Monday, January 19, 2009

Just Where DOES One Put 175 Houseplants?

Eliz Licata over at GardenRant and Gardening While Intoxicated is curious. She wants to know where I put the 175+ houseplants I have during the winter. Stuart at Blotanical asked if I have a big house. And Ewa (Ewa In the Garden) is amazed.

No, our house isn't big, but neither is it particularly small. It is just right for raising two girls and allowing them to have their own rooms. If you had come for an extended visit during those years, you might have had to sleep on the sofa bed, unless we could get the girls to share a room. Come now, and there are two spare rooms with beds.

About those plants. I went around last night and snapped a few photos to show you where the largest concentration of plants are. Besides the ones you see in these pictures, there are others that are the lone plant in their respective locations. Let's begin with what you would see when you walk in the front door.

Our living room is not a room that we use much at all. Our Christmas tree was in here, so we opened presents here, but we really don't spend any time in this room. There are three windows, facing south and west, so it's a naturally sunny room, just right for plants.

The large vining plant in the window is my Passiflora caerulea 'Clear Sky.' I've had it since May 2005 and it lives on the front porch once it's warm enough to put it outside.

Many plants get moved around the house during winter, depending on their needs. Here we have the vining Clerodendron, which will suffer inside, but quickly recover once it joins the Passiflora on the porch come spring. The Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) will get moved to the other window where the Passiflora is now. A few of these will remain where they are.

There are others scattered here and there in this general vicinity - Snake plant by the stairs, Pothos in the entry, orchid on the desk and Norfolk Island Pine beside the desk.

As we walk through the kitchen, you'd notice there is only one plant in either the kitchen proper (a small hanging fern in the window) or the eating area. Not a lot of light here, so not much would do well.

Into the family room and you'll see another group of plants in the south window. The hideous lime green pot is a temporary pot for a Bougainvillea that was in bloom previously. It will be planted in the ground come summer. It's still up here because it seems to be doing well and I don't want to interrupt its "wellness." Otherwise, it would be down in the basement greenhouse with the other one.

The Jade is the only plant that resides here year round. The others will be outside for the summer, including the Amaryllis on the left. Above these hangs a Hoya.

On the other side of the room, there is a plant stand with a Dieffenbachia recently given to me by a co-worker. The Kangaroo Fern (Microsorum pustulatum)hangs over a stairway to the basement, where it has hung since I bought it in 2006. Not shown is another plant - Goldfish Plant (Nematanthus gregarius) - that hangs over the other end of the half-wall, which will go outside for summer.

On top of the wall unit in this room is a Palm of some sort that the same co-worker gave me. A Brugmansia sits on the floor by a different window.

Just off the kitchen eating area is our utility room, where you'll find another large group of plants huddling around the south window. The Coleus that I brought in for winter just had a pruning a week or so ago. I hope to keep them going until spring when I'll return them to the outside gardens. They were so pretty this past summer.

There are many potted Amaryllis here, in various stages of growth. As they bloom, they will be brought into the family room to the coffee table so we can enjoy their blooms. There is also the variegated Abutilon, which will go outside come spring. There are Orchids and African Violets here, too, as well as another Jade. The hanging plant will go outside. This area looks quite different in the summer with fewer plants.

Off the kitchen proper is a formal dining room, which we never use for formal dining. It is a room kind of off by itself and it has a door, which remains closed most of the time, because this has turned into a catch-all room. My desktop computer is in one corner, and the French doors to the patio go unused during the winter, except to provide light for plants.

Nearly every one of these plants will go outside in the summer. The plant stand will be used outside for the Orchids, in a mostly shady spot that only gets a small bit of morning sun. They love it there.

Next, we go downstairs to the basement greenhouse. In the room that contains the water heater, water softener and sump pump, there are two hanging shop lights with fluorescent bulbs that can be raised or lowered as necessary. Come summer, this area will be plant-free.

Two rooms away is another "greenhouse" with two more shop lights. All the plant lights are on a timer. The Brugmansias overwinter here, as well as the water plants and other outdoor plants. They are on an old single bed frame that isn't used anymore, lined with heavy plastic. This is a storage room that I hope gets a bit cleaned out this summer. Too much stuff!

There are a few plants upstairs in the bedrooms and bathroom, but only four total. They reside there year round.

So there you have it!


Katie said...

How do you keep your indoor cats away from the plants? I would love to know the answer to that question (and become a collector like you!)

Thanks for sharing. You've become quite a sensation in the garden blogosphere over the last few weeks!

Gardeness said...

I so love houseplants but they rarely survive. Apparently my greenthumb doesn't extend to interior gardens!

TYRA Hallsénius Lindhe said...

Hi Kylee, 175+ house plants sound a lot but it looks just great! I mean you can still move around...

Thank you for the most lovely guided tour Kylee.

Have a great day on this historical day!


flydragon said...

Wow!! About the hoya. I've had one for quite a few years now but it has never had a single flower. Does yours' bloom? I don't have a south facing window, only east or west so I have it in the west. Anything you can tell me about it would be appreciated.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Kylee, your cats look like they are trying to decide on what they wanted in their salad. tee hee..

I am just amazed at all your plants. Not just the numbers but at how successful you are with them. I would have more plants inside too if I could be so successful with them.

I noticed one of your begonias have such lovely leaves. Most,err all of my begonias lost their leaves when they came in but two of them are coming out of it. Poor things. I don't think my house is situated well for indoor plants.

It was fun seeing your huge collection. It looks like you have room for more.

Rose said...

The minute I saw your title on my blogroll, Kylee, I had to come over--yes, I wondered, where does she keep those 175 houseplants?? Thanks for answering that burning question and showing us your collection. Now I'd like to know how much time you spend watering them:)
As much work as they might be, you have a great start for the summer with so many mature plants ready to move outside.

Just read your last post--thanks for conducting this experiment! I've been wondering, too, if there is enough snow cover this year to protect all the perennials from the unusual cold we've had.

Sweet Home and Garden Carolina said...

You certainly get an A+ for placement, Kylee. My house is sandwiched between two others that overshadow mine with the exception of our west-facing dining area. So I've no luck with houseplants other than those I have in these sunny windows.

Yours look great, BTW.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

It took a long time for me to admit it, but I'm not big on houseplants. I think I'm down to maybe 6 these days... don't get me wrong; I think they're pretty and nice and all, there's just something in me that doesn't rejoice int heir care in the way i rejoice about outdoor plants. So, I'm going to use the "lack of space" excuse! Yeah, that's it.

Anonymous said...

Your home is lovely, Kylee, and I'm duly impressed with all those thriving plants! Unfortunately, our apartment has poor windows/lighting for plant placement and other than a Christmas cactus that I can't kill, it seems, nothing seems to do very well.

Anonymous said...

My goodness, Kylee. Now I see where they all fit into the picture. Cheers for sharing this with us...we're all a little bit nosey, aren't we?

Jan said...

Wow, Kylee, now it's clear where you keep them all! You have a lot of places with good lighting. I think I'm going to agree w/GardenFairie; I don't love indoor plants as much as outdoor plants. It would be a 'chore' for me to take care of them, especially in that quantity.

But, as they say, do what makes YOU happy! I'm glad you are! Don't freeze in all that Ohio snow. My brother lives in the Akron area and is dealing with it, too.

Cathy S. said...

You sound like me about having
so many plants inside. I have about
100 that I keep in my enclosed back
porch. I am Carolyn Gail's Daughter
from Sweet Home and Garden Chicago.
You have a great Blog!

F Cameron said...

175 sounds like a lot of plants, but you have them all so beautifully arranged that they are just perfect! Very nice, especially in the winter months. A real indoor garden!


Kylee Baumle said...

Katie ~ Just as I was about to sit down and respond to all the comments, I heard a crash. When I investigated, Jilly had tried to jump up on one of the plant stands in the living room (not shown in the pictures). I would tell you that the cats leave the plants alone, but obviously we have an accident now and then.

They don't chew on them hardly ever. They got yelled at early on, so they usually just leave them alone. They don't like hearing me clap my hands together and yell, "NO!" in my best cheerleader-volume voice! LOL!

Simon is the only one that really does that, and then it's only if the plant resembles grass, such as the palm. I'm lucky I guess?

The Gardeness ~ Keeping houseplants alive is a different kind of gardening than outside, that's for sure! They actually do better if I border on neglecting them. LOL.

Tyra ~ It doesn't really seem like there could be that many, does it? I was shocked myself when I counted them the first time!

flydragon ~ Yes, my hoya blooms. In fact, it was blooming last January. I tend to keep it on the dry side and it's undoubtedly pot bound, but the person who gave me the starts told me they like it like that. Works for me! I hope yours will bloom one day!

Lisa ~ Both cats are where they are, because they are bird watching! If you look closely, you'll see there's a bird feeder attached to the window. They spend a lot of time during the day right where you see them in that photo!

I'm not sure which begonia you're referring to, but I suspect it's the swirly one on the floor in front of the double windows. I got that at Lowe's in early 2006. It was unnamed, so I'm not sure which one it is.

The one on the coffee table (which is actually a cedar chest that my dad made) has done exceptionally well, and really needs to be in a hanging pot. Maybe I'll get around to that one of these days. I tend to ignore them quite a bit. I let them dry out almost completely before I water them.

Room for more? Maybe, but I don't want more! Unless it's another amaryllis. LOL.

Rose ~ Hmmm...I don't know if I ever really paid attention to how long it takes to water the plants. The ones in the basement get watered at a different time than the upstairs ones, so it isn't overwhelming either time.

I use water from the dehumidifier in the basement for the downstairs plants, so I don't have to go up and down the stairs with water. That helps a LOT.

Yeah, I knew that snow helped protect the plants, so I'm always happy to see it snowing! Thank goodness we got this snow before the frigid temps! That will definitely be a plus for the survival of the perennials.

Carolyn Gail ~ I never thought we had a lot of well-lit areas for houseplants, but after hearing everyone's comments, maybe we do! There's actually more light and sun than in the summer, due to leaf loss.

Monica ~ I know you'd never guess, but I really only enjoy a small percentage of those as houseplants. But I do like them outside in the summer and since they don't survive our winters, in they come.
I definitely enjoy outside gardening much more, but I have learned a LOT about plants in general from my indoor plant adventures.

Nancy ~ Thank you, Nancy. You know, a Christmas Cactus is something I've never tried! I was tempted to get one this Christmas when they were in the stores, and so cheap, but I resisted.

Stuart ~ Hey, honestly I never gave it a thought that anyone was being nosey. I'm a pretty open person, if you hadn't figured that out already. ;-)

Jan ~ I feel like we have limited good lighting here. I would love to have a sun room like my parents do. There are some plants in those pictures that are really struggling, but if they're surrounded by some lush ones, they aren't so noticeable. LOL!

Akron gets more snow (usually) than we do, since they're over on the lake side of the state. But right now, we've got more than enough.

Cathy ~ I SAW that beautiful porch! Thank you for introducing yourself and letting me know we share in the special craziness of indoor gardening!

Cameron ~ Thank you, but I really could do with less! Romie does enjoy seeing them, in contrast to the brown or white that's outside. It feels almost a bit like visiting a conservatory. LOL.

Kylee Baumle said...

Oops, Lisa, I guess you can't see the window bird feeder in that picture. It's just out of the frame, and a great source of entertainment for the kitties!

Anonymous said...

Wow, they look amazing. Your home looks lovely too. We just have to keep our fingers crossed when the weather turns.

We bring an Aloe inside but anything more and I think the Dogs would cause too much trouble.

Carol Michel said...

Yes, good lighting is key to keeping plants alive inside through the winter. I don't have quite as many houseplants, but mine pretty much stay inside year around. That's quite a lot you have, and all good for the indoor environment!

Kylee Baumle said...

Mr.Dirty Boots ~ Thank you! Yes, dogs and cats both like to dig and chew, and though we've had a few incidences, we've been pretty fortunate. Our cats don't seem to be that interested in the plants, for some reason.

You may have noticed an aloe in the family room picture (the one with the cats). In the French door picture, there is a planter with some baby aloes. Those came from the first plant during the winter last winter! It's putting out a few more this winter, too. They are prolific!

Carol ~ We're getting good light today with the sun shining so brightly! Yes, the air quality in here has to be pretty darn good, and right now, it smells heavenly. The jasmine's in bloom! :-)

Shady Gardener said...

Just Think of the nice, fresh air you're breathing!! :-)

Anonymous said...

I was wondering! I am tempted to try some "closer to the floor" plants, but I just don't know about the cats. Every now and then they get curious about the ones they can sort of get to, even though I try to keep cat grass around for them to much on. I'm also scared to death that the plant will be poisonous, even though I check.

But really, I just don't have the right house for a lot of houseplants. The light is good, but other things need to go in front of windows because of space. My next home will have some sort of sunporch or plant room! Then maybe I can bring home some of the plants I keep taking to my (dark) office cube!

Thanks, btw, for being the first official commenter on my blog :) You get a gold star from me! And I may have to steal this post idea sooner or later.

Also - I used to have one of those swirly begonias (in the green pot). My MIL got it for me (my mom has it now, as I don't have a good sunny window for it). No idea what it's called either, as it was unlabeled so Lowe's just sold it to her for $2!

EAL said...

The plants all look healthy and happy! Thanks so much for posting this; I was curious and I love to see the actual context for plants, not just close-ups. Congratulations on your success with them!

MyMaracas said...

What a nice, healthy looking collection you have. I had over a hundred houseplants year-round at the height of my addiction. Three moves, two kids and one cat later, I'm down to three.

Unknown said...

Kylee- That's a whole lot of house plants. I don't do very well with house plants, but maybe I'll get better at it someday.

Shady Gardener said...

Kylee, Do you think the Blackberry lilies will do well outdoors in the milk jug greenhouses?

Barbara said...

I remember an old post of yours where you wrote about all your houseplants. At that time already I was surprised about the amount you have. Now I see where you all have them. You are a clever girl, Kylee, you have placed them perfectly :-)! And I am sure you will still find some place for a few more plants ;-) !!
Continue to be so successful with your plants!

Kylee Baumle said...

Shady ~ I know! I've used that very thing as an excuse to my husband when I wanted to buy another plant. LOL!
About the blackberry lilies - yes, I think you can winter sow them just fine. I think I did that one year.

Jennah ~ A gold star! Yay, me! That begonia doesn't really need direct sun. Mine gets bright indirect lighting. It's probably the same begonia, because Lowe's is where I got mine, too.

EAL ~ Thanks, Eliz. There are some strugglers in there, hiding.

MyMaracas ~ Wow, that's quite an attrition! But I can certainly understand why you're down to just three.

Cinj ~ I didn't used to do very well with them, either. I left them for my husban to take care of. But I learned!

Barbara ~ Thank you, Barbara! Did you just give permission for more house plants?

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