Pot Plants


A clever use of an old tree stump. San Diego Botanical Gardens, 2016

Those of us who garden or spend much time in the outdoors know something is always happening. However, insects never seen in our area before are appearing in our gardens. Are these bugs adapting and moving north we ask?  Some plants that stood up to heat are exhausted.  That alone is not enough to panic me, nor are the peonies that fried this spring before they fully bloomed as they do two out of three years.

For several years, northern Virginia has had a climate too far south to grow many northern plants and too far north to grow some southern plants. In the 1960s, it was the opposite.  In the late 1960s, I did a field study of ferns in this area and found 23 species of ferns, some northern, some southern. Most of the areas I visited then are housing developments today, so I could not replicate the study.  However, perennials I placed in my garden 30 years ago, that belong in a cooler climate, are dying. Conversely, plants I could not grow here thirty years ago, like Crepe Myrtle, are thriving.

My daughter says she is disgusted with deer eating her garden and is taking up pot culture, not Maryjane, mind you but other pot plants. She told me she enjoyed walking through gardens with me as I named various plants and described their culture.

Chiqui, my Filipino-American physical therapist asked me if she could plant a palm tree in a pot. (While she works on my shoulder I offer plant advice.)  She was very sad because the Echinacea she tried to grow in a pot had died.  I told her Echinacea was a Prairie flower and I had never tried to grow it in a pot, only in my garden.  It does well here most summers when we have little rainfall, because Echinacea has a deep tap-root.

A native of the Phillipines, Chiqui began naming plants from home she might grow in a pot, including palm trees.  I told her I didn’t know very much about palm trees, except if you tried to grow them outside here, sooner or later the cold would kill them as it did two years ago when palms that had flourished for several years in Washington DC died from the cold. I told her I thought most palm trees were too big for a pot.

However, I told her, I had grown Dracaena (not a palm?) for several years, which did quite well until one of my parrots destroyed it.

Dracaena MarginataDracaena (/drəˈsiːnə/,[2] derived from the romanized form of the Ancient Greek δράκαινα – drakaina, “female dragon”, is a genus of about 120 species of trees and succulent shrubs.[3] In the APG III classification system, it is placed in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Nolinoideae (formerly the family Ruscaceae).[4] It has also formerly been separated (sometimes with Cordyline) into the family Dracaenaceae or placed in the Agavaceae (now Agavoideae).

The majority of the species are native to Africa, with a few in southern Asia and one in tropical Central America. The segregate genus Pleomele is now generally included in Dracaena. The genus Sanseviera is closely related, and has recently been synonymized under Dracaena in the Kubitzki system.


22 thoughts on “Pot Plants

  1. Oh how I loved Dracaenas back in the 70s when indoor pot plants were the thing. I still think they are a thing of sleek beauty. Also love ferns. Because my yard is so shady, ferns grow well. I’d love to branch out with different kinds of ferns. I keep all my ferns in pots because I have to move them each season as the sun light shifts in my yard. I think I have about all the pots I care to tote around right now. Hahaha. Old back doesn’t like bending over to pick up things.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve had Dracaena in pots in Illinois along with Areca palms and Weeping Fig (Ficus Benjamina). The ficus was tempermental though. I love the look of the stump as a planter. What a cool idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The title of your post got my attention — (we live in Oregon you know where it’s legal under any definition.) However, if I still gardened, I’d be growing the kind your daughter is planning, not the other kind, legal or not. Your physical therapist is lucky to get free plant advice from an expert while she is doing her job!!

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  4. You certainly know your plants. I just don’t seem to have much luck no matter what I try but my niece is with me now and she is helping. I did transplant two blueberry bushes a year ago and they both did well … much to the delight of the birds !

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    • Could be a need to repot. Overtime pots can become very acidic, especially if you fertilize. Repotting will give the plant fresh soil and perhaps more room for roots. The other factor can be a lack of water. However, when I kill a plant it’s usually through overwatering. Gardening is learned via trial and error. 😑

      Liked by 1 person

  5. How wonderful to have all that knowledge about plants and their habitats. Thank you for sharing some of your advice. It may not apply here in Scotland but the principles are what I need to learn more about.

    Liked by 1 person

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