Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Holidays & Houseplants

~ California bay ~
I have lots of houseplants. I LOVE having green things in the house & I'm really good at keeping certain ones alive & then I'm really good at slowly killing others.

It's a constant game of fighting for survival for a few of them...

Traveling away for holidays doesn't really help either. I generally leave them to fend for themselves & sometimes there are winners & sometimes there are losers...

We are now back at home 'for good' and I have a lot of work to do to get my houseplants back to the land of healthy living. Doesn't help I'm battling the plague myself...

My poor bay plant suffered the worst. It lived in the greenhouse all last season & I moved it inside when the temperatures dropped. It lived inside last winter & did fine with the transition, but somethings going on this year that almost breaks my heart.

As you can see, the leaves are brown, dry & brittle. Dead.
After our first 2 weeks away I gave the plant a good soaking, a wee bit of food & left it in a much sunnier place than it had been living since the Christmas holidays. (my fault for not keeping it in the weak winter sun - it didn't really have very much of a chance to survive while we were away).

~ California bay ~
There are a few new green shoots coming out of one of the bottom branches, so I took a deep breath & cut back at least half the plant.

I've got it sitting in the sunshine now & will give it a wee bit of fertilizer over the next few weeks. I'm actually thinking I'll put a plastic bag over top the pot to keep it humid & hopefully it will start sending out new shoots.

It's always responded well to having leaves harvested off it - cut the tip off a branch to use in cooking & within a few weeks there are new green shoots. Maybe I wasn't harvesting enough!

hmmm - will have to start searching for new ways to use more fresh bay... (ps - this variety is not what you would typically find in the stores - this one has a strong eucalyptus scent/flavour & I love it!)
~ scented geranium ~

 I move my scented geraniums into the house for the winter & this is what one of my poor plants looks like!! Eeek!!

I love this one - it has variegated leaves (two-tone) & the scent is milder than the citronella ones. It typically doesn't grow as full & bushy as my other geraniums do, but I like it for being different.

I might have to cut everything right back, feed it & wrap it in plastic to see if it comes back. I know the soil isn't the greatest - mostly coir, so if there is no improvement by the end of March, this one just might have to go to the compost bin... ~ sniffle ~

As you can see here - my other scented geraniums are doing way better... go figure! Before we left on our last 2 weeks away, I gave them a hair cut - pruned back the tips by at least 4 or 5 inches, gave them a good watering & left my drip bottles in place for slow release water.

I'm wondering if the difference in survival between the 2 varieties could also be linked to a ceramic pot that is coated vs a clay pot that is not coated...

hmmm.... it's probably a contributing factor for sure!

Now that it's getting closer to spring, I'll feed these plants again & hopefully towards the end of March I can take some more cuttings & pot up a few more of them. They do so well out in the gardens & it's always fun to brush their leaves when wandering around looking for fresh veggies or flowers to pick & have their scent blowing in the breeze.

I'm on the road to recovery after catching a nasty case of the 'plague'. Today the sun is shining & the hummingbird has returned to a clean & full feeder. I wonder how long it will hang around before it's time for the switch from Anna's to Rufus hummingbirds. This is the first winter I've had the Anna's here & I'm actually wondering if in all my years of listening for the return of the hummingbirds (one of 'my signs' of spring), I've mistaken the over-wintering Anna's for the Rufus in the early spring days...

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