Issues With Raising Plants

MileyMorkie

In the summer of 2018 I was into gardening. I did start to fade out of it once high school rolled around. But I did get succulents on my 16th birthday and so far my plant knowledge is good but my own I suck. This also goes for aquarium plants. I have worked with seedlings since the dawn of my interest. I planted apple, American and Brandon elms, grass/wheat, and green ash. When I stopped raising plants my saplings had kept dying (motive points -3), I had way too many for my own good (motive points -1) and I got fungus fly larvae in my favourite or oldest sapling pots. I still am working with fish so like I'm going anywhere but to have a little more life would maybe please me. I think a lot of issues I faced were of the following; unsafe plastics (I was using just about anything), unsafe material of spray bottle, chlorinated water, cotton/paper as substrate, no sunlight (I had a curtain pinned over my window), and of course how often I transplanted them. I did remove that curtain a month ago.
If a plant is only obtainable via wild or market I will buy or uproot it. The problem is plants cost a lot, are exclusive to the seasons, outdoor only, or are just straight up fussy. Orchids are one of the newest species of plant on earth, algae is one of the oldest.
I really don't know how to cook soil so if you know how please tell me.

For soil I might try some odd amount of saw dust, draining base (via face wipe cloths used for acne, and rocks or glass), sunlight, aquarium water. This is a thread I will need a lot of conversation in because there is so much I need assistance with.
How do I keep an uprooted plant alive in water for say a week?
What plants don't need a lot of light (like grove/forest floor stuff)?
Are succulents and/or cactI easier than other house plants?
Is it worth putting aeration into the water that a plant is sitting in? Like ones waiting to be planted.
Will lambs ear be ok indoors?
Plants that will thrive in dry climate and zone 4a?
What plants will be fine in alkaline soil or in this case clay soil? We don't have sand soil in our town.
 

JessicaSwanlake

I can answer a few of these for you (I worked as a gardener for 7 years):

How do I keep an uprooted plant alive in water for say a week? It really depends on the plant. Some plants if left in a little water will be fine if they are kept out of sun for a week and some with wither up and die within hours, especially if they are plants that don't like water covering their roots like succulents and orchids. So if this is something you want to do you would need to advise what plants you are talking about.

What plants don't need a lot of light (like grove/forest floor stuff)? Peace Lily, especially the large leafed ones need basically no light. I have mine in a room where the curtains are perpetually closed. Ferns are another good option. Some calathea also don't need a ton of light. If you are looking for outdoor plants: hostas are a varied species that do well in very little direct light.

Are succulents and/or cactI easier than other house plants? Not really, they are more forgiving if you often forget to water them but they can easily grow fungus or die if you overwater or if their soil doesn't have good drainage. It really depends on the variety or species. Air plants are very simple as are spider plants.

Will lambs ear be ok indoors? Yes, if it gets enough sunlight (it needs a lot of sun) and if it is in well draining soil

Plants that will thrive in dry climate and zone 4a? What kind of plants are you looking for? Perennial, annual? Shrub, tree, grass, etc?
 

stella1979

HI Miley It sounds like you're looking for houseplants to go in your room, and it also sounds like you're working on a tight budget. Let's try to go in baby steps here so we may more easily help you get going.

First, what will you pot them in? I see you've spoken about sawdust and face wipes. This gives me pause, mostly because I do not know the moisture-retaining or drainage capabilities of sawdust. The face wipes give me more pause because these contain chemicals that may be harmful to plants. I understand working on a budget and I particularly like a good DIY project but... do you know that clay pots are cheap, cheap, cheap, as can be potting soil? I'm not talking about a bag of miracle grow, I mean the bigger bags that you find in stacks at hardware stores. I understand you're trying to stay with soil and containers that you can gather yourself but since you also spoke of having trouble with plants before I just thought I would mention that some cheap products can really make life a little easier.

I don't know much about Lamb's Ear since it doesn't grow in my zone 11 but if you look at the answer above you'll see a few keywords that come up a LOT with plants, and those are, enough light and well-draining. The potting option I've mentioned above is to steer you in the direction of a well-draining pot because many potted plants suffer due to not enough aeration in the root zone. In other words, roots stay too wet, so they rot, and then there is nothing to support the plant.

So, let's get your container and potting mix situation figured out and then move onto plants, yes? See, the troubles with moving plants from outdoors in zone 4A to an indoor climate will be lighting, drainage, as well as the winter dormancy wild plants in your location need for their ultimate survival. Many plants will only produce new leaves or blooms on 'new growth', meaning, that which has grown in the spring, after the death of last year's plant mass which went through a harsh winter. Lol, again, I'm zone 11 so you'll not want to take winter hardy plant advice from me... but since it sounds like you'll be keeping your plants inside year-round, well, house plants ARE tropical plants, and that's right up my alley. Anyway, if you can tell us how they'll be kept, we can probably advise better on which plants you might want to look for.

You've certainly piqued my interest with your comment about orchids being among the newest species on earth. If you've seen me around then you may know I LOVE orchids so if you've got a link to a resource on this comment, well, I would certainly love to see it. I've got some for you... Did you know that orchids are also among the largest and most diverse of the flowering plant families? In fact, they are only rivaled by the Asteraceae family which is the family containing some of my other favorites, Daisies, and Sunflowers. In fact, what did Charles Darwin write about after completing On the Origin of Species? The large diversity and the unique pollination of orchids!

Orchidaceae - Wikipedia
Orchids’ dazzling diversity explained

By the way, at my local big box hardware stores, the huge Spring influx of flowering Phalaenopsis orchids are just now losing those flower spikes that give them their high price tags. I saw $30 plants selling for $5 last week and for myself, I picked up a regularly priced $10 minI Phal for $1. Phals are indeed happy windowsill plants and I'll be happy to talk more about them with you if you'd like.
 

MileyMorkie

I can answer a few of these for you (I worked as a gardener for 7 years):

How do I keep an uprooted plant alive in water for say a week? It really depends on the plant. Some plants if left in a little water will be fine if they are kept out of sun for a week and some with wither up and die within hours, especially if they are plants that don't like water covering their roots like succulents and orchids. So if this is something you want to do you would need to advise what plants you are talking about.

What plants don't need a lot of light (like grove/forest floor stuff)? Peace Lily, especially the large leafed ones need basically no light. I have mine in a room where the curtains are perpetually closed. Ferns are another good option. Some calathea also don't need a ton of light. If you are looking for outdoor plants: hostas are a varied species that do well in very little direct light.

Are succulents and/or cactI easier than other house plants? Not really, they are more forgiving if you often forget to water them but they can easily grow fungus or die if you overwater or if their soil doesn't have good drainage. It really depends on the variety or species. Air plants are very simple as are spider plants.

Will lambs ear be ok indoors? Yes, if it gets enough sunlight (it needs a lot of sun) and if it is in well draining soil

Plants that will thrive in dry climate and zone 4a? What kind of plants are you looking for? Perennial, annual? Shrub, tree, grass, etc?

I'm looking for anything that grows to have a 30cm x 30cm average size. Trees and shrubs are my preference. I do have Silver Mound and Creeping Jenny outside and are very hardy to the majority of zones. I find any plant that thrives in zone 5 or higher is almost impossible to raise. I am aware about BonsaI trees but they are not meant for my climate.
I can offer sunlight to indoor plants though we have semI harsh winters and my window is shaded slightly by the garage. The pull string thing on my blinds doesn't lock position so I'd need a counter weight to keep 'em open. Lambs ear seem to be a favourite of Bumble Bees and so they might help as I think both honey and bumble bee populations are declining in my city.

I usually like anything green/leafy not really the flower type of girl. There won't be a lot of plants to pick at stores around this time. I'll have to check my stores. (I'm getting sooooo far off track)
I do head on vacation so if the plant needs special specific care it won't last.

stella1979
I'm using the sawdust as a compost source.
I have some daisies or of the its family known as chamomile. It is edible and can be used for tea. The samples I have collected in BC have no scent but the ones in Alberta do have a strong "tea" scent or its iconic smell. I usually like low key plants such as saplings around the house. The pots that I'll be using will be Froster cups or icecap cups from TI'm Hortons or Macs/Circle K. They are a safe plastic and is good for vertical root plants.
I don't really work on a budget, just work as a redneck, lol. For the face wipes they are the Yes To brand. I do rinse the cloths thoroughly and I would use it as a screen between the soil and rocks. I mostly thought a straining layer would be as efficient as holes but without overflow. Like how it is done for vivariums. I'll have to check what is left in stores when I return home from vacation.

I've had issues in the past while keeping orchids alive but they are very beautiful. (^-^)

Thanks for the help.
 

JessicaSwanlake

I'm looking for anything that grows to have a 30cm x 30cm average size. Trees and shrubs are my preference. I do have Silver Mound and Creeping Jenny outside and are very hardy to the majority of zones. I find any plant that thrives in zone 5 or higher is almost impossible to raise. I am aware about BonsaI trees but they are not meant for my climate.
I can offer sunlight to indoor plants though we have semI harsh winters and my window is shaded slightly by the garage. The pull string thing on my blinds doesn't lock position so I'd need a counter weight to keep 'em open. Lambs ear seem to be a favourite of Bumble Bees and so they might help as I think both honey and bumble bee populations are declining in my city.

I usually like anything green/leafy not really the flower type of girl. There won't be a lot of plants to pick at stores around this time. I'll have to check my stores. (I'm getting sooooo far off track)
I do head on vacation so if the plant needs special specific care it won't last.

If you want an outdoor shrub for zone 4A that is hardy and only needs partial sun I would recommend a Barberry as there are many varieties and you could find one that would be close to the size you are looking for. You could also use ornamental evergreens as well, a lot of them either don't get very tall or they just get wider instead of taller.

I don't see why you couldn't have a juniper bonsai, I am on the edge of zone 4A and 4B and I have a juniper bonsaI that I have been working on for about 15 years now. I leave it in a pot during the summer and then plant it in the ground for winter to get new growth each year (it turns orange during the winter and then greens back up in the spring).

If you are looking to attract bees: I would suggest bee balm. It's a perennial, likes partial shade, and is fairly easy to grow as well. You would just need to plant it in your year somewhere it has some tree cover. It will be fine in almost every zone except, perhaps, zones 3 and 10.

You don't need to match your indoor plants to your zone unless you plan on leaving them in a pot outside all year (which I wouldn't recommend). You can grow a lot of plants inside if you give them adaquate water, well-drained soil, and plant food, for example your lambs ear would be fine growing indoor or planted outdoors in your zone.

If you want me to recommend some specific indoor only (or outdoor only) plants for you that are available at chain stores like walmart or home depot let me know!
 

MileyMorkie

JessicaSwanlake

I thought BonsaI trees were of a specific species. I just looked it up and there is a lot of types. I guess I can start an American Elm BonsaI from scratch. Or even a mayday. In 2016 Calgary was changed from zone 3b to 4a. I'm guessing bonsaI trees focus on heavy pruning? I am now intrigued about bonsai.

Golden Acres is a local garden and decor store and has like a warehouse of a garden centre. Canadian Tire, Rona, Lowes, and Blue Grass, Cost Co are a few of the stores I know carry plants. Which store do you recommend?
 

JessicaSwanlake

JessicaSwanlake

I thought BonsaI trees were of a specific species. I just looked it up and there is a lot of types. I guess I can start an American Elm BonsaI from scratch. Or even a mayday. In 2016 Calgary was changed from zone 3b to 4a. I'm guessing bonsaI trees focus on heavy pruning? I am now intrigued about bonsai.

Golden Acres is a local garden and decor store and has like a warehouse of a garden centre. Canadian Tire, Rona, Lowes, and Blue Grass, Cost Co are a few of the stores I know carry plants. Which store do you recommend?

Yes, BonsaI require pruning and wires to mold their shape. There are lots of good books on bonsaI you can probably find used or from a bookstore if you are interested in learning more.
I'm not familiar with stores in Canada, but the store you go to doesn't matter as much as long as you can find a healthy plant (no bugs, yellow leaves, fungus, etc). I was just going to try to suggest inddor (or outdoor) plants that were easy to find, if you are interested.
 

MileyMorkie

Yes, BonsaI require pruning and wires to mold their shape. There are lots of good books on bonsaI you can probably find used or from a bookstore if you are interested in learning more.
I'm not familiar with stores in Canada, but the store you go to doesn't matter as much as long as you can find a healthy plant (no bugs, yellow leaves, fungus, etc). I was just going to try to suggest inddor (or outdoor) plants that were easy to find, if you are interested.
OwO I think I'll have fun with bonsaI trees. Also what plants do you suggest?
 

JessicaSwanlake

These are all plants you can probably find at one of the stores you mentioned above.

For indoor with low light: I would suggest a peace lily for rooms with low light. Once you see the leaves start to droop or the soil gets dry to about 1 inch down you just dump water on it until it runs out the bottom of the pot. A dwarf palm is also a good option if you have some sun and some shade, I would water one of these twice a week.
For rooms with more light: Aloe Vera-only water it once the entire pot is dry. Also since you like the idea of a bonsaI I would recommend getting a ficus bonsai, one of those would need full sun and you would want to check the soil at least a couple times a week and water it once it gets dry (ficus are generally more tolerant of slightly over or under watering).
 

MileyMorkie

These are all plants you can probably find at one of the stores you mentioned above.

For indoor with low light: I would suggest a peace lily for rooms with low light. Once you see the leaves start to droop or the soil gets dry to about 1 inch down you just dump water on it until it runs out the bottom of the pot. A dwarf palm is also a good option if you have some sun and some shade, I would water one of these twice a week.
For rooms with more light: Aloe Vera-only water it once the entire pot is dry. Also since you like the idea of a bonsaI I would recommend getting a ficus bonsai, one of those would need full sun and you would want to check the soil at least a couple times a week and water it once it gets dry (ficus are generally more tolerant of slightly over or under watering).

Aloe Vera is one of the three plants I got for my birthday. It randomly died and then there was two (reference to a Agatha Christie book nursery rhyme).

Ficus are kinda generic to me. Maybe I'm weird but Calgary's native elms are known for the black bark contrast with yellow leaves. My neighbourhood is populated with elms. I am excited to work on a bonsai. Some types of trees are tolerant to more water during their first 2 months, Green Ash trees I've found need up to a week in a cup of water before they sprout. My ratio of luck to Ash and elms is 5:1 per batch. I'm a weird person I can be pleased with even just collecting stuff.
My brother and I are interested in whittling so the branches of the bonsaI will be perfect testing grounds for us.

I know graphing, clippings, and runners but how do I keep tree clippings alive?
 

MileyMorkie

JessicaSwanlake stella1979
Update on stuff: I got clippings of a tree and Ivy, no not Poison Ivy, the vine Ivy. For these clippings; I exposed the stems and cut most leaves short.
The tree clippings are really important. They are from a tree we placed my grandfather's ashes around. Funny enough the item I used to cut the fallen branches was a pocket knife of his. If I can get enough surviving clones maybe a few will become bonsaI trees or a thing of importance.

A lot of these plants I collected on vacation may not be viable back at home. I don't have a formula to encourage root growth. I heard sugar is helpful; will that work? Do Ivy clippings require (even smaller leaves) all leave to be cut?

If beavers can plant clippings, I should be just as capable. But yeah I need to get some plants before I return home.
 

Elkwatcher

HI Miley! if you use sawdust as part of your soil remember as it composts or breaks down it will rob your plants of nitrogen and they will need fertilizer. You might try some regular paper towelling instead of face wipes as a screen between rocks and soil. A nice plant for inside that requires minimum watering is a jade plant/ tree.. just needs some good light but it can be pruned and wired into a pseudo bonsai!
 

MileyMorkie

HI Miley! if you use sawdust as part of your soil remember as it composts or breaks down it will rob your plants of nitrogen and they will need fertilizer. You might try some regular paper towelling instead of face wipes as a screen between rocks and soil. A nice plant for inside that requires minimum watering is a jade plant/ tree.. just needs some good light but it can be pruned and wired into a pseudo bonsai!
Thanks for the suggestion. I feel like a family member or friend I know had a Jade bonsai. There was something else (part of a package) I was going to use as a screen. I won't say what the wrapper belongs to but you might know what I mean.
 

Elkwatcher

Thanks for the suggestion. I feel like a family member or friend I know had a Jade bonsai. There was something else (part of a package) I was going to use as a screen. I won't say what the wrapper belongs to but you might know what I mean.

you have a creative mind Miley!
 

MileyMorkie

you have a creative mind Miley!
I like to use what I can. I even made a bird feeder out of garbage, it was pretty cool. (^u^)
 

Basil

Composting is great!
Where will you be getting your sawdust?
And sawdust encompasses a lot.
Soft wood sawdust decomposes faster than hard wood. And the smaller the pieces, the better.
I’m doing an experiment right now and using pine pellets as bedding in my horse stalls to see if it composts faster than the larger pieces of sawdust.
And to compost, you need a “green” or nitrogen source, typically animal manure.
Then the sawdust, grass clippings etc. are your “brown” or carbon source.
Make sure your compost pile has some moisture and turn it regularly to aerate it.
 

MileyMorkie

Composting is great!
Where will you be getting your sawdust?
And sawdust encompasses a lot.
Soft wood sawdust decomposes faster than hard wood. And the smaller the pieces, the better.
I’m doing an experiment right now and using pine pellets as bedding in my horse stalls to see if it composts faster than the larger pieces of sawdust.
And to compost, you need a “green” or nitrogen source, typically animal manure.
Then the sawdust, grass clippings etc. are your “brown” or carbon source.
Make sure your compost pile has some moisture and turn it regularly to aerate it.
The sawdust is from wood I sand down using nail files.
I think it is soft wood, the wood is from aspen, birch, elm, ash, and mayday.
My nitrogen will be from my tanks but my dog can work too, lol.

You can keep me updated on your experiment, I'd love to see the outcome.
 

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