House/greenhouse plants thread

Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

I figured it was time to start a thread where we could post pics of our indoor pants that keep us going through these dreary winter months, so I'll get us started with a bunch of pics of the plants in my porch.

Karen

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Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

The lighting in this porch is not really strong. It faces west, north and east, on the north side of the house. Would have been better going in on the south side, but then it would get too hot in the summer, and the windows don't open.

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Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

I don't know the name of the Alocasia with the white veining. My 'Stingray' Alocasia is not doing well. I have no idea why. All my other plants are doing very well.

Karen

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Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

Here are some shots of me with my golden Brugmansia that was in full bloom last month. This was its third flush of blooms this year. I was really pleased with it.

Karen

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Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

And a few pics of my friend Gretchen, and 2 shots of my white Brug, which only had one flush of blooms. This single bloom was the only one I got any pics of. One more had opened up just last week, and then my sister had our nephew put it down in the cellar a few days ago, not realizing there was a bloom on it till after they got it down there. There were originally 2 more buds that were going to open, but one aborted. Don't think it was getting enough water. Oh, well, now that it's down in the cellar it will be staying there till late spring.

Karen

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Mount Bethel, PA(Zone 6a)

Your plants give a very enchanting look to your home, Karen!!! I have a Freyek (given to me at a swap) that looks like yours with the white veined leaves. Is your porch a heated room. I have a 3 season room that gets really hot during a sunny day and just as cold as it is outside, so I tend not to overwinter plants in there.

Thomaston, CT

That's a great place to keep plants, Karen....the brug is wonderful! Here is a cyclamen given to me as a gift.....

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Nantucket, MA(Zone 7a)

You have an amazing porch with some choice plants. Love the "Brug and You"shots. I have never tried them. Should. We have an attached greenhouse that houses a massive number of plants that we put out side for the summer. It is a passive solar GH so we don't heat it though it gets waste heat from the woodstove that is in the house as we ran the stove pipe into the GH before it is attached to the chimney before it is vented out of the house. The more I think about it after seeing yours, I should grow a Brug! Jades are in bloom now. First shot shows the olnly heat that we have in the GH. Built this house in 1981 and we have never had more than a touch of frost on a couple occasions. Mostly because when it is below 32 degrees it is more often sunny unless we are having a big snow storm. Patti

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Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

Thanks, you guys.

Roses, the porch does have a heating vent in it, but it still is not as warm as the house. It can down in the 40s and 50s in there, so not the best temps for tropicals. My orange hibiscus is not blooming really well because of it. I want to get an electric heater to put in there to keep it warmer. Thanks for the ID on the white veined Alocasia. I really like it. It's still just a small one right now.

Love your cyclamen, Marinlyn. I need one.

I am "green with envy" over your lovely greenhouse, Patti. I would love the put one on the south side of our house, but till then the porch works quite well. Only problem is that my sis doesn't like me to have a lot of plants in there.

Karen

Thomaston, CT

The jades are so pretty when they bloom...I, too, would love a greenhouse....my next door neighbor has one right off her living room, it's heated, & she has nothing in it! She stays upstairs in a bedroom suite, & doesn't even go downstairs anymore....very agoraphobic....

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

Wish I had a porch or a greenhouse *sigh*

Lexington, MA(Zone 6a)

Me too. And the time and energy to care for the beauties within.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Karen, your collection is wonderful.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Not too grand and no coleus cuttings.
#1 semps with xmas tree
#2 Flapjack kalenchoe
#3 Donky tail ,not looking too good
#4Clevia
#5 Begonia

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Lexington, MA(Zone 6a)

Oh, I so love these indoor plants! I hope folks keep posting. I will after I get things more under control. We had a communication breakdown resulting in loss of several of my tropicals that were outdoors this fall. DH is suggesting we build a greenhouse someday to fix the problem.

Patti's greenhouse fascinates me. Are the cement foundation wall and bricks part of the plan to absorb the sun's heat? I'd like to start with a very small structure off my bedroom---after we finish the inside of the house.

Sherrie In, NH(Zone 5a)

Holy Moley - I wouldnt have the time to deal with that.

Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

Marilyn, that's too bad about your neighbor. What a sad life.

Thanks, Jo, you have a nice collection there yourself. That reminds me, I have a clivia that a friend is giving me, and I need to pick it up soon.

Rosemary, I will look forward to seeing pics of your beauties. A greenhouse off your bedroom would be nice.

Karen

Thomaston, CT

Karen, that's a nice present...clivias are expensive....

Nantucket, MA(Zone 7a)

RosemaryK, our GH was designed to first give our house some passive heat, then, secondly, to give us a place for plants and thirdly to give us a little room to have coffee or a meal in when the weather is right. The floors are brick set in sand, no mortar, so the brick absorbs heat but drains quickly when we water. We use a hose to water everything. The raised bed are made with concrete blocks covered with a Parge coat that we stained dark grey to again absorb more heat. They are filled with potting soil with thick layer of gravel , but I don't remember how much now. The whole southern wall between the house and the GH is mostly made of the same parged concrete blocks on GH side while the inside of that wall has been faced with brick for an even thicker mass to absorb the heat and for the visuals of having some nice brick walls on the inside of the house. We do have windows in that wall that allows us to look into our little jungle and to bring the southern light into the house. During the day in the colder parts of the year when the GH becomes warmer than the house, we just open up two doors in the southern wall to let the heat flood into the house, but as the sun goes down, we close those doors. However, those walls continue to radiate heat into the house. We also crank up the wood stove inside the house as needed when the sun goes down. We do have a back up heating system, but try not to use it much. The glass panels in the GH are just insulated sliding glass door glass set in wood frames that were made from recycled cypress wood that came from old beer vats at a old Rhinegold brewery when it closed in the late 70's. Over the years some of the glass panels need to be replaced as the seal between the layers have failed so the glass is now opaque. However it may be better to not have so much sun for the plants, but would be better for heat to have the glass clear again. We vent excess heat out the top of the GH through a series of connected windows that open and close via a chain and pulley system. We don't have a misting system or fans which would be nice. We read everything we could about passive solar GH back in the late 70's and then hired an architect and a GH guy to run the numbers to see if it would work for us as primarily a heating source rather than as a GH. And since ours was built in 1981, another very similar one was built by a friend for his home here on Nantucket after he saw ours. He made it from totally salvaged old sliding glass doors and salvaged timber from the dump. His major expense was the concrete blocks and his time as he had to dig out the sunken element of the plan and then the time it took him to erect it. It worked great for him too for years, though he has apparently recently closed his house for the winter and moved to Fla. I guess he retired and became a Snowbird. Not sure what he did with his plants. Patti

Thomaston, CT

Do you grow any winter veggies like lettuce, Patti?

Nantucket, MA(Zone 7a)

We tried doing veggies in the early years, but our collection of house plants took over. Plus we found all veggies are magnets for white fly and other common pests and take a lot of management and effort to grow successfully. We do have some hot peppers and herbs that work without work. So no real food products. I think we would also need more night time heat. It gets down to close to freezing at times though we have lost virtually nothing due to frost over the years. Knock wood. It would defeat the purpose of this GH to put a heater in it, but that would be nice at times though very costly. So what we grow in the GH is what grows without fuss. Patti

Thomaston, CT

White fly is very annoying, I can see why you don't want it in the greenhouse! I took a summer course....about 30 years ago....at the Univ. of New Hampshire on solar greenhouses. It was very interesting, & we got to tour several of them around the university.....most were being used for veggies...I remember one had thermal shades....I was thinking that buying the veggies would be a whole lot cheaper!

Lexington, MA(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the very fascinating information about passive heat greenhouses. It looks and sounds like a real pleasure for the senses as well as an act of conservation to have one. We'd love to have a small one but can't site this daydream correctly for sun. I sometimes take a walk through the historic greenhouse at the Lyman Estate in Waltham when I need something uplifting. It was built in the early 1800's to grow bananas and oranges for the family, and the other colder rooms are for grapes and camellias. They claim it doesn't get very cold at night, but maybe if it's true its because it is quite large with several rooms and the brick walls are very thick.

Nantucket, MA(Zone 7a)

RosemaryK, the guy who built ours has done restoration work at the Lyman Estate plus at many other historic GH though he will build new ones with recycled materials or just consult for what is the best type even if he doesn't build it. Mark Ward http://www.wardgreenhouses.com/about.html

Lexington, MA(Zone 6a)

Interesting bio, Patti. Oh if only there was someone like this 60 years ago when the developers plowed a large greenhouse into the ground to build tract houses where we live. In the first five years of owning our property I used to gather garbage bags full of glass shards. Now I think I've managed to dig most of it up over the 20 years we've had the house. I also encountered garbage dumps in the excavations some with early 20th century bottles.

All that's in the past, so now it's nice to dream of building a proper new one into the side of our house. Perhaps that is after the water feature in the back yard. To be perfectly honest, we have some indoor building projects to do first--balcony above the fridge, built-ins that make the laundry room have dual purpose as an entertainment center by sliding a door, and finishing our wet room ( master bathroom with open shower). Because we do most of the work ourselves,or else act as general contractors, everything takes a long time.

Nantucket, MA(Zone 7a)

RosemaryK, Great plans on your plate. I think I am now done with all the renovations that I had on my dream list. Spent most of last year on the Vt house though we didn't do the work just the design and some grunt work. Water feature is a fun project unless you go overboard as did Wha with his amazing one. Mine was more modest, but it is still a very special spot in our garden. Good luck with yours and maybe you will get a gh someday too. Patti

Lexington, MA(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the inspiration, Patti. Some ideas will just need time to marinate.

Pepperell, MA(Zone 6a)

Rocks on the brain and now overboard?? And here i have been thinking of bending one curve in the stream more if I can do it with the liner there, extending the top slighly to add another curve there and re-working the stones on the sides in places....................

Salem Cnty, NJ(Zone 7b)

Heehee, wha!!! Tweaking is allowed whenever you do it. The process is fun to watch!

Nantucket, MA(Zone 7a)

Wha, I didn't say rocks were ever bad and going overboard can be a delightful dip into new waters. I always expect to see something new in your yard on every visit that resembles an entrant into a new wonder of the world contest. You go Girl, meaning your wife, who somehow deals with all your constant landscaping. How do you have time to read and reply to DG ? Love the new idea about the curve. BB fan.

I am leaving Vt after a week of being laid down by illness and feeling it was a total waste of time to be in bed, but better now than in the spring. Not finding much online to get excited about as many spring catalogs that I like aren't out yet, but I did look at some Brugs for the GH. However they get so big. I also thought about some more pottery planters that I plan on making out of clay. Patti

Thomaston, CT

My DIL gave me another Guy Wolff pot for Christmas....this one is terra cotta, and came with a nice cyclamen.....

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Sherrie In, NH(Zone 5a)

Marylin, when the blooms start to pass, or start changing color on the cyclamen, gert your fingers down on the stock and give it a Yank. It will help produce new blooms for a good start.

I had to shrink out Poinseitta's, Norfork Pines, Zygo Cactus & other things. Some I just could not. Phalaenopsis Orchids I have to shrink after the past pull date. This one was dyed. To buy it at 25 bucks I dont think so as it wont make it in my house. But I do have a tiny heart. The trees oh dear had to shrink out 10, these are good to 0 degrees.

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Nantucket, MA(Zone 7a)

Nice pot from your DIL. I like the rope design.

Good advice about cyclamen. Not sure about dyed orchids, but if it is a stunning blue you want, I would say you got it. Nice trees.

DH got back to Nantucket tonight and said the kids in the GH were all fine which was a relief as we have been away since Dec 21st. He will water everyone tomorrow. I got to Boston tonight and will go into the studio and make some pots for the GH tomorrow. I have a lot of things to glaze that I bisque fired before Xmas and a few of them are flower pots. Maybe I need to get a cyclamen for one of them The hardy ones outside are blooming now, but they are very tiny and the dogs keep stepping on them. I need to move them to a place where they would be less likely to get run over so often. But I planted them by the front door so we would see them. Can't win. Patti

Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

Patti, if you have a basement that's not heated, you can overwinter your brugs in there, rather than having them take up space on your greenhouse. In a cool, dark basement they will go dormant. Just cut them back by about 2/3, and give them some water every couple of weeks, just enough to keep them from drying out.

Nice pot and plant, Marilyn.

Sherrie, I don't know what you mean by shrinking out. Love the blue orchid, even if it is dyed. Been thinking about trying Phalinopsis orchids again. I've been reading up on their care, and I think where I messed up before is in giving them too much water. Hopefully I can do a better job this time.

Karen

Sherrie In, NH(Zone 5a)

Shrinking out = throw them in the trash. Phalaenopsis Orchids I was told by more then 1 is one icecube a week on a normal size pot. Then more as the pot size gets bigger.

Nantucket, MA(Zone 7a)

Thanks for the brug tip. I would forget to water them in the basement. But I might just have to make room. Now what color. Love the pale ones. And source. Buying one in bloom might be best so I would enjoy it immediately. Spring? What nursery in NE sells them?

Love the term shrinking out. kinder than trashing. Some Serious Orchid growers that I asked, boojum for one, told me that the ice cube trick is a horrible idea. Invented by box store orchid suppliers to sell them as an easy plant to grow. But I kill them no matter what I do. Don't freeze today. Patti

Thomaston, CT

Thanks for that tip, Sherrie....I'll do it on all as I have 3 in bloom, 2 resting......I have planted some outside in the spring, but they aren't hardy, & I always forget to dig them up anyway......

Mount Bethel, PA(Zone 6a)

Someone gave me three cuttings in early winter. I am very happy with starting them this way because they take so little room on any window sill and immediately make the "Y"
that's necessary for blooming. I'll have lots of cuttings for anyone who would like to do it this way next fall.

Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

Thanks for clarifying that, Sherrie, on the shrinking out. LOL! This website says 3 ice cubes a week, but I guess that would depend on the size of the pot: http://justaddiceorchids.com/ . Hmmm.... didn't know that, Patti. Watering once a week is supposed to be fine, and no over-watering. As I was researching their care, I came across this website that I like a lot: http://www.repotme.com/ . They have lots and lots of orchid supplies and lots of info on orchid care, as well as instructional videos.

You can sometimes get cuttings from here, too, for the price of postage only: http://www.theplantsexchange.com/cuttings-offerings/brugmansia-cuttings/

Karen

Sherrie In, NH(Zone 5a)

Orchids I belive came from the Jungle, Hot & Sweaty. In other words like me Humid. They need moisture, plain & simple. The roots cant linger in water or the will rot. They like to get sprayed with a mist every day. I cant grow them in my house with a wood stove = Dead

Why do I even try to save them?

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