Thursday, January 6, 2022

Midwest Gardening: Wintering Indoor and Outdoor plants

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With Christmas finally put away, I moved all my house plants and some of the plants I'm wintering over around in the house to get the best light.


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Our house is really made for plants. With the outdoor temps now hovering at 5-10 degrees and worse windchills here in Chicagoland, saving some plants inside is GREEN and cost effective.  This is an Hibiscus with orange flowers I severely cut back and stuffed in a pot and brought it in the house, late in November. I knew it had been nipped by frost so the cut back was necessary. Hibiscus have quite woody stems, so I crossed my fingers. 

We are getting new growth now.

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The top four leaves and the nubs are all new...Yay!  They aren't horribly expensive, but definitely not cheap.

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This grass was from our pond grass. Very few garden centers had water plants this year, but I was told this was for both water or dirt. I don't remember the name as I split the pot into four chunks. Now, it's doing very well in the planter, and is thick and deliciously green.

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This is a very old plant---I sacrificed and only brought in a couple of pieces to restart. It is actually my mom's plant from my grandmother's funeral from  early 1990's. It crawled through my mom's kitchen curtains and actually attached to the wall---it was that vigorous. It hasn't done that well since I cut it back this year. I will fertilize now and see if it gets some new growth. It has very leathery leaves from being outside. The very hot temperatures this summer were hard on many plants.

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My herbs have been cut back pretty heavily from use. I've never had much luck with basil inside, but the Thyme is doing well. So nice to have tasty fresh herbs in the kitchen in winter.

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We had a pig roast in September, Thanksgiving in November, and Christmas where I used almost all my Rosemary. Hopefully it will re-sprout when I fertilize.

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My one year-old Christmas Cactus, bloomed the week of Christmas. We had a dozen large blooms or so. It really was pretty. I'm going to put it in a big pot in Spring and fertilize then. 

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This is from some cuttings on my Purple Heart plant I have in the bedroom. I'm doing the cuttings for a friend, and it is on the kitchen table. Our kitchen gets lots of light and in a month we will be starting seedlings and all these  plants will end up in the living room. I change the water often because we have iron laden well water. Very hearty and healthy, but prone to iron 'bloom' in sitting water. 

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This gnome is going to the garden, it's an adorable gnome on a Corgi, my friend painted for me. He looks great as a  kitchen decor item. I'm not totally ready to give up my 'Winter' gnomes, and they are sprinkled about the kitchen.

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In the bedroom I have two Mandila hanging from the ceiling. All the plants will get fertilized later in the month when there is more light coming in. Try not to fertilize plants when they are stressed. We did very little fertilizing last summer because plants were barely able to maintain the leaves they had---or grow new ones.

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One of the hanging pots also has a Sweet Potato Vine. It's usually much darker burgundy, but with limited light, it has stayed lighter. I covered the pots with some gift bags in blue to blend nicely in our blue bedroom. This is a southern exposure, but lots of trees block the afternoon sun...so I supplement with grow lights.

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Here's a Philodendron and a huge Ivy Topiary-'Tomato Cage Tree' that went bonkers last summer, and is still growing fiercely in the house. It's really huge and full now and was lovely with little seed lights on in the extra bedroom for the holidays. The pot has grown very light in weight, the ivy has basically 'eaten' the dirt. I will have to transplant again, and I will do a light fertilizing once a month to help replace the nutrients lost from the disappearing soil.
How to make an Ivy Topiary Tree, HERE.

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While it was there, I had this grow light on it and another lamp on all night long.

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This is the light I use in the blue bedroom to help on cloudy days. They are temporary and rubber covered handles which don't harm the wood cornices.

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The lowest pot on my shelf is the shade loving Rex Begonia. The scraggly green is a New Guinea Impatiens, I'm going to try and make cuttings and see if I can propagate a few plants when we do our seedlings. 

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This plant is a form of 'Purple Heart Plant' or Tradescantia. It gets very purple with lots of light...you can see it struggling here (North side) under the lamp. As soon as the Christmas Tree is packed up (IT TAKES DAYS) to pack it up and wrap all those ornaments, and everything else is down, I'll move it to the living room. anyway, it keeps growing.

PLANTS improve the air quality in your home. They basically remove toxins from your environment. Not to mention, anything Green is always a mood lifter during the winter months. 

Plants I no longer bring inside:
Springerii (Asparagus Fern)inexpensive and too messy.
Spider Plants (you can always get a spider plant free from someone)
Rubber plant (Too big, I gave them to my d-in-law)
Dracena (they just get too big for my small home)
Spike plants (inexpensive and take up too much room)


How are your plants doing this Winter?

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Sandi 

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29 comments:

  1. I seem to kill plants as soon as I bring them inside. They'd stand a better chance in the freezing garage. My biggest heartbreak was the enormous rosemary plant, of which I'm not stripping the stalks and will have quite the crop of dried-on-the-plant rosemary, not nearly so nice as the wonderful, soft green stalks I'd hoped for in the winter. I have very bad light inside. I am trying to winter my two geraniums but I didn't see anything in this post on it. Any good tips?

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    1. Hi, Jeanie. I had a huge Rosemary BUSH that croaked one year, I had had it in the house for winters for about 5 years, so I have no idea what happened. Maybe they just have an 'end' life when they are large. I've given up on Geraniums here---it's been too hot. Years ago, I used to cut the thickest healthiest stalks, leave 4 leaves and stick them in tall jars of water and set them in the windows. They didn't take up much room, and by spring they were as good as the ones you would buy. Sometimes they would even bloom through the winter. I do use plant lights in the rooms without direct sun. Our house faces South and East with large windows.

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  2. Oh, gosh, I had a huge Rosemary plant and then one year it just died...the whole thing? I know when I had it in the house I sprayed it daily with water...! Others every three days or so...and grow lights do help! Good luck. Geraniums just like it a bit cool, so find a window with morning light, or---cut long stems, trim 3/4 of the leaves off and just stick them in water, they should grow roots at all the leaf joints???
    Others stick them in a cool part of the basement and leave them sit? Good luck!

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  3. I can only take a couple of plants indoors for the winter, since we are away in Florida for most of it, and I don't want to burden the house sitter with caring for them. So this year, I gave away a bunch to my neighbor (if she can keep them alive, she can keep them), and gave my orchid to a friend. That one I'd like back, so we'll see how she does with it. You have an impressive number of plants wintering in your home!

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    1. How lucky to spend some time in the sun, though it has been quite cold in Florida this year. And, what a great friend to house sit. I remember taking care of my Gramma's plants when she would jaunt off to Europe for a summer. We went twice a week to do the yard and water all her plants. Hugs, Sandi

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  4. As you know, I have a garden but I am a horticultural idiot. The gardener does the heavy stuff but every so often I like to make a contribution just to show he's not on his own. The one thing I have learned is it is impossible to over-prune. We have a white rose (name unknown) which has thrived for at least a decade against a fence which seems to catch the sun perfectly. The rose is, if anything, over-fecund. Even with minimum dead-heading it enters June with a dozen scrawny stalks reaching skywards, 5 m high, each crowned with a lush flower. I can't pretend the display is especially pretty - it appears out of proportion, unplanned, and - yes - scrawny. Six years ago I cut the by-now thick trunk to within 10 cm of the ground. Perhaps this would rein it in. It didn't. If anything the plant grew even faster. In the end I ceased to regard the plant as cultured and domesticated, saw it as a natural force. A sort weed by any other name. I should add I hate pruning roses, those spines! While garden gloves make me even clumsier than I am normally.

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    1. LOL, I think I can hear you grumpling the entire time you are in your garden. I do think some plants have a 'survival' instinct and when they are over-pruned, they just go into SuperXman survival mode. I would love to see a few photos of your roses, I have terrible luck with roses, we have clay soil which makes them very unhappy! Hope you are mending from your surgery and doing well, think of it as pruning and now you can go into Super-XMAN mode, Sandi

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  5. Sandi, your plants look amazing! I quit cultivating indoor plants several years ago, but had a small forest of diffenbachia trees in self-watering plants in our sunroom. Back in the 70s I had a whole houseful of plants. I planted purple heart with red geraniums and white vinca for a patriotic annual flower bed a few years. I love that you're keeping yours going because you're right - while they may not be real expensive, it sure adds up when you go to the nursery to buy spring/summer plants all at once. Maybe I should re-think the indoor plants to fill some of those blank spaces in our new home, as you suggested!
    Happy New Year.

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    1. Hi, Rita. I really didn't add much on the health benefits of plants. They help to scrub the air of all the toxins we have trapped in our homes, and they give off fresh oxygen. Just good for you and your environment. Thanks for visiting, and soon I will be starting trays of marigolds/coleus/ and a few others, to help with the cost of gardening. Thanks for visiting!!!

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  6. You surely have a green thumb, me...not so much. Thanks so much for linking up at the 25 and Done Link Party 1. Shared onto Fb, Pn, and Tw!

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  7. Sandi, I think your plants are very much happy to be in your care. You really have a great green thumb and I can tell you enjoy every moment..Happy New Year..xxoJudy

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    1. Hi, Judy. I think the green helps being trapped in the house. The Mandilla are starting to bloom again with the longer days. And it definitely helps the 'mood'! Thanks for visiting!

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  8. CONGRATS! Your post is FEATURED at the 25 and Done Link Party 2!

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  9. I think your plants are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing and I learned a few things I need to do for my own. #HomeMattersParty

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  10. Beautiful plants. I have a devil ivy plant indoors( Money plant). Hugs and blessings.

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    1. Goodness a Devil Ivy, I had to look it up---Here we call them Pothos, I have one in my bedroom and it has grown at least two feet longer this winter. I will have to find someplace new to put it, soon. Hugs, Sandi

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  11. Oh, Sandi, you don't even have to ask how my plants are growing this winter! It seems they are on their own, as usual, and it is a wait and see game. I am not proud of that at all, but it is what it is. Yours, on the other hand, are so lucky to have you for a mama, and they look beautiful and prosperous..Happy February..xxoJudy

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    1. Thanks, Judy. With our crazy hot summers, they need some TLC for the winter. Only failure so far was a pond grass that just rolled over and gave up, knock on wood! Hugs and enjoy winter, Sandi

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  12. I had no idea that plants "ate" dirt! Your post made me long for more houseplants, they are beautiful, Sandi! I want a rex begonia so badly. Most of the houseplants I see for sell locally are what I think of as tropical plants and I love the old-fashioned ones better. Just looking at your plants in the window sunshine cheered me up. And I love the gnome riding a corgi. We had two beloved corgis in our life and I had just come to your post after scheduling a post for later about how much one of them loved the snow. Have you had corgis?

    I know a true gardener like you must be looking forward to spring but you certainly have brought spring inside!

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    1. Hi, Dewena. MY BF has a corgi-=--we picked him up in October 2020 way down south in Illinois. He was so cute, but now he is a pandemic puppy--unsocialized and a rambunctious pain. I was lucky enough to have her two dogs here for 10 days because of a broken sewer pipe under her new townhouse. They are a handful. We are too old to get dogs now, as they would outlive us! Hugs, Sandi

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  13. Your plants are so well Loved. Here the Summer is harder on plants but I don't rotate them inside, I just find shadier spots for them.

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    1. Ah, thanks, Dawn. With your crazy temperature swings I imagine it is hard to keep plants. We have big windows for a morthern house and my idea was to help clean the air, as it gets pretty stuffy in our winter months! All these will go outside in June until October.

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  14. your vine tree is amazing! Love how lush full it is. You definitely have a grean thumb.

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    1. Thanks that IVY tree, I did as one of my first blog posts. I'm going to try and unwind it this sprint and get a taller frame on it, but it really does eat dirt...LOL. Thanks for stopping by, Sandi

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  15. Sandi,
    Thanks so much for taking the time to visit!!Yes, I will be keeping my Winter and Valentine's Day decorations up for another 2-3 weeks but here in NEPA, we have gotten some of our best snow storms in March and can see snow into April. Sadly though, our snow amounts for this year are way below average. We have hardly had any snow with most of our snow that we did have, in December... We did have a good ice storm but little snow this year..a lot of rain though as our temps have been on quite a roller coaster ride and right now, we do not have any snow on the ground as it all melted with rain and temps hitting 60 the other day....Unfortunately, I can't do house plants because I do not have a lot of windows, living in a townhouse....Stay safe, healthy and happy!!
    Hugs,
    Deb

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    1. Hi, Debbie. When we had our townhouse we had a three landing stairway that was open, so I hung several grow lights as a fixture and in the niche of the stairs had plants and plants hanging from the second floor ceiling. It was crazy, but they thrived, I had a 12'foot rubber tree...LOL We ceramic tiled the floor along the patio doors and it was solid plants. But I do know what you mean about not enough light! Hope you don't get blasted with snow/ice this week! Sandi

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Thank you for any and all comments. I will be happy to answer any questions or comments in replies or email! HUGS!