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Good To Grow, Liza's photos, The Plant Lady Chronicles

Welcome to my world. Where Christmas apparently never ends. Sigh.

Hello dollfaces, happy Wednesday!

We’re going the whole festive route again today, with a little tour of Horse and Angel Tavern (Juan Tabo at Eubank, Albuquerque’s NE Heights).

Ready? Ok!

Not so festive:


Not so festive:


If you’re wondering why all the Poinsettias are up high, it’s so they won’t be bumped, broken, stolen, knocked over or otherwise messed with by people with a little booze in their system.

When you work with plants in public places (especially bars and taverns), like we do at Good To Grow, you learn that it’s better to prepare for the worst rather than hope for the best. Preventative thinking protects the plants.

The tavern looks nice, eh?


I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here. Also, on Friday my Experts are back with an all-new panel. I’m going to ask the Experts about winter projects they are planning or would like to do. It promises to be good times!

Hi kumquats, and happy Tuesday!

Happyish anyway.

You see, there’s something lurking.

Something that refuses to go away.

You may want to shield your eyes.

Protect the kids.

Try not to scream if you’re at work.

Prepare to be shocked.



Ok, taps foot impatiently.

Ready now?

Ok, good.

This is it, your last chance to look away. Here it is:

Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh! The horrors! The horrors!

The dreaded Poinsettia that would not die. The reminder of all that’s wrong in the commercialized holiday industry. The bane of my existence from November through the beginning of January.

It’s February and it’s still alive!! ALIVE!

Hi brownies, and happy Tuesday!

My good friend Steph in Indianapolis asked me for tips on caring for Poinsettias. Instead I ranted against the poor plants. Sorry, girl!

You’ve probably already figured out what your plants need, since they’ve been living with you for a few weeks. But just in case, I took this photo to show you what happens when a Poinsettia gets too much water:

See how the edges and tips have turned dark purple? That’s classic overwatering. If the Poinsettia was thirsty, the leaves would become crunchy.

Leaves will also curl and become crunchy if the plants are either too wet or too dry. The best way to tell what your Poinsettia needs is the same way you tell what any houseplant needs – you stick your finger in the dirt. If it’s wet, don’t water it. If it’s dry, do.

Hope that helps, Steph!

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

Hi kittens, welcome back to the Good To Grow site.

A couple of my regular readers like to comment on how upbeat I am all the time. How grand life is! Aren’t we so lucky to live in America?

That’s an act, life is theater, this site is most certainly meant for entertainment. Of course I’m not upbeat all the time – I’m a human, with feelings and emotions. My family and friends know me, everyone else knows a slice of me.

There’s no such thing as being happy all the time – life is designed to be challenging so that we learn and grow, become better people.

A few weeks ago, a new client made a simple enough request. Can you get me some poinsettias to decorate the tavern? Sure, I said.

From where, I wondered. I’ve been getting Poinsettias for years from Corrales Road Greenhouses, but they’re closed now. I texted Tina (one of Expert panelists, she has a plant maintenance business like mine, Total Plant Management) and she suggested McLain Greenhouses in Estancia, New Mexico. I called, and a very weary sounding woman informed me they’d been sold out since July.

Of course they were. Because once everyone heard that Corrales Road Greenhouses were going out of business, back in June, they all called Maclean. Except for me because I’d successfully weaned my clients off Poinsettias.

So then I called my local wholesale flower shop (I’m not going to name their name, because I like them too much), and a few back and forth calls later, they scored plenty of plants for me. Yay! Poinsettias at the last minute, that’s great. I assumed they were getting them from McLain.

They arrived last week, and I guess I should’ve known by the tense atmosphere at the flower shop that something was up. One of the employees brought the first box up and went back for the second.

I looked at the box. They were from Florida. Florida? FLORIDA!

I brought the boxes home to inspect them – there were 9 poinsettias in each box, each in a protective paper sleeve. I pulled out the first one, took the sleeve off (carefully, I was going to reuse it) and inspected the plant.

It was soaking wet. Worse, there was what at first looked like spider mites, but on second look, was some weird fungus. Neither mites nor fungus are desirable in someone’s home or office. Not even in a tavern.

When I say it was soaking wet, I mean really, really soaked. And it came from Florida. By truck. What the hell?

I set the plant down, and got really, really sad.

Think about it from the plant’s perspective, but not the Florida Poinsettia. Let’s imagine a Poinsettia that Ann grew last year at Corrales Road Greenhouse. First, he was born. He had a comfortable little pot, he had even doses of food and water. And because Ann’s so kind, she played classical music for him.

Then he grew, just like he was supposed to, and it was great. He was there with his extended family, and life was fun, right? Who wouldn’t love hanging out with their family and listening to music? They’re plants, so they can’t dance to the music, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate it.

Then one day, he begins to bloom into beautiful, vibrant colors and he thinks, man, I have it made! Life is the best!

Shortly after that, Chris and Mike start picking up his cousins, slipping them carefully into paper sleeves and putting them in trucks, cars and vans. He didn’t know that his family was being broken up so they could be sold into service in people’s homes and offices around New Mexico.

When his time came, he tried to be brave as he was suddenly inside the paper bag. When someone started carrying him, he began panicking – he’d never moved in his whole life. And the noises – everything became very loud. He grew terrified for his life.

That’s what happens when living, breathing creatures are threatened – they get scared because they want to live and grow and be.

I knew a peacock once who taught me a lot. He always made a lot of noise, but one day he was screaming his lungs out. I went running to see what on earth was going on, I was worried something was hurting him. No, it was the UPS truck. It was really loud and he was terrified. He was screaming, “I don’t know what you are, but please don’t kill me!”

Plants can’t scream or bark but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel or experience. They are alive.

Anyway, let’s get back to our Florida Poinsettias.¹ They may have had a loving home-spun operation like Ann’s, but probably not. They would’ve been born like hers, but to a much, much more extended family. Like a corporate factory family where every sibling had a dollar sign branded into its cheap, crappy potting soil. I doubt there was classical music. I don’t doubt that everyone catered to the almighty dollar in the operation.

These 18 Poinsettias that I had in my kitchen, they were given a potentially lethal dose of water, yanked from their home, put on a truck and carted across the country. They were grown at sea level, Albuquerque is 5,000 feet above sea level. To say that they were stressed out was an understatement.

The growers may have meant well. Most people who have relationships with plants don’t mean to harm, but when money gets in the way, well, people will do what they can to feed their family. Or build a mansion.

I looked them and I thought, this is not where they thought they’d be.

It’s not what I wanted. I didn’t mean to have all that truck fuel burned on my account, just to keep a client happy. Had I known, I never would’ve placed that order.

I took each plant carefully out of its sleeve, sprayed it soil with Neem oil, gave it a saucer and a decorative container, then put it back in the sleeve and delivered them to the tavern. I kept one at home as a gauge.

When I saw the one at home had crashed on Day 2, I went to the tavern to check on the others. One was crashed, one was stolen. Not bad, I thought. But now I have two plants to replace (I wasn’t going to replace the one at my house – it would just be a sad reminder).

So I go back to my flower shop and I told one of the gals that two of my plants crashed, and I wanted to replace them, if she had any to spare. She offered me a credit on the third plant, and I was like, “You’d do that?”

That question opened the floodgates. She started talking about what a disaster it was, how they would never do that again, how they tried to order from McLain in the summer but they were already sold out and so they scrambled to find Poinsettias from anywhere and the only place that could guarantee them was in Florida. She was so bummed – all her customers were furious. She was giving credits left and right.

She had a small selection left that seemed to handle the trip ok, so she gave me two of those.

How come some plants managed the stress and others didn’t? I dunno. Maybe some have faith that everything’s going to be ok, and others worry themselves to death. Or maybe they didn’t want to live in those conditions.

The ones who remain are still getting fed, but on a slightly different schedule. No one is harming them, everything is fine.

They’re still going to die soon. For one, I urge employees to take them home and that’s a death sentence right there. If they don’t, they go in the trash. Sorry, I know that’s harsh, but these factory-born plants aren’t made to be good year-round houseplants. Everything is against them – they have poor soil, they need intensive care, they break easily because they were grown quickly and forced to bloom prematurely.

It’s shameful. This isn’t the America I know. I didn’t sign up to participate in these corporate schemes. People are greedy, and the plants are suffering, just like the cows in those horrible factory farms.

Poinsettias are supposed to be a symbol of the qualities of Christmas we collectively seemed to have forgotten – peace and goodwill on Earth.

Here’s what says about Poinsettias:

Mexican legend has it that the poinsettia originated in a miracle. Having nothing to offer Christ upon his birthday, a poor child gathered weeds into the form of a bouquet. Upon approaching the altar, the weeds transformed into brilliant red blooms. (Another version of this tale has the poor child’s sadness causing the colorful plant to spring from the ground at his feet.) Product of a miracle, the poinsettia’s colorful bracts became known as Flores de Noche Buena, Flowers of the Holy Night.”

So no, I’m not upbeat all the time. Sometimes I’m very, very sad at our current state of affairs. I get angry at our elected officials who instead of working for the American people, are acting like two-year-olds saying “no” to everything. I get upset when I think about our American military men and women out fighting for no good reason. I’m appalled by the numbers that are present in modern day – trillions? I can’t get my tiny brain around that much money. It’s absurd. And gross. I get annoyed at faceboookers who think that changing their profile picture does anything to stop violence against children – it does not. This list goes on for a mile. Do not get me started on those Westboro assholes.

But. Then I stop. When my blood starts boiling, I stop.

I think about my family. My friends. And I think about the trees and mountains. And I remember that there are lots of really kind people in this country.

And I think about the gal at my flower shop, who learned a lot of lessons really quickly and won’t make the same mistake again next year.

Now, who wants to buy me a greenhouse, fill it with equipment and let me hire a bunch of plant enthusiast friends of mine to run it? It’s a bargain basement price!


¹ mr_subjunctive at Plants Are the Strangest people has a lot to say about poinsettias. I urge you to click here and read what he has to say. His brain is much larger than mine.

Hi quesadillas, and happy Wednesday. Happyish, anyway. You see, I’ve been dealing with Poinsettias in my plant business. It’s the season. I’m not a fan of Poinsettias. They’re pretty and all, but they’re a pain in the ass. They drink a ton of water, they break easily, and the sap makes them messy and it’s toxic¹, blah, blah, blah. I’ve called them the Prom Queens of the plant world – they look great, but there’s lots of drama.

I’ve ranted about them before, in November of last year, when I visited Corrales Road Greenhouse, a Mom-n-Pop greenhouse. Sadly, they are out of business today, creating a huge gap in the local Poinsettia business.

What I really want to do is tell you the story of how I came upon the Poinsettias I did manage to get, where they came from and how disappointing the whole tale is. I will do that, but not today.

I’ve had my plant business for almost 10 years now, and I used to push my clients to buy Poinsettias. I used to sell hundreds of them every season. A lot of that was because Corrales Road Greenhouses grew gorgeous Poinsettias. They were vivid reds, crisp whites – they were beautiful, and they were suited for the desert Southwest.

I saw the writing on the wall, I really did. I had to start weaning my clients off Poinsettias. At first, I pushed Poinsettias hard knowing this greenhouse was going out of business, but then I pulled waaaay back, because they were going out of business. Are you with me?

My regular customers didn’t ask about Poinsettias this year, which was great.


A new client, the good guys over at Horse and Angel Tavern, asked for Poinsettias.


I did find some, and like I said, I’ll tell you that story tomorrow. Today, installing them at the bar.

The challenge with Poinsettias in a bar is that they have to be placed where buzzed people can’t walk off with them, or knock them over.

In other words, up high.

Or behind the bar.

I didn’t trust these Poinsettias, given where they came from, so I kept one at my house as a monitor. You can imagine my bummedness when I saw this on Day 2:

I raced to the tavern to check the Poinsettias there, expecting them all to be dead. Happily, only one was crashed. Shew!

Ok, I just realized this post is pretty boring, my bad! The story about how I got the Poinsettias is much better. I’ll be back manana to share it with you.


¹ Somewhat toxic anyway. You always hear these frightful newscasts around this time of year, warning you to not let your pets near your Poinsettia plants lest they eat them and die from the poison sap. Whatever. First of all, animals are smart enough to know what to eat and what not to eat. But let’s say your pet is challenged in the brain department. That pet would have to eat a roomful of Poinsettias to die – they’re a little poisonous, but not that much. The real concern with Poinsettias is that the sap will irritate your skin and stain your clothes.

Happy Thursday everyone, and Merry Christmas Eve. We have a special holiday edition of Ask the Experts. We hope you enjoy!

Nothing but the best graphics here! As the photo says, Ask the Experts is the best, smartest, funniest, and only plant blog panel of experts on the web. Except for today, when it’s the warmest and fuzziest plant blog panel of experts on the web.

I’m Liza, the moderator of the panel and the author of this blog. Welcome! Let’s meet the panel!

First up is my dear friend Tina Quintana!

Tina started her small plant business, Total Plant Management, the same time I did, many moons ago. If she gets sick or goes on vacation, I take care of her accounts, and she does the same for me. She’s such a sweetheart! Thanks for being here Tina!

Next up is my wonderful friend EZ Ed Johnson!

EZ is one of my homeboys from the sports department of the Albuquerque Journal, when I worked there many moons ago. He’s an accomplished and wonderful editor and writer, and his college basketball team sits at the top spot right now, so he’s very happy. He doesn’t know that much about houseplants, but he agreed to be on our panel anyway. Thanks EZ!

Next up is my lovely friend Dottie Correll!

Don’t let Dottie’s innocent looking sunflower head betray you – this one’s fiesty! During World War II, she learned how to weld. From 1963 on, she’s been a volunteer for the American Red Cross. And she’s got a slew of great kids spread around this country. She also loves dogs and houseplants. Glad you’re feeling better Dottie, thanks for being here!

Ok, next but in no way shape or form least, is the trustworthy and elegant Lewis Casey.

Lewis is the Director of Safety for the New Mexico Department of Health, as well as a Disaster Action Team Captain (a volunteer position) for the Mid-Rio Grande chapter of the American Red Cross. He’s got a taste for words, safety on his mind, and houseplants at his fingertips. Welcome back, Lewis, and thanks for being here!

Ok, this is the Christmas Eve edition of Ask the Experts. We hope everyone at home is staying warm and cozy!

Now usually, I ask the panel a question concerning houseplants, like “how much sunlight does an Aloe plant need?” They each answer in their unique way. Today, I’ve decided to ask each of our experts to tell us about one of their family’s holiday traditions.

So settle in, have some tea and sugar cookies, and enjoy as we play the special holiday edition of Ask the Experts.

Tina grew up in Santa Fe. Here’s her story!

“Back in the day we used to put up a tree. My mom would always pull it out of the big box. We  would then separate all the pieces according to size and put the main trunk together. It was the most beautiful tree. It shined and shimmered! It was all we had for many years. I will never forget that aluminum foil looking tree. My mom is the best, she did all she could for us. May you all cherish the true meaning of Christmas.”

Nice, Tina, thanks for sharing! It’s a good reminder that even in lean times, love grows.

EZ Ed Johnson, what’s your Christmas tradition?

“When I was a boy growing up in the Jemez, I lived across an arroyo from my grandpa’s house. From my bedroom I could see his huge outdoor Christmas tree that he would decorate with lights of all colors. Following midnight mass and a bowl of posole, I would sit at the edge of my bed, staring at the stars above the star he had somehow put on that tree. I had in my mind that the tree was what Santa used to find us, and I thought if I could stay awake, I would catch a glimpse of his red sleigh and reindeer flying over the tree towards our adobe home. I never lasted long, succumbing to the winter night’s sleep of a child. But come morning, I figured there would be another year, another chance to see what I had missed while I slept.

The tree no longer stands, and I no longer sleep as soundly.

But there is comfort in the thought of possibilities and old Christmas nights.”

Aaawwww, nice story EZ. For those of you unfamiliar, Jemez is a mountain chain in New Mexico , and home to small villages like Jemez Springs and La Cueva – red mountains, they’re beautiful! And an arroyo, well, if you don’t know what that is, you should look it up lazy, but it’s a water ditch. If you don’t know what posole is, I’m not talking to you.

Dottie, tell us one of your Christmas stories!

“Christmas Eve always began with trimming the tree. My grandfather and I would have picked out the live tree days before. My grandfather would place the lights on the tree. My grandmother, mother and I would complete the trimming. I would contribute paper rings and strung popcorn. My mother and grandmother had ornaments collected over the years. As each ornament was placed on the tree, stories were told of the ornaments and past legendary Christmases. Following the trimming of the tree, we all attended the midnight service at church. Glorious music filled the air as the choir voices soared with wonderous, celebratory “Hallejuliahs.” On the short walk home, the air was crisp and filled with magic!  –Even now, I can close my eyes and feel the snow falling softly on my cheeks. Once home, cocoa and cookies were in order, and I was allowed to open a single gift.  The traditional cookies and milk were left for Santa. The reindeer were not to be forgotten and little tidbits were provided for them. Then it was quickly off to bed, with my Grandfather at my side,  reading the traditional “Christmas Story” and cautioning me to quickly close my eyes, lest Santa decide to skip our home!  Truly magical memories!

The greatest Christmas treasure is being with the people you love and are dear to you.!!!  (My Grandfather was my hero and dearest person of all.  He was a great substitute father as my father died when I was 6 months old.)”

Great traditions, Dottie, thanks for sharing. When we were kids, we were allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve, too, and we put an enormous amount of energy into trying not to pick a sucky one (socks, underwear, belt accessories). Good memories!

Ok Lewis, I know you have a great tradition in your family. Let’s hear it!

“At my Grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve, we would all gather together after going to Midnight Mass. Before any treats were given out, all the kids had to kiss the baby Jesus from from his manger scene. A quick peck and we were rewarded with hot canilla (cinnamon) tea, candies, cookie, fruit and steaming hot tamales right off the broiler so fresh they would melt in your mouth and the aroma was to live for. There would also be homemade mole rojo con pollo that was my grandmother’s secret recipe. A gift of the gods and fit for a king, in fact in ancient Mayan time it was a dish only made for the gods and the kings and hers was just that. She only made it for Thanksgiving and Christmas and it was a treat looked forward to throughout the year. When you lathered it on to her tamales, you thought you had died and gone to heaven it was so, so good. The flavor and taste was savored in every bite, a touch of sweet chocolate, the robust chile rojo, a hint of peanut blended into a smooth savory sauce that brought forth the best of itself and everything else it graced. Mole is a stately mix of dark chocolate (coco bean), red chile and peanuts and made by the hands of a master or a dear hearted grandmother. It is a treasure for the palate. I have tried to create mole from scratch and you can find Mole in the jar from the stores and I have made a passable dish of it, but it lacks the years, the knowledge and the love to create a dish as fine as mi abuelita’s. Even so, I struggle working on the dish of gods and kings in hopes that I too can achieve the status of one remembered in legends and cherished memories. “Why his mole was so good, kings would have paid a ransom for it”.
Blessings to those who stand in harm’s ways.
Joy and Peace to all”

Mmmmm…mole. When you get that recipe just right, you better share Lewis! I’m not a king or a god, but because I love me some mole, I feel deserving!

I come from a big family (there were five of us kids), so I have lots of traditions I love. I really enjoyed our stockings (my sister did, too, you can see them here – Charlotte’s Fancy). I loved how Mom and Dad had to regulate us – we couldn’t go downstairs until everyone was ready, we could race through our stockings as fast as we wanted, but we couldn’t open presents until after breakfast – it would’ve been madness otherwise!

And the cereals – we had to eat Cheerio’s or Rice Krispies all through the year, but on Christmas day we could choose whatever we wanted. Captain Crunch, Fruit Loops, Honeycomb. Why we added King Vitamin to that list I will never understand – the stuff tasted like cardboard. Plus, it was called King Vitamin. Hey, I never claimed to be from a bright family!

I hope you spend this Christmas Eve thinking about your family and the good times you shared eating wonderful food and celebrating the spirit of the season. Thanks to everyone on the panel for being here, and Merry Christmas to you all.

Now it’s time to reveal the answer to last week’s plant puzzler, Name That Plant Problem!

I showed you photos of two Poinsettias, Polly and Penn. Each had something wrong, and I asked you to guess what that was. mr_subjunctive rightfully pointed out that Poinsettias are inherently unhappy, and as much as I agree, that was not a winning answer. Here are the photos again.

That’s Polly.

And this is Penn the Poinsettia.

No one guessed the correct answer entirely. Mom guessed what was wrong with Polly correctly – she said she was thirsty. She was right! Good job Mom! See how her leaves are curled up and turning crunchy? She was bone dry when I found her.

And Penn, well he was drenched. See the purple tips on his leaves? When Poinsettia leaves get purple tints on the edges of their leaves, that’s too much water.

It was a bit of a trick question, because you can’t always tell by a glance what’s wrong with a plant. Polly looked thirsty, but what if the person who bought these Poinsettias actually noticed and watered her right before I got there? It’s super important to always stick your finger in the dirt before you water! I know, I know, your fingers will get dirty. Big whoop.

Much to my surprise, both of these plants survived! Polly lost a lot of leaves (they’re not my plants, but I gave them a bunch of vitamins after I found them last week) and Penn had a ton of purple tipped leaves, but they are ok. They just have to last a week and I’ll throw them away! Hahaha, I really dislike Poinsettias.

Ok, now for a new puzzler!

Name That Plant Problem!

You’re really going to have to use your imagination on this one folks. What’s wrong with this plant?

I’ll give you two hints: One, there are multiple correct answers. Two, the answer I really want is directly related to the fact that it’s Christmastime. Here’s a closer look:

This is a Pothos that is in the kitchen of a mortgage company here in Albuquerque. Something is wrong with it. If you think you know, leave your guess in the comments section. There are no prizes for winning, but there’s glory and my gratitude for playing.

I’ll reveal the answer in next week’s edition of Ask the Experts, which will appear on Thursday, New Year’s Eve. Until then, happy indoor gardening, all, and Merry Christmas!

Welcome back everyone, and happy Friday. We love Fridays around here, because it’s when we break out our special Ask the Experts edition of the Good to Grow plant blog. It’s always a good time!

Hey, if you love houseplants, or if you have a black thumb you’re trying to turn green, this is the place for you. I’m not guaranteeing you’ll learn much on Fridays, but I’ll bet we can make you smile. Check back often, we’re always having fun on this blog. Thanks for being here!

This is the best and only plant blog panel of experts on the web. I’m terribly proud!

Let’s meet the experts!

Up first is my great friend Tina Quintana. Tina and I both started our small plant businesses here in Albuquerque shortly after Conroy’s went belly up, and have been trading information, help and friendship ever since. She’s the one I call when I have questions about houseplants, plus she knows everything about outdoor plants, too (not my forte). Her business is Total Plant Management. Thanks for being here, Tina!

My next expert is “EZ” Ed Johnson. EZ and I have been friends since our days working together in the sports department of the local paper. He’s still a sportswriter and editor, and so much more, including screenwriter, author and dreamer. He doesn’t really know that much about houseplants but he agreed to be on the panel anyway. Thanks EZ!

Another expert is my dear, dear friend Dottie Correll. Dottie and I used to work together in the office of the Mid-Rio Grande chapter of the American Red Cross. She always had me in stitches. Now 83, Dottie has volunteered for the Red Cross since 1963. She should be declared a National Treasure! Plus, doesn’t she look adorable with her sunflower head? I love her!

Our last but in no way least expert is Lewis Casey. Lewis is a Disaster Action Team Captain for the local Red Cross (meaning, if your house burns down in the middle of the night, he shows up to take care of you) as well as the Director of Safety for the New Mexico Department of Health. He also has a long and storied history with plants, farming, greenhouses and breakfast rice.

I’m Liza, the moderator of the Ask the Experts panel and author of this blog. I’m honored and touched by all my panel members. Thank you guys!

Let’s get to this week’s question. Because this blog is still wildly obscure, no one has submitted a question. That’s ok, because I love setting up our experts. Still, if you have real questions, it’d be super if you submitted them either to my email ( or in the comments section.

This week’s question is, “What do I do with my Christmas cactus after it blooms?” Yes, yet another holiday related post. Who’s ready for 2010? Haha, just kidding, live each moment, friends.

This is Easter, my Christmas cactus. She sure is festive, isn’t she? Unfortunately she’s on her own schedule, so she started blooming at Halloween and was done by the beginning of December. Go figure.

Ok, Tina, here’s your question!

Q. What do I do with my Christmas cactus after it blooms?

A. The Christmas cactus will need a 30 day resting period after it blooms. Once again, put it in a cool room and apply less water. It may lose a few branches or leaves – this is normal. This is not, however, the time to prune. Bring it out in the spring to encourage new growth. Should you find the right spot for your Christmas cactus, it should bloom for you several times of the year. Good Luck!

Dingdingdingdingding! Sounds totally accurate, Tina. Good job!

Ok, EZ, it’s your question now!

Q. What do I do with my Christmas cactus after it blooms?

A. Teach it to rebound?

Oooh, sorry, Ed, that was so close. You’d think that since I’m making up the questions, I could throw you a sports question, but c’est la vie. Maybe next week! Thanks for playing, though!

Ok, Dottie, it’s all you!

Q. What do I do with my Christmas cactus after it blooms?

A. Well, feed it vitamins and try and make it bloom again, of course!

[Insert buzzer sound] Ooh, Dottie, I am sorry, that is incorrect. A rare miss for Dottie. It takes a little more effort than cheerleading from the sidelines to make a houseplant bloom (and yes, that’s a metaphor for life, folks).

Hopefully Dottie will be feeling better next week, let’s all wish her well!

Ok, the venerable Lewis Casey. The question goes to you now!

Q. What do I do with my Christmas cactus after it blooms?

A. A cactus called Christmas blooms when days are short and darkness long

As people wait for when the Star is bright

A pretty bloom brings a pleasure to the heart

For efforts bring forth beauty in a blossom


To make plants or people bloom

Start with an appreciation of nature,

A since of wonder, a quest for adventure,

A sense of common


Three helpings of hugs, five cups of guidance.

two pats of self-respect, four measures of kindness,

six parts humbleness,

a pinch of pride,

a parcel of smiles, a handful of humor


a barrel of laughs.

Mix well with earth, wind, water and fire,

place in a safe location that is overflowing with

Tender Loving Care.

Bringing forth

the bloom of happy and health plants or people


Many parts make the whole

House safe built on


That’s what I’m talking about! Dingdingdingdingding! Excellent work, Lewis.

Wow, what a panel! Let’s give them a hand for their time and effort. [Insert round of applause.] Thanks experts, and thanks to you if you’re still reading after all this silliness.

Ok, after a resounding win by Martha at Water Roots last week, we have another puzzler for you.

Name that Plant Problem!

Ok, none of these puzzlers have been very fair (um, impossibly hard would be more accurate), so hopefully this week I can cut you a break.

I have photos of two Poinsettias. Each has something different wrong with it. Can you tell with a glance what’s wrong with each?

I really dislike Poinsettias unless I’m the one taking care of them, and even then, not so much.

The one on top, we’ll call Polly the Poinsettia. She’s so sad. The one on below her is Penn the Poinsettia, he’s unhappy, but not as much so. In fact, you have to look closely for his clues.

They are each unhappy for different reasons. These are not my Poinsettias. The ladies in this office decided against buying Poinsettias from me, and bought their own. Then they did their own care-taking. These are photos of what I found when I came to water the rest of the plants in the office. What a waste of money. They could’ve bought them from me and let me maintain them, but noooooo. As a result, neither one of these plants will last a week. Grrr. It’s plant murder.

Here’s a closer look at both:

Think you know what happened to each? Leave your answer in the comments section. Once again, there are no prizes but there is glory and my gratitude for playing. Thanks everyone, and happy indoor gardening!

Happy Tuesday everyone! It’s December, do you have the holiday spirit or what? It’s cold and snowy in Albuquerque – it’s got me in the mood!

I am new to the blog world, and I’ve been trying to read as many as possible, and comment when I really enjoy a post. I understand the time involved, the discipline and the commitment. I think it’s an amazing community.

Sometimes I wonder if my posts are boring. I think to a lot of people would think a post about how to repot a Norfolk Island Pine is boring. Do you?

I read some of these other bloggers and I can’t help but feel a teeny bit (ok a LOT) inferior. After all, they’ve been doing it longer, and they’re really good at it.

Take Mr. Subjunctive, for example, over at Plants Are the Strangest People, he is so darn knowledgeable. I love his perspective, and plus, he’s building databases of plants based on color. Seriously. He’s letting you search for purple plants. Do I even have to elaborate on how cool that is?

And then there’s James over at He’s this good Midwestern boy who presents science in an easy-to-understand manner. Believe me, I am not science girl or math girl, so I didn’t think I’d get much from his site, but he surprises me all the time.

Martha at Water Roots always makes me smile! And that’s not just because she’s Canadian!

Then there’s my sister Molly over at Charlotte’s Fancy. I love her site, and she’s taught me so much in a short amount of time. One piece of advice she gave me was to come up with categories for different days of the week, hence the Plant Lady Chronicles on Wednesdays and the Plants 101 on Thursdays.

It was great advice, but I’ve been struggling with Tuesdays – Flowers and Flowering Plants. It’s December 8th, what new can I tell you about flowers and flowering plants?

I decided to revisit the mom-n-pop nursery that grows the best Poinsettias in town, and go to another flower shop to check out their goods.

The last time I wrote about the nursery, the Poinsettias were just getting going. This time, they’re gorgeous.

As you might remember from the last post, I’m not a big fan of Poinsettias. But even I have to admit, seeing them like this at the nursery, they’re really beautiful.

My little mom-n-pop nursery is staking a lot on this holiday season, so if you’re in Albuquerque and you want me to pick up a few of these for you, let me know.

I wish I could wave a magic wand over Albuquerque and create a mad passion for indoor plants, fueling prosperity and cleaner air.

Since I can’t, let’s take a peek at another flower shop in Albuquerque. Savon Cash and Carry Flowers, on Candelaria near Carlisle.

Have you been here? It’s so weird, I always think it’s a thrift store, not a flower shop. What’s with cash and carry in the name?

I’ve only been here once or twice. I decided to go and see what they offered for the holidays.

Oh crap, that is a lot of glitter!

What are those?

I love glitter, don’t get me wrong. But I’m not a fan of it when it’s used like this:

U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alibi.

Not all of their stuff was ugly however.

I like how they started all those Amaryllis bulbs instead of selling them in a box.

They had some moderately cute holiday bouquets with fresh flowers.

And lots of fake stuff.

I didn’t buy anything, but I did decide my house needed a few Poinsettias from Corrales Road Greenhouse.

How could I resist?

I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to think up future posts for Tuesdays. If you have any ideas, I would welcome them.

One idea I know I’m going to do is feature interviews with people who have plants flowering now, in winter. A friend of mine said his Mom’s African Violets are blooming like crazy right now, so I want to go interview her for her secrets of success.

Stay tuned, and happy indoor gardening.

As if you really need any more reasons to buy local.

Holiday plants can make great gifts, but only if they are healthy. I went to Home Depot yesterday to check out their supply of holiday plants. Look what I found.

About 90 percent of their holiday flowers were already mostly dead.

Who would buy that? They also had some washed-out looking Poinsettias and some Christmas cacti with dead blossoms.

They also had some Bromeliads, but I don’t find them particularly festive.

No self-respecting local nursery would mistreat their plants the way the big box stores do. That’s because employees who work at nurseries actually care about plants.

I often find dead or dying plants at places like Home Depot and Lowe’s. But even I’m surprised by the number of already dead holiday plants – didn’t they just arrive?

If you live in the Albuquerque area, consider visiting a local nursery for gift ideas. I went to Jericho Nursery on 2nd and Alameda.

They not only have lots of beautiful Poinsettias, but they also created mini-Poinsettias that they put in self-watering containers.

Pretty cute, eh? I think these would make wonderful gifts for coworkers or neighbors. They are inexpensive, and all you have to do is make sure there’s water in the container. The plant waters itself. That makes it a no-fuss gift.

They also had some gorgeous Christmas cacti.

Gorgeous! See how the buds aren’t open yet? That’s when you want to buy a Christmas cactus. If you buy them when the blossoms are already fully open, they will fall off rapidly (maybe even before you get the plant home). Also, you get a lot more longevity if the buds aren’t open.

Holiday plants can make great gifts as well centerpieces for your dining room table. I was planning on showcasing some nice centerpieces, but as it turns out, I’m posting this from an airport (my first ever airport post) so I’m going to have to cut it short.

Before I go, here’s one more reminder to shop your local nurseries instead of the big box stores. There were lots of dead plants at Home Depot.

Plant murderers.

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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.