Come Inside, It's Getting Chilly Out There

Friday, September 21, 2012

It will soon be time to bring in my houseplants and other tender things I've purchased over the season like my beloved polka dot begonia. I don't have a very good track record with houseplants. In fact for years I thought I had a black thumb because I had once underwatered an indoor cactus. Because of this, I assumed I would be a terrible gardener, but what I discovered was that I do pretty well with plants when they are outside, and mostly because I care about them more.

So I'm trying to care about indoor plants more, having realized that it really is nice to have some lovely green things inside during our long Portland Winters.

Here's my strategy...


1. Edit my plant collection. I know I only take good care of those plants that I really adore. Plants aren't forever. Just because you CAN overwinter a plant inside doesn't mean you have to. I'm trying to give myself permission to do away with things that just don't do well for me inside or that don't provide much pleasure. Kind of a cost benefit analysis. I threw a pathetic rubber plant into the compost earlier this Summer that had been on the brink of death for several years. It felt so good. Why we stayed in that abusive relationship for so long, I'll never know.

2. Once I have a collection of just those very prized plants that I know I love, make sure they have a spot to live that suits their personality AND that they are in a planter that I love equally. Time to upgrade from the chipped Ikea planters. I want to invest in a few new planters that really jive with my personal taste and decor. I know I love urn shaped planters, so I'm in the market for one of those. My chain of hearts plant could really benefit from a hanging planter. And some of my plants need a dedicated spot in the sunniest window, so I'm looking for a plant stand rather than the hodge podge of little tables I use now. I'm also looking at making a terrarium--I went terrarium crazy several years back when the trend took off and after a while I got sick to death of them and dismantled them but I'm craving another one now--just one extraordinary terrarium that can act as the star of the room.

3. Make caring for them easy and pleasurable with useful and beautiful tools. I think I want one of those plant misters. I love the idea of making a routine--maybe playing some loud Bach, tea in one hand and mister in the other, as I make my rounds around the house spritzing. Routines are good. And I'd like to have a row of small pots in the kitchen with parsley, basil, and maybe oregano. I think a copper tray lined with stones would be a great way to catch the drips when watering. I really hate having a bunch of little pots draining in my kitchen sink forever. And I want a drop-dead gorgeous watering can from Haws. Look how pretty that minty green and brass is--how could I NOT want to pick that thing up constantly? I'd also love a cold frame for outside where some of the plants that didn't make the final cut on Bria's Most Loved Plants list can still spend the Winter.


  1. It's nearly time for the annual pacific northwest plant migration! Maybe we could simply move to California. I like your ideas about editing the collection and making the chosen few glorious. I've started taking a few to work for the winter because there I'll see them daily and be sure to care for them. Good luck with your plan!

    1. California, here we come! I do dream about that a lot.

  2. Yes, having indoor plants in Portland is key for the winter months. I love my fiddle fig plant (although I killed the first one by over watering, but once I figured that out, it's been all gravy).

    Love those Succulents too. Such great colors.


    1. You have a fiddle fig plant, lucky girl? On my wishlist!


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