House Plants On Wheels

A flexible plant bench on wheels fitted with copper trays makes my venture with house plants easy and pleasant throughout the year.

My husband designed and built a 3′ feet high bench that extends the length of three sun porch windows. Long narrow trays to fit the window sills are also a boon to my window garden.

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Watering The Plants On The High Bench

Plants that require similar treatment are grouped near each other. For example, by placing cactus and succulents together, I do not overwater as would be necessary if they were interspersed.

On the other hand, plants that aced to be kept moist are set together in one tray. The plants absorb the extra water they need by watering the trays even if not watered for a few days.

Usually, it is necessary to water every other day, winter and summer, depending upon individual plant requirements. By using slightly oversize pots, the soil does not dry out as fast.

Another trick is to pour water into a large plastic cup and then water plants. This helps to prevent soil compaction. About once a month to 6 weeks, I add a teaspoon of fertilizer containing trace elements to each gallon of water.

Showing Off My Houseplants To Visitors

All plants grow toward the light. Because of this, house plants show their backs to visitors.

By having the bench on wheels, I merely swing the whole bench around to have my flower show whenever I like. Furthermore, I can reach and closely inspect and enjoy every plant.

The attachment on the vacuum cleaner helps to keep dead leaves and debris picked up. I merely swing the bench away to wash the windows.

I go on a housecleaning spree in fall and spring, taking everything out of doors for trimming or repotting if necessary.

Good Soil Mixture

One good soil mixture containing one part loam, one part leaf mold, and one part coarse sand or fine gravel is suitable for most plants. I fill a large dish pan with the potting soil, and the children help with pot-rooted cuttings.

No section of a plant is wasted. I have rooted hundreds of cuttings. These usually become gifts or are donated to a church or hospital bazaars to help raise money for one good cause.

It is fun to be welcomed into many different homes and find that one of my plants gives pleasure to friends and neighbors.

Potted Cuttings Take Less Space

I root all my cuttings in water. The cuttings make beautiful arrangements for the living room and dining room while they are rooting. Then I pot them. I often plant several cuttings in one large pot rather than several small ones.

This takes up less room on the bench and is less work for me, but more importantly, the soil does not dry out too fast, and there is more room for the roots to grow before repotting.

Begonia: My Favorite Houseplant

It is easy to favor African violets, for they bloom so readily in a northern window where there is light but no direct sunlight.

Their flowers brighten my kitchen almost all year round.

Perhaps my favorite house plant is the begonia, with its wide variety of colorful foliage. Begonias overgrow and seem to require little care.

I have often been told that flowering tips of begonias should be discarded, not rooted, as they do not make good plants because they do not break or throw offshoots but keep getting longer and longer as they continue to flower. Yet, I like the flowering tips.

First, they make colorful long-lasting additions to arrangements.

Rooted, they make attractive plants in small pots. Even if they become straggly after a while, I have enjoyed their bloom for months. Often the plant does not know the “rule,” so it sends out an offshoot anyway.

Not all my house plants are “house plants.” That tall date palm came from a seed left at the Christmas dinner table several years ago.

The opuntia came from a prickly pear in a Thanksgiving Day fruit basket. We enjoyed eating the bottom part of the pineapple from which the bromeliad is growing.

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