Indoor House Plants

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
2 weeks ago
1,956 posts

John, I think your mom's cactus can be given some slack considering our pandemic year. Everything is behind schedule, maybe the poor cactus is too! flower

Ken, I know what you mean since i lived in Puerto Rico for 13 years. Our neighbor had me over once and brought a night blooming cereus flower out of her fridge where she kept it at night- the perfume almost knocked you out! It was spectacular and strange. People keep many potted plants on their patios there. I always grew my own gandules (pigeon peas), passion fruit, quenepas... it's a whole different world in the tropics.

Dusty, maybe I'll take a pic of a pile of dirty laundry sometime- it could look like renaissance linen drapery! Would be an interesting project...finding the beauty in mundane things around the house. Did you know my mother was a photographer? It always annoyed me when she kept trying to take my picture when i was little.
The thing about photographing my plants is that they are always next to windows with light coming in- it makes it tricky to get a good photo without too much glare, unless I were to drag lights around which is too much bother.  lol




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 04/08/21 07:49:03AM
Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 weeks ago
1,417 posts

Strumelia, your house plants all look interesting and beautiful, but I also know you to be a superb photographer, so it could all be illusion. I am convinced you could take a picture of your dirty dishes stacked in the sink and it would like like a baroque sculpture.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 weeks ago
1,812 posts

We don't use pots much for plants except some orchids out by the pool and to start things like papaya seedlings and rooting  pineapple tops.  We've got bromeliads growing all over the yard.  Air plants on the trunks and branches of almost everything.  Night Blooming Cereus climbing the trunks of the laurel oak and mahogany tree in the front yard and mango tree alongside the house.  The neighbor across the street has a 20 ft tall Schefflera that blooms once or twice a year.    Most places Geraniums are annuals... here they're perrenials!

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
2 weeks ago
255 posts

My mom's Christmas cactus got mixed-up and started blooming at Easter!  Is that normal?  At least it was the other Christian holiday...

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
2 weeks ago
1,956 posts

Wanted to include a pic of the funny cactus in the kitchen. It started out when i bought it maybe 12 yrs ago consisting of three stalks about 8 inches high. Now it has reached the top of that window. The reason it's so tall and skinny is because it doesn't get full sun. Doesn't seem to care much though, it keeps growing cheerfully! That one i did repot about two yrs ago so it doesn't need it again for a while.

tall kitchen cactus Apr2021_1.jpg




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
2 weeks ago
1,956 posts

Here are the two beautiful Red Chestnut bromeliads in the living room I repotted two weeks ago. I pruned off about 20 lower leaves from each bromeliad so that I could more easily get them repotted. They will love their new orchid mix type soil. Isn't it magical how the sun glows burgundy through their striped leaves like stained glass?...

bromeliadsRedChestnutApr2021_repotted_1.jpg

Then here's the 40+ pound spiny cactus that I needed help from my husband to repot- what a monstrous job that was!
Thank goodness it may not ever need a repot again- that last time was 14 years ago! Here it is all happy in its new pot in the bedroom (that blue thingy is a humidifier we use during the winter with the dry house heat)...

dragonbone_Apr2021_repotted_2.jpg




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 04/07/21 06:24:47PM
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 weeks ago
1,956 posts

I have about six different house plants that I call the Elders ...I've had them for about 14 years. They are problematic to repot, either because they are large and fragile, and/or because they are cactus covered with sharp spines.

Three of the Elders I managed to repot about five years ago, and they'll be fine for a while yet before needing another repotting. But the other three had not been repotted in all those 14 years, and I really needed to stop putting it off.

Last week I bought the pots and various soil mixing ingredients I'd need to do the three plants and yesterday I spent much of the day repotting those last three big plants, with some muscle help from my husband.

The easier two Elder plants are matching "Red Chestnut" bromeliads in the living room window. They are each about 3 feet wide and 2.5 feet tall not counting their pots. They have no spines (thank goodness) but are easily damaged when moved around, and hard to hold and manipulate with all their fronds splaying out in all directions.
I managed to repot both of them thanks to the fact that they are not very heavy and also because I pruned a LOT of lower older fronds off before beginning the repot.
I found their roots were actually real small and the old soil was pretty useless. Being epiphytes, they don't actually need 'soil' per se anyway, and I set them up in some nice bark-y orchid mix in their beautiful new pots. I had them out on the lawn for this procedure, and sprayed them down with a gentle hose which removed old dust and probably hydrated them during the trauma. They do look sparser now what with my having pruned many lower leaves, but I think they'll do well once they settle into their new digs.  :)  They get watered by pouring water into their main cup 'leaf vase', not by watering the soil. But it's important the orchid mix is kept damp during the next few weeks while the plants are adjusting to the repotting stress, so their little roots don't dry up and die.

The last Elder repot job was the absolute nightmare project that I've put off for 14 years. This was the candelabra cactus (really a succulent) in our bedroom on a table by the window...that was now four feet tall and three feet wide with stiff branches all over the place and horribly painful nasty big thorns everywhere. We have some very heavy leather fireplace gloves like gauntlets, and the spines go right through those too if you don't also use a big towel. !  The other big problem was the sheer weight of the thing- in the pot the entire plant seemed to weigh about 50 pounds- I could barely heft it three inches off the table, much less carry it around.

I had a choice for this one- I could make it easier on us by drastically pruning the whole plant by a third or a half, but because the branches are all thick this would look like a real butcher job and it would kind of be a shame to ruin its spectacular look. OR, I could get my husband's help and try it without pruning. If the big branches started breaking when we manipulated it, I might have to just prune everything down anyway. 
More in the next post on how we managed to repot the huge cactus...




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 weeks ago
1,956 posts

Someone's a bit ...sensitive perhaps?  giggle2

Etsy seems to be a good place to order little rooted plants and cuttings from smaller garden sites and individual sellers. I'm still waiting another week til my 2nd covid vaccine protection kicks in... at which time I need to go to a big garden center and get some soil and pots for my repotting plans here at home.

Meanwhile, I succumbed to temptation and ordered three new baby plants from etsy sellers. 
I got a "string of turtles" plant (a 3" pot with several rooted stem cuttings planted in it). Also ordered two hoyas- I've never had hoyas before but I hear that folks get obsessed with them. They look cool and put out trailing vines. The two baby hoyas i bought were Hoya 'retusa' and Hoya 'pubicalyx royal Hawaiian purple'. The plants should all get here within the next ten days or so, and the forecast looks kind. I don't expect them to look like much since they are little cutting babies or just baby plants.
All three of these new plants are going into hanging pots in front of our kitchen window, and my office window. I have not had any hanging indoor house plants since we bought this house 18 yrs ago, so that should be interesting.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
4 weeks ago
184 posts

@Strumelia dared to say "I think dogs are dumber and will eat quantities of poison stuff.  (sorry, couldn't resist! lololol!)  "  Spoken like a true cat person as it reflects the opinion cats so often show.  Yeah, you better fit that emoji & duck!

(Tempted to add an emoji, but it would be a shame to start another Cat & Dog war.)

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,956 posts

I worried about my cats at first Lois, and that's actually why until recently I kept mostly cactus and spiny succulents, which the cats really avoid. However, a lot of those plants included in "poisonous" lists would have to be eaten in large quantity to cause any serious effect. And some of them just cause stomach ache or vomiting.
My cats will investigate a new houseplant but they just bite down on a leaf once or twice to test it, leaving pinholes. They don't seem at all interested in actually eating any leaves, and after one or two teeth tests they leave the plants alone. They've got better stuff to eat, plus they much prefer their catnip treats!

I think dogs are dumber and will eat quantities of poison stuff.  (sorry, couldn't resist! lololol!)  duck




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
one month ago
184 posts

Knowing how cats love to nibble plants, this is worth checking: Poisonous Plants to Dogs and Cats .  (Can't have cats anymore, but am grateful my allergies don't prevent me from visiting and enjoying them.)

I'd love to know the thoughts of the husky in the final photo as he's looking at a plant.  My own "malamutt" (husky/malamute) prowls for anything possibly edible when he comes in, but fortunately has never been interested in plants.  He's more likely to eat something on the trail.  He stops when I shout out, but catching him before going after something can be hard.  These types of dogs tend to POUNCE!

This almost fits the "Show Us Your Pets" forum, but figure it's worth checking before acquiring or choosing the spot for your houseplants.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,956 posts

Taking care of other living things like plants is good medicine for the soul, plus it's just plain 'good karma'.   :)

When I was a kid I couldn't get enough taking care of little pets, plants, insects, etc.  I think it helped make me into a kinder human. It's also a wonderful way to learn cool stuff about nature and science! 
I'm glad this year of quarantine has re-inspired my interests in indoor plants. Several of my indoor cacti/succulents I've had for 13 or 14 years, and a couple of them really deserve a repotting now. I have 16 plants in the house right now, and plan to revamp a couple of window areas to accommodate a few more, especially in my little upstairs office.

I've had many houseplants during my life, but this is my first monstera deliciosa. I'm so impressed, I've decided it should be crowned the Queen of Houseplants. It's majestic.  worthy

The white-variegated monsteras like the one shown in Lois' article can actually sell for hundreds of dollars these days for a good plant with lots of white patches or half-white leaves, and just a clipping of a good one can cost $50 or $100 or more. what
Luckily, I really like my all green one, I find the all green to be more visually serene and jungle like. Today it unfurled its very first leaf that has four splits on each side . (the leaves they produce will have more splits as the plant gets older... the baby monsteras often have no splits showing at all yet) Up til this new leaf, my plant's 'splittiest' big leaf had four on one side and three on the other. I still have to name this monstera. I think it's good to name the plants that are either big or have lots of character.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 03/19/21 07:58:15AM
Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
one month ago
1,417 posts

Thanks for sharing that, Lois.  I pointed out to my daughter that the title refers to "a" plant, not 15 of them.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
one month ago
184 posts

Here's an article titled "Why Your Kid Needs a Plant" https://offspring.lifehacker.com/why-your-kid-needs-a-plant-1846503714?utm_source=lifehacker_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2021-03-18 & I do believe the child in the photo is next to a Monstera.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,956 posts

Just got my 2nd covid vaccine the day before yesterday. I can't wait for two weeks from now when i will feel 'safe' enough to go to the big garden store. (in a mask of course)
I really want to repot several of my larger older house plants, and I need certain soil mixes and some bigger new pots for them.
For a whole year I have not gone shopping anywhere except for essentials like food or getting my car inspected, etc.  Soon I will feel safe going to a store for something fun!   dancetomato

During this year of quarantine I have learned to appreciate the smaller things in my life that bring joy. One of those things has been a new appreciation of the living plants growing in my home.  love




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,956 posts

If a teenager's room looks more like a rainforest cafe than a landfill, I'd say you are really really lucky. bigsmile

A truth: If any sunlight is coming in through a window and landing on any horizontal surface- the floor, a chair, a table... there will be a cat on it, rolling around or 'meatloafing'.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
one month ago
1,417 posts

Bubbles already had two sections of a friend's monstera rooting in water, which is how we knew she wanted one.  Her bedroom is looking more and more like a rainforest cafe.

Your cat seems to enjoy the monstera and the sunlight.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,956 posts

Oh wow, Dusty- I bought two large plants a month ago- one a dark burgundy rubber plant, and the other a big monstera deliciosa (common name is split-leaf philodendron). The monstera seems to be the "it" plant this year, replacing the fiddle-leaf fig in top popularity.

The good news is that being a philodendron, the monsteras are pretty adaptable to varied conditions. The biggest danger is in not having a well drained pot, which will cause root rot. If it drains well, the plant will tolerate low-to-high light, and varying amounts of watering.
I have not fed mine at all yet, and it has produced several large new leaves in just the first month. I can see this plant is going to grow FAST. They tend to try to vine and you can either stake the branches up as they get long, or chop off sections to root in water and give to friends to plant.  :)   These are large tropical plants that are very gratifying to watch as they unfurl giant new leaves!

Here is mine in my office, right next to me as i type:

monstera.jpg




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
one month ago
1,417 posts

My daughter just got a very large monstera deliciosa for her birthday.  She is so excited.  It was not inexpensive.  Hopefully she can keep in alive.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
one month ago
184 posts

I remember sitting at a light in California's Silicon Valley and wondering what were those bushes of flowering plants.  They were geraniums!!!  Ever since I find our northern pots of geraniums too puny.

(My mom was one of those who loved to identify plants and birds.  Years later, as a children's librarian I re-discovered When the Root Children Wake Up.  Audrey Wood wrote this classic in 1941.  Nowadays there are new illustrations, but either way it's a great way to introduce children to knowing plants.)

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,956 posts

omg   biglaugh




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
one month ago
1,417 posts

That's funny, but you have to quickly change the subject before you are asked to ID any other plants.  Many years ago I had a friend who was an expert in native Californian plants. We would go hiking and she would spend the whole time identifying plants.  Maybe in the two years we were together I learned three plants.  But there have been a few moments similar to Randy's in Mexico when in a group of people I was able to say something like "what a nice example of a zauschneria californica" to the amazement of those in attendance.  And yes, I then quickly changed the subject: "How about them Cornhuskers?"




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,956 posts

That's funny Randy.  ;D   Yeah sometimes a subject will come up with plants or animals where i coincidentally just happen to know some exact obscure factoid that's being discussed... it can be very impressive, and so fun when that happens.  grin




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Randy Adams
Randy Adams
@randy-adams
one month ago
89 posts

My wife had a Bougainvillea houseplant and set it outside in the summer. It did well and I took a casual interest in it and we would talk about it occasionally.

I was in Mexico with friends and we would walk to breakfast. The first day I noticed a Bougainvillea plant climbing a fence beside the road. A few blocks long.

The second day someone said look at that beautiful plant on the fence wonder what kind it is?

Nobody spoke up so I said "it's a Bougainvillea".

I felt so knowledgeable!.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,956 posts

True, Ken! Indoor plants are a tonic for the soul in the middle of cold bleak grey winters of non-tropical areas. I remember when i lived in Puerto Rico i did not bother much with indoor plants- it was far easier to just have them out on the 'balcon' or in the yard. 
When i was a child in NYC, like most bohemians my mother would plant leftover avocado seeds and we'd marvel at our resulting two foot tall avocado 'tree'. I couldn't believe the gigantic avocado trees in PR!  eek




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
one month ago
1,812 posts

One of the things I love about living here in SW Florida is that what Northerners keep as house plants down here are yard plants.  We have a Schefflera across the street that is 20+ feet tall, 75 ft tall ficus, and air plants bigger than basketballs among other good "indoor" plants.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,956 posts

Lois, I know a little something about houseplants, but I'm certainly no expert. I know nothing about crotons. Misting is good for some plants and not good for others, so you'd have to look that up. I've found it soooo useful to punch up searches on Youtube like "care of philodendron", "care of rubber plant". You'll find great tips on caring for specific plants that way... plus some of the vids are fun to watch!
I do know that it's generally advised to not repot a plant for a month or two when you get it- to allow it to settle first from the shock of moving to a new location.  




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 03/09/21 05:10:50PM
Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
one month ago
184 posts

Quick Dumb Question:  It sounds like spraying might fit this plant giving it a daily mist.  Does that make sense.  This plant is very tiny in a tiny plastic pot sitting in the scooped out area of the previous plant's dirt.  I see the tiniest of roots trying to stick out of one hole.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,956 posts

Ah, well the usual advice given for that double-pot situation is that you water it thoroughly like once a week or so, let it drain for a few minutes and then dump the excess water out of the outer pot... so that the potted plant is never in standing water. Think of the outer pot (with no hole) as simply a way to protect your table rather than being a water reservoir. Waterlogged soil is deadly to houseplants. I learned only recently that roots need air as well as water, otherwise they start to rot.  Just like us I guess!

Yeah it's funny but all plants do have a life span. And it's amazing how you can make new baby plants from offshoots, splits, and cuttings.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 03/08/21 08:05:04PM
Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
one month ago
184 posts

It is indeed cute.  I, too, had a planter I bought a while back & knew it was over-crowded.  The hardier ones have started taking over the spaces left by the ones never meant to be bunched in there.  I guess it all comes down to learning what works and what doesn't.  I need to double check the drainage on my Croton.  For now it's in its tiny original pot inside the bigger pot.  Made copies of the 2 pages about what it needs & how to troubleshoot it.

I also read about that Kalanchoe (which has a ton of common names!) &, unless I had tried to start cuttings, it lasted about the normal lifespan. 

Maybe I'll stop saying "Plants quake in fear when they see me coming."

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,956 posts

Lois good luck with your new croton plant! They are really colorful, especially if they get sun. Make sure its pot can drain any excess water so there's no chance of root rot. I think they like slightly moist soil but never waterlogged.

Here's a very little (2" diameter) Bishop's Cap cactus I've had for about four years now. It was crowded in a pot with several other succulents in a too-cool room with north light. Somehow it survived, but i just disassembled that pot and gave the little cap a new pot of its own and put it in nice warmer spot with more light. I hope it wont be too shocked by the change.
So cute the way it spirals at the very top like a dim sum dumpling...

IMG_0073.JPG




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 03/08/21 07:51:41PM
Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
one month ago
184 posts

UPDATE: The "non-astilbe" was a Kalanchoe or "Widow's Thrill."  It looks like at times I may have over-watered it.  Was tempted seeing the cheery yellow blooms, but once the one I had stopped blooming roughly 2 years ago it never did again.  Went with a very tiny but colorful Croton.  Maybe I'll even talk to it.  It certainly will get more attention by the kitchen sink.

Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
one month ago
184 posts

The non-astilbe is now gone.  In its final days there wasn't enough left to identify unfortunately.  I could swear I went online for that ages ago, but putting in the name of Astilbe the other day sure wasn't the little yellow flowers I saw initially.  I can try to prowl again, but looking for it at the greenhouse may be easier.  Two years after reading about plant life makes me think I may have had a plant with just that lifespan.

Repotting?!?  YIKES!

Your bonsai sounds great but beyond me if I have any pity on that sort of house plant.

Just looked again at the email from the local greenhouse.  The 25 % off ends after today.  Even with further reductions I expect the selection really dwindles.  Today is take my Malamutt to the Dog Park day, too.  <sigh!>  We'll see if I manage both.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,956 posts

Now you can simply call that plant "The non-astilbe", Lois.  lolol If you could attach a photo of it here, I 'might' be able to recognize what it is.

Your mandevilla- if it's an outdoor plant likely needs to be semi dormant during the winter. If so, then don't over water, feed, or repot it until Spring. If it starts putting out lots of new baby shoots soon, then would be the time to repot it - maybe just into the same pot but with some fresh soil and a slight root trimming.

I got my ginseng ficus bonsai in the mail a couple days ago. It was well packed and with tons of insulation, and only one tiny leaf broke off in transit, and it did not seem to suffer any frost. Amazing!

What funny little 'tree'. It's got bulbous ficus roots, with little branches from a different species of ficus grafted onto the roots (to make sure it has small leaves). Reminds me of those spooky Mandrake roots, or some fertility goddess. It's not technically considered to be a 'real' bonzai, but it's fun and easy for amateurs to keep alive. The upper branches and leaf canopy is what will grow bigger now mostly, and I'll need to give it a haircut now and then. The roots will grow way more slowly than the top leafy part.
It came planted in a very nice 8" long cream colored glazed bonzai pot. You're supposed to place the pot on top of a wet bed of pebbles to create a little extra humidity near the plant. I had a blue and white Chinese platter that seemed to do the trick temporarily. It's got a bunch of teeny tiny baby leaves sprouting out all over top, so that makes me glad.  kittydance
Here it is by my desk window...

IMG_E0129.JPG




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
one month ago
184 posts

Mandevilla is indeed an outdoor plant.  Each year I have 2 at the entrance to our house and 1 in the sun room (which is unheated, so normally the plant dies off.)  This year I brought the sun room plant in and have it by the sliding glass door to the sun room with a light (can't be sure if it's a grow light or an aquarium light as it's quite old from sitting in our basement) suspended from the curtain rod over the sliding glass door.  I keep the curtains open and it lit until 8 p.m. & have been learning to judge watering by the leaves.  Some of those leaves got slightly freezer burnt when our temperatures went around zero.  I also had been rotating it whenever I watered, but stopped that a month or so ago.  Even under ideal summer conditions it's a plant that does a regular job of dropping off leaves no longer functioning.  I've learned to help that along so those don't block the light of the active leaves.  Today I notice some of the vine-y stems I might have cut off, but just wasn't sure, have tiny sprouts!  I really am getting hopeful I'll have this plant able to get back to the sun room and blooming again.  When I brought it inside there still were blooms, but I was hopeful this was just a time for it to recuperate and lay low.  The local plant expert said it needed lots of light and water.

All in all it may call me a liar for my claims of how awful I am with plants.

The astilbe was a tiny blooming plant given 2 summers ago when my husband was in the hospital.  It had cheery little blooms and it took it a while, but it's now definitely gone. 

I've been looking at a few library books on houseplants, no astilbe.  Just put the name in and searched.  WELL!  That's not the plant I had.  Dunno what it was at this point.  One thing I noticed is some plants' lifespan and maybe I should tell myself this one matched.  Still I know I was pretty awful with it.

Have been paying particular attention to plants matching my non-astilbe's conditions.  Don't want anything too big as it must share the counter space.  Your snake plant gets lots of recommendations for the very reasons you mention.  If I could just let myself enjoy it for its leaves and ignore its name <YECH!> Something reminded me to look further.  It's also called Mother-in-Law's Tongue, so I might consider it.  The book says it's often described as indestructible.  Don't think I want the full-sized version in that location, but there are dwarf forms half the normal size -- if I can get them.

To show you the level of my confidence with plants, I have read about  two or possibly three plants that might work in the place of the non-atilbe.  The book giving specifications is The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual; Essential Know-How for Keeping (Not Killing!) More Than 160 Indoor Plants.  Looking at the plants, I've had (& eventually killed) I'm considering a Croton (also called Joseph's Coat) but maybe in this window where I see it more often it will do better.  I know I really like its brightly colored leaves & so it would be a plus.  I wouldn't even mind re-potting it in future years (the book is aggravatingly big on that!).  Two green plants are a jade plant (did I ever have one?) or an aloe which I know I had at one time, also the aloe seems to need more light, so maybe better skipped.

I know I'm not hopeless.  About 3 years ago a co-worker had a humongous spider plant she needed to give away.  I took it with the agreement she'd never inquire after it.  Some of it has gone, but still have some doing quite well even with a baby spider.  It's in a room where I catch it when some leaves shout out for water.  Similarly there's another room where I water when the spider plant gets watered.  Some things survive there, too.  Right now the Mandevilla gives me hope I'm not a serial plant killer/torturer.  I don't dare get cocky about that, but remember the plant expert I asked originally about it sounded like it was very unlikely it would survive through the winter.

The local supplier of all things green and growing has 25% off right now on houseplants.  Just want something fairly indestructible and able to fit the little pot and spot where the non-astilbe sat.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
2 months ago
1,956 posts

Lois Sprengnether Keel:Right now I'm wondering what might replace an Astilbe that has finally almost surrendered to my "care."  It took 2 1/2 years, but this plant on my kitchen counter gets some light, but not enough to be truly sunny.  My watering tendencies also are sporadic. 

Lois, it occurs to me that a snake plant (SANSEVIERIA) sounds like it might be just the thing for your low-ish light counter.  It's fine with erratic watering schedules, like to dry out sometimes completely. Loves the sun but survives just fine in low light too. It gets tall and elegant and puts out lots of leaves and 'pups' to give away, but won't take up lots of horizontal counter space. It's not very expensive, and there are many beautiful different varieties of sansevieria to choose from. Look up some google pictures of snake plant varieties.

I have a nice unassuming snake plant that loves it on my low light desk next to my computer- I bought it cheap at the supermarket about 6 months ago, and it's been putting out several healthy new spears: