Back in November – yes, November – I left for Cedar Key, FL and left my 30+ houseplants behind not-to-die and not in anyone’s care. I set them up with water and had many pep talks before saying good bye and good luck. We shut down our house – drained the pipes, turned off the heat, etc. I returned March 20th at 3 am. Did they make it?
Well, yes, and no. Yes, they had sufficient water and I believe sort of went into a dormant state because of low light levels. There was also a glitch – the heat didn’t actually get turned off … until our propane ran out. No, because unbeknownst to me this winter would decide to freeze below the safe zone of our frost line. (My experiment relied heavily upon the fact that my plants were stored in our cellar below the frost line.)
My orchids are black.
The orchids I won’t give up hope on – they may send up a new shoot like this one that traveled to Florida with me (with the hope of finding a new home, but that didn’t work out). I scorched it in my new greenhouse – it was black, too. But a few months in the sunshine state and look (below)! I stick to my story that orchids are tough, tough plants.
My Jade and aloe (Medusa) were mush. I took a few cuttings of the Jade that looked okay (but aren’t looking good now) to start a new plant. I was deeply saddened about the Jade – I would have thought it to be one of the hardier plants.
I also saved a few parts of Medusa – she may make a comeback. I am saddened about her, too – she was so glorious.
My Rosemary is petrified. I declare it dead. It isn’t the first Rosemary I’ve murdered.
So, what is the tally?
VOTED OFF THE ISLAND:
Peace lilies (although I cut these back and will give them a few weeks to see if there is any new growth)
Begonias (same treatment: cut back, wait and see)
Spider plant (same, also saved a cutting to try to root)
SURVIVOR RUNNER UP
Succulents (not pretty but hopeful for a comeback)
Orchids (Comeback remains to be seen.)
Terrariums (Alive but ugly – that’s okay, I’m going to whittle down to one gorgeous terrarium.)
Rubber Tree (Still drooping but has leaves – hopeful.)
Shamrock (I always cut this back when I bring it indoors/outdoors summer and it always rejuvenates.)
Shefflera (Damaged, but I think it will be okay! That’s it below next to the Norfolk Pine.)
Norfolk Pine – Looks gorgeous!
Christmas (Easter) Cactus – blooming!
I believe all of the damage to be frost bite. Next trip perhaps I can rig up some type of heat source or find a heated area to store what remains of my plants. The watering system of both ceramic spikes and simple strips of cotton fabric worked wonderfully. All the pots had adequate moisture in the soil, that is why I’m hopeful for a few comebacks.
In conclusion, I will not be buying any more houseplants. I will buy plants that can go dormant, however. The canna lily bulbs all look good and I’ll be soaking them in water and potting them up soon to get them going again.
Thanks to all of you who sent good wishes to my plants. I need to give some of them a little more time before declaring the experiment a failure. It wasn’t a total failure but I’m not thrilled with the success rate either. Think green!