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Thread: Winter Gardening

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Central Indiana Zone 5a
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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?

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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

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