As I write this post on February 1, there are seven inches of snow outside and it is still going. I don’t mind Iowa weather so much, but I think my ever-growing houseplant collection has a lot to do with beating the winter blues.
Last Thanksgiving break I tried a new way to propagate succulent leaves. I pulled some leaves from my groomed succulents and set them out to scab for about a week. Then I set them in this shallow tray (the lid to my baking sheet) filled with 50% perlite and 50% cactus mix. I spray them generously with water every two days or so and have had fantastic results.
In the past I have stuck the leaves into dirt, but I would lose more than 75% to rot. I think the trick here is a fast-draining mix and just arranging leaves on the surface. I have had about a 75% success rate with this method, so it is here to stay!
Here is the mamma succulent arranged with some babies in one of my oval Haeger planters. This is the most prolific succulent I have ever seen. It reproduces so easily!
I am most excited to see this hobnail milk glass pitcher arrangement take shape. Leaves from my draping succulents are placed toward toward the front and larger succulents are towards the back. When they are full grown it will give the effect of plants pouring out of the pitcher.
I trimmed my attic geraniums to make babies for hanging baskets. I plan to do geraniums and nasturtiums in my planters this spring. Toilet paper tubes are great pots for the cuttings because they are tall enough to cover at least two nodes, but narrow enough that I don’t need a lot of dirt. (See this Mother Earth News article for a tutorial
). I found that putting a little rock in the bottom of each container helps keep them upright.
The day after Christmas my husband took me to Earl May and said I could have anything I wanted. I picked a Swedish Ivy because I adore the beautiful one that my Aunt has from my grandmother. I trimmed it up when I got home and made this little planter for my mom. It is already well established, just in time for a housewarming gift.
The beautiful Hoya I got around Thanksgiving time brought fungus gnats with it. I isolated it from my other plants, made a trap out of Kombucha and dish soap to kill the adult gnats, and stopped watering it to kill the larvae. In the end only two branches made it through, but they are looking great.
I was inspired by this blog post
to trim up my Pothos baskets. The cuttings established well (of course… Pothos…) and filled this cool teacup planter. In the middle of the picture is my Christmas cactus, and on the right is some ivy leftover from a Christmas centerpiece.
On New Year’s Day I forced some tulip bulbs. They are coming along very well.
Tulips need at least a two month dormant period to bloom, which you can replicate in a refrigerator. I had a bag in my garage which is cold enough.
From what I’ve read they should be blooming in another month. On Ash Wednesday I will do another set so I can have centerpieces for Easter.
I’m looking forward to my seed purchasing party on Valentine’s day. I’m running out of surfaces for plants in my home and am anxious to expand to the outdoors.