Archive for November, 2014

I’ve been so proud of myself for keeping all my indoor plants alive over the last 2 years.  As you may recall, I used to be an OUTDOOR gardener (Master Gardener in CT and NH), but since moving to a small apartment (across the country, to an entirely different climate, in Seattle, WA) I’ve decided to turn my gardening efforts to indoor plants.  Up to now, I’ve been pretty successful.  With the exception of a Bonsai, that I had to toss because of aphids, everything is looking healthy…

Until NOW!  I have a Croton (Codiaeum) that is going NOWHERE fast! IMG_3077 I understand that to judge your success with one of these, it should have lots of leaves on the lower stem…  Mine does NOT fill that requirement.  It is also so very SLOW in adding either height or leaves.  It had what looked like little blooms developing…but they hardened up and died off.  Now I’m discouraged.  Hence, the need for my Teddy Bear!

What I have found from my research is that, in nature, these plants tend to grow tall.  The way to stop that is similar to pruning outdoor plants.  Prune the top, and leaves will (hopefully) sprout from the lower regions of the plant.

My searching has also indicated that it reproduces readily from cuttings!  That means that what I cut off the top, I can stick in the soil and it will soon yield another plant.  Perhaps I’ll try that and soon have a pot full of Crotons?  Maybe I’ll try that!  If you’ll notice my plant however, it isn’t exactly a “redwood” from Muir Forest!  It isn’t big enough to prune ANYTHING off the top!

This is one of my weaknesses.  I tend to buy my plants small and grow them big.  This one never got there!  I’ve had it about 6 months now, and it sure is puny!

Another thing to remember is that these pretty (should you be so lucky) plants  like full sun.  Mine grows in a north-easterly exposure.  Probably not the very best, but it will just have to do!  Even more noteworthy, it is POISONOUS if ingested!  Do NOT add this to your salad!

If you would like to read a bit more about the care and enjoyment of this lovely foliage plant, try this link: Croton-Codiaeum

If there are those of you that are expert with caring for these plants, please comment and let us all know how you are successful.  I know I’d appreciate a few words of advice.  Reading about it from a text, is often not nearly as good as hearing about it from those “in the know”.

Happy Gardening!

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This morning, I posted an INDOOR PLANT CALENDAR on my Indoor Gardeners Calendar blog.

It has suggestions for dealing with your indoor plants for AUTUMN.  I guess I’d better get started on one for winter as well, eh?

Anyway, I hope you’ll click on the link if you have indoor plants to care for in your apartment.  I am hopeful it will be of use to you.

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An alien has arrived in Pennsylvania!  It’s called a Spotted Lanternfly and it’s arrival on our shores is pretty scary!  I’m going to link you to a few web sites that explain it further, rather than try to do all the explaining here.

Photograph by Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Photograph by Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

The first link is to NPR where I just read about it.  NPR is my “homepage” so it’s the first thing I read in the morning.  This article about the Spotted Lanternfly.  made the hair on my neck stand up!

Within that article is another link to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.  This one has pictures of both the mature bug, the nymphs and the egg masses.  It’s worth a “look see”.

You might wonder why I’m writing about this Pennsylvania “bad bug” here on an article read mostly by folks in the Pacific Northwest.  I’m doing it because bugs that come from far flung places sometimes land in the most unlikely of places.  Seattle has a HUGE seaport.  It would make sense that this bug might make an appearance here as well.

It is a huge enemy of forests and grapes (among other things)!  I think it behooves us to just “be aware” and know if we see this pretty little bug, that we notify the agricultural community as quickly as possible, because even if pretty, it is NO FRIEND OF OURS!

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