Garden Wisdom

"The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature.."  -Alfred Austin

 

 

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Jeff, Gardener in Chief

Contrary to popular opinion, some people in the Hamptons enjoy getting their hands dirty. I'm a self-taught gardener in East Hampton, NY that enjoys sharing my gardening experiences and inspiration with others. Hope you enjoy my blog and galleries.

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Tuesday
Feb252014

Thriving On Neglect

I have a lot of houseplants.  The fresh green foliage and beautiful (and sometimes fragrant) blooms of indoor plants just seem to enliven any interior space, especially in winter.  But indoor gardening does require work.  It's not just the constant watering, but most of these little container captives need adequate light, proper humidity, regular fertilizer, pruning and occasional repotting.  

But here's a houseplant that seems to thrive on neglect. This Euphorbia 'Crown of Thorns' has been surviving in this small pot for years.  The soil in this container must be drained of most nutrients by now.  I don't regularly fertilize, just give the plant a weekly drink of water once the soil looks dry and the leaves start to weep.  It likes bright light, but actually starts blooming in the cooler months when the days are shorter.  As you can see here, the blooms are a beautiful cerise color. The thorns look daunting, but are not stiff or sharp.

Once it stops blooming, I usually stick it under a grow light in the basement during the summer months.  It appreciates a period of dormancy when I just give it water.  However, before it goes on summer vacation, I think I'll prune my plant and repot it in a slightly bigger pot, hoping for a larger, bushier specimen.  I found a video from Martha Stewart showing how to do this.  She also discusses how to start new plants from the cuttings. (Check out Martha's instructions here: "Pruning and Planting Crown of Thorns Plants".

If all goes well, next fall I'll have more of these self-sufficient bloomers to spread around the house.

 

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