Monday, March 3, 2008

Indoor Gardening - When is too much, um, too much?

Teacup cloche with asparagus fern.

The ever-forgiving jade plant in an old teapot.

String of beads - a newer purchase.

One of many ferns. This will go into a terrarium for safe-keeping.

First off, I’m having a hard time with the word ‘houseplant’ these days. Maybe because there was what I thought a houseplant should be – versus the flip-side of the other, more creative possibilities.

I have mentioned before, that my very first memories of houseplants were the fake looking plants that lived in the basement of my hometown’s Woolworths. Variegated, dusty – fading under fluorescent lights. Brrrrrr. Lifeless. Sad. Uninspiring. Hospital waiting room-grade horticulture.

Then, there were the college years, the New York City years, the office-living years – in which I was the witness to houseplant overkill, houseplant neglect, and repetitive houseplant behavior. Ficus trees that limped along in smoggy air. Fake ivies. Spider plant after spider plant.

I had to start off slow. My own initial attempts at houseplants were lessons in frustration. Now, I have picked up the pace to an almost ridiculous degree – still, without a fussy plant in sight. I have access to greenhouses that present new possibilities and new varieties. Each plant purchase leaves me weak in the knees – driven to distraction – thinking about the one plant I left behind. That I should go back and get . . . and eventually do. (Of course!)

Here’s where I stand – as of March 3, 2008. My indoor gardening inventory. Again, the word ‘houseplants’ just won't do them justice.

Heart-leaved philodendron
Fern – Adiantum
Fern – Miniature Asparagus (2)
Fern – Asparagus
Fern – Maidenhair
Fern – Rosa Maidenhair
Fern – mystery variety . . .
Bird’s Nest
Miniature aloe
Mother-in-Law Tongue
Dwarf Mother-in-Law Tongue (2)
Peace Lily
Pothos (2) – for quick greening up of any space
Succulents (4 varieties – rescued from Lowe’s)
Prayer Plant
Primrose (the wilder variety)
Jade plant
String of Beads
Terrariums (3) – in desperate need of reviving. Filled with baby's tears, ferns and moss.

Dear blog readers: Feel free to feed the fever - tell me about your tried-and-true favorites.


Julie said...

Hi. I just found your blog tonight and wanted to say I love your succulents, and cute planters! Also love your list of houseplants...I need to start a list...I am trying to get more plants into the house to clean the air! At present though, I have a fairy garden that contains several small plants, a large (about 2 ft. high) Aralia plant which is so forest like with thin wispy leaves, a plant with purple shimmery leaves (Purple Passion), a Fittonia variety (Red Vein), a Dracena "Florida Beauty", Angel Wing Begonia. I am a big fan of beautiful leaves...don't seem to care too much about blooms, which I find odd...but that is just me!!! I have pics of all my new houseplants on my blog. I love succulents. Come visit me!

That Girl . . . said...

When we moved from Oregon I only took one plant with me, a Hindu rope plant or Hoya. My grandmother had sent me about 2 inches off hers and it grew so slowly and was so small that I couldn't give it up. It now has three "ropes" which are about 6 inches each. Apparently they bloom, but I've never gotten mine to. After I finish the dissertation it will get more attention!

Tracey said...

Oh, ladies. Terrific suggestions. I am especially intrigued by Julie's Aralia plant *and* . . . the Hoya plant has been on my wish list since reading about it this past fall!

Must. Find.

Steph said...

The jade plant in the tea pot is so sweet!
I am a notorious killer of houseplants. We had a gigantic and beautiful plant that grew from a cutting of one of Geoff's grandmother's plants. I killed it, and my father-in-law has still not forgiven me.

Les said...

I purchashed a monster leaf philodendron in a little 6" pot when I was about 13 and I still have it 34 years later. When I moved in with my wife, she had an identical one. They are now both in huge faux cotta containers and I drag them out in April and drag them back in around late October. This exercize is usually good for days of sore back.

Anonymous said...

Hello...just a short list of plants to love: Swedish Ivy...lovely, lovely old plant. Heart philodendron...dark green leaves tiny heart shapes. Bridal veil...fairy stuff when in bloom, Baby's Tears...Irish Moss and rotating small containers of different herbs(you can grow these in anything)...varigated Wonderer ..reddish-purple and green leaves with silver undertones.

Ruthie said...

I'm just getting restarted at indoor gardening myself after a long break. Your photos reminded me that I've got a huge box full of old teapots stored away that I couldn't bear to get rid of. Now I know what to do with them. Thanks for the inspiration!