Well, I’d planned to go out and take some new pictures for the blog but the snow just would not stop Thursday and today it is plain too damn cold. I love you all but I ain’t going out in sub-zero windchill for you. It’s called tough love. I know you can handle it. I mean, look, there’s even frost on the window.
So what to do instead? I was looking at the plants in my window and thinking that would be a good start. I brought several things in from home so I would be sure to take good care of them. It’s hard to ignore an Abutilon gasping for water when you can see it for eight-plus hours a day. And it is really paying off. The windows face…. What direction do they face? Just a second I’ll ask Chad. South. They face south. I actually figured that out before I asked him. But I did ask just to be sure. No wonder the plants are happy. That’s the Number One direction for a winter plant window in the Midwest. Hmmm, I’ll be damned. Isn’t that fortunate? Beats the hell out of a cubicle. Not that there’s anything wrong with a cubicle. But let’s go on.
Number one on my list of window plants that are making me super happy despite the crappy weather is Euphorbia fulgens.
Scarlet Plume appears to be the common name. I guess it does have a scarlet flower but it’s not a plume. Or not my idea of a plume. Anyway, it has beautiful burgundy leaves all year so it makes a great plant for containers in summer. I love the color and texture.
Don’t forget about texture when designing your gardens and containers. But if you bring Euphorbia fulgens in for the winter you get the flowers too. Now mind you, I’m not one for buying winter blooming plants as a rule. I just fail too often to keep them happy enough to bloom. We don’t even have to talk about the not keeping them happy enough to live. That’s a whole nother issue. When I’m plant shopping, if it is described as winter-blooming? Shooooot, I just automatically skip it, unless it has great foliage of course.
Back to the Euphorbia. I got my first one in 2008 from Baker’s Acres in Ohio (go there!). I killed it come winter. But Sue Nord at our IMA Greenhouse got one too. It was probably a two feet tall bush at the time I killed mine. And come that January it was blooming. Gorgeous scarlet red flowers. I had to have it. I got two more small plants from the Greenhouse (propagated from cuttings) in late winter/early spring 2009 but killed them – I think I actually over-watered them. People that know my overwintering regime know this fact is truly amazing as I am famous (or infamous) for not watering from November to May. You cull the weak stuff right fast that way, trust me. Anyhow, they died.
So in Spring 2010 I bought three more. Obviously I had to have the plant. I put each in its own container because I knew I wanted to save them and this way I didn’t have to re-pot or anything at the end of the season. I even added granite grit to the soil to increase drainage. The drowning still haunted me a bit. This stuff is great for any plant that needs extra drainage. I use it in all my succulent pots anymore. Not that you have to have it. It’s just nice in my opinion. It’s sold for feeding poultry.
You know the term “rare as hen’s teeth”? Well that’s because chickens don’t have teeth. They grind their food in their gizzard. The grit in the gizzard helps grind it all up. Now if your chickens are running loose they will get little rocks and the like from the soil. But if they are confined then it’s a good idea to supplement with some grit. I bet you all were just dying to have some chicken knowledge dropped on you. Better chicken knowledge than chicken poop, I say.
Back to the plants. I noticed buds forming on my plants a month ago I bet, maybe longer. Two weeks ago they started blooming. All three plants have blooms and more buds coming. Unfortunately, they face south toward that sunlight. But they are right pretty from the backside.
Look at this:
Doesn’t it just seem to say “Please. Please let me have some sun. I need some sun. Sun. Sun? Where are you, Sun?” Took the words right out of my mouth. Oh, I meant to talk about more plants but I’m already past 900 words. And shoot we need a video. I was feeling kinda blah until I really started looking at the Euphorbia fulgens. But now, why I think this will chase away the last bit of those winter blues.
Filed under: Horticulture