Monday, May 15, 2006

Hard Look at the Houseplants

How is it I can walk by, and even water, a houseplant over and over and somehow gloss over the fact that it looks *awful*?! I took a good look at the plants in the living room today and ended up throwing one away--it was so decrepit that the "temporary" drip tray I was using under it, a foil pie plate, literally crumbled in my hand! I also took a sad droopy ficus tree outside and gave it a new pot and new soil--still debating on whether or not it deserves to come back in. It does tend to drip stickiness, but on the plus side, it sits right beside Albert's cage (parakeet), where I fondly hope it provides him with the illusion that he still lives in the rain forest. Meanwhile it's having a vacation on the deck.

The whole houseplant sphere is an enigma to me. I water and Miracle-Gro all my plants the same, and have thriving Boston and asparagus ferns, shamrock, rose-scented geranium, and one big airplane plant in the bathroom. The others are sad, sad, sad. I think I will let natural selection do its thing and stick to these successes.


Anonymous said...

After reading this entry I am determined to be ruthless with my houseplants. Afterall, are the plants that have been half dead for the past year really going to start thriving all of a sudden?
I just finished the Laurie Colwin books and am wondering if you have gotten your hands on a copy of "Good Things" by Jane Grigson?

Cherish the Home said...

Oh...I'm so jealous, my boston ferns did great while they lived outside but died when I had to bring them in for winter. )o:

Lisa said...

Apparently weeping ficus trees are toxic to birds. I think Benjamin ficus trees are ok. I don't know the difference, but I did have a quaker parakeet (parrot) once who died shortly after chewing on some ficus leaves and bark, so you might want to make sure Albert isn't chewing on it when it's near him.

You probably already knew this but I couldn't bear the thought of clicking on your blog some day to hear that poor Albert had left us, and I could have prevented it.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for sometime now, maybe a year. While you are gone camping I have been catching up on your archives. Hopfully by now you have noticed that your ficus really loves being outside in humid weather. If not, here are some tips should you decide to get a new one.

If you live in the humid states, always summer your ficus outside in a shady area, it will put on growth and keep from being *sticky*. Water every other day and let drain through, no plate underneath. Ficus can take quite a bit of heat as long as there is shade. Shape it up by pruning about a month before bring in for the winter. Use a mud bandaid on big cuts to keep the tree from *bleeding * When bringing in, place in the one spot it will habitait and leave it there. They will drop leaves with every move, but they do adjust. water and vitamins as normal during the winter. They do prefer to be pot/root bound. The bigger the pot the taller it will grow, like trees outside, the roots are as long as the tree is tall. the sticky stuff comes from a natural parasite. If you notice it before it is time to move it outside you can wipe them off with a rubbing alcohol soaked cotten ball. Sounds like it like to be babied, but not really. Just a leafy bystander.I had an 18'' branch that broke off of a small tree, it is now 8' tall. To me green plants in the house are a must. Blessings to you all. Wendy @ think dot leonardo at verizon dot net.

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