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Friday, May 30, 2014

My Favorite 5 ~ Lorraine

I am sharing five of my favorite houseplants that grow easily in the home as well as some of my care tips. I find the less I fuss the better they grow!
African Violet
Saintpaulias, commonly known as African violets
Such a sweet flower and a favorite of so many.
It is not recommended to have such overcrowding or so many crowns in one container but I just loved the profusion of flowers. This happy African Violet grew by a southern window that receives late afternoon sun.
I currently have miniature African Violets growing in a terrarium.  It is a large terrarium and not airtight so the humidity doesn't get too high. It sits in an eastern-facing window.
This little white miniature violet grows in a glass container.
If you'd like to do something similar, fill the bottom with stones or gravel before adding new potting soil. If you see too much humidity building, especially during the peek of daily light, remove the lid.
African Violets like lots of moderate to bright light, but never direct sun. I have grown them in a south exposure that gets only late afternoon sun.  Too much light will cause the leaves to turn downward and variegated leaves to become all green.  Too little light and the plant will grow leggy and produce few flowers.
Keep reading to see four more of Lorraine’s beautiful plants!
I LOVE this houseplant!
Streptocarpus is in the African Violet family, and these plants have been growing in an western exposure window of my master bath for years!  They receive medium to bright indirect light with a wee bit of late afternoon sun.  They have a very long bloom period and are just so sweet and cheery.
Delicate, tubular flowers on thin stems cascade over the long, deep green leaves.
A profusion of pretty lavender flowers!
Streptocarpus are easy to propagate either from seed or leaf cutting.
To keep your Streptocarpus tidied up, snip away faded flowers and leaves that become pale or limp.
I do this weekly during the flowering period.
But, if you notice a seed pod developing where a faded flower fell, you might find it fun to allow it to mature.
When fully mature, this pod will be full of tiny seeds.
My preferred method of creating new plants to enjoy or to give to friends, is leaf cuttings.
Simply cut a healthy leaf lengthwise along the center vein with scissors.
Secure the cut edge of the leaves in fresh potting soil; keep moist and place in a zippered plastic bag, leaving it open (or partially open) so there is the right humidity and the soil doesn't get too dry.
Give it bright, indirect light and after a few months, you will have many little baby plantlets. 
Separate the new plants into individual containers.
Many years ago, a neighbor gave me my first orchid and I have grown them ever since.
I used to be ambitious and move the orchids outside to our shaded patio so they would receive lots of summer heat and humidity.  They did well but got dirty; then as autumn approached, I had to clean them up and them bring back indoors.
Now, they remain, year-round, in our dining room at a southern exposure window.
They flower, usually twice a year and the flowers last a very long time ~ some several months!
I water twice a week and really, that's about it for their care.
Tip: When the flowers fall and you don't see any new ones coming, do NOT think your orchid is dead.  Do not cut off the stem that had the flowers as often times the orchid will send out additional buds on it.  Only cut away the stem if it turns yellow and becomes woody.  The orchid usually sends out a new leaf after flowers fade and will eventually produce a new flower stem. 
Our son-in-law's mom gave me a cutting from her Hoya plant and told me about the unique flowers it got when blooming.  The stem rooted quickly in water and then I planted it in soil.  It grew quickly, sending out many vines with dark green, waxy leaves. How excited I was when it bloomed for the first time! The small clusters of lightly, sweet-smelling, star-shaped flowers are amazing!
Watching the Hoya cluster develop day-by-day is fascinating.
I was delighted to see a young plant that was just rooted in the fall produce a flower.
I was even more excited to see a second flower beginning right where a spent flower recently fell.
Some years I take the Hoya outside.  It enjoys spending the summer on the patio in bright, indirect sunlight.
I allow the soil to dry slightly before watering.
Hoyas grow large quickly and mine had outgrown my space.  I took a cutting from it before giving it away.  This is my current Hoya ~ and I will soon transplant the starter windowsill cuttings.
For ease in care and tolerance of low light, Pothos is a star performer!
Although not grown for flowers, the heart-shaped leaves and bright green color make it a lovely plant to brighten your home or office.
A cutting will root easily in water and when potted in soil, can be attached to a support to grow upright or allowed to trail. A Pothos placed on the top of a bookshelf or hutch will trail and vine beautifully.

Pothos are very easy to grow. Your biggest chore will be keeping the vines from taking over.
They like bright, indirect light but I found them to tolerate low light conditions well.
Allow the soil to dry slightly between watering.

NOTE: All parts of the pothos plant are poisonous if ingested

Growing houseplants adds beauty to your environment, helps improve air quality and can just be relaxing and therapeutic as you care for them.
Thank you, Laura, for having me over as a guest host, to share My Favorite Five.
I hope you will take some time to visit Lorraine’s blog. I so enjoy the beauty such as this that she shares as well as creative crafts, yummy recipes and lovely homekeeping.
Have a blessed weekend,


GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart said...

Dear Laura, Thank you, kindly, for allowing me to guest host here on your lovely blog :)

Vel Criste said...

This is beautiful Lorraine, thank you for sharing!!!

Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

Very informative post on some beautiful houseplants. I have never seen the Hoya before. It appears to be a relative of the orchid!

Chubby Chieque said...

I love flowers but flowers don't love me that much, LoL*

Just so beautiful. Love the orchids. I have exactly the same hurricane jar and , TY for sharing the idea, I guess, I will transfer my flower paste flowers and plant the real ones.

Happy weekend.