Hobbies: Taking Care of Temperamental House Plants

I started keeping plants as a sophomore in College. I really wanted to get a pet, but knew I just didn’t have the time or money to take care of one the way I would want. So instead, I bought myself a few plants that I could nurture, but also not feel too bad if they bit the dust. I started with a few herbs, Celosia, and a hibiscus plant. The hibiscus is still around, I’ve replaced the herbs a few times, and my celosia lasted a few years before a hard freeze took them out. I just recently replaced the celosia. In addition, I’ve added quite a few other plants to my collection. This season I added some of the most temperamental plants of them all including two orchids, and a Bonsai Tree.

Total I have 10 plants right now:pink-2146772_640

  • Baby Oak Tree
  • Hibiscus
  • Celosia
  • peppermint
  • lavender
  • 2 orchids
  • Aloe Vera
  • Bonsai Tree
  • Kalanchoe

What I love about Plants:

I love coming home to see my plants in bloom, its like coming home to a smile, every time I leave home. In addition, watering, pruning, and re-potting them is relaxing to me and provides me a feeling of tranquility. It is also fun to rearrange the plants around the patio.

flaming-kathchen-189547_640My Watering Schedule:

I do my best to water the outside plants once a week, sometimes I do it twice and sometimes I will skip a week especially if we get a lot of rain. I regularly will check their soil to determine if its wet or dry, though in some cases like with my oak tree I can tell by site. The orchids each get watered once a week usually on Thursdays. One requires ice cold water while the other is fine with just regular cool water. The Bonsai gets water more often because I have to use a squirt bottle to prevent the water from just going everywhere. Typically I water the Bonsai two or three times a week.

Plant food:

I feed my outside plants by adding Epsom salt to the water once every season. I have not started feeding my orchids yet, but have done some research on making my own food and plan to try my hand at it here soon.

I’m planning to use the following ingredients:

  • Used tea leaves
  • Epsom salt
  • Rice water
  • milk
  • molasses

I read that egg shells, and chicken bones work as well, but I don’t have the materials necessary to crush chicken bones, and from what I read the egg shells are more for fertilizer.

Trimming my Plants:bonsai-1269216_640

I try and trim my plants a couple of times a year, I clear off anything dead, or if its something like the bonsai that I am working to shape, I will trim off any access that I find to be unnecessary. During the big freeze I had that killed most of my plants, I thought I had lost my Hibiscus, I cut it all the way down to the base because everything was dead. I continued to water it and gave it a little Epsom Salt. I was so happy that it grew back. It did take a couple of years before it bloomed again though. However, the summer after the big freeze I also moved up here to Austin, which has a slightly different climate than Huntsville, TX.

blossom-1401810_640

One of my favorite College professors shared a great stat with me, he said the average potted plant grower will kill 70% of the things they plant. Before that terrible freeze a few years back I had a great track record of only killing about 20% of my plants. Since then winter has still managed to be a little tricky for me and I’m probably sitting around 60 or 70% failure rate over the entire 6 years that I’ve been doing this.

Do you keep any plants? What sort of plants have you tried your luck with and seen success? I’m interested in growing my own vegetables one of these days. I’m just not comfortable with the idea of doing it out of pots. Tell me about your planting success or failures in the comments below.

 

 

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