Does being a good gardener mean you will be successful at indoor gardening too? I think in my case “enthusiastic” is a better description than “good”, but the question is the same. Can I be good at both? I know I don’t have the same enthusiasm for indoor plants that I have for outdoor plants. I find the plants in my garden extremely forgiving – if they are happy in their allotted spaces then occasionally forgetting to feed them or even skipping the odd scheduled watering, doesn’t seem to do them any harm. The occasional sad-looking plant will perk up again after getting a little attention be it a pruning, mulching or feeding after which it will soon reward me with lovely growth and blooms.
Not so the indoor plants. My track record is bad. In the last year alone I’ve managed to kill two orchids. In my defense, I did not buy the orchids. They were gifts. There should be a warning on my front door – “She kills house plants” or perhaps, “Houseplants enter at your own risk”. I can actually picture it, right below the “Beware of the dog” sign.
In my lifetime I’ve successfully nurtured only two house plants. One was a ‘delicious monster’ – it grew so massively big that I eventually had to give it away as it was taking over the entire living room in the small apartment I lived in some 20 odd years ago. The other was a tiny “love palm” that was given to me when my daughter was born. I semi-killed it a few times but for sentimental reasons I always tried to revive it and over the years it was even re-potted a few times. Due to neglect it stayed pretty small and finally moved to this house with us where it was stuck in a corner and forgotten about apart from the odd watering.
When Dexter (the dog!) arrived to live with us just over four years ago he, the rambunctious puppy that he was, very quickly found the little potted palm and decided it was a great thing to push-off its table and fling round … once too often and I took the poor unfortunate plant outside and planted it under the pepper tree where Dexter had no further interest in it. There was another already growing there. Both got cut to the ground two years ago when we redid the garden and now, amazingly, its grown very well out there.
Last week an Anthurium andreanum called out to me while I was browsing at the local nursery. I took it home, thinking that if the little love palm survived and thrived out back, surely this pretty plant would do quite well there. I googled “Anthurium andreanum” when I got home and stumbled on this post – Hooker with a Heart of Gold (Anthurium andreanum). It tells the story about how the writer in his time as a salesman at his local nursery had no problem selling these plants – 5 out of every 6 people would leave the nursery with one in hand … I thought the story was quite amusing and makes perfect sense to me. It’s hard to resist them. I didn’t even think about it – I saw it, placed it in trolley, paid, took it home. There was little thought behind this. It just happened.
But House Plant it is. Even in my wonderful climate I don’t think this one will make it outside. So I’m giving indoor gardening another try …