House Plant Successes

(Zone 5a)

For years I did a great job of killing house plants that I just gave up. For a time several people gave me house plants as gifts. Maybe they felt I needed some, since they never saw any.?? I made a sign that was posted inside the mudroom where all guests would see it.

On a whim, I bought a Christmas cactus in 2012. Immediately after getting it in the house, the buds all fell off. Well... I should have guessed with my track record. The plant will likely follow suit. Amazingly it never died and bloomed twice the following year. How that happened, I don't know. I get two rounds of blooms most years. I read you can force blooms, but I do nothing to it, other than randomly move it from place to place and water only when I remember, which was not very often. A friend told me the cure for forgetting to water is to get more house plants. Ha!

(Later I learned that cold drafts can cause the flowers to fall off a Christmas cactus. Probably just taking it from the store to car and car to the house on a chilly day did this, but I did not know that at the time. )

Last summer, I really wanted a Prayer Plant, but was told they are not a beginner house plant. My local nursery sells them, so I picked up a small one. It wasn't expensive, so if it died it wasn't a big loss. I put it in the warmest area of the house with indirect sun and spritz it with water nearly every day and it is one happy little plant. It is about to open up another leaf. This is probably my favorite indoor plant at this time; I really like the pattern on the leaves and how this changes as they age.

I must've gotten a little over confident... my Plant of Steel (Sago Palm) is dying. I was afraid of overwatering; I think I overdid the lack of water. I have a handful of other plants and they are doing ok.

A few years ago, I started spending more time planting things outside, so maybe just the overall learning what plants need is what helped. ??

Are there any others with similar house plant experiences?

Thumbnail by Chillybean Thumbnail by Chillybean
Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Well I have good luck with Christmas Cactus, (actually I think mine is a Thanksgiving cactus). My amount of neglect seems about right. However I usually lose the second bloom, which happens just after the first-the buds usually fall off. I may try to water it a bit more in winter next year. I had read that they like reduced water in winter for a month or two after bloom. I also read that disturbing or moving them when in bud can make the blooms fall off. My housecleaner moved it this year just as the second round of buds were forming, and they fell off just a few days later.
Prayer Plant. When I was younger in NY, I thought they were easy, here they pine for more light I think. Maybe more water I tend to underwater.
Spider plants the same- easy in NY, here in Seattle they are sickly. Oh well there are others I like too.
I find African violets to be one of those "I can't kill 'em" plants here, but most folks think they are touchy. I ended up with a lot because when I would get planters for gifts I would keep them. Finally I got bored with them, and decided they clashed with my decorating scheme, and threw them out. Now I am trying new plants with orange or red flowers.

(Zone 5a)

I killed a spider plant. Strangely, the Prayer Plant is now in that planter (not really a pot. It is shallow, but fairly wide.) And I also killed two or three African Violets. I gave one to a friend to doctor it, but it was beyond help. I won't try them again.

This last summer, I gave the Christmas cactus some cold coffee. I did it before, but this time the top of the soil developed mold. I was able to scoop that out and it's been fine since.

(Zone 5a)

My Prayer plant bloomed, just two flowers, but that was still nice. The flowers last a day before fading, so I am glad I took a picture when I first noticed them.

Someone left a comment on the plant file page saying not to let the flowers bloom as they will go to seed and the plant die? Is that true? I'd never heard that before.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I don't know, I recall one flowering once. I have never had them survive a long time, but I attributed that to my neglectful watering.

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.