Wednesday, December 5

Welcome to My Jungle

I was content. Yeah, so maybe I was in denial about my indoor jungle... but I was quite happy there until Heather asked people to share what kind of indoor gardening they were doing this winter. I thought it would be fun to catalog my efforts, so I dutifully created my lists:

Houseplants: 2 pots of sanseveria, a huge spider plant, my clearance-find crown-of-thorns, 2 pots of cacti, 5 pots of sedum and various other succulents, a dark-leaf rubber tree, an aloe that's barely limping along (that's a genetic deficit, not being able to grow aloe,) a philodendron, a draceana, a lucky bamboo, a purple passion plant, one orchid, a variegated ivy, a small Christmas cactus grown from cuttings, and two jade plants--"The Monster" jade plant (that I just had to replant into a 14 inch pot!) and its much smaller counterpart.

Herbs, tender perennials and overwintering annuals: 1 licorice plant, 2 different silver plectranthus in the same pot, 2 'Cerveza 'N Lime' plectranthus, 2 different begonias, 2 bay laurels (in their third year) with silver ponyfoot planted around them, phyllostachys nigra (black bamboo,) a 'Golden Delicious' pineapple sage cutting, 'Sweet Caroline Bronze' sweet potato vine, 4 kinds of coleus, one 'Red Sensation' cordyline, 'Gage's Shadow' perilla, and 4 pots of rosemary.

YIKES! When all of the above were added up, I realized that I had 45 different plants to keep alive in my house over the winter. As Heather mentioned, that makes for quite the jungle... but apparently even that was not quite enough to satisfy my insanity.

Over the past week I have acquired even more indoor plants on clearance: 3 fancy sempervivums that I planted inside the birdbath bowl that I just brought inside and a gorgeous abutilon megapotanicum (flowering/parlor maple) that had been placed on clearance simply because it was almost out of blooms.

But my biggest, most problematic new acquisition... is this. I am not the greatest with houseplants, but I'm pretty sure that this is (was?) a parlor palm of some sort. I found it this evening a mere 4 doors down from my house, nestled in its 16 inch blue plastic pot under a canopy of wooden pallets and broken lawn chairs. Right next to it was a 20 inch burgundy pot with a broken, brown draceana stem sticking out of it.

As a frugal gardener, I can always use more sturdy pots, especially if they are both large and free. So after letting the dog in the house, I went back to retrieve both. The big burgundy pot is sitting on the porch right now (and it has a big seashell in it--bonus!) but there was just enough green on these palm leaves to convince me to bring it inside.

Some quick internet research says that most indoor palms start to show cold damage on their leaves at 45 degrees, and that the damage will show in a few days. But if I admit to no other labels, I will definitely admit to being an optimist. The way I see it, if I leave this palm outside for the rest of the night, it will definitely die... but if it's inside and gets a little TLC, who knows. Maybe its current leaves will die off, but maybe it will give me a few new leaves in the spring. (And when you're already taking care of 49 different plants in your house... seriously, what's one more?)

I'll post updates on the palm throughout the next few weeks, but I'd love to read some comments if anyone feels like hazarding a guess as to what its ultimate fate will be. (Advice on how to treat it in "sick bay" is more than welcome, too!) I'm not a fan of Vegas, but I'd like to believe that my odds with this palm are 50-50 unless someone tells me otherwise. And as an optimist, I'm going to round that up and say that I have a good shot and getting something out of the whole experience.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Kim I think your odds are better than 50/50. I think it is more like 90/10that it will survive. I have had that very palm off and on over the years and it has been "forgotten" outside several times. When you bring it in it revives. I think the worse thing you can do to it is over water it during winter. I admire your huge Jade plant. I had one a long time ago. I think they have much character. There is a house I drive by on the way to work and every summer they put out two crown of thorns plants on the ballisters of their front porch. I have watched them grow over the years from small, possibly 4" pots to huge 12-14" pots that look like huge salmon colored bushes sitting there. I often wondered why someone doesn't steal them because they are so pretty and they sit close to a sidewalk on a very busy street. I enjoy watching for them to be set out every spring. Watching your jungle grow sounds like a nice way to while away the winter.

Sue Swift said...

I have a crassula argenta much the same size as the one in your top picture. did you know they're supposed to flower in December? Mines showing no sign of it so far.

Unknown said...

Wow! I am impressed and resolve this evening or at least over the weekend (we are gonna be iced in) to make a list of my inside plants. Don't expect Latin names, however. Hehe.
And the genetic defect that doesn't allow you to grow aloe is apparently quite prevalent. I share it as well. I just love to water too much.

I am always on the lookout for freebies in a trash pile or garage sale or whatever. I amdmire your finds. Fingers crossed for the palm.

Meagan said...

So... I shouldn't give you a house plant for Christmas?

Carol Michel said...

You've got it bad! Picking up plants out of the trash even. I give that plant a 100% chance of survival with the care you will give it.

Your list of indoor plants is most impressive. I'll have to inventory what I have inside and post a list of them, too. Maybe that is what I will do for bloom day on the 15th?

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Unknown said...

Lisa, I like the odds you gave me even better! :) Thanks for the tips on watering. I did give it some this evening just because the soil in the pot was so dry, but will be careful not to overwater.

I would love it if my crown of thorns would flower eventually. Another garden blogger (which one escapes me right now) showed a blooming one this summer and I think I drooled. lol. (And I bet the thorns deter any would-be thieves... watering that is worse than pruning my pyracantha!)

Sue Swift, I did NOT know that--I don't think I've ever seen one bloom! But then, when I tell people that my snakeplants bloom (and are deliciously fragrant) I get weird looks so I believe it. If your jade plant flowers I do hope that you post pictures. Does being potbound help them bloom?

greeny, ah... maybe we all share some recessive (or obsessive, as in obsessive watering) gene, then?! *grin* I'll keep my eye out for your list--I only use Latin names myself when they're fun to say, like abutilon megapotanicum!

Meagan, I don't know about that. I might like to have another go at the bonsai, now that I know the Ti is hard to keep and I did relatively well with it for a few years! ;)

Carol, oooh... even better odds than Lisa posted above! I like it! I just couldn't leave the poor palm there for the garbage men to destroy, in any case.

And I like that idea, posting a list of indoor plants for GBBD on the 15th. But then, I might have an indoor bloom by then--this orchid has been teasing me for a long time now.

Katie said...

I had that very same palm, and mine didn't fare very well. While I won't postulate a guess to the fate of yours...I KNOW you're a better gardener than I! It must live!

Katie at GardenPunks

Kathy said...

My jade plant has bloomed before. I always kept it in the bedroom, and we like to sleep on the cool side with a lot of blankets. I thought I read somewhere that it has to be below 60F for it to bloom. I never thought our bedroom was that cold, but ever since we redid the upstairs and got the walls insulated, it doesn't bloom as much.

gintoino said...

I'm guessing that is a Chamaedorea elegans. It is a fairly easy palm to grow. My mother kept one for years (and she is one of the worse gardeners I know), so I guess she will do well in your hands. Not sure how she will cope with low temperatures (how low are temperatures there?), but like Lisa said one of the major problems is overwatering

Colleen Vanderlinden said...

I killed most of my houseplants during the spring...once I'm able to get outside, the house plants really get neglected (how embarrassing!) I have one small jade plant, one golden pothos, a peace lily, and some parsley and chives on the windowsill that I potted up from the garden so I'd be able to use them over the winter. I used to have eleven african violets, but they all ended up dying slow, painful deaths. Now I feel guilty....

Nickie said...

Jade plants get way bigger then that in CA :) We had them planted in the ground!

Hey, your palm might make it IF you keep all felines from it. Felines LOVE palms LOL

healingmagichands said...

Gosh, now I feel like a piker. I only have 19 plants under my plant lights.

Ki said...

Just watch out that the palm doesn't have some kind of pest on it. Unfortunately we bought many different kinds of houseplants only to have it succumb to scale insects, whitefly, mites etc. Almost all the false Aralia we've bought ended up having black scale.

You jade looks great! We have had very good luck with jade plants too. They seem to be disease and pest resistant and grow extremely well after living outside for the summer.

MrBrownThumb said...

Watch it closely for the next couple of days. If the leaves start to turn black or a dark purple color it probably got cold enough to do damage at the cellular level. If that's the case I'd say toss it if not then nurse it along 'til the spring.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a list. My indoor plants have been reduced to a few cacti, dracaena and some palms -- they don't need to be watered too often ;).
Good luck with your palm -- I can understand that you couldn't leave it out alone in the cold. Still I would watch out for mites; palms are prone to them if they are kept too warm and dry (meaning low humidity) in the winter.

Kylee Baumle said...

Hey Kim. Keep up, okay?


Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

That's an impressive list of indoor plants, Kim. I think your palm has a good chance of survival. I have a big palm in my conservatory that I spray with water once a week during wintertime. It's likes that very much as it keeps the leaves from getting dry and brown. I also feed it a bit but not too much, maybe once a month. As soon as the risk of frost is gone, I put my palm outside in the garden and it thrives there! As soon as it gets cold outside, back it goes into my conservatory. I've had it for 6 years now and it is still going strong.

Angela @ Cottage Magpie said...

I love seeing all your indoor plants. For some reason, I cannot keep an indoor plant alive to save my life! So my indoor gardening is mostly garden catalogs. But I love seeing what everyone else is doing.
~Angela :-)

Heavy Petal said...

My word, girl. YOu've certainly got your hands - and your house - full this winter. Good luck!

Unknown said...

Katie, hardy! lol. But if it doesn't fare very well, we'll both just blame it on that type of palm then. ;)

Kathy, oooh... that's very good information, and a great picture. I wouldn't have guessed that the flowers were so pretty on the jade plants! I bet that my attic is below 60F and there is a nice south-facing window up there. I wonder if I can put this jade up there for a month or so and see if that coerces it into bloom? Hmm...

gintoino, I googled that type of palm and I bet you're right with the ID--thank you! It's a houseplant around here (too cold outside) but my main concern is the cold temperatures it received the night it was put out for the trash, before I picked it up. It was in the 30s that night! So I'm still in "wait and see" mode... if it doesn't recover, at least I tried.

Colleen, I really want one of those golden pothos--they're so pretty. I can't grow African violets, either, by the way. "Slow, painful deaths" is a good way to put what I do to those. lol.

Nickie, :-P!!!! (That's me sticking my tongue out at you... tee hee.) I'm so jealous of CA gardening when I look at pictures of all of the cool succulents you all can landscape with, I admit it. And thanks for the heads up on cats and palms--no felines here, but I will avoid gifting any to my friends for that reason.

Ki, I checked it out pretty thoroughly before I brought it in, and didn't see signs of pests. I also have it relatively by itself right now just in case. Where do you put your jade during the summer? I left mine in the house all summer because I just didn't know whether it could take a Western or Southern exposure, and I didn't have a good place for it on the East side of the house.

MrBrownThumb, thanks for the tips! I haven't seen any black or dark purple yet, but the leaves do look rather pale green and dry. The dirt is still a little moist, though, so maybe I will just give it a misting...

Corinna, go ahead and add jade plants and Christmas cacti to your list, along with sanseveria/snake's tongue. I regularly "abuse" all of those along with the dracaena! *grin*

Good to know about the palms being prone to mites. I will try to keep it a bit moist (humidity-wise, not soil-wise) for a while to help keep the mites at bay.

Kylee, LOL! Um, after reading that, I don't feel badly at all about my "houseplant problem!"

Yolanda Elizabet, between you and Corinna I've been convinced to start spraying my palm with water! Thanks so much for the detailed information on how you take care of yours... if mine makes it through this transition, that will definitely help me.

Cottage magpie, thanks! I think that you grow into being able to tend houseplants, honestly. I couldn't keep anything alive during my college years and shortly thereafter. Maybe the trick is just trying enough things that you find something that will live in spite of you?! lol. (Seems to have worked for me!)

Heavy Petal, thanks--I'll need the luck! It does sound like a lot (until you go visit Kylee via the link above!) but we have to do something to get us through the winter greys here in Ohio. *grin*

Connie said...

45 indoor plant....Wow! I think that might qualify as a jungle. But there's always room for one more, right? Best of luck on the palm.

David (Snappy) said...

Good luck with the rescued palm, im sure on day in the cold didnt damage it massively.Is your house central heated?That makes a lot of plants poorly with the dry heat suffocating them.Im sure you can revive it!
I love the fact you call the Sansaveiria snake plant.I made mine flower before and they were fragrant flowers too!
We are Snakeplant kindred spirits, causing them to flower.No one believed me even with photos.They had just never seen one bloom!
I have a pot of mother in laws tongue (AKA snakeplant) on the windowsill in front of me.
Hope you blog the palms progress over Winter and Spring.

lisa said...

Nice list, Kim! I think I'll do that for bloom day...I sure don't have anything actually blooming! I tend to rot aloe too, but african violets do okay for me (I'm learning neglect :), in fact I'd say aloe would be a good plant for Cottage Magpie, or anyone else who "forgets" about their plants and kills them. If fussing over a plant is the problem, then I think ferns are good candidates. I've had better luck with them than my mom, cuz' I mist them and water them a lot and they can take it. LOVE that jade plant! I haven't had one in years...hmmm...I need to go shopping! ;-)

Ann said...

I've got a palm like that. It's incredibly tolerant, doesn't care for direct sunlight, and would probably like a little more water than I give it. I never feed it (sorry). I trim off anything brown a couple of times a year, and it just keeps on ticking. And it sends up strange bloom stems a couple of times a year. perfect for a neglectful gardener.

bs said...

hi! thanks for making me notice my jade plants. the house we moved into over the summer has huge ones under the eaves. i had no idea they bloomed either!

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