Gardening indoors – because you can

Grow stuff in your house!

Archive for the tag “gardening”

Update: Pineapple top roots

There were originally four - I threw the first one out... Mold.

There were originally four – I threw the first one out… Mold.

As the title of this post says: Just a quick update. I’ve noticed a lot of rooting progress with the pineapple tops that I have had sitting in water for eleven days now. The second one I started is doing a bit better than the others, but they’re all showing promise. There’s been very slight browning of the leaves, and there’s no sign of mold or decay anywhere. I haven’t had to change the water much (maybe once for each plant), because the water is staying pretty clear, and I’ve chose to leave well enough alone.

The most promising one so far

The most promising one so far

I don’t really have any decent pictures of the roots when they were first started off in water, but they were nothing like what you see here. The second one (#2) is showing the most progress so far, and I imagine that I’ll be transferring that one to soil in no time!

Third one. Promising as the rest! No rotting!

Third one. Promising as the rest! No rotting!

The third (#3 – noshit) one seems to be doing well also! The leaves are browning steadily, and there is semi-rapid root growth happening. It won’t be long before I’ll be transferring this one into soil… Maybe another 4-6 weeks, but we’ll see as I update you all on the progress.

#4 - The "baby" of the bunch. So far so good.

#4 – The “baby” of the bunch. So far so good.

Number four, which is the last one started in water, is starting to display life – the roots aren’t anywhere near as long as the others, but that’s because it was started later. I’m sure that there will be a lot of rooting on this one in the coming weeks. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen between these three!

If you have any suggestions, now would be a great time to speak up! Comments are appreciated, and so are followers – I’m going to be posting at least 3x a week, so it’s worth it… Trust me!

How to grow a new Split-leaf Philodendron from cuttings (with pictures)

This one is huge - I can't help but to want my own!

This one is huge – I can’t help but to want my own!

I got bored. I decided to go ahead and start up another split-leaf philodendron from the one that’s growing so well at the restaurant that I work in. I kind of regret not taking photos of the actual cutting process, but I’ll walk you through the process to the best of my ability. Here we go.

Two cuttings from the delicious monster growing in the restaurant

Two cuttings from the delicious monster growing in the restaurant

I took these two cuttings from the plant you see above — The picture is actually from about two months ago, taken right before I took three cuttings to make the other one that I have to the right of my couch already. I put the cuttings in some water to keep them from drying out – I was dragging ass and it took me a few minutes to get to my apartment. Each one of the cuttings branches off into two stalks, each with their own leaf, which is why it looks more like four.

The root looks like a nubby little thorn. Cut directly below.

The root looks like a nubby little thorn. Cut directly below.

The stalks should be cut directly below the root to get growth going as efficiently as possible. If you look closely at this picture, you can see the root right at the bottom. It looks like a little dull thorn. I used a decent pair of scissors to get this task accomplished. I did not, however, use a decent camera for this picture. You can see it in the direct foreground of the upturned plastic cup, though. I cut it at a diagonal, for no specific purpose other than I just feel that it’s the right thing to do. Putting them in water was another thing that wasn’t truly necessary, but I’m just being cautious. I don’t want to fuck this all up – even though there is very little effort involved in this project, there should be a lot of care taken!

Of course you need a pot. This one is asstastic. Yes. Asstastic

Of course you need a pot. This one is asstastic. Yes. Asstastic

I got out a pot big enough to support the massive root system these plants are known to have. I’m actually using the same pot that housed the dracaena massangeana (corn plant). I really like this one because it’s pretty ornate, and it happens to have a drainage dish attached to it. I did clean it out thoroughly awhile ago, and used it to sit under the repotted corn plant so it didn’t stain my carpet… but that was hella tacky, and a waste of a perfectly good pot. Wasting pot is horrible.

I actually ended up filling the pot more, then digging this little hole.

I actually ended up filling the pot more, then digging this little hole.

I filled the pot about 4/5 of the way up with the Miracle Gro® potting mix that I have sitting around for purposes like these, and I patted it down a bit so everything wouldn’t sink and displace once I watered it in the last step. I dug out a little hole in the middle of the pot, just big enough to stick both cuttings in. They’re only supposed to be stuck about an inch or two into the soil, but they still have to be sturdy – the stalks grow in “V” shape, so this causes a little instability when planting. I was going to use a shoestring to tie them together, but they actually look like they’re going to be fine the way they are!

Finished project. They aren't too wild looking from the start. We'll see where this goes...

Finished project. They aren’t too wild looking from the start. We’ll see where this goes…

Once you have the cuttings positioned exactly as you want them, hold them into place and grab a few fist fulls of the potting mix and top off the pot. You’ll want to pat the mix down, especially in the area of the stalks, to make sure they’re secure. Once you’ve done that, give the pot a light shake to make sure the cuttings don’t move around. You definitely want this wild fucker to be stable from the start!

Me and my new beauty. I'll keep you updated on the progress.

Me and my new beauty. I’ll keep you updated on the progress.

Congratulations! You now have a new monster for your place of residence! These things apparently will bear fruit under the right conditions, although I must say – I really don’t care. I’ve never even seen the fruit produced from one of these, and if it happens, it does… if not, oh well – I have a beautiful addition to my indoor green scene. One of the leaves looks like it wants to “grow” a hole in one of the leaves, but to be completely honest, it looks more like leaf burn… Or abuse from one of the restaurant’s customers. I actually witnessed one of those fools pouring what looked like iced tea into one of the ficus pots… Some people.

Be sure to comment – offer suggestions, advice, whatever! There’s nothing wrong with following my blog either… As a matter of fact, I think you should! I’ll see you soon!

The reasons I prefer to grow plants indoors – and a few updates.

Current projects.. Seeds and whatnot

Current projects.. Seeds and whatnot

There are a few valid reasons that I have personally that make indoor gardening a preference of mine. Three of the biggest reasons involve my overall health. For some odd reason, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m going to live an unbearably long time, so I feel that my time spent here should be as comfortable as possible. We all need to understand that the health benefits offered by houseplants are AWESOME to begin with, but aside from that huge fact, my reasoning behind my preference to grow indoor includes, and is definitely not limited to:

  1. I’m susceptible to heat stroke – it’s happened to me twice before.
  2. I have shitty allergies, and it’s not fair.
  3. The outdoors are beautiful and full of fresh oxygen already. My abode needs assistance in that area. If you didn’t already know, plants transform carbon dioxide (that we as humans/animals give them when exhaling) into oxygen (which we in turn, breathe right the hell back in). I need that oxygen.
  4. Kiss my ass. I already told you there were three reasons. Keep up.
I do love to grow things, though!

I do love to grow things, though!

With those reasons aside, there’s also the fact that I don’t have an outdoor gardening area accessible to me other than community projects in the city that I live in that were awesome at one time, but is currently being invaded by hipsters. I really hate hipsters… Their smug faces, vegan diet, tiny feet and hay bedding… no. Wait – hamsters. I really hate hamsters. I’m really just kidding. I don’t hate anybody – I hate everybody. Really. Due to this slight lack of resource (which really isn’t a lack of resource at all) I lean way towards indoor more than I do outdoor. I’m also in love with the fact that I have an outstanding amount of control over what happens with my green buddies. The company of plants also tends to be a lot more pleasant than the company of most people… I try not to be completely antisocial though.

It doesn't look to good for my buddy here. We'll see.

It doesn’t look too good for my buddy here. We’ll see.

Speaking of control, Here’s a little update on what’s going on with my pineapple tops mentioned in my first post… The one that I started first (the day before I started this blog) that I showed you in pictures doesn’t look like it’s going to do so well from what I’m seeing here. All of the leaves have completely dried out, and it’s showing me nothing as far as hope goes. The leaves are supposed to dry out, true – but it seems to be a lot too early for that. I’ll give it three more days at most to see if anything changes. The pineapple that it came from had been sitting in the walk-in at my job for at least five days – I got it the day before a produce order came in. The ones that I started the very next day  are from that produce order, and they’re doing good so far – hopefully they won’t look like this one in five to seven days. We’ll see!

Started the same day, the only obvious difference is color changes.

Started the same day, the only obvious difference is color changes.

The avocado seeds that I started the other day seem to be doing well. The only thing that I have noticed so far is the one that i covered remains a constant light brown all the way around, and the other one is starting to develop a ring around the area that I stuck the toothpicks in, and is getting lighter in the area exposed to air.

Lots of color change.

Lots of color change.

If you look at the picture to the left, you’ll see an avocado seed that I started five to six weeks ago. I kept this one in my north facing window for the first four weeks, which I’m recently learning wasn’t really the best of ideas. I’ve since kept it on my kitchen counter or range top, and it’s been progressing rapidly! The color change is a lot more evident when you look at this avocado seed. it has a ring in the area where the toothpicks went in (as usual) and another toward the very top that is a lot darker than the other two color layers. I’m going to pay close attention to this to see if it happens with my newer uncovered avocado seed. The first root sprouted from the bottom of this one a few days ago, and seems to be growing at a rate of about 1/4 of an inch daily. There will be more roots to come, of course, and the entire seed will eventually split apart almost completely around the time the stalk of the plant pops out of the top… I wonder how long that will take.

So that’s it for this post – once again, it’s getting late and I need to turn in for the night. I’ll post something else tomorrow… most likely a new pineapple plant, but this time since I have extra potting mix, I’m going to start it off in soil – this should still work as a good comparison to the others, seeing as how I just started those within the last few days. Be sure to leave feedback, and follow me if you wish to stay updated. So yeah. Tomorrow. Until then…

pe♫ce.

Plants in my apartment… Too many? I don’t think so… Part II

This is a fairly young Dracaena deremensis that I rescued from Walmart about two weeks ago.

This is a fairly young Dracaena deremensis that I rescued from Walmart about two weeks ago.

In the first part of this post, I offered you a glimpse at some of the beautiful foliage around my apartment. There are a few more plants that I’d like to show you here in the second part!

In the image to the left is my dracaena deremensis – “Malaika” – She comes from a very reliable supplier known as Exotic Angel. If you check out the website, www.exoticangel.com – you’ll see everything that they have to offer, and I’m sure you’ll be impressed with their selection.

IMAG0448

I’m pretty sure I have a lifelong friend here… Awesome. ♫

The dracaena is what I like to call a “die hard” houseplant, seeing as how it’s almost impossible to kill these things unless it’s done maliciously. They are excellent air filters, and grow beautifully, but not very fast. There are many varieties of the dracaena to choose from as well. Care for these beauties is simple:

  • They don’t like too much water. Watering them thoroughly after the soil appears dry (every 7-12 days or so) is ideal. Do not over saturate!
  • Filtered or indirect lighting is sufficient for the dracaena. It doesn’t care too much for direct sunlight anyway.
  • These leaves are gorgeous... They make the sickly one in the back look a lot better!

    These leaves are gorgeous… They make the sickly one in the back look a lot better!

    Dracaenas like moderate indoor temperatures. 60 – 75°F (16 – 24°C), which is the average comfortable temperature inside a house at any time of the year.

  • Diseases aren’t really a problem for this houseplant. As far as pests go, mites would be the common suspect, and they’re easily driven away by spraying soapy water on the leaves.
  • The leaves love to collect dust, so wiping them off once in awhile with a damp cloth will keep them pretty attractive.

There are a lot of other tips and tricks involved with the care of these lovlies, and unfortunately I won’t be able to get into that completely in this post, but of course I intend to in the near future!

As I mentioned before, I strongly disagree with anyone who says that I have too many houseplants – I feel that I have nowhere near enough! The benefits offered to the air quality in my apartment alone are worth the sacrifice of space!

Please feel free to leave comments, as they are greatly appreciated, and be sure to follow my blog if you wish to be updated on the progress of any of my projects… Sorry this post is so short, but I had to finish up and get it out of the way so I can start on my next post, which will be discussing  growing mango trees indoors starting from seed. Stay tuned!

Plants in my apartment… Too many? I don’t think so… Part I

A lucky bamboo, A majesty palm, and a split-leaf philodendron.. To my right as I lounge on my couch.

A lucky bamboo, A majesty palm, and a split-leaf philodendron (aka Delicious Monster..) They’re located immediately to my right as I lounge on my couch.

My friends who visit my apartment tell me that my place looks like a jungle, and that’s exactly the look I’m going for. As of right now though, I beg to differ. I don’t have as many plants as I’d like, and I’m far from finished furnishing my home with my beloved greens.

As mentioned before, I’m fairly new to home gardening, or gardening in general, and I don’t want to lead you on to believe that I know a lot on the subject. I’m just a guy who loves houseplants and the benefits they offer! I’m also a fan of the fact that we, as humans, benefit them as well. It’s what I like to refer to as the perfect trade-off!

Currently, I’m still researching the proper care of all of my plants individually, and while it does seem like a lot to take in at one time, it’s my responsibility — I bought these greenies into my abode, so it’s up to me to properly take care of them. They all have different needs, and I’m going to make sure that they all mature beautifully. You heard it here first!

To my left when lounging on my couch

To my immediate left when lounging on my couch, a  Dracaena Deremensis on the end table, and behind it, a Dracaena Massangeana, or Corn Plant.

Along with the plants that I have purchased, I have a few projects that are started from seed, or cutting.. I have posted previously about the pineapple tops and the avocado seeds, which seem to be doing fine at the time of this posting. This particular post will break from the growing projects and briefly discuss the plants that I have beautifying my apartment already.

The Dracaena Massangeana, or corn plant pictured to the left is actually a plant that I was told to scrap by my employer, and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It was in pretty bad shape mostly because it sat by the door of the restaurant that I work in, and I’m determined to bring it to excellent health. The steps that I’ve taken so far only involve repotting the three stalks into a bigger pot with a simple every-day potting mix that I purchased from walmart, and pulling/clipping the brown leaves that were all over the plant to begin with when I bought it home with me.

I was told to toss this thing. Nope. Sorry.

I was told (by my boss) to toss this thing about two and a half weeks ago… Nope. Sorry.

If you look at the picture to the right, you’ll see what the corn plant looked like when I left the restaurant with it. Two of the three stalks were bare, and none of the stalks were standing upright. I did a little research, and got some enlightening information from a few reddit users. The advice given on /r/gardening was great, and heeding what seemed to be the most valid of it, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside afterwards… Correct me if I’m wrong, “readers”, but from what I’m to understand, the fact that I re-potted this plant due to the fact that it was obviously root-bound and starving will help it out immensely. It had been sitting in my workplace for three and a half years, and hadn’t been getting the proper care… I wish I would have gotten into this sooner.

Dracaena Massangeana or "Corn Plant"

Dracaena Massangeana or “Corn Plant”

This is what my corn plant looks like today, and hopefully in the near future, I’ll be able to update you with a success story. The two stalks are still naked, but we’ll soon see if there’s any growth. I’m not gonna expect anything til early spring though. The stalk that seems to be doing the best has been heavily cut back because of brown/dead leaves. These are very popular in the area that I live in, and I’ve also recently been gathering advice on how to care for them from individuals who have successful and gorgeous plants. I’m going to do everything I can for this one… Follow my blog and stay tuned!

Lucky Bamboo isn't really bamboo after all...

Lucky Bamboo isn’t really bamboo after all…

In the image to the right, you’ll see my lucky bamboo plant. It might surprise you to know that the lucky bamboo isn’t actually a bamboo at all – it’s actually a dracaena. It’s scientific name is Dracaena Sanderiana, and it’s also known by other names such as ribbon plant, ribbon dracaena, or Belgian Evergreen. These plants love water, and will even live and grow successfully using just water and nothing else! This particular plant was a Walmart rescue – it’s sitting in tiny rocks for support, and I keep it watered just below the rocks. Initially I did have to pull/clip some browning leaves, but as of now, it’s a beauty! Care for Lucky bamboo is that simple… Water. Enjoy.

Delicious Monster. Why? Because it will bear fruit after awhile.

Delicious Monster. Why? Because it will bear fruit after awhile.

Here’s a fascinating specimen of a houseplant – the split-leaf philodendron, or the Delicious Monster! This overbearing bastard of a plant has the ability to climb trees with it’s feeler roots and is absolutely stunning to look at. I had to have one, and luckily for me, there was a huge one growing at work. I took a few cuttings from it, and started my own right here at home.. since taking this photo, I’ve actually added a third cutting (what you see here is only two). It’s doing great right now! I only have to water it once every ten days or so.

It’s getting late, and I’m tired. I’m going to go ahead and publish this post, and continue when I wake with the second part. Stay tuned, comment, and follow!!

An experiment in propagating avocado seeds – Part II

These avocados are of the Haas variety. They were purchased at the local Co-op.

These avocados are of the Haas variety. They were purchased at the local Co-op.

We left off on my last post with the completion of our homemade greenhouse. In this post, as promised, we’re actually going to go ahead and get these two avacado seeds started! Now for the sake of being completely honest, I’ve actually gone ahead and started the first one, which is the one that will stay uncovered… Hello – it’s the one you see here in the picture! We’re going to completely go over rooting the other avocado seed right now step-by-step using the experimentation method mentioned in part I of this post.

Haas variety avacado. Pretty tasty!

Haas variety avacado. Pretty tasty!

So the first thing that I did was to grab my homemade setup crafted from a soda bottle, then my avocado. The avocado being used here is a Haas variety, and I purchased it, and the other one a little earlier today from the local food Co-op. They only cost me $0.79 each!

Be careful at this stage!

Be careful at this stage!

Once I got my avacado in position, I grabbed a huge knife and threatened the hell out of it. I told it that if it didn’t yield me a beautiful plant, I would kill all of his cousins come spring… I don’t think it was paying much attention, though. I used the knife to cut the avocado vertically, lightly pressing until I could feel the seed against the blade of the knife. You want to make sure that while this is being done, you don’t damage the seed inside of the avocado. Once you feel the seed under the knife blade, go ahead and rock it all the way around lightly.

Twist... Simple

Twist… Simple

Once you make a vertical cut around the outer edge of the seed, go ahead and twist the two parts of the avocado apart. On a ripe avocado, they should come apart fairly easily. I tried this about two months ago with a really tough-fleshed avocado, and the seed was a true pain in the ass to remove… That seed actually sprouted it’s first root about two days ago in water – finally.

Fleshy seed.

Fleshy seed.

After I got the two halves separated, I was able to easily remove the seed from the half it was stuck in using only my thumb. When first removed, the seed tends to have a lot of the avocado flesh still on it, and you definitely want to get rid of it, being careful not to damage or remove the outer layer of skin on the seed – it’s brown, and it takes a lot of rubbing to get it off, so once again, no worries.

Clean avocado seed. Ready for the world!

Clean avocado seed. Ready for the world!

I removed the avocado flesh by running cool water over the seed and rubbing lightly – it comes off pretty easily. I made sure not to damage or remove the outer skin of the seed, which is light brown… You won’t have much success if you damage that outer skin, so be careful! I’m not sure what others do at this exact moment, but I let my seed dry out for a few minutes – it seems like it’s been through a lot, and I need to dry my hands and take some pictures anyway.

Three toothpicks will do the job.

Three toothpicks will do the job.

Now for the toothpicks. I make sure to keep the toothpicks that I’m using for this clean, as to not encourage the invasion of parasites. I try to be as clean as possible when dealing with anything that has to do with plants… It’s just a good idea. If you didn’t already know, I’ll inform you now – the roots will grow out of the bottom of the seed, which is the broad side – the flatter part of the seed. The plant itself will begin to stem from the top, or the pointy side of the seed, therefore you want to put the bottom of the seed in water, leaving the top of the avocado seed exposed to air.

Fill it just enough to cover the bottom half of the seed!

Fill it just enough to cover the bottom half of the seed!

Once you have the toothpicks in place in the seed, all that’s left to do is prop it up over the soda bottle greenhouse that we made earlier, fill it with water (enough to cover the bottom half of the seed), and cover it up with the top of the soda bottle. When you’re all done, your new project should look something like what I have pictured below.

Both avocado seeds... We'll see which grows better soon!

Both avocado seeds… We’ll see which grows better soon!

I’m going to keep these out of direct light. An ideal location for me would be in the kitchen, so that’s where they’ll be for now. As mentioned before, all feedback and comments are appreciated, and will keep me going as far as this blog is concerned. Subscribe if you’re benefiting in any way, and be sure to stay tuned – my next blog will be about propagating mango plants from seeds!

Propagation – and why it’s so important

Pineapples in the rooting stage

I’m propagating these pineapple tops in water. The water that is being used has been left out overnight before use in order to let the chlorine evaporate, as I feel it’s the right thing to do seeing as how I can smell the water as it comes out of my faucet… a lot of plants don’t like chlorine, so by default I do this for all of my beauties. Whether or not you decide to do this is your choice.

HOW TO PROPAGATE PINEAPPLES IN WATER

For my first post, I’d like to talk about propagation – specifically the propagation of pineapple plants. For those of you who don’t already know, propagation is basically the rooting – or the preparation of a plant for further growth.

To get it out of the way, I’ll let you know from the start, and it’s a fact that should be assumed when I mention it in any future post – proper propagation is necessary for the successful growth and development of your plants! When you take the time and care to do this, you’re not only almost ensuring that your time isn’t wasted, but you’re also helping a future friend strive and reach it’s fullest potential – assuming that you also decide to take proper care of your friend along the way.

The steps I took in getting these pineapple tops (shown above) ready for growing were really simple, and can be done by almost anyone within minutes. The first thing I did was twist the top off of a fresh pineapple that was really attractive, with nice green leaves, and a really prickly center (if you stick your finger into the direct middle of the leaf system, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about). Don’t be discouraged if the leaves aren’t as green as you’d like, seeing as how the leaves are going to be shooting off to the side and browning anyway when all of the new growth starts happening. The top will twist off of a pineapple fairly easily, with very little effort, and won’t shock the plant too much, so don’t be too apprehensive about twisting it off. It’s cool. No worries. The next step is the fun part – pulling off the bottom leaves – you just sent the plant into shock by twisting off the top, so you’ll actually benefit your pineapple by doing this. What you want to do at this point is take off the first few layers of leaves – the ones at the bottom will be kind of fleshy, and not as easy as the rest to remove, but don’t let that stop your developing green thumb… remember – that thing is opposable! The main goal here is getting the root system of your pineapple exposed – you’ll start to see it as you pull those outer leaves off, and once it’s exposed, it’s safe to peel off a few more layers. At this point, you’ve got a pineapple top with the root system exposed, and just the few top layers of leaves left. What you’ll want to do is to prop your pineapple top into some water – just enough water to cover the root system, as this is where the roots will be growing (of course). Once you have the top sitting in water, be sure to change the water at least once every two days to discourage rotting (I change my water every morning). If you allow your pineapple top to rot at the bottom because of unchanged water, you’re off to a bad start and it’s likely that you will have very little success. From what I’m to understand, you’ll have rooting results sufficient for planting in a growing medium within a month or two.

Keep in mind, people – I don’t claim to know everything, or even a whole lot about anything in relation to houseplants, horticulture, or gardening in general… as a matter of fact, as far as you’re concerned, I don’t know shit. I’m just a dude in tune with the earth and I happen to love green plants. I’m not into flowers. At all. Fuck them – they make my nose mad… With that said, I like leaves. Bitch.

Moving on…

The pineapple crowns that I’m using came from pineapples that originate from Costa Rica, grown organically. I get these pineapples from my workplace here in Southeastern Connecticut, and it also happens to be the first week of December, which means that as far as the United States go, I stand less of a chance than any for success with this project. In a week or so, I’m going to try a different propagation method that involves letting the tops dry out for a few days, and then planting directly into soil. I’ve been doing a lot of research over the last week on the subject of pineapple propagation, and I gather that there are a few ways to go about it, so I’m going to eventually try them all.

Naysayers tell me that I shouldn’t even bother with this type of projet at this time of year.

I say “fuck ’em”…

IMAG0496

The one on the far left is the very first one that I started, which was only two days ago. The two in the middle were started yesterday, and the one at the very end was started only a few hours ago. The first one (far left) isn’t as green as the others, and that’s because it was the last of two left from a previous shipment of produce, and had been sitting in the walk-in for a little while… I really don’t expect it to do as well as the others, but only time will tell.

In my next post, I’ll be talking about avocado plants and getting them started. I’m just learning how to use this blogging site, so please be patient with me – I’m pretty sure I can get this blog a little more visually attractive soon.

Post Navigation