My birthday is on April 11th, and while I tend to shy away from making a big deal of the day, the one thing I do really like to do is take some time to tend to my indoor garden and treat myself to a new plant. In Chicago the weather is generally just starting to warm up, it’s a perfect time to begin moving my houseplants out to the back porch for their summer vacation.
Here is the glimpse of the the back porch before it fills up in the coming months, it’s definitely in need of a bit of attention out here. Feels good to begin preparing and primping this space for the prime growing season. It’s about time to take care of left overs from last season (too
lazy busy to prune the old dried peppers from last fall I guess!), and time to move my Maple Trees out doors. Those two pots on the table are Maples that have been growing for 6 years. They live on the porch over the winter, but I’m afraid that they may not pull through this spring… I generally start seeing healthy buds and even leaves in March. Arg! I’m still hopeful, so we will give it some more time.
My back porch faces south and is lined with windows, it’s super sunny with a nice breeze, the perfect bright space for growing. I love it out there and so do the plants. I have quite a few houseplants, somewhere around 65 at the moment, most of them survive over the winter, but by this time of year they always seems less vibrant. There are only a few windows in the house that give adequate direct sunlight, so they’re all huddled around trying to soak up whatever sun is available during the dormant winter months.
The lack of winter sun leave some of them leggy and long, and most are a bit dusty by this time. One by one I take each plant out to the porch, dust them off and spruce them up. Some get repotted, some get pruned and fertilized, all get a good watering and are dusted off. Ready for summer vacation!
I have a few Philodendron Cordatum plants growing around the house. The one below has been growing in the kitchen sprawling over the curtainless curtain rods for about 2 years. It was inherited from a friend who was moving and since it was full and healthy, I was the only one who knew it was still in it’s original plastic pot. After awhile though, it got a bit too long and tangled, it needed a good trim, so this was my first order of business. I repotted and trimmed off long ends. The cuttings are now in a vase of water and will soon be ready to produce more plants and the repotted plant has more room to grow.
Over the past couple years I have been propagating quite a bit of Jade. I had a couple of pots that had random sprouted jade limbs, and Jade leaf sprouts mixed with other random succulents. So, I combined, condensed and relocated some of these random succulent sprouts and moved a bunch of Jade out. This little guy has been going strong for a couple of years in this tiny 2.5 inch pot, it’s definitely loving the new sunny spot right here.
Below is the Silver Squill, another plant inherited 2 years ago. This was a bit of a mystery to me, I didn’t even know what it was until a few months ago. For the first 6 months of having this plant it looked pretty pathetic, just kind of limp and thin, but after awhile it really started to perk up and fill out. It’s actually quite beautiful and interesting. The leaves have a silvery sheen spotted with green. When it’s happy, it spawns off little bulblets that eventually take over the entire pot. This Silver Squill was in a very large pot with a solid and established root structure. But I felt that the pot was disproportionate to the size of the plant, so I decided that it was time to split it up. I want my own Silver Squill to live in a smaller pot, so I began splitting it up and repotting some of the bulblets. There are a ton! More on that later, I’m in the process of learning more about this crazy plant and hoping that the newly planted bulbs take off.
I always like to visit my local plant shop to pick up some new potting soil and any other random supplies I may need. I like to look at the seeds and think about what I might like to sprout and of course I always keep an eye out for a new plant. This year I picked up a few small succulents and some Club Moss (Selaginella). I’m thrilled to have the Club Moss back around, it has been years since I’ve had this plant in the house. Such a delicate burst of green! The last time I had one of these, it was a rescue plant that was on its way out, I had no idea what it was, but somehow managed to keep it alive for a few years… and then one day it was gone. Now that I know what it is, I’m hoping it’ll be happy for a long time.
One by one the plants are making their way out to the porch and this green space is coming together. The porch will be evolving throughout the summer, but it’s always refreshing to start the season off like this.
The two Cacti above on the sides are cuttings from my Dad, they come from plants that he’s had for about forty years! I’ve been growing these specific cuttings for about 3 years or so. In between the Cacti there is the original Silver Squill, a Palm, a very tall Pencil Plant, a Jade cutting forest, an Aloe plant that is falling over, and a Rubber Tree.
Round one of many in my planting adventures on the porch. More plants will be brought out in the coming weeks. The next step is to begin tending to the potted vegetable garden. Start some seeds and pick up some sprouts to grow very soon.