Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Move Indoors Begins

Every year, when the first cool night is in the forecast, I begin to worry. As my collection of tropical plants has grown over the years, space in my apartment has not. I've brought home a passion flower and the third stephanotis vine I purchased this year (they grow perfectly well in the front windows of the Penthouse), and the tree ferns and elephant ears will come home with me as well. Everyone else, however, won't move far. Last year we made room in the smallest bedroom at my mom and dad's, and the south facing window was all they seemed to require to survive. This year I want to try to make them thrive.

First, however, I needed to clean them up. Better to make sure there are no hitchhikers on them before they move inside. I managed to move all of the citrus in today, as well as cleaned up all of the agave. I still need to decide where the birds of paradise will live, as well as the banana that I almost killed last year (which has grown back stronger than ever). But the jasmine, agapanthus, a larger passion flower, the fig trees, and the scented and common geraniums will all find a place in the house. Sorry mom and dad!
The locust trees have wasted little time dropping their leaves.

The little leaves get wedged deep in between the leaves of the agave. The spines of the agave don't make it very easy to get them out. This variegated agave should be repotted, but I might just top off the soil and wait until the spring. All of the agapanthus, like the one on the right, will also need to have all of the leaves removed.

This was the first summer for this alocasia. He will be easy to move home to the corner of the Penthouse's living room.

This guy, smuggled back from Charleston, South Carolina, is a bit older and a bit bigger than when he moved outside this spring. Indeed, this guy is thriving. I'm glad I kept both in their plastic pots so they will just need to be lifted and hosed off rather than dug and replanted before coming inside. I forgot there are two other smaller elephant ears that I guess will move in with mom and dad.

Everyone gets two spray downs at least a week apart before moving day. I started last week, so everyone who moved inside today received shower number two.

Before spraying, however, each plant gets a thorough check-up. Almost everyone requires a little washing behind their ears, or between their leaves.

This weird, fuzzy kalanchoe beharensis is moving to the Penthouse. It's also called the "Fang" plant because of the little "fangs" on the underside of the leaves. They will grow 3-5 feet, and hopefully this one will eventually be a centerpiece to a planter in the summer.

A little plantlet has already begun to grow as well, so I'm hoping this new addition will do well over the winter.
The last agave gets hosed off and cleaned up of dead or broken leaves. The agave are pretty resilient and do fine being overwintered indoors. I've always wanted one of the giant blue agave, but I might have to wait until we have a bit more room.
Or a greenhouse.