Wednesday Vignette – the houseplant conundrum

Bromeliad and Adiantum microphyllum

Okay, so it’s November 19th, and I still haven’t gotten all of my houseplants moved inside. Bad Anna… We had some icy winds a couple of weeks ago, which did this to my beloved Fuchsia speciosa:

Frozen Fuchsia speciosa

Strangely enough, though, the houseplants in pots seem to have weathered that dip in temperatures better than the Fuchsia in the ground. Microclimates sure are fascinating. It’s fair to say that the fern (Adiantum microphyllum) and the NOID bromeliad are in a very protected spot, but still… I honesty would have expected them both to look somewhat disturbed by now, given what they have been through. Maybe it’s a matter of delayed reaction? As in, when moved indoors, will they just melt?

We have such a dark house that I end up keeping most of my houseplants under lights up in the uninsulated attic, where I rarely get to enjoy them anyway. This is the main reason I have stalled on the transfer. Life with me is difficult under the best of conditions, but they really suffer horticultural hardship inside our house. This year, I’m tempted to see if at least the toughest of them will survive in the garden shed instead. I power washed the clear plastic roof earlier this summer, and the rest is pretty much all cobbled-together windows, so the light is great. It’s essentially an unheated greenhouse. The problem is, I don’t really know which ones can handle colder temps if kept out of the elements, without doing a bunch of research. It might be easier to just bring them inside. Should I even bother with the Abyssinian banana  (which is pretty much to be considered as an expensive annual) if I don’t? Decisions, decisions…

Anyway, my big infatuation this week is the dainty little Adiantum microphyllum. Planted in the same pot as that fab bromeliad pictured above, it has done remarkably well outside – in a pretty dark spot, mind you. It has filled out and is draping its flowy fronds next to a much hardier Fatshedera. Wherever it goes, it will have to go with its buddy B. Not sure I want to take a chance with either of the two – I love them both. Today is the day, as night temps are dropping toward the end of this week. I think I’ve pushed them hard enough already.

Fatshedera and Adiantum microphyllum



About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
This entry was posted in Wednesday Vignette and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – the houseplant conundrum

  1. Tina says:

    The Adiantum microphyllum is a beauty and paired with the bromeliad is a real winner. You’ve really had a cold fall, yes? Even we’ve had a couple of light freezes, but the only thing to suffer was my basil–should have trimmed it for pest ahead of the cold. My bad. Thanks for hosting, here’s my WV for the week:

    • annamadeit says:

      Yeah, I would hate to lose either of them. It has been colder earlier this year, but other than that windy cold spell over a few days, it has actually held rather steady far above freezing. I think I scraped the windows of the car 2-3 times, so far. It’s been awfully dry, though, but that too is consistent with other falls – at least early on. I keep waiting for colder days to come, though…

  2. Alison says:

    I’ll be curious to see whether the Fuchsia survives. Do you remember the cuttings you made for me when I visited? Three of them are thriving inside my greenhouse, and I’m so thrilled, so thank you for that! Is there any way you can get an electric cord to reach into the shed so that you can set up a heater in there for overnight? Or maybe a little propane heater? I’m sure all your plants will be happier with more natural light.

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh that’s great, Alison! Hooray, and well done! I already do have an electric cord in there. In the past, I’ve only used old incandescent light strings to heat the space up, but my subjects haven’t been as tender. These two might warrant the heater you suggested. I might still have to do some sorting according to hardiness first. I worry that these two might not make it if it dipped far below freezing. Even with a heater… Oh well, today is the day to decide!

      • annamadeit says:

        Oops – Alison – forgot to mention that my Fuchsia speciosa has made it through a winter already. It took a long time to emerge in spring, but I think that’s normal behavior. I will give it some extra mulch this year. Would hate to lose that too. It had a glorious run this year!

  3. I hate that process of trying to decide what’s best for the plant and fearing that you’ll err on the wrong side. Lucky for me I was concerned the forecasters knew what they were talking about back when temps were predicted to fall into the high 20’s (which didn’t materialize) and so all of my tenders are all ready tucked away.

    My WV takes us back to Cali in the springtime…

  4. Kris P says:

    I’m SO glad I don’t have to worry about freezes in my climate. On the other hand, I’ve a hard time growing things like your pretty fern here. I published a WV yesterday evening but neglected to link back until now:

  5. That’s an Adiantum? At first glance I thought it was a Corydalis.

  6. tonytomeo says:

    Under lights in an attic?! That’s dedication. If I had to put that much effort into growing something. I wouldn’t. A few plants that I brought from Los Angeles grew as big houseplants in my former home. They were rather undemanding.

    • annamadeit says:

      Well, I managed to get them all under cover. I left several in the shed/greenhouse, and so far, they look alright, despite several nights with low temps in the 20’s. This will be an interesting experiment. The light is definitely better… Fingers crossed!

Leave a Reply to Tina Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s