Category Archives for "Indoor plants"

Marimo Moss Ball Care

A Marimo moss ball is a cylindrical type of algae. They are very slow-growing. They grow about 5 mm a year. They can last for 100 years. In the wild, they can grow to as much is 12 inches in diameter. They are found in the northern parts of Japan in colder waters. That is the reason why a lot of people have a hard time keeping them. They are actually cold water algae. That’s why they don’t always do well in tropical fish tanks because the water is too warm. They prefer the water to be cold.  You should always use filtered water. Do not put them in direct sunlight. They do not do well in direct sunlight. Keeping them in direct sunlight will cause them to turn brown. They will also turn brown if the water is too warm.

I keep mine in a small bowl, and change the water every week or so. It’s also a good idea to stir the water every day with a wooden stick so that it will keep its round shape. In nature, it is moved by the ocean current, but since there is no current in your tank, you need to move it around every so often. It’s also a good idea to take it out and clean it every week, and squeeze it, and roll it around with your hands so I it will keep it’s shape.  I have also heard that people take them out of the tank, and give them a good cleaning in a    Tupperware bin.  Then they stick them in some dechlorinated water, and put them in the refrigerator for twenty-four hours. It’s really good for them, and makes them look really green. Another thing that I read online is that some people put in a little aquarium salt.

Marimos are the ultimate low maintenance pet. They are cute, and fun to play with, but require very little care. They make a great first pet for a child. If you do a search on YouTube you will find lots of videos about them.

Desert Rose Plant Care

I have read that desert rose plants are good for beginning gardeners, but that’s only true if you can provide for them the environment that they need. They are often sold as indoor houseplants, but it can be difficult to provide them with what they need indoors. I have three of them. One is doing great, but the other two are barely making it. They prefer extremely hot weather, and full sun. I find it very frustrating that I recently bought one that did not bloom, and when I called about it, then I was told about the need for full sun. One of my plants that is doing well has adapted to the conditions that I can provide, but many desert rose plants will not be able to adapt to the conditions that you have, so getting one for your home is kind of a gamble because you never know if it’s going to do well or not.

Desert rose plants are succulents. What makes them distinctive is that they develop a caudex, or swollen trunk.  All succulents have some kind of water storage system. In desert rose plants, the trunk swells to conserve moisture for times of drought. A thick trunk is an indicator of a healthy plant. A skinny one can indicate that the plant requires more moisture.

Desert rose plants are native to regions with poor, gritty soil, and a hot sunny climate. The plant will not grow well in soil that is too wet. If they are exposed to frost, they will not survive. The plant will not survive long in temperatures below 40°F, but will do well in temperatures up to 90°F. The key to getting them to flower is to provide enough sun. A window with the southern exposure will provide enough sun for some plants to flourish, and bloom, but in my experience, even such a window does not always work for such plants.

Desert rose plants grow best in dry conditions so you want a sandy, gritty potting mix that drains very fast. There are some good commercial brands available, designed especially for cacti and other succulents. Whitney Farms, and Nature’s are two of the brands that I read on the Internet are very good.

Overwatering will kill a desert rose plant quickly. Therefore, it is very important not to overwater them.   They are succulents but are used to rainy periods during which they grow, followed by a dormant, dry period. Match your watering practices to these needs for best success. Keep soil moderately moist in spring and summer, but reduce watering in fall and especially winter when the plant is dormant. Fertilize with a dilution by half of a 20-20-20 liquid plant food once per month when the plant is actively growing. Do not feed the desert rose during winter. The most common pests are scale, mealybugs and spider mites. Use cotton balls soaked in alcohol to wipe away these insects.

Be careful, as desert rose plants are in the Dogbane family, with all species producing a poisonous sap that can irritate skin and mucous membranes. If you need to prune them, be sure to wear protective gloves.

I got the information above from the website below.

Desert Rose Plant Info: Caring For Desert Rose Plants

A close up of my Ster Van Holland Amaryllis

Below, is a close up of my Ster Van Holland amaryllis. This one is nice because the photographer was able to do it in such a way that the background is not visible. This photograph was taken yesterday. The blooms on the plant are still there, but the blooms on the Pink Surprise have died. The blooms on my on my amaryllis plants do not last long at all. This one has lasted longer than usual. I heard that if you cut the stems, and put them in water, the blooms last longer, but I’ve never tried it.


My Daisy Tree


What is often called a daisy tree is a Marguerite that has been trained to grow as a single stem. Marguerites belong to the Daisy family and are perennials that grow in the form of a shrub. They are grown mostly in the southwestern United States. In 2 to 3 years, a seedling can be trained to grow like a tree. This can be accomplished by removing all the buds that form on the stem, and then pinching the top of the stem when it’s reached the correct height. By the second year the stem will have become brown and woody, and all of the growth will be pushed toward the top. To keep the shape, prune some stems back to the crown, and pinch alternate stems back by one-third to one-half. New stems will develop from buds remaining on the stems. Remove any buds that grow on the upright “trunk” of the plant.

Marguerites like full sunshine and regular watering during the summer, and greenhouse protection in the winter months. The tops are susceptible to frost damage and the entire plant will die if left outdoors when the weather gets cold. I read on the Internet, that it’s not a good candidate for indoor growing because the intensity of light during the wintertime is too low in the average household. The plants are great for seasonal color in the summertime, but unless you have a greenhouse, it will be difficult to keep it year after year. I have realized that people who try to sell these plants often fail to mention that they don’t make good houseplants. Both at the flower show, and also at a local garden center, I specifically asked whether this type of plant could live indoors, and at both places I was told that it could. This just goes to show that very often sellers will mislead you just to make a sale. This is why it’s often a good idea to do some research on a plant before making a purchase.

I bought the plant in the pictures above at Gethsemane Garden Center in Chicago for $24.99. I was told when I bought it that it would live indoors, but now based upon what I read on the Internet, I’m starting to doubt whether or not it’s going to live until next year. I don’t know if I will be able to provide it with adequate light during the winter months.

My purple-leaf Crinum is s starting to grow

I posted a question on Facebook about the name of the plant that I purchased at the Chicago flower show. It is called a purple-leaf Crinum. I planted it on Tuesday, and it is already starting to grow, but no leaves yet. I will post a photograph when the leaves start to come out.

I went back to the flower show on Sunday to look for a daisy tree

When I went to the flower show last Thursday, I saw a daisy tree that I liked, but I decided not to give it at that time. I always feel like an idiot when I do things like this. I decided on Sunday that I really wanted the daisy tree, so I went back to see if it was there, and they were all sold out! I’m going to order one from the shop that was there, but I was very disappointed because I paid money again to go in, and what I wanted was not there.

I bought another big bulb that’s going to grow into a big houseplant which I can’t remember the name at the moment, but I will post about it again later when the plant starts to grow. It’s going to have purple leaves, so I’m very interested to see what it’s going to look like. I already have one just like it that has green leaves.

Returning to my discussion about the daisy tree, I guess the moral of the story is when I go to the flower show, if I think I want to buy something, I should just buy it instead of waiting to think about it so I don’t need to spend all that money again just to go back and look for it. The Chicago flower show is great, but it’s incredibly expensive particularly for me because I have to go there with my caregiver, so I pay double every time I go. Also, as I mentioned before parking in the garage at Navy Pier cost $30, so that’s another big expense. If you love plants like I do, then it’s worth it, but I can certainly understand why a lot of people don’t bother to go there. The one good thing is that I am a member of The Chicago Botanic Garden, so I get a discount on the tickets. I know that this post is not very well organized, but I just wanted to get these thoughts down while they were on my mind.

The Chicago Flower and Garden Show

I went to the Chicago Flower and Garden Show yesterday, and bought three new amaryllises! Unfortunately, they’re just bulbs at the moment so I won’t have anything to show you until they bloom, but I will post pictures when they bloom. The show runs until Sunday. The tickets cost $20, and I paid $30 for parking, and $40 for the bulbs, so it was quite an expensive trip altogether. I bought the bulbs from Doornbosch Bros. They only sell wholesale to people who want to do fundraising for most of the year. The flower show is the only time that they sell directly to individuals. I really wish that they would sell to individuals more often. I really like their bulbs very much. I’ve been buying bulbs from them since 2015. It’s really hard for me to understand their business model. It seems to me that they could make much more money selling directly to individuals, but I guess not. I’m not really set up to be able to sell bulbs directly to people, so the whole wholesale thing doesn’t work for me at all. I have no use for buying bulbs wholesale at the moment. In any case, I think their bulbs are really great, so if you live anywhere near Chicago, you should definitely check out the show! It runs every year in March, so if you miss it this year, definitely check it out next year.

How to care for an Amaryllis



I really like Amaryllis because they are beautiful, and easy to grow, and they are one of the few houseplants that will produce beautiful blooms indoors! Also, they will bloom year after year if taking care of properly.

Choose the largest that you can find. They will produce more stocks and blooms than smaller bulbs. The larger the bulb, the more flowers it will produce. Bulbs should be firm and dry with no signs of mold, decay or injury. Very often you will see leaves, or buds growing from unplanted or planted bulbs. Select bulbs with bright green new growth and without visible damage. Some bulbs may have an offshoot growing from its base. This will eventually grow into a new bulb and can be removed and planted separately.

Amaryllis grow best in narrow containers. Containers may be made of plastic, metal, ceramic or terracotta.  Bulbs should be firm and dry with no signs of mold, decay or injury. Select a container that has one or more holes in the bottom and drains easily. Good drainage will minimize the chance of bulb or root rot (rotting from excess moisture).

The diameter of the pot should be about 1 inch wider than the widest part of the bulb and twice as tall as the bulb to allow space for good root development.

Fill the pot about half full with sterile, new potting soil high in organic matter such as peat moss. Set the bulb in the pot so the roots rest on the potting soil. The bulb should sit up above the edge of the container.  Add more soil, tapping it down around the bulb, until one-third to one-half of the bulb remains visible. Firm the potting medium around the bulb. Set the pot in a sink where it can drain freely and water until the potting soil is thoroughly moist. Allow to drain completely. Set the pot on a trade that will catch water, and find a sunny window for it.

Water the plant when the top 2 inches of soil feels dry, allowing the container to drain freely each time.

Do not let the plant to sit in water as wet soil can promote bulb and root rot and attract pests.

Fertilize amaryllis each time you water at half the recommended strength when new growth is visible (including on newly purchased bulbs). To promote blooming, use a houseplant fertilizer with a high phosphorus content. Fertilizer packaging always provides an analysis shown in three numbers such as 10-20-15. These numbers represent the percentage of each of three important macronutrients for plant growth: N (nitrogen) – P (phosphorous) – K (potassium). In this example, the fertilizer contains 10 percent nitrogen, 20 percent phosphorous, and 15 percent potassium.  Move the plant out of direct sunlight when the flower buds have begun to open.

The key to keeping Amaryllis alive for years is keeping the plant actively growing after they have finished blooming. After the flowers have died, cut them off to prevent seed formation. It will rob the plant of energy it needs to bloom the next year. Do not remove the flower stock until it has turned yellow. A green stem will continue to promote photosynthesis, which creates energy that is stored in the bulb for future leaf growth and flowers. If the bulb does not produce a flowering stalk in the next year, it is probable that the plant has not stored enough nutrients during the post-blooming period. Keeping the plant healthy and growing will promote blooming. After your plant has finished blooming, place it in a window that gets the most sun possible. It will continue to grow long, slender leaves. These leaves will aid the process of photosynthesis. Continue to water and fertilize the plant regularly with an all-purpose houseplant plant fertilizer. Most websites recommend placing the Amaryllis outdoors during summer, but I have no place toput it, and I have found that they will rebloom without being placed outside.

This information has been taken from the University of Minnesota Extension website. There is

more information on that website about repotting, and pests.

For more information, click the link below.