Friday, May 3, 2013

Planty Goodness

So, recently, I've been a bit caught up in mom's spring plantapalooza. She's starting seeds for her garden this year inside and set up a grow light system. Now, granted, there are a lot of food plants that do well as a potted plant and every little bit helps, but since I'm going to be moving to an apartment soon, I figure something a little hardier is on the agenda for me. 

Enter a tiny tropical tree:

This is my new Fukien Tea tree (yes, Farmdad has already made all the fuckin tea tree jokes, you can rest assured he's on the case.) It's a little tropical so it will be all right inside without a "winter" so to speak. It also produces little white flowers that turn into red berries, so it's pretty. 

I had it shipped, and kudos to the nursery it arrived in good health and still moist. This plant likes fast draining soil and doesn't like overwatering, so I repotted it into cactus soil, that being the best draining stuff I could find easily. A lot of people use this for bonsai, and I'll probably do some bonsai like maintenance on it when it starts perking up and growing, because I'm not interested in something I need a dolly to move, I want to keep it small ish. I also used a terracotta pot for a few reasons. Reason one, it was cheap. As am I, mostly. Second, the tea tree likes a humid environment and can be a little picky about it's water, so I figure the pot will help me two ways... first, evaporation from the pot (and the larger tray I've put underneath with the pebbles) to raise the humidity around it since I live in dry-airistan, and second, it can absorb some moisture from the soil and release it back slowly as the soil dries out. Hopefully this will make the plant happy so it can thrive, since I want it bigger than it is, if not as big as it can grow.

I also got a little terra cotta worm thingy to help keep an eye on the soil moisture (and because it was cute and under a dollar.) I have named him Concerned Worm, because he looks concerned about the plant:

He'll change color as the soil dries out and water is needed. Right now, I've still got tons of healthy green leaves, though Tiny Tim The Tea Tree is showing some stress from the shipping and repotting. I've set up an auxiliary lamp with a daylight spectrum bulb, because mom's garden plants get first call on her lighting system and it's a simple way to give Tim even more light, because light equals food. When the weather settles out and stays warm I'll leave it outside because sun is even better than lighting systems, but the cold nights we've had would kill it.

Watching a plant grow, researching the best ways to care for it, it's interesting and relaxing. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna leave Concerned Worm to his watch, and get some stuff done around the house.