Saturday, March 3, 2012

Indoor Gardening RX

While we were away in Belize, we had two wonderful housesitters, Vicki and Jospeh, who carefully followed my watering instructions and most of my plants were thriving when I arrived home.  However, there was an invasion of the DREADED WHITE FLY.  The coleus looked a little puny and on closer inspection, I discovered webs!  I immediately took the pot outdoors and let the freezing temperatures kill both the coleus and the white flies before the plague spread to other plants which I will treat with insecticide just to be sure.  You can do this inside if you cover your plants with a dry cleaner bag and spray up inside, so that the spray doesn't contaminate your home.  I much prefer to never use insecticide inside.  Although there are still patches of snow in the shade, our days are sunny and in the 50's, so it is not too much of a shock for the plants to be outside just long enough for the insecticide to dry.  This will not happen today, however as you will discover later in this post.

Be sure to clean up the area around where the infected plant lived as well.  I use vinegar (kills the larvae) and Dawn dish washing detergent. There are lots of posts on Pinterest about what things this will clean, but it is also terrific for cleaning windows.  Just a drop of two of Dawn, 1/4 cup vinegar to a quart spray bottle.
Overgrown clivia which is not longer blooming might want to be divided and live in this now empty pot, but first...
  It too needs cleaning to kill any White Fly still hanging around.  After dumping all of the dirt outside for the freezing nighttime temperatures to sterilize, I brought the pot back in and scrubbed it in a bucket in the shower.
Have you discovered these wonderful plastic buckets?
 We originally bought some from  Trug for washing dishes on the river in beautiful fun colors.  This one was a lot less expensive and from Walmart.  A certain someone bought it.  I would never have chosen black, but it is big enough to hold my pot which mitigates the black.

Fill 1/3 full of water, add a tablespoon of Dawn and 1/3 cup of vinegar.
Scrub with a brush....hmmm,  add another cup of vinegar.
Set the pot with the bottom soaking for awhile to let the vinegar dissolve the hard water deposits.
Attempt to remove babies with a trowel.
Give up and turn the pot on its side and try to pull babies out by themselves.....
Pull the whole plant out onto the kitchen counter.
I can hear gasps..."She doing that on the kitchen counter?"  I do have a potting bench that I just love.  It is located on the north side of the house in the shade, which is lovely in the summer, but today we are have gale force winds of 50 mph with gusts even higher and I find working at the potting bench in what we (not so affectionately) call "Hurricane Alley" is impossible.  I started there, but for every trowel full of potting soil I dug out of the bag,  at least half of it blew away. 

Wind Sock on East Deck
Tar inspecting strap added to tether the iron couch to the deck rail.

Pot (full of soil) that was on the untethered table now blown over. Fortunately, I heard it go over and ran out to rescue the unbroken glass top not yet blown off the chaise lounge.
But I digress into the challenges of living on a mountainside.  Back to Indoor Gardening RX...White flies, rootbound plants, ancient plants, etc.

First Clivia baby in its new home.

A little water and fertilizer.
Remove geranium for matching pot, so the second baby will have a home as well.
Do you know the trick of keeping the soil from leaking through the drainage hole by using a coffee filter to line the bottom of your pot?
Poor geranium, back into a plebeian plastic pot for the rest of the winter.

And here is another plant that I recently re-potted when it threatened to take over the living room.

We believe this plant is over a hundred years old.  It originally belonged to our friend, Ken Cone, owner of Yellow Pine Guest Ranch, in Colorado.

 When we were living in Austin, Texas, Ken moved to Japan to study with the Japanese Olympic gymnastics team and could not take his grandmother's split leaf philodendron, which she had nurtured from way before Ken was born,  with him and asked if we would like to have it.  It lived outside in the milder Austin climate on a covered porch.  When we moved to Albuquerque almost 40 years ago, we brought it in the car with us.  At that point it filled up the entire back seat.

We have re-potted it three times now. It seems to drink from the fountain of youth and probably will never die as long as we water it.  Wonder which of our children will take on its care when we die?  Maybe Brittany, since Colin has such a green thumb.  Colin's green thumb started this whole post, since his Clivia looks like this:

Photo by Brittany For Kitchen Come undone...and redone

1 comment:

  1. I had a cast iron filigree planter blow off my front porch yesterday and break in half. I was so bummed, I couldn't even pick it up. It's still there. Of course I have (had) a pair of them and I'm sure it can't be replaced.

    Anyway, interesting about the clivia. I thought they bloomed best when root bound. I'd love to have a yellow one. I've seen some peach ones on Whiteflower Farm for only $600. Get 'em while they're hot!

    Good luck with your whiteflies!


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