Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My Potted Plants

Hello Fellow Homesteaders!

If you read my Facebook page or follow my blog, then you know I made some soil and started some seeds. I also re-potted all my house plants. I can't believe they survived the winter. Well, more like, they survived ME! lol! Last year I killed all my indoor plants except the aloe and it just barely made it! Thank goodness it's a succulent/cactus because they do better when neglected. I get asked fairly often what herbs and such I choose to grow indoors, so I thought I'd share.

Oregano: I use a lot of this. It is a perennial in warmer climates and will also seed itself if allowed. Oregano likes full sun and moderate watering. If allowed to grow uninhibited in the ground, it will form a small bush and/or make a nice ground cover. 

Lemon Balm: I grow this for medicinal use as well as to help keep mosquitoes away. That's why I separated the plant into different lighter weight pots, so I can move them around the garden where ever we are hanging out. Lemon Balm is a perennial and part of the mint family which means it will take over if you let it. This thing will send runners everywhere! It thrives in poor conditions though it does best with partial sun/shade, but will grow just about anywhere. If you want something hard to kill, grow this! I fear these guys may jump out of their pots! The dirt in the original pot was mostly clay and it was growing just fine. So I can't imagine what it's going to do with nice soil! Thankfully it has many uses. I can say, I won't be planting this in my small garden, but I do have some areas around the house where nothing will grow, so I may plant it there.

Chives: These are perennials also and are like tiny onions. If you just cut the tops and leave the root intact, chives will grow indefinitely in warmer weather and even mild winters. They taste more mild than larger onions and grow well in pots with adequate sun and good soil. They don't do as well in very hot weather and intense sun though. I never planted any chives. I found these growing randomly in my garden bed last year and decided to save them in a pot come fall. There were 4 and they had a baby over the winter so now I have five. Now that I have separated them and replanted them in good soil, they are growing like crazy! I already need to trim them down!

Sage: Another perennial that likes full sun and moderate watering. If it is allowed to grow freely in the ground, it can grow into a small bush.

Thyme: I never have enough thyme! Ha ha! Lame joke, but couldn't resist! Thyme is a perennial (do you see a trend here?) that likes full sun and well drained soil. It's pretty hardy and can handle some neglect. Depending on the variety you get, it can be a ground cover or a mini bush. I am going to try this out as a ground cover between my garden beds this year. I also read it has a very long germination so give it a couple weeks or so before you give up on it. I can't remember how long it took this plant, but I started more from seed this year so I'll keep track this thyme. (Ha!)

Parsley: This is another herb I use a lot. It is technically a biennial, but it loses it's flavor the second year so it's usually grown as an annual. I'm going to see how long I can grow it in a pot before I need to start a new one.  I found out after planting this one that there are 2 main varieties: Italian and French. (Pardon my lack of Latin names.) The one pictured here is the French variety which is also called curly and is usually the kind you see as a garnish on the side of your plate in restaurants. The Italian variety has flat leaves and is the more flavorful for cooking. Well, you live and learn! I'll look for the Italian variety now. It also takes a long time to germinate. Another thing I found out, they have a large tap root so they need a large pot to grow in. I will be replanting this little beauty!

Rosemary: This is a perennial that likes lots of sun and warmth. So, unless you live in a very warm climate, it's best grown in a pot. It is the mother of taking forever to germinate so it's probably best to try to start one from cuttings or just go buy a full-grown plant. Once it's established, it takes as little maintenance as a succulent or cactus. It's better to leave it alone as this plant does not like to be messed with. It takes a long time to harden it off to go outside, but leaving it inside makes it more susceptible to powdery mildew and spider mites. I have killed several of these that have been given to me full grown. I grew these from seed and I can't believe they are still going! Especially after re-potting them. I keep thinking I'll go out there to dead plants. It is a beautiful herb if you can figure out how to not kill it.

Onions: Well, these are the cut off roots that I am trying to regrow into another onion bulb. I have tried this twice to no avail. So I am trying a new method. I didn't split the different sprouts apart and planted them intact in pots. I tried to peel away some of the rotted parts, but pretty well left it alone. 

I covered all the cut part in soil and am keeping them all watered. I'll keep you updated on how they do.

Aloe Vera: I have one plant that is doing well and the other is not. Both were pretty root-bound so I hope bigger pots will help. I re-purposed this worn-out cooking pot! I think it needs a bigger pot than this even, but I'm going to try it anyway. Aloe is a cactus/succulent, so it can only be grown outdoors in the warmest of climates. This is a good household plant with all its uses. You plant it and forget it. This is the only plant that survived me last winter. It went a long time without water. The best way to kill it, make it cold and water it often.

Pineapple: This is a plant I started from a pineapple top. Just cut all the fruit off the top of the pineapple then cut it down until you see the little root buds. Put it in water until roots form or plant it directly. It will take 2-3 years to get an actual pineapple from it in the best conditions. It's a tropical plant, so it needs a lot of sun and heat. I may never see a pineapple from this plant, but it's fun to grow. I peeled away several leaves when I re-potted it. I can't believe it's still alive because I neglected this poor thing pretty bad last year. So, they must be fairly hearty.

I also started some new plants in pots: Lavender, Basil, and Calendula. The only reason I didn't grow basil indoors before now is because I had a ton of it dried already. Last year I grew basil and calendula outdoors and it did well. Basil is very easy to grow. I have not tried growing lavender yet, so it will be fun to see how it does.

I am also learning about the medicinal uses of these plants. I know a few things about lemon balm and aloe, but have realized all the others have medicinal uses as well. I have to confess I have not taken as much time to learn about herbs as I have my other garden plants. Largely because there are so many of them and there are so many uses for them that it's a lot to read! It's very fascinating, though, and I am starting to learn bits and pieces as I can. 

What about you? What houseplants do you grow? Do you use herbs medicinally? I'd love to hear about your experiences!

Garden on!

Jen Hen

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