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Archive for February, 2014

How much simpler can it get?  No soil, and scant watering required. No pot, no mess, just a plant sitting around, looking perhaps a bit strange, but very interesting.

IMG_1494I bought 5 different ones at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show a couple of weeks ago.  I put them in a shallow dish and I’ve been enjoying them looking like escaping octopi  (octapuses?).  Here’s a photo of them.  I think they are kind of fun.  They are so different from anything I’ve ever had before.  I often have thought about getting some, but just never made the plunge, so now I did!

I  received a little sheet telling me how to care for them.  It essentially says that Tillandsia don’t need ANY soil.  There are no roots, so what would it do with soil?  They can be kept happily indoors.  They need to be either misted or watered a few times a week or so.  I water them when I water my bonsai.

I take the Tillandsia out of the shallow dish;  fill the dish with water; put the bonsai in to soak up some sustenance; lay the Tillandsia on the shelf until the bonsai is done drinking; pour out the water; put more (clean) water in the dish; put the Tillandsia into the dish-upside down-remove them; pour out the water; put the Tillandsia in, right-side up and I’m DONE!  Was that easy, or what?

Here is a link from the University of Illinois that will explain in a bit more detail how you can care for these simplest of plants!  Enjoy!

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I finally got brave, took out my little pruning scissors and began to snip!  Scarey, but it seems to look fine, better in fact, in MY humble opinion!

Here is a photo of how it looked when it first arrived. IMG_1432

It isn’t exactly totally clear, but I hope you get the idea.  It looked pretty much like a little bush…a JUNIPER bush!  More of what I thought a shrub would look like than a bonsai.  I guess that would be up to me…so yesterday, I did it!

imagesI followed directions wherever I could find them about pruning bonsai.  I also used some of the knowledge I have gathered through my years as a Master Gardener.  I also tapped my information about doing espalier that I did with a few apple trees on the side of our garage in Connecticut.

So here are the results of my first foray into BONSAI PRUNING!

IMG_1491        IMG_1489At least at this point, you can see there is a little bit of a trunk showing through.  The top will have to wait for another day.  I don’t want to stress my little bonsai.  Maybe I need to give it a name?  Should it be a female or a male?

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If you have read my last post, you know I’ve had some issues with my Christmas Cactus looking a bit bedraggled.  I have watered it HEAVILY over the past week or so.  I think that MAY have been the issue.  It seems to be less wilted looking.  Some of the leaves that were really drooping, have seemingly come back to life.  There is a bit of “plumpness” there, which makes me very happy!

It’s hard to know what to do when one direction says, “water generously” and the other indicates it likes to be kept on the dry side!  I think the issue is that it has to be amply watered FIRST.  Once it’s feeling well watered, THEN it would be wise to let it kind of dry out between waterings.  I’ll keep working on this issue!

I’ll check into a few websites that address the watering and note them here:

Caring for a Christmas Cactus has a good section on watering.  You might want to read that (along with me!)

Here’s a good one, although it’s commercial and would love to sell you a Christmas Cactus, it also has a good description of how to care for it.

This one has beautiful pictures, and a good watering section concerning that Schlumbergera.

They helped me a bit.  I hope they do the same for you!

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This plant shows me what a total beginner I am with indoor plants!IMG_1486

Although it is MUCH bigger than when I first potted it, it sure doesn’t look too healthy!  If you look closely, you can see that there is some definite wrinkling on some of the leaves.

It was from my mother’s 45 year old Christmas Cactus.  When we were  moving to Seattle from New Hampshire, I didn’t want to leave it behind.  However, the mover couldn’t take it across state lines, so I took some cuttings and sent them via mail to my daughter out here.  I planted those cuttings, and this is what I got.  However, over the last few months it has begun to  kind of “shrivel”.  I’ve tried to dry it out; water it; move it from window sill to table away from the sun but it’s just not improving.  I’ve also repotted it; fertilized and NOT fertilized; AND still I’ve got this forlorn looking plant!  Mayb I’m trying too hard?  Maybe it’s confused?  Maybe I’M confused?

Here is another link that tells a bit more about my Christmas Cactus.  It appears that perhaps I should give it a VERY good soaking, and THEN see what happens.  I’ll do that this morning.  Let’s see what happens!

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I used to have a little plant that indicated to me instantly when my plants needed watering because it DROOPED!

Last week I went to a local plant nursery and bought a few more plants for my window.  One of them is an aphelandra, also called a zebra plant. IMG_1482 The directions I got with this plant indicated that I should let the soil dry out a bit before watering it, which I did.  HOWEVER, it was drooping yesterday, after just a few days, so I set it in a tray of water to get a good drink.  It picked up almost instantly and as you can see, it is now sitting there with firm leaves looking very pretty.

However, it appeared that there was a sunken place in the soil.  When I attempted to fill it in by pressing the soil around it.  Guess what?  The soil is VERY sparse.  It needs REPOTTING!  I’m disappointed that the nursery let it go out in that condition.  At any rate, that will be this afternoons chore…repotting my new little aphelandra!  If you click on that link, you will be taken to a page that tells all about that new, little guy.

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