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I’ve seen some websites that pitch terrariums as no-maintenance items.
They go like this:
“Like Nature? But don’t want to lift a finger to have it in your home? Try a terrarium!”
“Plant it and ignore it.”
Plant it and ignore it? What’s the point then?
Let’s set the record straight.
Terrariums are low maintenance.
They require water and pruning. And a little love.
They are comprised of living, breathing creatures – why would anyone want to ignore them?
Besides, they make it kinda hard to ignore them. I couldn’t even get the lid back on mine.
Terrariums are great for teaching kids about plants and ecosystems. Great for brown thumbs. And great for plant lovers across the board.
Because they’re interesting.
Because they require your attention.
I’ll be back manana with an all-new plant puzzler, as well as the answer to last week’s puzzler. Hope to see you back here.
Hello there and Happy Monday everyone!
I’d like to introduce you to a little Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina) named Nebraska.
She sits in my foyer on a pink table that I have been meaning to repaint for oh, six or seven years now.
You may remember Nebraska from a silly post from awhile back.
I wanted to know why zebrinas are called Wandering Jews so I did some digging around the web. Turns out mr_subjunctive over at Plants Are the Strangest People posted an informative and helpful article about zebrinas – good reading!
I thought maybe the plant got its name because it keeps trying to wander out of its pot. Zebrina vines grow so quickly, they often fall right out of the dirt.
Or at least, that’s what keeps happening to Nebraska.
This is not as bad as it looks! Nebraska’s fine, really! Like I said, she likes to wander out of her pot. This is one plant who views her rootbound status as negotiable.
Wandering Jews are one of several types of plants that you don’t have to root the stems before they’ll grow. You can take their stems and/or leaves and simply stick them in the dirt and they’ll grow. Sometimes, you can even just lay the stems on top of the dirt and they’ll grow.
So when Nebraska starts to wander, I just put her back in her pot.
I would like to rein in her wandering, which means finding a way to secure her stems in the pot. Luckily, I have just the right tools.
Bobby pins – have you no end to your usefulness?
I took ordinary Bobby pins and stretched them out so they weren’t so tight, then used them to secure the stems in the dirt. It reminded me of putting croquet wickets in the lawn.
The goal is to get her base thicker and fuller, because a bushy plant is a happy plant.
How to Care for a Wandering Jew
Wandering Jews are one of the easiest plants to care for, and one of the prettiest. They are forgiving, they don’t attract pests and hardly ever need to be repotted.
They do like sunlight. The more light they get, the more colorful they will be. If you don’t have a sunny window, they’ll likely survive, but they won’t be as happy.
They also like water, a lot. I keep Nebraska moist (she’s in a small pot, so she requires more attention than say, Samantha the Ficus who sits next to her in a 14-inch pot). You can tell if a zebrina is thirsty because her leaves will turn brown and crunchy, all the way down the viney stem.
It is possible to over-water a zebrina. When that happens, the leaves turn a washed-out yellow before turning brown and eventually crunchy.
I would recommend Wandering Jews to novice indoor gardeners because they really are so easy and rewarding.
Coming Up on Good to Grow!
Tomorrow is going to be fun. I’ve been thinking about the next holiday, Valentine’s Day. It’s still several weeks away, but now is the perfect time to start growing gifts. I’ll show you how, until then, happy indoor gardening!
I know, it’s Sunday, not Saturday. Sorry, I got sidetracked yesterday. Plus, I had decided that this was way too dorky of a post, and rejected it.
But somehow in this early Sunday morning light, the idea cracks me up again. Please note, no plants were harmed in the making of this post.
Oh yeah, I’m well aware of how dork this makes me look. I’m ok with that.
He looks like a private investigator.
I don’t know why, but this photo makes me sooo happy. Probably the aforementioned dork thing.
Aren’t you glad you stopped by here to see these educational, riveting photos? Yeah, I’ll admit it’s not my A game.
You should probably count yourself lucky that I didn’t try to put shoes and boots on the plants. That could’ve been scary!
Ok, one more, then I can dedicate the rest of my day to football. Aaah, I love Sundays.
If you missed Friday’s debut of Ask the Experts, it was pretty funny.
If you’ve been following along my new plant blog journey, you know I like low maintenance plants. I especially like plants that don’t need to root before you can plant their cuttings.
Last week I showed how to prune Jade Plants, also known as Money Trees, and then how you can simply stick the cuttings in dirt (after they’ve scarred over a couple of days). You can even stick Jade leaves in dirt and they’ll grow.
Jades have lots of company when it comes to easy propagation. Many varieties in the Dracaena family are the same way. Dracaena Marginatas, or Dragon Trees, for example, are super easy to propagate.
This Dragon Tree lives at a mortgage company in Albuquerque.
I cut the really wide-reaching one on the left, trimmed the stalk to the height I wanted, then stuck it in the dirt.
I did the same with another big stalk. The result is some good new growth down low to make up for the wild older stalks.
When I was watering the plants at the cereal factory, I pruned a Dracaena Warneckii.
Then planted the cuttings in one of their atriums. I hope they grow strong and tall!
I love that cereal factory. It always smells delicious and everyone who works there is sugary sweet.
Sansevieria, also know as Snake plants or Mother-in-law-tongues (because they’re difficult to kill), are another family of plants that don’t need to root before you can plant the cuttings.
Another favorite of mine is Wandering Jews.
I frequently forget to water mine, so it doesn’t look great. When it gets thirsty, the stems die off and look like this.
If you have a Wandering Jew, just clean off the dead leaves so you have a healthy stem, then put it right back in the pot.
Caring for houseplants doesn’t have to be a burdensome task. Most plants are waaaay easier than you can imagine.
I’d like to give a special shout out to James at James and the Giant Corn for the link even though I’m a newbie. Also to Mr. Subjunctive at Plants are the Strangest People, thanks for your posts, they’re great.
James, I think you’re right, horticulture is an intimidating word to many people. Plus, I’m not a horticulturist (as evidenced by the aforementioned thirsty Wandering Jew). Not crazy about planties (as in foodies) though – how about Plant Lovers?