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Hello green apples, and happy Tuesday!

I’ve been thinking about my houseplants a lot lately. Yesterday, mr_subjunctive over at Plants Are the Strangest People celebrated his 3rd blogiversary of writing about houseplants. I celebrated my first year last week.

mr_s wondered why so many people started houseplant blogs in October. Even before he posed the question, I was thinking about it. Over the course of the last year, I’ve veered away from the houseplants toward the gardens outside. Not forgetting the houseplants, but just focusing on the outdoor plants. Now that the weather is cooling off, I’ve been spending more time reconnecting with the indoor plants.

I thought it was high time I started featuring them again on this site. Afterall, it’s the indoor houseplants that led me to blogging in the first place – they can’t fend for themselves, so if you bring a plant into the house, you have to take care of it. I wanted to teach people how to do a better job of that.

Do you remember back in May when I featured my kitchen windowsill plants? I spend a LOT of time in my kitchen, so I wrote about my windowsill plants that are above the sink. I love them. I admire them as I’m cooking, cleaning, snacking, whatever.

Since they’re the most adored, I thought it was only fair to start with them.

This kitchen windowsill looks a lot different from the one back in May. Back then, I used the space to start a bunch of herbs. Those went outdoors to live, and these new plants took ownership of the sill.

Sam the Aloe plant on the left has been there for a long time. Folklore says an Aloe in your kitchen will help protect your home from fire. Since I haven’t had any housefires, I’m crediting my good safety sense and Sam’s presence.

All three of the little Jades were started when I pruned Rosa the Jade. I haven’t named any of them. Suggestions? I’m considering naming them “Goodness,” “Gracious,” and “Great Balls of Fire,” but that’s only because Dad gave some baby owls those names when I was a kid, and for whatever reason, I’ve been having lots of owl conversations lately. But, I digress.

Miss Mimosa, the Sensitive plant, has totally stolen my heart. You may remember that I got her from Kathi, who owns Rio Valley Greenhouses, when I was at the farmers’ market a few weeks ago. I featured her nursery as one of my favorites before I realized it was the same nursery that sold plants at the market every week. She told me to keep the plant somewhere warm, and my south facing kitchen window is perrrrrrfect for her. She’s already unfurled two new leaves. Kathi told me to pinch them back so she grows bushy, but I let those two grow because they were so cute! She immediately started to put out two more, so I cut those back. I can’t wait to watch her grow.

Sensitive plants are great because they move – if you touch their leaves, they immediately fold up and close (which, was funny when I snipped the new leaves – she folded up and pouted and I had to explain that it was for her own good). I started this site to teach people that plants are living, breathing creatures that depend on human care, so she is my perfect ambassador.

With a little luck, I’ll be able to get some of her sisters (or offspring) and take them to schools around Albuquerque so the kids can see the plants move. Once they can see that plants are alive, it won’t be too hard for them to imagine that plants might also have personalities, or wish that they could do cartwheels. If I were rootbound, I’d long to do somersaults. Anyway, as long as the kids get it, I’m happy.

I’ll be showing off Candy the Lime tree, Nel the Spider plant, Nebraska the Wandering Jew, Peach the Norfolk Island Pine, Easter the Christmas Cactus and all the others in the coming weeks. Woohoo, good times!

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.

Yeah, I know – it’s not even Halloween and I’m talking Christmas. To be fair, I have a good reason:

My Schlumbergera truncata is budding up. Her name is Easter the Christmas Cactus, which is confusing, but that’s ok, it makes me giggle.

I actually have two Schlums, they sit side-by-side, but only one of them is gearing up to flower. At some point, I’m going to do a post about the tale of these two Schlums – because one is decidedly more red and budding, but they both get the same amount of light and water. I’ve been doing some research on the redness (mostly on mr_s’s site, Plants Are the Strangest People) and there are reasons why one would be red and the other a lush green, one budding the other not.

BUT. I just started the research and there’s still so much more to understand before I can formulate an answer on why these two sisters are so different.

No matter what, though, I’m still going to love them the same.

Hello coffee beans, and happy Thursday!

One of the main questions I get from people about plants is “how much water should I give my plant?” Since the number one cause of death for indoor houseplants is over-watering, I thought it was important that I address this issue.

Determining how much water you give your plants doesn’t have to be tricky. In fact, it’s as easy as 1-2-3.

Liza’s Super Easy Houseplant Watering Guide

I’ve never been accused of being “math girl,” but proper houseplant watering is all about numbers. Specifically, counting. As you water your plant, count one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand.

How long you count/water depends on the size of the container and to a lesser degree, what type of plant it is. Certain plants, like the Dracaena family (Corn plants, Janet Craigs, Warnekiis) like their soil on the moist side but not drenched – those are the kind you can just splash once a week and they’re happy. Besides them, the type of plant is less important to determining the amount of water because plants are amazingly resilient. I’ve seen Bougainvilleas adapt to having too little water, I’ve seen Pothos adapt to continually having too much.

That said, the plants would LOVE you even more if you gave them consistent water. You do that three ways.

1. Pick one day a week to be your “plant day,” the day you check on your plants. On that day, the first thing you do is stick your finger in the dirt. If it’s really wet, don’t give it anymore until the following week.

2. Measure the diameter of the container.

3. Count. One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. The counts will vary depending on the time of year. Winter is when you water the least, summer is when you water the most.

Here’s how you know how long to water:

6″ container – 2-3 one-thousand.

10″ container – 3-4 one thousand.

12″, 14″ container – 4-6 one-thousand.

16″, 18″ container (which is huge for the house) – 7-8 one-thousand.

Always top out at eight one-thousand, an enormous amount of water for an indoor houseplant.

If the container is smaller than a six inch, then you have a couple options. One is to splash it three days a week. Another is to give it a one one-thousand twice a week.

I thought it would be fun to show you some of my own houseplants and give you their water counts.

Here’s Samantha the Ficus tree. She’s a big girl! Surprisingly, she doesn’t like a lot of water. Even though she is in a 14-inch pot,  her count is between two and three one-thousand once a week. Now that it’s Spring, I’ve been giving her a smidgeon more each week, in Summer, she may get up to four, but that’s iffy. I’d be more comfortable at a solid three one-thousand.

Peach the Norfolk Island Pine has been on a one one-thousand in the weeks following her transplant – I saw how small and delicate her roots were, so I just water around the base of the plant. As she grows and Spring blossoms into Summer, I’ll up her to a solid two one-thousand. She’s still a baby – she doesn’t need much. She’s in a 12-inch pot which is a little big for her right now, but I don’t want to have to repot her for years – Norfolks don’t like being repotted.

That’s Candy the Lime tree, Rosa the Jade, and Easter the Christmas cactus. Candy’s in a 10-inch pot, and Citrus trees like water, so during Summer, she’ll get a four one-thousand count. She’s been getting a three one-thousand count during Winter and her blooming season.

Rosa the Jade gets a one one-thousand in these early days of Spring. By Summer she’ll be a two.

Easter the Christmas cactus drinks a lot more than you’d expect – she’s at a three one-thousand count right now, up from between one and two in Winter.

The counts vary – Easter isn’t a two one-thousand from week to week. As I stick my finger in the soil to see how wet she is, then I decide how much she gets. If she’s still a little moist but nearly dry, I’ll do a one one-thousand. If she’s really dry the next week, I’ll give her a two count.

As you get to know your houseplants, you’ll know the right number for them.

Water’s important. I heard a doctor on the radio recently say he thought if humans doubled the amount of water they drink – the recommended 6-8 glasses a day – if you double that, he believes you can eliminate all disease. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know from living in the desert that if you feel run down, it’s probably because you don’t drink enough water.

Remember houseplants can’t water themselves. It’s up to you to determine the amount of water they need from week to week. I hope this guide helps!

I’ll be back tomorrow with a brand new edition of Ask the Experts. If you have not yet made your guess at last week’s plant puzzler, you still have time. Until then, happy indoor gardening everyone!

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About Me

Hi! My name is Liza. Welcome to my blog and thanks for visiting! I'm a Midwestern gal now living in Arizona, after many years of living in and owning a plant care business in New Mexico.

Plants are living, breathing creatures, and if they're indoor plants, they are 100% dependent on human care. They cannot water themselves.

I can beautify your home, office, or patio with plants and flowers. I have 13 years of experience growing plants, and friendships.

Please let me know if you have questions or if you would like help with your plants or garden. You can reach me at lizatheplantlady (at) gmail (dot) com or follow me on Twitter, Lizawheeler7.

All photos are mine unless otherwise noted. All content is also entirely my hard work. If you'd like to use any content or photos, all you have to do is ask. If you take without asking, you are a thief. And thieves suck. So don't suck. We have a deal? Good.

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