A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Grandma's Houseplants... A Gift to Me

Recently I noticed that some of my houseplants needed a lift. They were looking dusty and just plain unhealthy. They had been on my shelves in the basement in front of windows. Neglected all summer.
So I took some time and gave each of them a lift. They look better already. Here I'll give you five tips for healthier houseplants.

1. If your plants have dusty leaves, give them a shower. I'm lucky enough to have a sprayer on my kitchen sink to do this with ease. If you don't have a sprayer, give them a shower in the bath. You will see the plant perk up before your eyes.

2. Cut off any dead or diseased foliage. You will be amazed at the difference this makes. We were at my step son's yesterday and his pothos plant had been hanging in the kitchen for ages. It had grown so long and leggy. Yesterday, we saw what the plant looked like after a "haircut." So much nicer...all tidy and clean and ready to spread it's wings.

3. If you see roots growing through the holes in the bottom of the container, it's time to re-pot it. Simply pot the plant in the next size up container filling in the gaps with a good potting soil. I like the Miracle Gro soil sold in bags at garden centers.

4. One of the best tips I have ever learned about houseplants is about watering. It is very simple and following it makes sure you don't over- or under- water. To check if your plant needs watering, simply poke your finger into the top inch or so of potting soil. If you feel moisture, don't water. If you don't feel any moisture, water. I have used those water gadgets, but have had no luck with them. I tend to over water...my plants have suffered. If they can't take my care and start to fade....out they go. I know it sounds cruel, but that's the way I am.

5. Fertilize with a diluted at each watering. Use about 1/4 the amount of fertilizer that the directions call for. This will ensure that you are fertilizing enough.

I remember when my first husband's grandma was moving to Seattle, to live near her daughter. She was a tiny woman who could coax canaries to sing, budgies to talk, and oh...her wonderful houseplants. They were given so much love and care. Beautiful plants in paper cups, tins, cracked coffee cups, old clay pots, and any other thing that would hold a plant. This was recycling at it's best. The plants were beautiful, however. Well, on to the story....Here was this tiny 4 ft. 11 in. woman, coming up the sidewalk to my house..clutching her precious houseplant. She had a car full...bringing them to her grandson's new wife to care for. Now, I was newly married with my first baby. This baby was the center of our lives. Motherhood was keeping my so busy. What was I going to do with these plants? She went back to the car and brought in the birdcage with her little Dickie bird. My mother-in-law had accompanied her to my house and looked at me with eyes that said, " Just take these treasures of hers and reassure her that they will get the best of care."I lovingly took the little bird and all of her plants...recycled pots and all and set them around the house. She had tears in her eyes, when she finally said goodbye. At the time, I thought the tears were because she was leaving us, but now I think that some of them were because she was leaving all her prized possessions. Over time the plants were repotted in dish gardens, and single pots. The plants died and withered without her care. Dickie bird lived for about a year. Grandma never came back home. She passed away in Seattle. I wasn't ready for houseplants at that time. Today...I would cherish one of those plants. It's a different time in my life...I love things "handed down" now...I have time to tend and treasure.


azplantlady said...

Hello Balisha,

It's funny how we think differently when we are older. I have been paying more attention to my houseplants as well, now that it is fall.

Racquel said...

I had quite a few healthy houseplants before my first son was born. Once he started walking, he had a habit of pulling every plant out of it's pot. lol Eventually they all got a bit tired of it and withered away. Plus he loved to eat the dirt. ;)
Now I don't have any because my pets are famous for tastetesting things and most houseplants are poisonous.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon the site looking for some thing unique
for my grandaughter that could perhaps excite her
about nature - the way I am excited about it. They are offering
$2 off if you use the code Martha when you check out on line.
at www.TickleMePlant.com It's a experience they will always remember you by.

Anonymous said...

I loved the piece about your husband's grandmother. She sounds exactly like my twins grandmother. She was small, too, and had plants potted in anything she could find to put one in and she adored her plants. I use the same method you do when I water mine. I have done it that way for years. When my girls were young my own mother would come to my house and work on my plants because she said I neglected them and I did.

Sue said...

Why do some people have the knack for keeping plants alive, and some just do not? My thumb is a little brown. I can grow some things, but kill others. I am trying to keep my kimberly ferns alive over the winter. I brought them in last month to acclimate them to the house. I don't know if they'll make it. They are dropping leaves like crazy. I guess they miss the hot, humid Ohio summer weather.

Balisha said...

His grandma could grow anything. She would take a leaf and plop it in water and roots would grow. I would be surprised if she ever bought a houseplant.
Anonymous...I checked out that site that you mentioned. I think that is the plant that we used to call a sensitive plant. Grandma had one that sat on the porch...my kids would make it wilt over and over again.

Balisha said...

Just found it...Mimosa Pudica...otherwise known as Sensitive Plant, Prayer Plant, Shame Plant, Tickle Me Plant...etc.

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Balisha said...

Hi anonymous,
Wish I could call you by name..Thankyou so much for your sweet comments on my blog this morning. You made my day...Balisha