First “F” of 2018

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I am a little tardy with this post but that isn’t unusual. The forecast said we would be having our first frost on Monday evening (the 15th) so I reluctantly prepared for the event. I moved the potted plants inside on the 10th but they are still not all in their proper places for the winter.

I discovered a few problems. #1, I have more plants than before, and #2, a lot of them are in bigger pots so they now take up more room.

Several of the plants on the table will overwinter in the basement. The Alocasia, for the most part, are already there. The Begonias will rest but not lose all their leaves (well, they didn’t last year anyway). The bigger Amorphophallus in the green pot in the center of the table have already done dormant but the Oxalis have remained wide awake. Last year they went dormant before I bought the plants inside. Instead of one pot with Oxalis, I have four. It is so funny how the leaves close up at night. So, I suppose I will put them on the table in the front bedroom until they go dormant. The succulents should go into the back bedroom window so they can have sun from a south facing window.


Ummm… The cactus that were on the back porch are temporarily in front of the sliding door. Last winter, and the winter before, I kept most of the cactus in the kitchen windowsill. BUT… They are all in larger pots than before. PLUS…


The new cactus are in the kitchen windowsill now. The pot on the left has the Kalanchoe delagoensis offsets in it. I am hoping they will grow even though I know what will happen when they do. 🙂 My plan is to make a shelf and put another row of cactus in this window. I may be able to make two more rows. The glass on the right… The last time my sister was here we went to Wagler’s Greenhouse because she wanted ANOTHER Popcorn Plant. Hers keeps dying but she keeps buying more. Wagler’s didn’t have any small plants but they had a HUGE hanging basket. So, Mrs. Wagler took several cuttings and told my sister she never had any luck growing them from cuttings. Then, she gave me the cuttings and told my sister, “Maybe he can get them to grow.” I put a few in a pot and the rest in water. I kept the pot damp but they died after a couple of weeks. The cuttings in the water are still not dead but they have not rooted. WAIT A MINUTE!!! I mean Candy Corn plant not POPCORN!  It is also called Firecracker Vine. Well, I don’t think it will work. It needs to be done in the spring and not in the fall… There is a moral to the story of my sister continuing to buy plants that she fails with, but I am not going to say anything. It would be like giving advice I am not using. 🙂 I usually try three times and that’s it… The keyword here is “usually”.

My problem is not with plants dying, it’s the ones that barely hang on and never die… I try this and that until they perk up and take off or they die.


Right now, the Tradescantia sillamontana and Callisia fragrans are in the north bedroom in a west facing window. I am trying to give most of the Callisia away because I certainly only need one. The Tradescantia sillamontana will go to the basement (as well as the other Tradescantia) so they can go dormant because they get all weird growing inside over the winter. Best to let them go dormant and regrow in the spring.  I have an experiment going on with two of the smallest Callisia offsets… I didn’t put them in pots several months ago but they are still alive. Honestly, I threw them in the backyard but when I was mowing I saw them and put them on the back porch. I guess since they are so persistent I will have to put them in pots after all. GEEZ!

Since the forecast said “you know what” was inevitable, I had to make a decision about the Xanthosoma. I messaged a new Facebook friend who is a member of the International Aroid Society Group (among other groups) to quiz him a little more about what he suggested I do about it during the winter. He is actually the one who told me what it was in the first place. The question is (or was), should I let it get ZAPPED and then dig the rhizome like I do with the Colocasia or should I put it in a pot then take it to the basement. Since I am a Xanthosoma newbie… After a very lengthy discussion with him about the Xanthosoma and many other plant related subjects, I was still somewhat confused. He didn’t recommend it get zapped, though.

Well, on Sunday afternoon I had to dig the three Alocasia I had been experimenting with over the summer. I wanted to see if they would grow larger in the ground than in a pot. After being in the ground all summer I couldn’t tell that it made that much difference if any at all. I had plants that were the same size that I left in pots and they were all the same size by the end of the summer…

Anyway… After I potted the Alocasia I went for the Xanthosoma… I am so glad the Alocasia I have now are hardier than some I used to have. They can take cooler temps pretty well as long as they don’t get zapped. Some of the species I had in Mississippi would go dormant even if they thought it was going to get cold… I had to move them inside before 45° F. The three Alocasia in the ground took temps below 40.


As with Alocasia and Colocasia, I am always surprised by their lack of roots. Strange how such HUGE plants can have so very few. After I dug it up I could see it had three offsets that hadn’t made it to the surface yet. The offsets are definitely MUCH larger than what Colocasia or Alocasia produce. I had been confused about the difference between bulbs, rhizomes, tubers, and corms but I think I have it figured out now. Colocasia, Alocasia, and Xanthosoma grow from rhizomes (even though they don’t look the same). The Amorphophallus grow from corms.


Now the Xanthosoma is in a pot for the winter. The plant is 60″ tall and spreads out 80″! The Alocasia in the basement grow upwards so they don’t take up a lot of space. This plant takes up a lot of room!

One thing “the guy” said was that he was mistaken about my Xanthosoma’s identity… He initially said it was a Xanthosoma sagittifolium but he has since changed his mind. He said it may be either a Xanthosoma robustum or X. atrovirens because it hadn’t produced as many offsets as X. sagittifolium normally does, its glossy leaves, variegation, and how it has grown so wide. He said the random variegation was a characteristic of X. atrovirens but they don’t get such wide leaves and aren’t so broadly spreading. He also said they don’t have such dark green (almost teal) leaves and not so glossy. So, he thinks my plant is X. robustum. I checked with Plants of the World Online and it says Xanthosoma atrovirens is now a synonym of X. sagittifoliumX. robustum is an accepted name. SO, now I guess I have to go back and change everywhere I have the incorrect species name. That includes its page to the right, several posts, and all the photos.

I did take photos of the beds before the “F”. Even so, not all the perennials were affected. Luckily, the Phlomis is still looking as AWESOME as always. That’s good because I forgot to cover it with the big flower pot…

Well, I guess that’s it for this post because I am running out of words for now. Until next time, stay well, positive, and GET DIRTY!

6 comments on “First “F” of 2018

  1. Vicki says:

    Sound like a lot work to me (who had just dismantled about 75% of her apartment balcony garden). I do so admire your tenacity in growing so many plants and what seems to be your photographic memory in their names.
    But I guess its a healthy obsession with gardening and the challenge of getting (some) strange and unusual plants to grow that does it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Vicki! You dismantled 75% of your balcony garden? Is that a usual thing when you need to restart? As far as my photographic memory… It takes practice and continually writing their names on photos and the blog. The newer wildflower species are a totally different story. Some of the spelling is hard at first and forget about remembering most of the pronunciation… I like growing quite a wide variety of plants because variety is the spice of life. 🙂 For me, that is only true with plants and food. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vicki says:

        No, I’m not restarting my balcony garden, Lonnie. I was continually sea-sawing between…… wanting to have have fresh herbs and leafy greens to pick each night…… to…… struggling to continually carry heavy watering cans full each night across the pale lounge room carpet (from the kitchen sink) to keep wind-dried pots moist. Even in winter. I’ve had a few spells in hospital recently and realised that potentially more lower spine surgery might be a possibility and everything would die as there was no one to water.


        • I see… Well, I know its hard on you with your condition to maintain a balcony garden. I always hope the best for you.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Vicki says:

            Thanks for your good wishes. I still have a pot of spicy Oregano, Sorrel, perennial Basil, (The) Blueberry bush, Nemesia & white Alyssum (for colour)

            When I get the (2nd) opinion from another Neurosurgeon, I’ll be able to then go ahead and decide/buy more English and Flat-leaf Italian Parsley and Mint – can’t do without them.

            I was shocked at how pot-bound many of the larger herb potted plants were when I emptied them. I knew they weren’t looking their best, but initially figured I hadn’t watered them enough. The enormous Rosemary was so pot-bound there wasn’t a trace of soil in sight 🙂


            • Some plants sure do grow a lot of roots while others not so much. I have had plants where there was no soil left either. Strange how they can look so healthy with no soil. 🙂 I hope your 2nd opinion is good and you’ll be able to have more healthy plants on your balcony. 🙂


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