On Houseplants

November 13, 2012

Wren's Shadow

Daylight saving time ended last week, so it's starting to get dark around 4 o'clock these days. This time of year is always welcome for me. I miss the sunlight and the warmth, but I also tend to feel the most creative and inspired at night time.

Spider Plant

Up until this year, the only houseplants we kept were a peace lily and a spider plant given to us by Matt's family. Unfortunately, our poor plants were shoved in a corner by a window in our old apartment, and just barely kept alive. I'd water them whenever they were looking droopy, but I never fertilized them because I didn't know I was supposed to.

After we moved, I decided I wanted tons of houseplants throughout the house. But first, I figured it'd be a good idea to see if I could nurse our existing plants back to life, which was difficult to do because they weren't treated very well during our move. I think we left them out in the car too long on a 90°F day, so the leaves were nice and scorched.

Peace Lily Peace Lily

It took weeks of careful monitoring before I saw any change. The peace lily was especially problematic, drooping only two or three days after a watering. I wasn't sure it was going to recover, but I pruned off the dead leaves, fertilized, and made sure the water levels were where they were supposed to be every day until finally it bounced back, sprouting up new growth. The leaves on the spider plant changed as well. They went from a droopy pale yellow to a perky deep green.

After that, I didn't have to monitor either of the plants as closely as before. I put them on a watering schedule that I sometimes forget about, but they're doing just fine. And because I passed the self-imposed houseplant test, I decided it'd be okay if we went ahead and brought a few more houseplants to the nest.

Blooming Spider Plant

Lucky for us, Matt's generous co-workers sent him home with a devil's ivy plant and a huge holiday cactus. I wish I'd snapped a 'before' photo of the cactus for you, but you'll just have to trust me when I say it was seriously out of control. Without knowing what I was doing, I gave it a bushwhacking, and set it over by the dining room window under our spider plant. Now that it's getting colder outside and darker earlier, I'm noticing little buds growing on the holiday cactus, and babies growing on our spider plant, so I guess I must've done something right after all.

So now I'm keeping an eye out for more houseplants. I'll probably use our spider baby to grow another spider plant, and I may propagate another holiday cactus from the one we already have, but I'd like to add some new varieties. Especially plants that are non-toxic to cats. We keep our devil's ivy and peace lily out of feline reach, but I'm running out of high places.

Any suggestions?


  1. No suggestions, but I love them--particularly with your grey walls. I can never seem to keep houseplants alive.

  2. I'll admit, the gray walls were inspired by the way the color and texture would bring out the houseplants, so I'm glad you like it. :)

  3. Lovely plants! Do your cats not eat them? Ours nibble away at anything except succulents and we have to be very careful not to have poisonous plants in the house. The spider plants are non-toxic so we have lots of those too :)

  4. Oddly enough, the cats tend to leave the plants alone. We've got our toxic plants up high in places they can't reach, but they don't even seem to be interested in the safe plants we keep at a lower level. I think if they ever do take an interest, I'll have to go ahead and give the toxic plants away to someone else. :)

  5. Lucky you! Our plants are a pretty sorry looking lot from being nibbled at all the time :)
    I hope your cats never try it out, your plants look so healthy and pretty!