Confessions of a Houseplant Killer

Discussion in 'Houseplants' started by Droopy, Nov 12, 2021.

  1. Droopy

    Droopy Slug Slaughterer Plants Contributor

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    Yes, I am a houseplantkiller. I kill houseplants on a regular basis and I get upset every time a plant dies. I try my best, I do! But then I either water to little or too much, or I give them too little or too much food or light, or I fail to see the pests that are killing them. So I have decided to not buy potted plants anymore. But Tillandsia! I can buy more air plants. They seem to like me. I have managed to get two to bloom and several to sprout pups. I am also trying to propagate the Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish moss). It drops a thread of beard now and then and I'm collecting them and caring for them until there are enough to gather in a bunch.

    Our Tillandsia get a weekly bath during growing season in a bowl with water drawn the day before to get the right temperature. I drop them in and give them a thorough dunking for a few hours. Every fourth week I put a few drops of fertilizer in their bath water. I give them a monthly-ish bath during autumn and winter, depending on their needs, and no fertilizer.

    I take care to let the Tillandsia drain off after their bath before putting them back in the window sill box. The T. usneoides suffers the fate of hanging in the bathroom overnight to avoid getting the livingroom curtains wet.

    I have several different species and I am not certain about most botanical names but I love them anyway. Mostly because they actually stay alive in my care.

    Here are some:

    Our two T. usneoides are hanging from hooks in the windows. They seem to like the direct sunlight (when we have sun) and have grown very long:

    usneoides.jpg


    T. xerographica can grow to be about one meter in diameter and I hope it does! went searching for the perfect branch on our hazel "Contorta" to best display it:

    chrysographes.jpg


    T. caput-medusae started blooming for me this spring. The mother plant dies after blooming (like all Tillandsia) but it has three pups and I'm a happy granny:

    caput-medusae.jpg

    This is how I grow them. I've put them in two black trays filled with white gravel and sand and I feel they look good like this:
    Overview.jpg

    Airplants FTW!
     

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  3. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    oh dear Droopy... the plant killer. don't sweat it. enjoy what you do get to grow. even air plants.
     
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  4. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Super-dooper.
    I always thought that you had supernatural powers. You have such a talent with those air plants. Who knew. Chapeau.
    How long did you say you have been growing them?
     
  5. Tetters

    Tetters Seedling

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    Cor, I quite fancy growing one of those Tillandsia jobs Droopy - I'm also quite good at killing the plants indoors. They usually get forgotten as there is so much to deal with outside.
    You could wear one of those as a wig...[​IMG]
     
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  6. Tetters

    Tetters Seedling

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    Well, @Droopy you've really got me started now. First Tillandsias are ordered, and I can't wait to get started. Hopefully I can come to you with all my questions and problems. I also wondered about taking my orchids out of the pots and mounting them on logs.
     
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  7. cuatro-gatos

    cuatro-gatos In Flower

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    Droopy, your plants do look lovely in the white gravel, really shows them off.
     
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  8. Droopy

    Droopy Slug Slaughterer Plants Contributor

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    I do! They are fascinating plants. They're decorative and don't need regular care. If I forget about them one week they will survive until I remember them the week after.


    Well, thank you! My only superpower is to get into trouble in ways nobody would think anybody could mess up, but there you go. I bought the first ones from a local nursery almost two years ago, just to see what they were. When they thrived I sort of fell in love with them and bought some more. Then I bought a couple online from a nursery who specialize in rare houseplants. I have to stop buying them now. We have enough.


    That's what makes these special. They don't up and die because I'm busy outside. They just sit there, get a weekly or monthly dunking for a few hours depending on the time of year and that's it. No repotting, no watering every other day or artificial light to think about. As long as you don't buy those marked "experienced" mind you.


    Well done you! And no, you can't because I've only got the ones that are easy to grow. The ones that need special care are too much work. The only thing to remember is to not give them too much care. They might rot from too much moisture. The people in the shop I bought the first ones told me they just needed a spray of water now and then. That's misinformation. They need a thorough dunking now and then and they need to drain off on a towel before you put them back to wherever you want them. They are fun to grow, so good luck.

    Yes, I was thinking about doing the same with my orchids but then they died for some reason and I'm not getting new ones unless I get a heated greenhouse. Please post photos when you're done!


    Thank you! Since they don't need soil I thought this was a good solution.
     
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  9. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Oh Droopy—you made me laugh so hard there.
    I let my mind drift back, and I think of hosta’s.
    How are they coming along—do you have enough of those yet? ;)
     
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  10. Droopy

    Droopy Slug Slaughterer Plants Contributor

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    Good. We all need a laugh at times. Most of the Hostas are fine. I actually have enough unless I find a super special one. I worry about the Hosta Virus X as well, so buying from local nurseries are out of the question.
     
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  11. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Hosta virus X— that sounds ominous.
    Couldn’t they have thought of a better name.
     
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  12. Droopy

    Droopy Slug Slaughterer Plants Contributor

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    Yes, quite. Like "Ravaging Hosta Killer Pest" or "Contagious Hosta Disease Disaster" or something similar? It's a virus. They don't know all that much about it I guess, only that it spreads and kills your Hosta.
     
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  13. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Yeah, something like that.
    It sounds serious.
     
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  14. Droopy

    Droopy Slug Slaughterer Plants Contributor

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    Yup. I don't want it in my garden so I'm not buying new Hostas unless they come from nurseries that test their plants before shipping them. I know of two. There might be more but I'm not taking risks.
     
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  15. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    You are right to be careful. You have too much to loose by taking chances. Viruses are pernicious and difficult to control, they require excessive measures.
     
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