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My Mimosa pudica houseplant, Miss Mimosa, is growing again. That’s good news temporarily.

Temporarily because I’m fast approaching a decision-making time.

I read somewhere that Mimosa pudicas only last about a year as houseplants. At the time, I scoffed at that notion. But now I understand the sentiment better.

See, when she was little, she was so cute. She sat on my kitchen windowsill and I played with her leaves all the time. She grew like crazy, I was always cutting her back. (By the way, that grow-like-crazy tendency is what makes Mimosas invasive outdoors – left unchecked, they can spread rapidly. That’s not really an issue indoors.)

After awhile though, she outgrew the kitchen windowsill.

Moving her to the foyer was the first step in her decline.

And it’s my fault. I didn’t water her as much, I didn’t tickle her leaves just to watch them move, and she didn’t get as much sunshine as she used to.

Heck, now I can barely even see her anymore:

She’s back in that corner with the trellis.

Ever since she’s been in the foyer, she’s been unhappy. She’s lost dozens of leaves, and the ones that remain don’t move to my touch the handful of times I tried.

And I found myself caring less and less. I know, I’m a rotten plant person. But it’s true – I’ve been wanting to chuck her in the trash can. Maybe start over with some babies.

When you’ve worked with as many plants as I have, you come to accept the fact that you have to kill some plants. Usually it’s for a pest problem or for ugliness. In Miss Mimosa’s case, it would be for compassion. Put that girl out of her misery.

But how can I do that when she’s finally growing again? And moving her little leaves again?

What do you guys think? What would you do? Have you ever had to euthanize a houseplant?

Oh dear. Someone’s not happy.

She expresses her displeasure with yellow-tinged leaves:

And with stunted new growth:

Two classic symptoms of overwatering. (Most houseplants express overwatering those ways. Baby leaves should be perfect, if they are flawed, it’s most often due to overwatering.)

After she got too big for my kitchen windowsill, I moved Miss Mimosa to the foyer. Thus began her downfall. She no longer got a shower in the kitchen sink once a week. It seemed to me like she was always thirsty, right up until the moment she wasn’t anymore.

I’ve learned that Miss Mimosa shows signs of distress pretty quickly, within a day or two of the problem. Which is great so long as I’m actually paying attention.

Rather than have hundreds of leaflets drop to the floor (once leaves are damaged, they don’t go back to green), I recently took her to the sink for a haircut. She looks pretty scrawny, but hopefully she’ll bounce back soon:

She’s called Sensitive Plant for a reason.

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

Hello Rolos, and happy Wednesday!

You know, I’ve heard that “You can roll a Rolo to your friend,” but don’t expect me to do that. I want to eat every last one. Mmmm, chocolately caramelly goodness!

One thing about me, I am easily sidetracked. I see something delicious, or shiny, and I’m off. Candy, gadgets…hey, look:

Miss Mimosa, my Mimosa pudica houseplant, not only knows my weakness, she exploits it.

You see, for months now, she’s been the busiest houseplant I’ve ever seen. She’s constantly sprouting out new leaves and new flowers. I know I’m supposed to pinch back her new leaves so she stays bushy, but I get distracted from that task by her adorable pink flowers:

So she grew and she grew and before I knew it, she reached the ceiling. She knew I wouldn’t prune her as long as she was sprouting new flower buds.

But finally, there was no putting it off anymore – she needed a pruning.

I’ve never grown a Mimosa before, so I’ve never tried to root cuttings. I decided to try a very technical experiment – it was super scientific.

I started by creating three different potting media – water, vermiculite and a soil/sphagnum peat moss mix:

I prepared the media ahead of time because I didn’t want the cuttings to sit out any longer than necessary. She’s such a sensitive plant, I knew the cuttings would start to wilt the moment they were cut.

I chose a cool day because the hot sun would’ve further stressed out the plant. As it turned out, I had to hurry before a storm blew in:

You can see that her vines have gotten out of control. And that she’s still blooming. And that she wants nothing to do with the pole I gave her to climb:

It pained me to have to cut those buds, but she left me no choice.

In the hours after the cuttings were placed in the potting media, “water” had a clear lead:

Sadly, by the next day, they were all dead:

Wanh, wanh, wanh. So much for that experiment.

If you’d like to see a video I shot of some Mimosa pudica babies, please click here.

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Except for Fridays, for the next two weeks, I’ll be posting a photo a day so you don’t feel completely gypped coming to my site while I’m on vacation, which starts right now. On Fridays, I’ll have an answer to last week’s plant puzzler as well as a brand new one. You still have time to submit a guess, by leaving a comment, the deadline is midnight MST on Thursday (that’s 2am EST). Remember, the prizes are imaginary but the glory of winning is oh-so-real!

Hi cheesecakes, and Happy Tuesday!

I’m doing a houseplant inventory for 2011 this week. Don’t worry – I don’t have hundreds, just a few – I don’t know how many, yet, because I’m counting them along with you, haha!

Most of my regular readers will recognize this gang, but if you’re new, let me introduce you:

This is the South Side Gang. From left to right, that’s Sam, Goodness (Rosa the Jade’s son), Gracious (also Rosa’s son), Miss Mimosa, and Great Balls of Fire (also Rosa’s son, she had triplets last year).

Say hello to Sam (Aloe vera), who sits faithfully up high, towering over the young ones:

Folklore says that having an Aloe in your kitchen will protect your home from fire. I don’t mind giving Sam a shoutout from time to time, but not for that. It’s my good safety sense that keeps my house from burning down. Folklore’s quaint and all, but it shouldn’t be trusted.

For his part, Sam doesn’t claim to have any special powers. But he actually wanted to become a firefighter a few years ago. They turned him down. You know, because he’s a plant and lives in a pot. He was crushed, but understood. He told me later that he knew he was rootbound, but he still felt compelled to try. I like to tell him, “Never give up, Sam, aim high.” An Aloe plant trying to become a firefighter is aiming really, really high, right? I think it’s cute that he just wants to help people.

I’ve introduced Miss Mimosa (Mimosa pudica) several times on this site, usually as her biggest cheerleader. Here she is again:

She’s sweet, I’ll give her that. Miss Mimosa is a native to New Mexico. Until this past September, she lived in Albuquerque’s south valley in a cozy greenhouse.

She’s definitely high-maintenance, which is why she gets a kitchen windowsill seat (it’s also because it’s the warmest sill – she likes it hot). I’m at that sink all the time, so I check in on her often. The tag says to keep her evenly moist, but she and I are apparently in disagreement about what that means. She started out with six leaves but lost three of them because I gave her too much water, or too little – I’m still trying to figure her out – a few times. She also lost her pending buds (sad face) during the last few weeks, at the time the third leaf turned yellow. C’est la vie.

Luckily, she puts out new leaves all the time. She’s got nine now, with three more pending.

Then we have Rosa’s triplets. Rosa (Crassula argentea) lives across town, on the east side, so I’ve been feeling pretty protective of Goodness, Gracious and Great Balls of Fire (not pictured below):

I don’t want them to get sunburned in their sunny home, so I find myself adjusting the blinds pretty often, to control their light levels. The southwest winter sun can be brutal on the little guys.

Super fascinating, I know.

They’re a pampered gang, for sure. I’ll be back manana with more plant inventory and back stories, this time the foyer represents. Hope to see you back here.

Current houseplant count: 10.

I don’t know why I find it endlessly entertaining that Miss Mimosa folds her leaves every night, but I do. Haha, she’s sleeping:

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.

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