This is my root bound thirty-year-old jade plant.
My friend, Teresa, came over yesterday to pick up some green japanese maples that I was gonna chuck onto the compost pile. They were all too root bound to make it another summer in those pots and I don't need any more planted on my acre. They come from a big green japanese mama tree and only grow a quarter of the size. I like to have them on my patio for the vertical element and I also play bonsai with them while they are young.
I'm cleaning off the patio for winter. Putting the patio furniture away, rolling up hoses, putting the semi-delicate plants against the protected wall of the house, getting ready to put the geraniums in the garage and the houseplants returned inside.
The houseplants need to come inside after they've been sprayed off with a hose for most of the bugs and a systemic sprinkled over the soil to keep the hatching bugs from infesting my house.
All of my houseplants go outside in the summer to rusticate. They love the fluctuating temperatures and the light levels much better than inside the house.
We get enough frosts and freezings here in the Willamette Valley that the delicate things need to come inside or at least into the garage or basements of our houses. The geraniums and fuschias in the hanging baskets will go into the garage.
They are loving our temperate 60 degree November days and blooming so well, it's difficult to get ruthless and trim them up for storage.
Anyway - my jade plant is more than thirty years old. I married it and it was a dangly, sad-looking house plant that I chucked out on the deck to compost. Instead, the golden retriever's puppy tail pruned it for me and it became this lush plant with little growths all over. It stands about three feet high and round.
Lesson 1: They want to be pruned.
After about ten years, it set out these blooms that opened in November and held on until February. There's is a slight smell and pollen but mostly they are little white star flowers with a tint of pink.
Lesson 2: It has to be old enough to bloom.
One November, I left it out a little too long (thanksgiving!) and the second frost melted half of it. But it came back. with little green sprouts.
Lesson 3: Leave outside as close to possible to first frost to harden off. But not past the moment.
The trunks on this baby are about five inches in diameter. It doesn't like to be over-watered - maybe once a month? In the winter, it goes a tad dormant. It would be fine in the garage but I like the little star flowers, so it comes inside.
In the spring, I prune off the weird parts - I like that spherical look, and toss those cuttings under the hydrangea where they all take root.
I rarely re-pot. Sometimes, I add a little soil to the top. I have cut the roots - as in bonsai directions - to thin them out. Most of the years, I do nothing.
Lesson 4: Leave them alone. Perfect houseplant for me.
Here are some three year old babies all together in a pot. Not sure what I'm gonna do with this one. I don't want a second plant in the house. Keep pruning until I can foist it off on a friend.
These are two year old babes. Some in individual pots and the ones in front together in the blue pot. This might come inside this winter - it's looking pretty pleased with itself.
Waiting for hose spray-off are my avocado trees and the ficus that I have a love/hate relationship with.
You want the secret of growing your avocados?
Again, really lazy here. Take the pit outside and plug it in one of your patio pots. Forget the toothpicks, forget scraping the bottom to encourage root growth. Just plug it in some soil - in the summer.
But now what???
It's getting taller. It's also fussy, pitching a hissy fit when I bring it inside and dropping leaves, some leaves turning half brown. I hate fussy. I had a coffee plant for a while - talk about hissy fits. I finally got ruthless and pitched it on the compost pile. I may do so with the avocado. It's a tall statement plant for behind the couch but somewhat fussy in it's drinking habits.
Now - the Ficus. It's not even a variegated leaf one. But it doesn't pitch hissy fits. It's tall, which is nice in the house. It's not particularly pretty. One more winter.
My mock-orange did not get the winterizing memo either.
Why houseplants inside in the winter? Everyone knows they improve the air quality during the winter months.
I also have six african violets that do stay inside year round. Way too many. Need friends to come over and leave with one, or two. Any takers?
I wouldn't say no if you needed a six year old avocado tree either.