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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Updates on my indoor plants and plant experiments this fall.

It's strange, but I do okay with the garden, but I'm horrible with indoor plants. However, this fall and winter, I am making a supreme effort. 

It looks like I got my weeping fig back in the house just in time. It only dropped 3 leaves after moving it back in. After last year's massive leaf drop, I thought I'd did that poor baby in. But it survived, and is looking pretty good after it's summer in the fresh air.

I lost one of my amaryllis bulbs to rot, this summer out on the deck. Maybe it got watered too much? I'm not sure. Anyways, 3 survived and I'm trying to get them to bloom again.

My stevia -- if you'll remember I brought my stevia plant indoors around the first of September. Stevia needs a warm climate to be a perennial. So, I brought it indoors to overwinter, and will hopefully move it back out next spring. Right now, it's green and healthy, but leggy. It not only requires heat, but strong light as well. 

This plant also tends to dry out quickly indoors. I have it in a terra cotta pot. But I'm hoping to transplant it into a plastic pot with saucer, in part to reduce drying out, but also so that I can move it to a sunnier window (on a wood floor, the terra cotta might ruin it).

I took one cutting of the stevia already this fall. I should be able to cut more in a few weeks.

As for using stevia leaf (it's taste is different than stevia extract, being a whole leaf) -- I dislike it in coffee, find it okay in tea, but love it in cocoa! When I ground the dried stevia leaves, I added some sugar to the grinding, to improve the flavor. It's much like the Truvia blend, the commercial blend of stevia and sugar. Using this in cocoa is great. I'm going to try using some in homemade chocolate pudding soon.

My pot of basil -- about the same time I brought in the stevia, I also brought in a pot of basil that I'd started mid-summer. The basil is doing really well. Because it tends to be a slow grower, it has not become the least bit leggy, not yet. I pinched it back this past weekend, for a large pot of pasta and pizza sauce. I've got this in a plastic pot with plastic saucer and it sits in the sunniest of windows already. The only thing I think it needs is a bit of plant food. Otherwise its doing great. 

And an interesting note, at Trader Joes last Friday they were still selling potted basil. I didn't check the price. I was just so surprised to see that they still had them in stock. This is Seattle, where the daytime high temps are in the 50s this time of year, not exactly basil weather. So maybe indoor basil does better than I know.

My lettuce under lights -- it looks healthy, but stunted. I think the plants need repotting into larger containers. If I can get to Home Depot to pick up some potting soil soon, I'll move these plants into larger containers, and hopefully they'll grow just a bit more. I'll let you know if it helps or hinders.

My rosemary under lights -- this is just a tiny seedling, started from seed this summer. It looks healthy and happy, but could use a large pot as well. It could go outside on the deck for winter, but I did start it late and it may have been too young to stay outdoors in the cold.

So far, I'm keeping them all alive (except that one amaryllis bulb). That in itself is quite a feat for me. We'll see how the rest of fall and winter go.

Are you good with indoor plants? Do you have any tips for those of us with black thumbs?


  1. I used to do okay with indoor plants and a good window. However, over the years, I've stopped trying because of the cats. They just chew on them and then go throw up in the corner. A lose-lose situation.

    However, I heard a good tip for plants that just need a little water, but need to stay damp. Put an ice cube on top of the soil every day or two and let it melt.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      that is a good tip, and totally makes sense. I'll give that a try with a small palm-type plant that I have.

      The cat we had many years ago used to chew up anything that looked the least bit grass-like. She left the regular leafy plants alone, but things like palms looked horrible all the time. Our vet said to plant a pot of cat grass just for her. We did try that for a while, but she still preferred the houseplants.

    2. We too have planted grass for the cats. However, instead of just eating it, they pulled it up and carried it around the house leaving dirt as they went.

  2. We were given a cactus as a housewarming present in March, and thought it would be easy to look after since it doesn't require watering much at all in the winter. Unfortunately two of the stems have fallen over and seem dead. We've only watered it once so maybe that was too much! Or maybe too little. I think I'll have to try the icecube method that Live and Learn suggested.

    I'm not too fussed anyway since it's not a food plant, but it is nice to look at. One of the stems is still going anyway :)

    1. Hi economies,
      that's so funny, what you wrote about not caring as much because it wasn't a food plant. I tend to take the same attitude with my plants. If there's food value in them then I work harder to keep them healthy.

      Maybe there's hope for your cactus, with the one stem still okay.


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