphorbia to root although it doesn't seem that it wants to do so. I have several smaller cuttings from this one that did root and have been growing nicely all summer.

    Back in late spring, early summer I had potted up several basket plants for the patio. One of the plants I purchased for one basket was a Heliotrope. Not wanting to lose it altogether, I made a few cuttings. I must have done something right as the largest cutting is blooming for me now. I also ended up bring the basket it was growing in inside. It's under the lights in the basement and is trying to come into new growth along with some of the other annuals that were planted with it.

    All of the Lantana plants (in the basement) have come into growth and are doing very well. The few that didn't get pruned back as severely are even blooming. The one that I have upstairs is totally devoid of foliage and has been pruned back very hard. It did have one tiny sprig of new growth, but that has died due to neglect. I soaked the root ball and will eventually move it to the basement where it may or may not come back into growth. Lantana are fairly rugged and as long as the root mass stays good there is always a very good likelihood that new growth will spring forth given the right conditions.

    I have all of the various "Burro's Tails" under lights this year and all are doing very well. New growth has been minimal so they aren't getting leggy and I try to water them only enough to keep the "leaves" plump. Too much water and they produce long, spindly new growth that I have to cut off come spring.

    One of the Phalaenopsis orchids that was going to bloom has blasted the tip of the bloom spike, the one that bloomed all summer has lost all but one leaf and it isn't looking good. The third one is still going strong. I think it was the white flowered one. None of the Dendrobiums are doing much of anything. Some are putting up new growth, but I haven't spotted any bloom sheaths on any of the yet. I will try to put them in a better spot outside come summer.

    Last, but not least is my Weeping Fig Bonsai. It has been doing well, making new growth and all and now needs to be pruned to help it keep it's "look". I am a bit leery about doing any pruning on it right now, but I may have to bite the bullet and do it anyway. At least minimally.

    Well that's it for my "Winter Gardening" for now; what are the rest of you doing?


    Rebecca
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    Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.
    - R. Buckminster Fuller

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Nice succulent garden, Rebecca.

    I have a tri-colored Devil's backbone that Mama gave me. It is gorgeous. It doesn't lose it's leaves in the winter, but does have to be protected. I have a non-variegated cutting that is rooted. I need to put it in a bigger pot and take it outside next spring. It is tall enough now to take more cuttings and make a bigger clump.

    My Christmas cactii are starting to bloom. They are always so very pretty. They absolutely love spending their summers on the new porch.

    I still have a few hoyas blooming. They are such a treat and pretty even when they are not blooming.

    The red bleeding heart vine has bloomed and bloomed and bloomed and has about taken over my porch. The same thing with Passiflora Marguerite which is still putting out blooms.

    My beefsteak begonia lost all of its leaves last winter (in the old gh). It came back bigger than ever.

    The Rex begonias always start pouting in the summer, but they are starting to look great.

    The tropical hibiscus still look straggly. They never really recovered from Katrina and the others. They also need desperitely to be repotted. The roots sunk down into the ground and had to be severed to bring them inside.

    Your baby clivias are so very cute and have put out new leaves. Those are in my master bathroom near fluroscents.

    My healthiest and prettiest orchids look great and are putting on new growth. They also share the treasured master bath lights.

    My Kalanchoe's took a beating in the winds. There was no time to bring them inside. Some will recover. Some won't, but they are easy to start from small plants and grow fast here.

    I don't do as many succulents as I used to do. I would if I had more space. They are so easy, fun and great to watch.

    Like you, I need a conservatory. I have WAY to much to bring inside. Every year, I say this is the last year for the Amaryllis, but I know that I will always keep one of each kind inside of the hard to find ones and the DOUBLES!

    Anyone else?
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  3. #3
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    Ann,

    Happy to hear the little Clivia are thriving! As for your Hibiscus, come spring, give them a hard pruning and they'll bounce back beautifully. That's one of the neat things about flowering shrubs (of any kind) they take very well to being pruned, some, even severely.

    I've often said I needed a good sized greenhouse with an attached efficiency apartment to live in. The kitties and I would be very happy spending our waking hours in the greenhouse, me puttering with the plants and the kitties snoozing in a bun beam or chasing bugs. With all the house plants I have and the way I like to grow things, it'd have to be a commercial sized greenhouse though! One long enough to divide into warm, intermediate and cool "rooms". There'd even be a pond with a waterfall (and fancy goldfish in the pond). That would be heaven for me.


    Rebecca
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    Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.
    - R. Buckminster Fuller

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    SE PA, zone 6b
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    Rebecca!! Look at those wonderful Donkeytails! They must be very happy with you. I had plenty of luck with them in So CA, but none at all in WWA. Light got too low in the winter. I love that tiny little guy.

    In late spring, perhaps I could get you to send a couple of the "leaves" when they get knocked off. (with kitties, that is bound to happen) Of course, I'll pay the cost. They just lay on top the soil and grow a new plant. I don't know if we can create enough light for them here.

    If I could, I would build a house that is oriented to the south. I would have a glass greenhouse along the entire south wall with plenty of openings to the house itself. In summer, I would have shutters, venting. There is some engineering that would make the area heat the house in winter and vent out the heat in the summer. Oh well, that'll be the same lottery win that buys you a place with more land. We probably shouldn't hold our breath. In case it happens, however, it would also pay some "little men" to move all the plants and restore the landscaping to Blah again.

    We have two Phaleonopsis', one Christmas Cactus, one Dracena and two African Violets. In addition, there is the Amaryllis called "orange" that spent the summer outdoors at the mercy of the lawn crew. I finally remembered to bring it in. The pot is slashed from an eager weed whacking. Well, lo and behold, if that guy isn't putting out bloom stalks!! There are three bulbs in the broken pot. I pour water in very slowly and very seldom. Once the blooms fade, I'll fertilize with fish/seaweed solution until later. When she goes out in the summer, she'll get a new pot.

    After the holidays, I will get busy and build a Rebecca house in the basement and get started with seeds for the garden.

    My greenhouse went to seed this fall--some kind of weed that is very very tall grew up in the growing bed. There is a 5 x 40 foot bed full of it. It is dry now and scattered seeds all over. I have windows that flop out to the outside that never got closed (nothing growing there yet except the weeds.) In March, I'll clean up the bed, cover with mushroom compost and composted leaf mulch,finish putting down weed cloth for the path, etc. In July, I will plant for the winter crop. I have been amazed at the birds that shelter in there! Those seeds provide much food for them. We are building this winter, filling the space between the house and garage, so don't have the feeders out--too much chaos.

    At the Philadelphia Flower Show a few years back, I saw a HUGE yellow clivia-two to three feet across. They are so costly, that I'm not sure I'll ever have one, but, boy, can I envy!!
    Sandi
    SE PA, zone 6b

  5. #5
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    Sandi,

    I'll be more than happy to share some Burro's Tails with you! I actually have all three versions, but the "regular" has been very difficult to get very large. I think I have finally made it happy and now have two small pots of it. I even have the closely related genus that is one of the parents to the "Giant Burro's Tail", just can't remember it's name! I'll probably send tip cuttings as they get you a plant a lot quicker!

    Mine do not do well in a window over winter and get quite leggy, so I put them under the lights, where they are much happier.

    Your orange Amaryllis is most likely 'Orange Souvenir', a very nice older variety. Sounds like it enjoyed it's summer out doors in spite of the weed whacker assaults.

    Clivias are expensive, even the "normal" type isn't cheap. I got mine from a dear, sweet older lady I knew way back when I was married. I used to visit her commercial orchid range several times each summer. She's gone now as are the greenhouses. The last time I priced any of the newer "Hybrids" the price was $80.00, don't recall what color it was though. They come in various shades of red-orange, yellow and also white now and with variegated foliage too! Even the seeds aren't cheap! I have to get my mature plant re-potted come spring and then just hope it will bloom. It didn't get to go outside this past summer so no bloom this year and last year (or was that year before last) I let is go to seed so there weren't any blooms the following year either; it's been at least two years since it has bloomed. They need a cool, dry winter rest period and then as much sun as they can take w/o burning the foliage. I think there are four plants in the huge pot I have it in. One doesn't look so great so I will probably pot it on it's own and give it some extra TLC. All but a few of the (runt) seedlings are growing great, albeit somewhat slowly. The Amaryllis seedlings are growing much faster and will be ready for either individual pots or larger community pots by spring. I need to spend some time down in my garden room and do some maintenance - on the room as well as the plants!

    Your "dream house" sounds really good, but when would you have time to clean house with that large a greenhouse to spend all your time in!?




    Rebecca
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    Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.
    - R. Buckminster Fuller

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    SE PA, zone 6b
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    Oh dear--I don't clean house! I forgot to mention the smaller house on the property that will house the help. This is a lottery win you know. The property will be large. One can never be too thin, too rich, or have enough land, you know.

    (never mind, folks, it's just a saying!)

    Oh, I forgot--all the house floors will have a very gentle slope to drains in the corner. The floors will be of Mexican tils. The walls will be of stucco cement dyed to color. All the furniture will be on castors. When it is time to clean house, one just pressure hoses it down, lets it dry, and moves the furniture back in place. The drains will hook up to the grey water system.
    Last edited by 3girls; 12-14-2005 at 06:42 AM.
    Sandi
    SE PA, zone 6b

  7. #7
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    Sandi,

    You are such a cook and I love ya for it!

    While we're dreaming lets make all the "living quarters" self cleaning, then we wouldn't even have to worry about getting out the pressure washer, just push a button!

    I need one of those NOW!


    Rebecca
    Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.
    - R. Buckminster Fuller

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