“I do not do houseplants.”
If you tell me that, then I know you are not a real gardener.
Real gardeners also have indoor plants. Or houseplants. Or house plants. Whichever you prefer.
Real gardeners do not stop gardening when the garden outdoors goes dormant. We don’t. We can’t.
Even if we don’t intend to have plants indoors, we somehow, somewhere, end up with plants in our houses.
It just happens.
If you are thinking right now, “well, I’m a real gardener and I don’t have indoor plants”, then you are missing out. Go get a plant and grow it inside.
Grow it even if it isn’t a traditional house plant.
I took this cutting three years ago and meant to take the back outside after the winter, but it was doing so well indoors, I just left it. But lately, it was getting a little leggy, as some plants do when they are grown in less light than they prefer, so I cut it back some the other day.
It will grow out just fine. I recommend coleus as a pretty-darn-easy-no-fail-test-of-your-gardening-abilities house plant.
Or grow a fibrous-rooted begonia.
This one snuck up at me at the garden center the other day. I went there looking for amaryllis bulbs. They didn’t have any amaryllis bulbs, but they did have this little pretty sitting there winking its flowers at me.
Speaking of amaryllis, now there’s a plant even a fake gardener can grow indoors. I found some that were “just the bulb” at the big box hardware store, so I rescued six of them.
They are pale as pale can be from being all boxed up, but they’ll green up once they realize they are in their own pots and in the light and getting water. God love ’em and so do I in the wintertime.
By the way, I usually don’t buy the amaryllis bulbs with the pot and the compressed coir fibre “soil” that comes with them. The plastic pots are too lightweight to support the plants and will often topple over. Forget that coir soil, too. But, if that’s all you can find, get it anyway, and pot it up with better potting soil in a more substantial container.
I’ve got some old plants in my house.
This Swedish ivy, Plectranthus verticillatus, started out as a cutting I took from one of my sister’s hanging baskets about four summers ago. Shhh… let’s not tell her. I pinched it. Nicked it. Took it.
But it isn’t the oldest plant in the house, not by a long-shot. The oldest plant in the house is the night-blooming cereus. I’ve had it since 1987, and before then my Dad probably had it for a good 15 years which makes it… after a bit of ciphering, I believe this particular plant has been grown indoors by me and my Dad for 42 years.
It’s also the ugliest.
Look through this ivy, Hedera helix, I bought just a few days ago to see the night blooming cereus. See it back there on a trellis. It owns that corner.
I count on my house plants for a few odd blooms through the year. In fact, this crown of thorns, a Euphorbia, is always in bloom.
I bet I’ve had it for at least ten years.
A newer bloomer is the Kalanchoe.
Just a few buds right now, as you can see. This Kalanchoe, and several other plants in my house, came to me under the sad circumstances funerals.
I could do a whole post on funeral planters, and just might because I often get emails or urgent voice mails from co-workers who received a funeral planter, brought it in to the office, and suddenly it isn’t doing so well. I visit the plant and the person and perform a triage of sorts… Hey, you can’t trick me into giving away my secrets for caring for funeral planters! I’ll provide details in another post this winter.
Now, where were we? Oh, we were going to also mention about garden fairies who become house fairies if you have enough plants indoors. I’ll save that little tidbit of information, plus tips on attracting house fairies, for another post.
In the meantime, if you don’t have house plants, and you insist on calling yourself a real gardener, please go get a house plant to legitimize yourself.