Friday, September 17, 2010

Some More New Plants

Plant shopping in the area immediately surrounding my college campus is rather limited; there are a few small flower shops, one of which is pretty great as far as florist shops go but none of them has a particularly big selection of potted plants. Without an alternative source of plants, however, my little indoor garden remained dependent on whatever affordable potted plants they happened to get in throughout the past three school years. Imagine my surprise when I found out that there is an actual garden center about a 15 minute walk away in the neighboring town! With much empty space still left on my window sill, I decided to check it out. As far as garden centers go the place is relatively small, crammed as it is in a more or less urban space.The selection of plants was not huge with the exception of spring bulbs, of which there were more species and varieties than I have ever seen at a comparable place in Michigan. What they did have, however, was an interesting mixture of the typical and the rare, with sedums and hydrangeas next to hardy cacti and orchids. The house plants on offer were not quite what I had expected - I had really hoped for a small parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans) - but I nevertheless ended up coming home with a box full of new plants.

 Philodendron hederaceum

After only finding Philodendron hederaceum micans at Home Depot I did get the normal species that I have had for years back in Michigan and which I hope will do well in our bedroom window here. Other foliage plants I ended up buying include a cultivar of rex begonia (Begonia rex-cultorum) with leaves patterned in dark green, silver, and brownish red. These appear to be quite problematic for a lot of people; they even warned me about them at the garden center! However, the one I had last year which is now in Michigan with my parents did fine when and where virtually nothing else would so I have little reason to complain. Furthermore, I bought a purple velvet plant (Gynura aurantiaca) and an asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri'). I do not have any previous experience with either of these, so we will see how things go.

Begonia rex-cultorum cultivar

Purple velvet plant (Gynura aurantiaca)

Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri'

I also got some succulents. One is a young red-flowered crown-of-thorns (Euphorbia milii), the other a small Agave from the Proven Winner brand of plants, which sells them as annuals for bedding out during the summer. Unfortunately it was not tagged and the pictures on the company's website are not entirely conclusive, so I am not sure which of the thirteen varieties of Agave in their series I picked up. As for the Euphorbia milii, I decided to get it since I have never had one before and this year I have a window that gets a lot of sunlight and should thus be able to accommodate such plants. Hopefully it will do well; it appears to be one of those plants that can take a lot of neglect and still grow and flower happily. I remember there being an old but continuously flowering crown-of-thorns in the otherwise bare window of the dry cleaning store that we used to go to when I was a little kid in Germany and just a few weeks a go I saw one flowering happily in almost no soil in a restaurant window that was not even very sunny. We will see if mine will be a similar success story.

Agave sp.

Crown-of-thorns (Euphorbia milii) - I know the picture is quite bad but on the upper right you can just make out a new inflorescence emerging; the flowers have since turned red

Finally, I bought two young spike plants (Cordyline australis) which had been left over from the spring annuals and were on sale. While they are nice enough in themselves, the real reason I bought them consists of the impatiens seedlings (Impatiens walleriana) which were growing in the same pots. Young impatiens potted up in the fall made excellent winter house plants during my high school years in Michigan, so I hope these will do similarly well.

One of the impatiens, with the Cordyline australis visible in between

There are three separate impatiens seedlings overall. One has salmon-colored flowers and one white ones with a dark purple mark at the center. The third one, however, has not yet flowered, so I am excited to see what color it turn out to be.


  1. Good grief. I wish I had your green thumb when it comes to houseplants. I seem to be endowed with a withering glance: all plants I look at turn to dust once under my roof. I just carted off one plant to the nursery to overwinter, as I knew I'd manage to kill it somehow if I tried to overwinter it. Hohum.

    Christine in Alaska

  2. I am really not that talented either; there are many, many plants I have managed to kill over the past couple of years and some plants that I tried repeatedly until I finally figured out how to manage them. With the dorm rooms especially there has been a ton of trial-and-error, since each year I have had completely different light and temperature conditions.


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