Large plants for Indoor

brugmansiaA THREAT OF FROST LAST WEEKEND sent me scurrying to haul in the houseplants, and though it was a false alarm, it’s time: time to make plans for them and for other tender things like cannas and bananas, cordyline and a favorite pelargonium or two in hopes that what I call these “investment plants” (not perennial on their own, but carried over year to year with extra effort by me) are still around come spring. With frost warnings posted here again tonight, what better day to offer tips for how to overwinter some favorites?

First, my general thinking: No two gardeners’ potential places to stash such treasures will match in temperature or humidity, so when I say the basement works well here, your cellar might not. I have identified my best spots by experimenting, and by killing many things in the process. But every year I score another victory or two because I don’t let failure stop me. (Isn’t all gardening like that?)

marmaduke-begoniaAnd this: If I don’t have the right spot for a plant–often a combination of high light but cool, 50ish-degree conditions–I prefer to try forcing dormancy or semi-dormancy to forcing it to limp along. If you have non-hardy plants you’ve tried keeping as “houseplants” in your heated home with you, only to see them go wretched and leggy, think about letting them rest, or close to it, next time–water very sparingly and keep them as cool as you can.

What I’m doing next: adding a growlight or fluorescent hood for 14 or 16 hours a day in my cool basement to make a so-so-storage space a really good one for many more things. Again: experiment.

HOUSEPLANTS

houseplant in wheelbarrowFANCY-LEAF BEGONIAS: After a summer in the high shade of trees near the house, in they came (including ‘Marmaduke, ’ above, and yes, that’s my childhood teddy, Iggy; and yes, I ate his nose before I was vegetarian).begonia-bonfire-2009 get a physical: a checkup in the wheelbarrow or on a tarp, one at a time, that includes a trim of any battered leaves, a gentle removal of endless spiders and the occasional tree frog trying to hitch a ride, and a wipe-down or rinsing off of the pots. Best to get all the houseplants in before the heat is on indoors to make the transition less abrupt. These guys are tough, but most of them resent drafty, cold spots; I try to find enough bright but protected places.

BROMELIADS: Bromeliads (including the Vriesea, below) are great in the shady garden all summer, and great in the house all winter. I have had some of mine close to 10 years, have only occasionally repotted and simply keep their cups filled with water all year. Talk about an investment plant.

water-pot pelargonium 'vancouver centennial' japanese-maples-out-of-the-storage-barn.jpg
Jobe's Jobe's Large Indoor Plant Indoor Fertilizer Food Spikes - 18 Pack 5402
Lawn & Patio (Jobe's)
  • Nutrients feed at the roots
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Plant stands for heavy/large indoor plants?

2006-12-04 12:49:36 by -

Hi there, well I've gone and done it. Started buying large plants for indoors to start filling in these huge high ceilings and double stacked windows.
I do need to get some of the plants that aren't necessarily pet friendly off the floor. Do you have any suggestions for the appropriate type of stand for heavy large plants? Or am I doing cement block with "lovely" wrap?
Thanks for input.


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