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bear by san

March 2017



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muppetology beaker meep meep

don't want to do this but he gets you there. you got to reason with the beast.

It's official. I live here on sufferance from the plants.

Current census, from left to right:

In the living room window:

1) jade plant, which is actually four or five jade plants in a pot they might eventually grow into.
2) pipe organ plant, rapidly outgrowing anything I put it into
3) small pot full of the pipe organ plant's current crop of offspring clones
4) (in a shared container) two cacti: Sulcorebutia mentosa and Lobivia arachnacantha. Memo to me, stop watering these in November so I might get some blossoms out of them in the spring.
5) (in a shared container) two Euphorbia milii "Crown of Thorns" (splendens (red) and "Aurea" (gold) For some reason, I cannot get the yellow one to bloom, although it is the bigger and seemingly more robust of the two plants. Maybe I need to let them get a little more potbound.)
6) (in one container) two supermarket cactuses. I have no idea what they are, but I bought them because they looked very, very sad. One is a two-lobed pear-shaped kind of thing with short dense thick white prickers; the other is a ridged round morningstar-head-shaped creature with clusters of long red prickers. They brought some volunteers, too: something stalky and green with oblong leaves, and something that has reddish stems and feathery small green leaves arranged in pairs along the stalk. It all looks pretty together, so I leave it alone.
7) Plectranthus amboinicus, aka "Cuban oregano," which is not an oregano at all, but a tender plant with softly-furred, succulent leaves. From a small cutting netcurmudgeon's mother gave me, it is growing into a monster. Allegedly has culinary uses: I may try it as such in self-defense.
8) Viola hederacea "Tasmanian Violet", which, between being the cat's occasional snack and a near-death-by-drowning experience, I am expecting to have to bury any day now, but it seems to be hanging on. There are three leaves on it, anyway, and I'm willing to give it a fighting chance.
9) Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Mandanianum’. This is not a yellow jasmine, but it plays one on TV. At the very least, it has a sweet jasmine-like fragrance and a creepery habit. It keeps trying to break free and I keep twining it back into itself. Stalemate, so far. I'm hoping it will eventually rally into the giant gorgeous plant I know it can be, if I can just keep it alive long enugh. It blooms lackadasically once in a while, but it does keep growing.
10) Jasminum polyanthum "Winter Jasmine". This really is a jasmine, and while small, has consistenly if intermittently given me flowers all summer. It's actually growing pretty well, but there's something it's not entirely happy about. The leaf color is pale, and some of the leaves have yellow spots. I wonder if it wants iron?

On the kitchen divider shelf:

11) Jasminum sambac ‘Belle of India’: This is actually on the shelf between the kitchen and living room, and growing like a weed. I need to find a place where it can get some more light, because I bet it would bloom like anything if it wasn't sitting in the dark.

Atop the hutch between the kitchen and living room windows:

12) a variegated Philodendron. This was a rescue plant. Somebody had abandoned it in a basement window of my apartment building, and after watching the poor thing sit there slowly dying for a year, subsisting on moisture from the dryer vent and whatever light snuck through a cruddy north-facing basement window, I absconded with it. It is now sitting atop the hutch between the living room and kitchen windows, eating the living room and contemplating its chances for world domination. I fear it.
13) A spider plant! Gift from an individual on my flist who shall remain unnamed unless they choose to comment!
14) Kalanchoe uniflora "Coral Bells". Not in bloom because it is recovering from the same near-drowning incident that got the violet. I really need to get it a hanging basket. It will be happier.
15) Mimosa pudica “Sensitive Plant”. This is sensitive plant #2; #1 dried out on me overnight. I am trying a slightly different technique with this one, and growing it out of direct sunlight, but fairly close to a bright window, with a catch basin around the pot to hold some humidity.

In the kitchen window:

16) Ficus deltoidea "Mistletoe Fig". A mere cutting when I brought it home, now a foot tall and growing like mad. If it tops three feet, I'm declaring it my Christmas tree. I love this little tree; it's just beautiful. One of the nicest Ficii I've ever seen. The fruit turn bright deep red if left alone long enough. I suspect they are not edible, but they are pretty.
17) Hypoestes phyllostachya, "Pink Spot." Actually, this one is fuchsia. Yeah, I know, it's an office desk plant, but I really like it.
18) Citrus hystrix "Kaffir Lime". Another year, and this one will be big enough for culinary uses. It's currently pinned up to a chopstick because whoever rooted the cutting made the poor thing all cockeyed, but if the trunk hardens off even semi-upright it might make a pretty nice little tree. And the leaves are shiny and smell good.
18) Citrus x meyeri, "Meyer lemon". Maybe someday, if I get it into a giant pot, it will give me lemons. For now it sits on the kitchen window and looks pretty.
19) Citrus medica var. sarcodactylus, "Buddha's hand." See above, "Meyer lemon."
20.) Adenium obesum, "Desert Rose" (red). God, what an ugly plant. It's kind of like a bonsai baobab, only not as pretty. I adore it.

On the kitchen table under the window:

21) Citrus x latifolia, "Persian Lime". This one is actually something like a respectable-sized treelet, two feet tall or so.
22) Rosmarinus officinalis, "garden rosemary." Yum. Pork chops!
23) (in a shared container) Thymus vulgaris, "French thyme," Thymus citriodorus, "lemon thyme." Neither one is doing particularly well, but I just repotted them, and hopefully they will come back in the spring. Also in the pot as a volunteer is a yellow wood sorrel, Oxalis stricta, which I leave alone because it's tasty and pretty. Someday it may be tea.

In the humidity tray, also on the kitchen table:

24, 25) two Phalaenopsis orchids, both harlequins, one yellow and burgundy, the other (allegedly) white and burgundy, though it is new and I have never seen it bloom.
26, 27, 28) Sarracenia hybrids, "Judith Hindle," "Scarlet Belle," and something else. Oh, Sarracenia leucophylla. Pitcher plants, in other words.

Hanging over the kitchen window

29) Senecio rowleyanus, "String of Pearls." My favorite houseplant. This one is a sad shadow of its former glory, as it too nearly got itself drowned. But I am hoping I can bring it back, because the damned things are lovely and peculiar and have weird little flowers and are nearly impossible to find. Not dead yet!

Dear Bear, you don't need any more plants. Ever. Even if you do want a Tahitian bridal veil. And a potted melissa. And a stripy Phalaenopsis. Although I am contemplating ordering a Salvia divinorum while it's still legal to grow them, just to have it, but man, they want a mint* for those things and it would probably eat the orchids.**

*that was a pun.
**can't sleep, plants will eat me.


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Good heavens, woman.

I have one curly fern and one "living stick." I am desperately hoping it is not a dying stick, because porphyrin made it for me. I have been misting it with my laundry bottle, but plants and I, well. I have already killed two rosemary plants, a Swedish ivy, a pothos named Porthos, and a spider plant named Aramis. Plus poor dear Katy's plants in college. I suspect word gets around and none of them want to come here. These two plants were both birthday presents just about a month ago, so -- well -- I've kept them alive this long, I guess. Or alive-ish, in the case of the living stick. Um.
If it's any consolation, I've killed about a hundred rosemary plants. This one finally seems to be doing okay, she said, crossing her fingers.

I'm just trying not to fuck with it too much.

Thyme, also, I have a bear of a time keeping alive.
How do you keep Miss Presumtuous away from all that? We have to hang our plant from the ceiling, and I've caught the gatos climbing curtains to get a nibble.

I bet your oxygen quality is good in there, though...
The only one she likes to eat is the violet.

I used to have a cat that would eat *cactus* if she could get it. This one is much more civilized.
Sigh. Do you think your orchids could have a bit of a sit-down with my orchids? My Oncidium just bit the dust and my Dendrobium mutt is looking to follow. The Phalenopsis is about as happy as a plant that flat out refuses to bloom can be, at least.
Well, mine are a new thing, so we will see if they hang in there or if I murder them.

Somebody told me that Phalaenopsis needs to be potbound all to hell to bloom, and if that's not working, lower the humidity a little. They bloom under stress... just not so much stress they start looking to die.
*g* It's funny, looking at this list. I really have very definite tastes in house plants. African violets, not for me.

arcaedia has some gorgeous ones, though.
Welcome to my world. Right now, we have room in the house only because I can put all of the warmth-loving plants in the greenhouse, but I'll have two pineapples, four Nepenthes pitcher plants, several aloes, a big batch of rare Kalanchoe cultivars, and a ridiculously large number of succulents to pull inside, and that's in addition to the box turtle. Yes, I need a much larger house.
Or teak window racks.

*Lots* of teak window racks.

Hey, any pitcher plant tips? Other than keeping them warm and bright and keeping their feet wet?
I think you'd feel very much at home in the Netherlands, where everyone keeps their garden on the inside of the house :D

Among other things, I have a rampant Hoya growing on my kitchen windowsill, sprouting squillions of lovely chocolate-scented flowers at the moment. If you've a square inch or two (well ok, maybe a square metre or two) left in a well-lit position, I can recommend it :D
Wow, what a gorgeous plant.

I live in a secnd-floor apartment with no balcony. Plants on windowsills are my sanity. *g*
wow. I am so jealous. I do great with plants in my garden. I can grow enough food to feed a small army ( which we actually have), but put a plant in a pot and I kill it.
It is the whole watering thing, honestly.. I just...forget sometimes. then they get all brown and I remember, but then it is usually too late. I need to equivalent of a large pet water feeder to auto feed my plants. I start indoor jungles.. they just transform to deserts too quickly. I have been slowly but surely giving up on it, out of guilt for the hundreds of green lives lost.. but I miss plants overflowing my house. One of the weird by products of being raised by a horticulturlist, I suppose.
One word.

I have a venus fly trap on my kitchen windowsill that takes care of the fruit flies, gnats and the odd fly that gets into the house. It just got moved up to the next larger pot.
I am in serious awe. I have managed to kill lovingly-tended cacti and spider plants, through means I still don't understand.

The only plant I've ever kept alive is the lemongrass plant trying vigorously to become a bush from its pot on the porch. I bought it out of nostalgia, with very low hopes, but it's so far survived a four-day cross-country car trip, very occasional watering, and a series of too-small pots. Either lemongrass is the sturdiest plant I have ever seen, or some plant god has finally had sympathy on me after all my failures in the past.
Spider plants and cacti like to be ignored.


The two previous felines ate greenery, such that the only green things I have in my house now are two African violets, one white and one pink. I suppose I should look into a few more colors just for modeling purposes (cake decorating).
Holy crap, there IS someone with more houseplants than me!! *bows down to Your Plantliness*

I envy your collection. Especially your Senecios. Those HATE me.
As near as I can tell, the trick is to keep them wet and bright....
I never managed to kill my spider plant, because that's impossible, but it never grew until I gave it to my sister.

I'm hoping that was the particular climate of my bedroom then. Nowadays I have parsley, sage (which consents not to get too mouldy as long as I keep it on the living room sill instead of the kitchen), thyme, chives and mint. The rosemary (which I was attempting to bonsai) and the kowhai (ditto) appear to have died due to climate differences between old house and new house, primarily that the old house had an automatic sprinkler so they got watered every two days without fail, and the new house only has me, so they don't.

I've also got a fern hanging in the toilet which survives if I remember to water it occasionally, and a gerbera, which is slowly turning yellow but I've never met anyone who can make them flower again anyway, and something related to a venus flytrap whose name I've forgotten, and something whose name I've never known, but which has flowered wonderfully since coming here despite the leaves not looking very healthy.

But mostly my plants do best if I put them in the garden and leave them well alone. At the moment (some of the five previous owners whose mail I still get must have planted them) I have a gazillion daffodils and other narcissi, and the lavendar all around two sides of the house is just starting to flower.
I have a co-worker from Puerto Rico who claims the best way to bully phaelenopsis into blooming is to let them be outdoors just as it's starting to cool--no coller than 40 degrees or so, but cool enough that they get the idea that their world may end soon and it is time to bloom. Here in Tennessee, she says October is best for this, although clearly YMWV up there. Maybe leaving the living room window open for a night or two would scare them enough when the time comes.

Wow that is awesome that you know what all your plants are. Mine are in ah pots... I water them...I feel guilty now, I should have a better relationship...*talks to plants more*
I started with seven Dracaena stalks, the kind you see in office vases. I put them in dirt and watched them grow biiiiig. Things got a little ridiculous after that, and then I had my own apartment, and while I have only the one south window, we do okay.
Wait, maybe that's why the Simon and Garfunkel herb box isn't growing. Yeah, gonna have to save for a grow light.

How do you keep your mimosa from getting strung-out and hideous? I bought one a couple summers ago, watched it grow, watched it bloom, watched it get some seeds because hey, plantwatching, and even before it produced seeds its leaves would fall off. I ended up with a mimosa made of two-foot twigs with four leaves on the ends. And thorns.
You can pinch them back to keep them bushy, but really, they only last about a year, from what I understand.
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