Bringing out the dead

The New Year gave me the courage to finally face what’s going on in my indoor basement garden: a whole lotta death. (And to return to this sadly-neglected blog, a victim of getting too busy with other foolishness and the inevitable onset of general winter gardening blaaaahhhs.)

Today, I went about the sad but necessary task of tossing out some friends who have failed to thrive inside. Out with the old…

The complete failure of many of my basement plants could be because I never really, uh, researched the whole legit grow light set-up and just hoped my basement florescent would provide enough “sun.” Or because that evil diseased sweet potato vine (far left, above) poisoned the neighborhood with its mysterious bugginess. Or because, as some lovely folks have suggested, most annuals JUST DIE in winter, despite food and water and lights and warmth and my sincere hopes. (A generous view, I like that one best.)

Whatever the reason, the report card ain’t pretty.

Coleus farm: FAIL. I thought some of the stems in my ingenious contraption were thriving.

But on closer inspection, they’re all dark, rotting and slimy. Many leaf tops shriveled and dried up, leaving the stems to fall through the holes and float in the water like dead bodies. I am not sure why these stems failed to thrive, like the happy cuttings still growing roots in glass bottles on my kitchen window sill. Lack of real sunlight?

The giant, lush wax begonia I revived from the dead this summer now looks like this. Since one stem seems to be clinging to life, I pinched it waaaaaaay back and set it next to its smaller friend, which — for some inexplicable reason — looks fine. Mysteries…

Most of my favorite coleus have died (boo), leaving just the speckled, more stemmy varieties, which are doing OK. I have no idea why some folks are doing fine in the basement and others crapped out early.

I should mention that another Coleus plant (non-speckled, also brought in from outside in fall) is doing well in a window upstairs. Again… real sun?

In my disappointment over my failing “wintering over annuals” experiments and coleus propagation, I turned to houseplants for some comfort today. That may just be where it’s at this winter, after all.

This amaryllis looks ready to shoot up, despite the fact that I ignored it for a full year, leaving it root-bound and dry in a too-small planter. I transplanted it to the (thoroughly cleaned!) planter where the sweet potato vine used to live. It will be interesting to see if it blooms this winter, like it’s supposed to. Those shoots look hopeful.

In other good news, this little succulent I bought at the flea market last summer is going gangbusters after coming in off the sun porch. I upgraded its home and even made a little baby with a stem. We’ll see if it grows… (I really hope the move does not hurt it. I have grown pretty attached to my succulents.)

I am hoping the new year breathes some new life into my plants and reignites my inspiration. It’s gonna be a long winter… and we’re just a few months in. Here’s to hoping at least a few plants survive me!


About plantkiller

Paysha Rhone is a wife, mother, former-journalist-turned-PR-maven and bad mamajama killing plants in the Victorian splendor of Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
This entry was posted in Keep hope alive, Making do indoors, Wallowing in death and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Bringing out the dead

  1. Autumn says:

    Happy New Year! Good luck with the amaryllis! I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to get mine to rebloom for 5 years now. They always grow back, full of leaves, but I have yet to get a second bloom off a bulb. (not to be Debby Downer here!)

  2. Nicole says:

    We wintered a plant in the basement 3 seasons, in a spot where the sunlight can reach. It made it through 2 winters, getting progressively (digressively?) smaller each winter. The final winter killed it off. You definitely need grow lights if you want them to thrive!

  3. plantkiller says:

    Yeah, I am sure you’re right. I need to get serious about this… but energy and time and everything else seem to be in short supply lately! Boooo to winter gardening.

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