some projects involving plants

Posted on 19.06.2011

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I’ve got some things going on around the house lately, and as a new thing just happened yesterday, I figured it was time to share.

The first project(s) that’s been going on is the orchids.

I was at a grocery store a few months ago and saw in the plants/garden section a HUGE orchid that was originally 30-Euros, marked down to 10-. It had no flowers on it, just a few dead ones lying around it. I learned then that many stores will discount their flowers once their bloom season is up, because they no longer look perfect and therefore aren’t attractive to buyers.

Not me! I know that orchids shall bloom again, if you treat them properly! So I rescued this poor thing from the grocery store, brought it home, put it in a makeshift self-watering pot (these seem to work well for them) and gave it some orchid food.

Two months later, this is what I’ve got. One happy, sprouting orchid. She doesn’t have a name yet, but it’s definitely a she. She sprouted an entire new stem and immediately started growing new buds after I put her in the bathroom on the window ledge. This gets eastern light in the mornings and is a good spot because she gets a lot of humidity from the showering habits of two people:)

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As you can see, I’ve got a very happy plant on my hands:) I picked up two others a few weeks ago, for 5-Euros TOTAL that were in kind of bad shape.. nothing’s going on with them yet, but I’ll post photos when they cheer up.

I’m a little concerned that the second stem hasn’t done anything since I brought it home. I’m wondering if the stem is about to go, as it should have sprouted like this one did. I guess we’ll see, it’s just a matter of waiting.

I didn’t know this until recently, but although orchids do enjoy a lot of sun, they don’t like DIRECT sunlight. This orchid seems to be doing fine dealing with the sunrise every morning, but I put the other two on a south-western facing window ledge in the dining room. It gets a decent amount of light, but we usually leave the shades drawn on that side, so I’m hoping that’s enough to emulate ‘indirect light’ for them.

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The second project has been a lot longer in the making, but we only finally executed it yesterday. It started with a post from somewhere or someone on the internet. I saw a link to a company that was selling plants as wall decoration. I’m not talking about hanging planter pots, no. I’m talking about this:

What an awesome idea, right? I think so. The only issue I had with it was that you couldn’t necessarily choose plants that were good in your location or latitude, and you really had to put them where they got the proper light for THEM, not where you had wall space.

So I said, ‘Eff that, I can do that myself!’ And thus began a planning period of about a day. I talked to René about it, because we have a huge wall in our dining room (opposite all of the weapons in the racks) that gets direct AND indirect light. I thought that wall would be perfect. I also knew exactly what kind of plants to put there: money plants. Those things love me, are super social (as far as plants are concerned) and grow like weeds. Also, you literally have a never-ending supply of them once you’ve got one happy plant in the house, as you can always cut a stem off, put it in water, and it will grow roots and you can re-plant it. This is exactly how morpheus, mortimer and neo ended up the gigantic plant that now hangs in Kristi’s apartment.

We talked about it right after we moved in October.

We haven’t really talked about it since, except to reiterate to each other that we do still want to do that.

Yesterday, I needed new vases. I’ve been cutting the black lilies that I’ve got growing, and I don’t have a proper vase for them. So I needed one of those. I also need a vase for the Butterfly Dianty plants I’ve got growing: they’re just green now and won’t flower until next year. I’m ok with waiting. They’re far too tall for the small starter pots I have them in currently, and so we need a tall one to hold up the leaves!

René said, ‘Fine, let’s go to Ikea. We can have hot dogs.’ I love this man. I ended up being good and having the meatballs, but still. He knows me. But when we got to the store, he was like, ‘Let’s walk around.’ I didn’t understand why, because all of the planting stuff is on the ground floor a little way past the hot dogs. He insisted that we walk around. I wasn’t going to argue, I don’t mind terribly, Ikea is always interesting.

So we walked. And walked. We came to a spot in the office section where there were some things hanging on a metal rail. They were small boxes. He looked at me and said, ‘These would be perfect for your plants that we’re going to hang on the wall.’ At this point I knew what he’d done. I’d just been thinking about them the day before, which generally means HE was thinking about them, too. He used the vases as an excuse to look for the hanging system for the money plants.

Have I mentioned yet how awesome René is? He’s the best.

So we left Ikea a few hotdogs and meatballs later with two hanging systems, each for four ‘boxes’, or in my case, ‘planters’. He hung them yesterday. I didn’t want to transplant the plants yesterday, because I’d just watered them, so I waited until today when they were a little less wet. Perfect, since, you know, we just cleaned the house and mopped the floors yesterday.

So now we’ve got this excellent system hanging on the wall. I spent the better part of this morning separating one larger plant I’d gotten a while back and the two smaller ones that I’d been growing from a stem I got from Deb a while ago. I thought about photographing the entire ordeal of separating a plant from itself, but it was too wet, too messy, and honestly, I didn’t feel like it. I ended up with about 6 individual, smaller plants from the large one. I’m glad I separated them, otherwise they would have needed a new planter soon.

I had enough plants to fill five of the eight planters, but from them I cut off five more stems that I’m working on rooting. In two week’s time, I should have roots long enough to pot in the remaining planters.

I didn’t want to crowd the plants, because I don’t want to have to separate them for a good, long while, so there are only a max of two in each pot. Id’ estimate that in about 6 months they’ll be halfway down the wall if the lighting is as perfect as I think it is. As new arms DO grow, though, if I need more plants to fill the pots, I’ll be trimming them. I don’t know what we’ll do once they all reach the floor… I might have to start giving them to friends!! I’ll definitely be recording this.

Here are some of the stems, waiting to root:

in the living room windowThese are in the living room, and I’ve got two more in the kitchen. I also pulled a lot of roots that fell off the plants during the separation from the sink and put them in water… I’ve always been able to get these plants to grow roots in water, I wonder if I can get the roots to grow plants by doing the same? We’ll see!

I’m so excited that we finally put these up on the wall. It’s going to be a gorgeous wall piece when it’s all done. And if I get impatient waiting for them to grow on their own, I can always pick a few booster plants up from the store: they only cost about 3-Euros for a full plant!

Stay tuned:) I’ll definitely be tracking them and taking photos:)

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Posted in: home, life