Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The non-hardy plants need to learn how to share

Here's how it is: every year I'm older, less energetic, lazier. Still I continue to accumulate plants. I try to fit them together so that they can live through the winter with their potmates. The top pot used to be occupied exclusively by the geranium which I've had five years or so and which has seen better times. Last summer I gave away a large container of echeveria but saved one rosette. It's grow to the point where it's threatening to take over the pot. If it can behave itself it'll be able to spend the winter in the west window where the geraniums always live. Both like sun and both like to dry out. I think they'll be okay together.

The plumerias in the bottom pot were rooted cutting this spring. There are three and none of them flowered this year. I chose the two smaller ones for their multicolored flowers, the larger for an intense fragrance. The orange and yellow flowering plant growing beneath them is Chrysothemis pulchella 'Black Flamingo', a sub-tropical gesneriad with a wet/dry dormancy cycle. Since the plumerias can go through the winter with a minimum of water, the whole pot can live in the bright, unheated part of the basement. The top of the chrysothemis will disappear but will come back from dormant tubers next year. The plumerias can theoretically go totally dormant but I have more luck stringing them along. I water the pot every four weeks or so and a few unexpanded leaves hang in all winter. Next Spring I'll just add water and warmth and presto, rebirth. That's what spring's about, right?

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