09 March 2013

winter friends

Magenta Moth orchid. This beauty arrived on my birthday and has been in bloom ever since. I usually don't have much luck with these plants, but I'm going to try extra hard this year to keep it alive. I suspect I'm going to have to move it out of my studio, which will turn into a sauna come summer, and find a more temperate - yet humid spot for it.

Kalanchoe. I got two of these vibrant bloomers last spring for my graduation. They sat outside on the sun porch all summer and I brought them in when the temperatures dipped thinking maybe - maybe - I could keep them alive until spring. They've surprised me by thriving and blooming again. I've placed both these plants in my studio, one in the northern gable, the other in the the south. The orange one is blooming first, maybe because it's closer to the glass.

Dried husks of my summer alliums - soon we will meet again.

Cyclamen, minus their vibrant blossoms. I finally cleaned then up and put them in a west facing window after Valentine's day.

I've got the itch to start tending seeds and garden, but since we still have well over a foot of snow on the ground here - I've been caring for my inside friends instead. I think I've set a personal best for houseplants still alive come March this year, but I say that very humbly because at any moment I could over-water something and end up having to compost what I've cared for all winter.

Houseplants make good friends, something green and in bloom is always more interesting to look at than dusty books or knickknacks in the weak winter light. A lot of my success this year has been largely accidental. Kalanchoe, cyclamen, orchids and philodendron seem to thrive more on neglect than constant care. I seem to have found a happy spot in the house for each species, so I'll just zip my lips and not hoot about my success least I start having problems here.

I discovered a wonderful book on houseplants at the library and a great blog - that makes me want to roll around in flowers. Tovah Martin's The Unexpected Houseplant is informative and inspiring. Tovah has some great ideas and advice on both common and uncommon houseplants found in most homes. Some of my favorites were the potted Icelandic Poppies and the Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora (which resembles a giant rosebud) but I'll stick with my buddies for now.

What are your favorite houseplants? 


  1. This whole post makes me smile! I still remember your geraniums blooming at the beginning of spring up in Duluth! I'm having a lot of luck with my spikey plants. And forcing paper whites. I get the paper white bulbs from my neighborhood hardware store. I'm also trying to grow oregano and basil from seed. First time ever. I see green, but I'm keeping mum till I transplant them into my terra cotta planters!

    1. Oh, I've been wanting to try forcing bulbs - but I haven't come across any yet to buy, so I've just been holding off and now thinking, well, it's too late in the season for that. But it really isn't.

      I remember the geraniums in Duluth. We had a sunny southern windowsill. I love the smell of geraniums, next to the smell of tomato plants they are one of my favorite garden fragrances. Thanks, Julia.


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