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Ya’ll know how much I love flowers. Here are my favorite flower photos – taken in and around my casa – in the month of September:

Thanks to our hostess Carol over at May Dreams Gardens for suggesting we post photos of what’s blooming on the 15th of each month.

Hope you have a great weekend, I’ll be back Monday.

Name: Euphorbia milii

Nickname: ‘Crown of Thorns’ plant

Additional nickname: Sweetie

Parent Plant: Elise

Date of birth: October 9, 2011 (see photo below)

Place of birth: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Date of first flowers/bracts: October 30, 2011 (see photo below)

Date added to my 2012 Houseplant Inventory: April 17, 2012.

Date of last flowers: Hasn’t stopped blooming yet.

Sweetie likes south-facing windows, candlelit patios, gummi bears and bike riding. She loves to read, she loves a good meal. She’d like to try a somersault one day. She’ll tell you she always wanted to live near the ocean but that the desert better suits her. She likes to pretend that she has waves of chocolate brown hair falling down around her shoulders, and wears big chunky necklaces.

There are three generations of Euphorbia miliis in the foyer, Sweetie’s the youngest. The oldest likes to brag about all the places she’s been – the table by the back door, in the car, that one apartment. Sweetie suspects she’s exaggerating but never mentions it. “An active imagination is the best remedy for idle roots,” Elise had once told her.

Sweetie wonders where she will go in her life. She hopes not too far from the foyer, the only home she’s ever known.

Hello noodles, and happy Thursday!

I have a mama Euphorbia milii, Ellie. Her street name is “Crown of Thorns.” She grows really fast, so I prune her back often, then use the cut pieces to start new plants.

One I recently started is already due for her first haircut. I named her Elise:

I should apologize now for the indoor shots. I like to take my houseplants outside to prune or repot them – it’s easier for me cleanup-wise, and it’s easier for you to see the plant. But the weather was frightful back when I really, really wanted to get her in shape. So one night, I pruned her inside and hoped for the best with the photos.

One thing you should know about Crown of Thorns plants is that they are poisonous. They have a milky sap in their stems that will really screw with your skin and eyes. Also, they have thorns. So it’s important to wear gloves when you handle a Crown of Thorns plant.

To prune a Crown of Thorns, pick a spot just above a branch, right where my finger is. Pruning above a branch applies to pretty much all plants. Imagine if I made the cut an inch or two above where my finger is – the plant would have a long brown stem sticking out, which is aesthetically undesirable, but also serves no point (you want the stem on the cutting – not the mother plant).

Here’s that milky sap I was talking about:

It will also stain your clothes, so beware.

I made a few cuts to trim her back, then set the cuttings aside for a few days:

The sappy ends need a couple of days to scar over. Afer 3-4 days, the stems can go directly into potting soil. No rooting, no muss, no fuss.¹

Here’s Elise in her home with Danny the Dieffenbachia (to her right) and a Janet Craig I call Gilly. She’s been in the plant hospital a few months and started sprouting all sorts of new growth, so I brought her into the foyer where she could get more light.

Fast forward three days later, the weather was better and I was ready to plant the babies:

When I pruned Elise, I barely touched the cuttings – basically caught them in my hand and set them aside. For the planting, I’ll need to handle them more, so I broke out the big guns – my old firefighter gloves a friend gave me:

I love these gloves! Impenetrable!

Ta-daaaah! Two new plants! For free! What do you think I should name them? Wait – what if I decide I want to use them as gifts? Then it’s better not to name them, right?

Despite the poison part and you know, the thorns and all, Crown of Thorns make great houseplants. They grow profusely, they bloom profusely – they’re just adorable.


¹ There are lots of houseplants whose cuttings don’t need to root before you plant them. Some require a couple of days to scar over, like Jade plants and other succulents. Some, like certain Dracaenas, don’t even need to scar – you can make the cut, and stick the stem right into the dirt and it’ll grow. I’ll do a post one day about my favorites.

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.

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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.