Ming Aralias ( Polyscias )

Ming Aralias is a very delicate, oriental looking plant. It can grow to four or five feet or it can be trimmed and kept small like a bonsai.

They want bright light and high humidity. I’ve had them grow just fine in low light and drier conditions, but you ‘ll get faster, healthier growth if you have it near an east or north window.

These can be grown in bogs, so it is OK to sit the pot in a dish of water ( ~1″-2″ deep ) as you would for a bog plant. The problem with sitting a house plant in water is bacteria. If you have your plant in water it is imperative you keep the water fresh. Do not let this plant dry out.

I find they grow slowly at first and pick up speed once they get comfortable in your home. This is a very low maintenance plant.

More Information:
Polyscias – Ming Aralias

How to remove a bird from your home

In the old house when a bird flew inside you could chase the bird into a room with a broom. You could then close the door, open the windows and go have coffee. When your coffee was done the bird would have flown out one of the open windows.

This house has an open floor plan. Three of the rooms have 20′ ceilings. Most of the windows are fixed. So the old plan wouldn’t work.

To make things more complicated the cardinal’s mate sat outside the window chatting with him. So he wasn’t about to leave the window.

Sister sent the following helpful message “Get the cat a bigger ladder”. That wasn’t helpful. Fred had already fallen off the ladder twice. The cats have already blown this years vet budget.

When we coaxed the cardinal to a lower plant shelf, Fred climbed up the ladder on to the shelf and decided it was time for a nap. Kazoo hid through the whole ordeal. So much for the cats chasing the cardinal out of the house.

I was able to borrow a pool net from a neighbor and we caught the bird, tossed a towel in the net on top of the bird to keep the bird in the net till we moved him outside. We were then able to bring the cardinal outside and let him go, apparently unharmed.

Jasmine ( Jasmine officinale )

Jasmine needs to be in a south facing window where it will get lots of sun. If you live in a place where winter strikes you’ll find it is difficult to get this plant all the light it desires in the winter. It is happiest in a sunny, drafty window.

The flowers are heavily scented and there are almost always a couple in bloom. What is nice is that they don’t fill the house with the scent you must be up close to the flower to catch a whiff of the scent. Flowers are usually white, occasionally yellow.

Keep the soil moist watering this plant does not like to be dry.

More information:
Simple regimen keeps jasmine thriving

How to get a bird out of your house

Fred helping

In the old house when a bird flew inside you could chase the bird into a room with a broom. You could then close the door, open the windows and go have coffee. When your coffee was done the bird would have flown out one of the open windows.

This house has an open floor plan. Three of the rooms have 20′ ceilings. Most all of the windows are fixed. So the old plan wouldn’t work. The cardinal’s mate sat outside the window chatting with him. So he wasn’t about to leave the window willingly.

Sister suggested getting the cat a bigger ladder. Fred had already fallen off the ladder twice at this point, but when the bird flew to the lower plant shelf, Fred climbed up the ladder on to the shelf and decided it was time for a nap. Kazoo hid through the whole ordeal.

I was able to borrow a pool net from a neighbor and we caught the bird, tossed a dish towel in the net on top of the bird. She was able to bring the cardinal outside and let him go, apparently unharmed. No thanks to the cats.

Nerve plant aka Fittonia

Fittonia is a native of Peru and loves moisture and warm temperatures.

I did every thing you could do wrong with this plant and still it thrived. I think as long as you give it high humidity and don’t let the soil dry out it will forgive anything else you might do to it. I’ve grown this one almost entirely under the table lamp in the parlor. It is in a north facing room that has a covered porch outside the windows and so it is a very dark room, and the plant is not even near the window. This will make a great office plant.

It is in a bowl with out drainage and likes being wet. It will die if the soil dries. Be sure to check it daily. If you find your fittonia wilted you did not water it enough. Sometimes if you water it and keep up the watering it will come back to life for you. But the recommended method is to grow it in well drained soil and water frequently.

This is a fast growing plant, it has doubled in size in the month since we acquired it. It will only get to about 6″ tall, new growth is spreading. It also works very well in hanging baskets.

Climate and weather information

During last week’s cold spell I found myself repeatedly checking forecasts hoping for a better answer. After all with weather forecasts, if you don’t like the forecast check back and it’ll change. They never did get to a pleasing state. Here are some useful weather sites for the Woodlands and Houston areas.

Climate Information, Houston has monthly averages, with days below freezing, about 90′, heating and cooling degree day information.

National Hurricane Center tracks hurricanes, maps, wind speed, landfall probabilities for all storms.

Harris County Flood Warning System has rainfall maps, including Montgomery and Fort Bend

Ferns

I killed off many of these before I got the hang of growing them. They do not like heat, nor do they like to have the soil be dry.

Soil should be kept moist. Do not let the soil go dry. Put the fern in the sink, let the water run over it. Once the water stops coming out of the bottom of the pot hang it back up.

They prefer it to be both cool and damp. So if you have a drafty window or door you can place the plant near it’ll be much happier. Or place it near your humidifier.

Light needs are minimal for ferns. They will be happy in a north or east facing window. Or you can place them in the interior of a well lit room. They are one of the few plants that can do well indoors away from a window.

Ferns are excellent plants for cleaning the air in your home.