garden, garden window, indoor gardening

Chinese Evergreen

I was first introduced to the Chinese evergreen about 15 years ago when I first started having my hair styled by Deb.  She had an awesome workstation, indirect light that really focused on your hair.  But if you cared to look around her station, the overhead window really shed some terrific light on her “house”plants.  She had many African Violets, Christmas cactus, and an incredible Chinese evergreen.  He sat on the floor next to the magazine rack, in the indirect light of the overhead windows.

The Chinese evergreen (genus Aglaonema) fares well in low light conditions and produces lovely mottled leaves.  They are readily available at grocery stores, nurseries, and even by mail order.  Very easy to grow and maintain, just be careful not to over water.

chinese evergreen - before
Chinese evergreen – before

When my specimen started to look a bit “leggy”, as is quite common with this plant, I broke out the “Success with Houseplants” guide to read up on possible propagation.  I was thrilled to learn a couple of methods that work well with this plant.  I cut the leggy pieces off and cut a few stems for rooting.

 

 

 

I had purchased this decorative rooting vase at the Philadelphia Flower Show a few years back.

I plopped a couple of shoots into the water, and waited.  Within a month, those shoots were rooted and ready to fill the pot with luscious green.

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Chinese evergreen – after

NASA has determined that these plants help clean the air indoors. So not only are they easy and carefree, Chinese evergreens also work hard when you have things to do.  Bonus!

 

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garden, garden window, indoor gardening

Top o’ the Morning! A Guide to Caring for Your Shamrock

One of the easiest-to-care-for plants I have in the garden window is the Shamrock (Oxalis).  My dad gave me the original plant over 20 years ago.  My shamrock is actually part of that original plant.

My garden window provides the perfect conditions for the Shamrock – she prefers a cooler location (between 50F and 75F) and indirect light.  Truly all she needs is water when she’s dry.  I pinch out the spent flowers at the base of the stem.  Simple care.

A few weeks ago, I was trying to make some room in the window for my first set of seedling pansies, and noticed my Shamrock was looking a bit scant.  I hadn’t repotted her in a few years, so I decided to take a look at her roots and see what she might be trying to tell me.

The Shamrock plant grows from small bulbs.  I knocked the soil away from the bulbs, kept the ones that were healthy (pink) and tossed the old dead ones.  I freshened the soil and dressed her roots in a new ceramic pot.

Shamrocks tend to like cramped living conditions, so I did not increase the size of the pot.  Add some water, replace her in the garden window.

shamrock

And look who decided to make a grand appearance – just in time for St. Patrick’s Day!

garden, garden window, indoor gardening

Tropical break

Two years ago, I obtained my very first orchid.  I was always so intimidated by them – they are so beautiful, yet I had heard so much about how challenging they could be to grow.  I wasn’t sure I was up to the challenge but I purchased one at the Philadelphia Flower show.  After juggling the delicate flowers on the bus ride home, I found the perfect location for it in my garden window.  The growers had included a leaflet on the proper care, so I was all set.  The flowers lasted about 2 months, which truly amazed me.

DSC_0667After enjoying these blooms through May, imagine my excitement when I visited the Phipps Conservatory spring flower sale in May and found a booth that was selling “toss off” orchids.  The oriental flower show was concluding, and the specimens that had been on display were being sold at deep discount prices.  The only problem was there was no indication of what I was buying.  The greens were healthy enough, but the blooms had long since died and the stems were trimmed way back.  I bought 3 plants.

I quickly ran out to the garden center that evening to purchase some Orchid Medium and pots.  Planting them and then watering was all the care they required.  Some friends of mine mentioned how they simply placed an ice cube in the pot every week, and that was enough to sustain.  But I read up on them a bit, and saw how you really shouldn’t utilize the ice cube method.  And just think about it.  Would you want your feet dipped in an ice bath once a week?

I water them once a week, placing each pot in the sink and running water through the potting medium until the water flows out the bottom.  I let them drain a bit, then place them back in the garden window.  Truly one of the easiest houseplants I have ever maintained.  They don’t bloom very often, and even after 2 years, I’m still waiting for one to bloom.

After taking all the Christmas decorations out of the garden window a few weeks ago, I noticed my mystery orchid had sprouted a shoot with a few buds on it.  I’ve been waiting so patiently, checking the growth each day.  And finally, today, we have a bloom!

orchid-pink