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Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Peach the Norfolk Island Pine

Peach, a Norfolk Island Pine, enjoys living in the desert, as improbable as that may seem. She also likes accessorizing, cleaning the air, knitting, R&B music, late afternoon rain storms, the Diane Rehm show, watching college basketball, reading mysteries, cooking with veggies from the garden, goofin’ off and telling jokes, painting, playing on tire swings, sailing on the deep blue ocean, learning new languages, hosting dinner parties, watching movies, entertaining her friends, being loving, and starting each day anew. She told me she’s thankful for one more day on this big beautiful planet.

I’m right there with her!


She’s all gussied up for Christmas:

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.

Hi nachos and happy Monday!

I have a Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylia) named Peach. I repotted her back in December 2009. Here’s what she looked like just after I put her in her new pot:

Not the greatest photo ever. Suffice to say she handled the move with aplomb. Here’s what she looks like now:

She’s in a west-facing window and seems to really love that late afternoon sun.

I wrote about Peach back in December, when I repotted her. Here’s what I said about care instructions:

“Sunlight: They want bright light. If you can put them in a sunny window, they will love you. Also, rotate the pot so the tree gets light on all sides. They will survive if you don’t have a lot of sunlight in your home. And actually, there are some benefits to keeping a Norfolk in the shade – the needles will become a very attractive dark green, and the needles will curl out at the tips, creating an elegant look. Those benefits aside, they prefer light.

Water: They like healthy amounts of water. Remember, this is a tree indoors – it’s going to drink more water than your average houseplant. Keep the soil moist through the spring and summer, scale back during the fall, water sparingly during the winter.

Humidity: They’re used to growing in tropical locations, so they like humidity. Mist the needles regularly (which also serves to keep the plant dust-free).

Repotting: Norfolks are sensitive, so repot with care. They can go years in between transplants. You’ll know your pine is ready for a bigger pot when you can see roots coming through the bottom of the container.

Other Norfolk tips: If your pine is leaning, chances are it has a weak root system. You can strengthen it by staking it and watering carefully. Generally, weak roots indicate too much water.”

I stand by those. I would add that with Peach being so little, I can take her to the kitchen sink to water her, and clean her needles at the same time. All summer, I’ve been getting her soaking wet, then leaving her alone for two weeks, then soaking her, then leaving her alone for two weeks. Now that it’s fall, I’ve stopped that cycle and have begun watering her where she sits instead of carrying her to the kitchen. I basically just have been splashing her around the base of the stem. I’ll do that until next spring. Norfolks like to slow waaaaay down in the winter. Which is why they don’t really mind when you decorate them – they’re chill like that.


This plant update is brought to you by F.O.L.P. (Friends of Liza’s Plants), a non-profit lobbying group formed by Liza’s plants for the express purpose of promoting, showcasing and cheering on Liza’s plants.

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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.