Friday, January 8, 2010

Bulbs and Houseplants

As I was cleaning the carpets this week at home and doing my thorough cleaning I do every year after Christmas, I noticed how bare everything looked. I started bringing in some houseplants from the greenhouse. While I was placing them around my home I noticed how bare they looked.
One of the great things about working at a nursery is the write off stuff….once it’s out of inventory, you can take home. I had a dozen or so scilla peruviana bulbs that I was going to plant outdoors. Even though I know several people that have successfully grown these outside here I still tend to think they are about one zone away from true hardiness. The thought crossed my mind…’why not plant them in the bottom of the plants that look so bare?’ so I did.
Earlier in the day I had seen a very old bag of orchid bark that someone had given me this last summer. Unlike bark for your yard I knew this would be sterile and free of insects and such. I ran out to the garage and brought it inside. It was the perfect touch to finish off my new houseplant pots. The medium red bark really spruced up the entire pots. The plants looked great and like they were complete.
I then started thinking of all the great bulbs to plant indoors…the striking, brightly colored leaves of caladiums (which love shade outdoors so they seem perfect for indoors), the astounding fragrance and rainbow of colors from Freesias, and heck, why not plant Narcissus a couple months before the Holidays for their bright color and great fragrance at Christmas. For that matter you could even plant Amaryllis directly in the soil of your larger houseplants. How beautiful would that be during the holidays! Afterward you could dig them up, dry them out and reuse them next year. Or better yet, get new ones of a different color and style.
The point is, there are many ways to bring nature indoors. Try coming up with some of your own ideas…if they are successful, let us know!
I will be sure to follow up on this experiment and let you all know how the scilla’s turn out. Hopefully by the end of March I will not only have beautiful spring bulbs blooming outdoors but several indoor as well.
Happy Gardening,

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