Thursday, March 24, 2011

amazing ficus

I'm itching to start digging and planting full-force in the garden, but it's a tad too soon here in Colorado. That's OK though because there's still plenty to do indoors with the Green Nation. My houseplants can definitely use a little TLC about now --  each one needs a shower in the kitchen sink, a haircut, a top-dressing with new soil, and a few dog food nuggets snuggled down a few inches in the soil. Yes, dog food -- as it decays, it releases its nutrients -- just make sure your dog doesn't see you do it! Or you could use diluted fish emulsion, but dog food doesn't smell.

This was a recent houseplant project. The goal was to root these ficus cuttings from a friend and pot them close enough to braid as they grow. I started out with four in case one didn't take.

Some people evidently don't use rooting hormone with ficus, but I had never rooted it before so figured I needed all the help I could get, plus we already had some. Moistened each cutting and dipped it into the rooting hormone.

Poked holes in the potting soil with a pencil and placed the powdered stems in the holes. Then I watered the whole business and placed it in a low-light situation. And forgot about it except when I watered it along with other plants. No special treatment whatsoever.

Six weeks later, I noticed new growth. So out came the fourth cutting and the first braid was begun. Amazing ficus!

Do you feed houseplants anything unusual? I'm collecting ideas.


helen said...

I used to be big into house plants, but not so much time for them now, but they do put oxygen into the air so I keep a few. Once or twice a year I feed mine cold coffee as it has nitrogen in it (or that's what I was told, and one always puts coffee grounds into compost for that reason I believe)) and I always use distilled water for watering. I do not like to add any unnecessary minerals (this I learned when I worked a year at a plant/greenhouse/florist).The guy I worked with said more plants were killed from salt in the water and other stuff or putting them on a surface that immits heat, i.e. t.v. set, table over heat vent, etc.than anything else.

woman with wings said...

You have some great tips -- I didn't ever even think of cold coffee, there's a little of that around here now and then -- and using distilled water, that's a good one, too. Thanks, Helen!

marilynfilipek said...

I always pour leftover tea into the soil of my houseplants too. I use tap water, but I let it sit in gallon jars so that the chemicals can evaporate before watering the plants. I heard lately that the chemicals do not evaporate, so who knows? I put most of my houseplants outside over the summer.

Velma said...

when i rinse out the milk carton, i pour the milky water into houseplants. they love it.

woman with wings said...

Marilyn, I use herbal infusion, too -- and as far as I know, chlorine does evaporate.
Our drinking water could be left out as well. Sometimes we treat our plants better than our animals and ourselves!

woman with wings said...

Velma, that's another thing I've never done before! It makes so much sense -- plants need calcium. Thanks!