An Indoor Gardening Dilemma

True confession time…

I stink at houseplants.

Oh, I’m pretty good at growing stuff outside, but inside? Not so much…

I figure it has something to with my highly-distractable nature…I can keep up with the watering and potting-up for the six weeks or so that it takes to get seedlings ready to go out in the garden, but any longer than that and my attention…um….wanders.

But, that may be changing… I had a few successes last winter – like the jasmine vine above – and I want to try again.

So, I’ve got a few easy things to start with, like these scented geraniums. If memory serves, they’re almost as indestructible as African Violets. My lemon verbena is back for its third winter under the lights. There are a couple of others, like the gardenia I was given for my birthday – I doubt it will ever bloom again for me, but at least it’s not dead…

I do, however, have a Problem Child in the mix…

The rosemary…

I know lots of people who have trouble keeping one of these babies alive indoors…and you Southern Gardeners who can easily grow it in the ground can be as smug as you want to be…I still don’t want your hot summers!

So, hints? Tips? Anyone?


33 thoughts on “An Indoor Gardening Dilemma

  1. Well, every year I bring my rosemary plant indoors about now and put it in a sunny spot, away from a heat source, and atop some newspaper. That way, when it dies 2 – 3 weeks later, I can easily collect the dead & dried needles when I make cacciatore, lamb, spianata, or some other rosemary-dependent dish. Hope this helps.

    • That is too funny John!
      I’m not sure I can help much either. I leave Rosemary’s outside all year, I guess our winter’s aren’t as severe as yours. Do you have a cold greenhouse, where you could fleece it and only water it very sparingly?

      • Yes, you have that lovely Gulf Stream that keeps your coast milder in the winters… *sigh*.
        I wish I had a greenhouse. Hubby and I have talked about getting one, but there always seems to be another project inside the house that takes precedence. The sad thing is, I had a rosemary bush that lived outside for several years – a nice southern exposure, plenty of winter sun – and then it turned up its toes and died one summer. Haven’t been able to get another one to grow there since…

  2. I am proud to say that I have two houseplants. One, I’ve kept alive for almost four years (and still going strong) and the other we just got – so I’ve had it about four months. I guess I can handle them okay since they’re still around, but I don’t want any more.

  3. When my grandparents built their house they put in an actual garden indoors! They literally had a 6 foot by 4 foot plot of dirt which was, I suppose, in a metal box and then sunk into the ground to be at floor level. It was in a very wide hallway and had glass on both of the long sides, giving it lots of light. I’ve never seen such a thing anywhere else; it was amazing! This comment isn’t helping you with your issues, but I’m sharing just the same!

  4. How cold does it get where you are? Even in the UK in the countryside where the nights got to minus temps most of the winter I left it outside. Rosemary can be treated pretty mean. Cut it right back, the stumps will still be green (cut down to about 6 inches high) and it will come back. You can do this and leave it indoors, it won´t need much water over the winter, you could wrap some cling film around the base to keep the moisture in and ina few months it should start smiling at you again!

    • I think the problem outside is less about the cold, and more about the alternating wet – VERY wet – ground and drying winds. I’m trying outside again, too, but with a prostrate rosemary instead of an upright. It’s in the same bed as my lavender, which has been quite happy in that spot for almost 8 years. You would think that would mean the rosemary would like the same conditions, but the reality has been somewhat different…as a dozen dead plants over the years can attest.

  5. In a very strange twist, the rosemary I put by the front porch when we moved in to this house last year is one of the few things that made it through our record-breaking summer fry-a-thon seemingly unscathed. Must have missed the Rosemary is a Wimp memo! Hope I didn’t jinx it by saying so. 🙂

  6. we grow rosemary outdoors in NZ to quite cold temps, but if I remember rightly, aren’t you on the east coast where it gets really cold.. well prepare yourself for the rosemary to SULK and drop all its leaves (spread newspaper and collect the leaves) and after a bit it will adjust and recover and flail about until spring. i bring mine in and they do that and survive. Tho i bring it in slowly, in and out and in and out and in and out (until I want to throw it out.. mine is big) and it gets used to the indoors slowly.. however tanya’s option sounds good too, i might try that .. c

  7. Well, I can be of no help whatsoever! The only ‘living things’ in our house other than the two of us are our cats! I forget to water anything inside – and since Ritchey takes care of the outside I suppose that makes me no gardener at all! Hey, but I’m the cook!

    • Division of labor that makes everyone happy is a great thing…Hubby cooks as much as I do, and he handles the ‘big’ outside chores, like mowing. As long as you’ve got a system that works, why mess with it? 🙂

  8. Oh dear Marie, you are doing great job with these plants. I admire. Actually I don’t have any idea to grow plant indoors… I have only a few African violets, how made me sad when they go badly… The light, the temperature and the water, they are all very important. Your plants seem so nice and good, but I know they are not easy. Good luck in your lovely plant… Thank you, with my love, nia

  9. I wish I could help, but I have never tried to grow Rosemary indoors before. I hope you get it too last. On the plus side, you can just stick a cutting of rosemary in the ground when the weather gets better and it will grow. I know I’m not helping. Good Luck.

    • Did you read the other comments? You’re as much help as they are! 😉
      Which is to say, sometimes the best help is just an “atta’ girl” from my friends…And, you’re right – I can just keep replanting every spring!

  10. I’ve got the hot summers for sure! And it’s still hot! Sorry no advice from me; I wish I did have a green thumb. I grow herbs but its so easy here with the tropical weather. Good luck, keep us posted!

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