Last year around this time, I got upset about the number of GBBD participants who were bemoaning the lack of blooms in January, as though houseplants were never invented. And I still, as far as it goes, don't have much sympathy for those people, 'cause it's not like indoor plants are some big secret or highly technical thing nobody knows about. Why, there are even entire blogs devoted to them! But: on the theory that you catch more flies with honey,1 I have decided to lead by example instead, and try showing the uninitiated masses that flowers in January are not only conceivable, but nigh inevitable, even in cold climates, under certain circumstances.
Will anyone decide to give houseplants a try because of this post? Oh, probably not. But it feels more productive than waving my arms and shouting at people again. And it's less douchey. Better to light a candle than to curse the damn darkness. Also it seems like I have sort of a responsibility, as an intense indoor gardener person, to provide flower photos for all the deprived outdoor-only people at this time of year. So here we are.
The photos were all taken on January 11, not January 15, which I don't know the precise rules of the GBBD but I'm hoping that that won't get me thrown out or put in stocks or anything. If I didn't start a little early, I wouldn't be able to post at all -- photo-heavy posts take a long time to write. (This one took me most of last Wednesday.) Anyway. Here's everything that's blooming at the moment in the Subjunctive Botanical Gardens.
The biggest group of bloomers right now is probably the Anthuriums, partly because they bloom readily for me and partly because the blooms last a ridiculously long time.
The Pileas bloom off and on throughout the year, but especially in the winter. They're not hugely ornamental, but they're still flowers, so they count.
A handful of succulents are flowering at the moment too.
The white NOID Schlumbergera I bought a little while ago dropped almost all of the buds it had left, but one held on and opened last week anyway.
The big peace lily blooms for me at very irregular intervals, though the flowers are usually very short-lived. Feeding tends to bring on blooms, though it's never guaranteed.
The Murraya paniculata had stopped flowering for a month, month and a half recently. I gave it some fertilizer with micronutrients two waterings ago, and it responded with a huge flush of new buds. The micronutrients thing seems to be extremely important for Murraya.
While we're talking about fertilizer producing flowers, I suppose I should tell you that Abutilons will stop flowering if they run out of fertilizer. It's almost like a switch gets thrown; it's weird. But pour some Osmocote on the soil and in a couple weeks you'll never know it had stopped. They're admirably direct that way.
Lastly, the gesneriads are starting to step up. Nematanthus usually gets excited at this time of year:
And although it's technically too early to count as a flower, the developing buds on N. 'Tropicana' are sort of pretty in their own right.
I had thought that the Aeschynanthus speciosus was finished for the year, once it stopped flowering a few months ago, but it surprised me by producing one last batch of flowers.
I don't think my old NOID African violet has been flowerless in more than a year now.
And the just-purchased Saintpaulia 'Shimmer Shake' is pumping out blooms like crazy; it didn't take it that long to do, so I'm puzzled as to why it ever stopped in the greenhouse where I bought it.
And finally, Episcia 'Coco' has almost been in continuous bloom since it arrived. I've gotten two other Episcias that haven't yet, and I'm not sure why not, though they're probably in less light. Maybe that's all the explanation one needs.
I didn't count: the two recently-purchased orchids that still have blooms on them, because I didn't do anything to cause those blooms to happen so I don't feel I should get credit for them.2 I also didn't count the Hoya lacunosa (just buds at the moment) or the H. lacunosa 'Royal Flush' (ditto). The Hoya polyneura seems confused at the moment about whether or not it wants to flower: the buds I talked about a while ago are still present, but they don't seem to be getting any larger. One of the Spathiphyllums technically has a flower, but it didn't get photographed because the flower appeared a long time ago and is all but dead now.
Even so, that's 23 1/2 flowers, in more or less presentable shape, which appeared spontaneously, in mid-January, in Iowa.
1 The full saying is "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar." It's not actually true, of course (additional evidence), but then folk wisdom often isn't. I suggest the revision, "you catch more frat boys with free beer and strippers than with warm flat 7-Up and trigonometry." Though that's longer to say. And begs the question of why anyone would want to catch frat boys in the first place (but then, nobody ever gives a reason for wanting to catch flies, either). At least it's got the advantage of being true.
2 Yes, I counted the Schlumbergera, which already had the buds on it when I bought it, but I think I should get some credit for it, since the overwhelming majority of buds on that plant dropped off.