Hello fishies, and happy Friday! Welcome back to the Good To Grow site, and thanks for being here!

If you’re new to this site, Friday is the day we have a little fun. I invite a panel of experts to answer a plant-related question, then I cross my fingers and hope they can answer it. You see, they’re not necessarily experts on plants. More like experts in life in general. They’re adorable, you’ll see!

We also play a plant puzzler on Fridays. Last week, I asked what was wrong with this plant:

Some people might call this a trick question, but I didn’t see it that way. My handful of readers are so stinkin’ smart that I had faith in their investigative abilities. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) after the experts panel.

Let’s meet the experts, shall we?

Hi experts!

“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

Haha, little cutie pies! Thanks you guys for being here. From left to right, that’s Tina Quintana, Tim Thackaberry, EZ Ed Johnson, Dottie Correll and Lewis Casey. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.

I don’t know about where you live, but here in Albuquerque, that morning chill has returned. It’s not cold, but you can feel the shift. It’s brisk where it was warm.

That’s got us thinking about preparing our gardens for the winter, and our houses for the influx of containers we’re going to be bringing inside. Which brings us to this week’s question:

Q. When should you bring inside the houseplants you put outside for the summer?

Not necessarily the easiest question to answer, given how different places have different frost dates. Let’s see how they did.

Expert Tina, you’re up first as always.

A. “You bring them inside in early fall. Usually around labor day. Hose down plants and let drip dry. Make sure your plants don’t have any pests on them. If they do identify the pest and treat them properly. Check containers with no holes of excess h2o make sure you drain them. They should adjust to the new environment in a few weeks. Be careful not to over water plants now that you have them indoors. Their water intake will increase once you turn on your heaters for winter.”

Wow, Tina, there’s a lot of good information packed into that answer! Definitely calling that one a win.

Tina actually is an expert on plants. She has a small business (Total Plant Management) here in Albuquerque taking care of plants at offices and homes around town. Just like me. She’s the one I turn to when I have questions about plants.

So she can be believed when she says to give your plants a bath, an exam for bugs, and then watch your watering once they’re inside. Most plants slow way down on water during the fall and winter months, so be mindful. And she’s also right about the heaters. Once those bad boys come on, the plants will get thirsty again.

Great job, Tina! Thanks for being here again this week.

Ok, up next is expert Thack. Thack, here’s the question to you:

Q. When should you bring inside the houseplants you put outside for the summer?

A. “Uh, you should bring them inside at the end of the summer? I’m just guessing here, but that seems logical to me.”

Oh, whatever smartass! “Uh, at the end of summer?” I think technically I’m supposed to call that correct, but I’m going to call it incorrect because of your attitude, boy. Yeah, that’ll teach ya. Don’t mess with the moderator.

Moving on, expert EZ, here’s the question to you:

Q. When should you bring inside the houseplants you put outside for the summer?

A. In my neighborhood it’s not wise to leave anything
outside for fear you will never see it again.

Oooh, fair enough, EZ, fair enough. I’ve never actually been to your neighborhood – I’m too scared – but I’ve often wondered how such a gentle poetic soul can live in such chaos.

Haha, I’m kidding. His neighborhood is fine. Are there parts of Albuquerque that are prone to theft and violence? Sure. Albuquerque has its share of angry youth who’ve never been taught, well, anything, and also a bunch of dumbass crackheads and drunks or whatever. Every city has that.

My personal wish for America is that we stop bitching about all our problems and start helping out our neighbors. I mean, you don’t necessarily have to help the crackheads or anything – they are obnoxious after all – but maybe help the elderly lady down the street or the homeless veteran who’s so lost. Or help us all by making yourself better, so you’ll be in a better position to help others.

Oh, thaaaaat’s what they mean by soapbox! My bad, peanuts. I’ll get back to the panel!

Up next is the lovely and talented Dottie Correll. Dottie was away most of the summer. It stung. Everyone missed the fiery 84-year-old’s imaginative and creative answers. But she’s back. Sweet Dottie, here’s the question to you:

Q. When should you bring inside the houseplants you put outside for the summer?

A. Well I thought this decision would be a piece of cake!  Wrong!  Little did I know what has been going on “out there” all summer!  I suggested to Phil (that’s my ficus plant) that the nights were getting a bit nippy and it might be time for him to retreat inside to warmer climes.  Little did I know that Belinda (Butterfly Bush) and Lilly (Lilac bush) were tuned in to our conversation.  Wow such an uproar!!!  Belinda shook all over with rage and lost many of her blossoms — good thing the little black chins (humming birds) are, for the most part, heading south.  Lilly just totally drooped and lost many of her leaves.

It seems Phil has been wooing both these ladies –supposedly without the knowledge of the other, until each overheard my plans for Phil.  He never shared with either of them that this was just to be a “Summer Daliance” — an amusement for him — a way to while away those lazy summer days.!!!  What a rogue!  After all, he was the new kid in the garden, while Belinda and Lilly have been charming and gracing our garden for years.    What a dilemma!  I don’t want to lose any of my garden friends!  How can I pacify Belinda and Lilly and show Phil the error of his ways?  What am I to do?  Please all you “green thumbers” out there,  I need your HELP!!!!

Hahahahahaha! I love you, Dottie!

Clearly, this is a job for Dr. Phil. He needs to come in and mediate, right? He should be like, “Phil, get real!” Or maybe Jerry Springer! Belinda and Lilly could go at it, haha!

Oh, it’s so good to have you back. We know you’ve been busy, and will continue to be busy, so we appreciate any time you make it, and understand when you have to take time off from the panel. Thanks so much Dottie!

Ok, up next is the venerable Lewis Casey. Lewis, here’s the question to you:

Q. When should you bring inside the houseplants you put outside for the summer?

A. Summer is just barely past, the day of Labor is over, you know Fall is close, for the early morning requires a light blanket because of the chill of the air .
Autumn is the most absolute, definitely, with out a doubt,
positively, greatest, fantastic, beautifulest and finest time of year with a temperature worthy for king or a New Mexico resident. Other people in other places, can only wish that homes, towns, cities, universes were nearly half as excellent as here. So why would anyone in there right mind want to bring a plant inside now? Does any child ever want to get out of the pool, does the drunk say “Ok that’s enough would you throw a drowning person an anvil, would you feed a starving man a sand sandwich, if your car had square wheels how fast could you go in reverse. Now if you don’t have a clue about what in the hell I’m talking about, that makes two of us.

November 17, 2010 is the date that the first killing frost will happen, so bring in any plant you don’t want dying outside. It might be a little cool before that but not enough to endangered your precious.
Be thankful for all your blessings
(life, love laughter, sanity)

Uh-oh. Is this like that time you had the bamboo lobby in your pocket? Autumn in New Mexico has been lobbying you, right? Don’t get me wrong – I agree, this is the most beautiful time of the year in this state. But with that much enthusiasm, I wonder if you don’t have an ulterior motive.

Well, for now, just know I’ve got my eye on you, Lewis. Try anything shady, and I’ll be all over you. Got that? Good.

Haha, we tease on this site, we tease. Another great job this week, Lewis. Thanks for being here.

That does it for this week’s expert panel. The experts will return in exactly one week. Now, let’s get to last week’s plant puzzler.

Name that Plant Problem!

Last week, I asked what was wrong with this  plant:

And no, I didn’t give any clues because I know my readers are a bunch of smartyplants. Don’t take my word for it, read their answers:

Steph guessed, “Looks like it’s waiting by the door for someone to take it out for a walk. Where’s the natty light?”

See? Smartyplants. Steph, that is incorrect.

gray.com guessed, “Is it getting its light source from the white paint?”


mr_subjunctive guessed, “Inadequate light (probably), though that’s sort of unfair, since it’s not showing any effects yet, and then possibly also that it’s in a no-drain pot, though there’s not enough information in the picture to determine whether it’s in a no-drain pot so that’s sort of unfair too.”

Unfair? Aw. Too bad, so sad. Life’s not fair, get over it.

Christine guessed, “If plants could cringe, I bet your featured specimen is shaking in it’s pot. No light and getting smacked everytime someone opens the door. Or is it plastic and oblivious?”

Aha, what was that you said, Christine? About it getting smacked every time someone opens the door? Dingdingdingdingding! That’s exactly the answer for which I was looking. The problem with that plant isn’t light (it may want more, but it’s doing fine. The general rule of thumb is the darker the leaves, the less light a plant needs), it’s the location. That’s a crappy place to put a plant, because it gets hit by the door every time it’s opened. Plants get bruises, folks – they don’t like things banging into them. Who would?

Good job Christine! You were the first, but not the only one to get the correct answer. Let’s look at some other answers.

villager guessed, “It looks like it needs more light, unless it is a Chinese Evergreen (which doesn’t mind low light). It also resembles a Bird of Paradise, which does need a lot of light. It would probably appreciate a bigger pot with drainage and a saucer too. Howzabout some music too – it looks lonely there!”

I would accept lonely as a correct answer. The rest of the plants in this apartment are crowded around the windows. This little guy is all by his lonesome.

Martha guessed, “It looks a little lonely :( And if that’s its permanent spot, it’s certainly not receiving enough light. And I’m not sure if there’s another pot inside; if there isn’t then drainage is a problem, too. Being that close to doors opening and close would also create draft problems, not to mention bruising by the door and people traffic. But mostly, it’s lonely…”

I was positive you would get it, Martha. Good job!

Ginny Burton guessed, “There’s nothing wrong with the plant; it’s the owner that has the problem (for all of the above reasons).

My first reaction to the picture was that it reminded me of Anne Bancroft in “The Graduate” in the scene where she’s been out in the rain and she’s cowering in the corner of the hallway. Although the plant doesn’t look crazed, or anything.”

Haha, funny, Ginny!

Ivynettle guessed, “I don’t see anything wrong with the plant yet, but like some of the others, I at once thought, “looks like a dark spot, and a pot with no drainage hole… and people are bound to bump into it.”

You got it, Ivynettle, good job!

So lots of winners this week, congrats to everyone. There are no prizes or anything fancy like that, but you get bragging rights and my gratitude for playing.

Ok, thanks everyone for playing. Let’s get to this week’s puzzler.

Name that Plant Problem!

What’s wrong with this Pothos plant:

The leaf in the forefront is damaged – what happened to it? Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section. You have until next Thursday, September 16th at midnight MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote. Again, there are no prizes for playing. Just glory. That should be plenty good enough.

That does it for this Friday edition of Ask the Experts. Thanks for being here!