Bringing the Houseplants Back Inside, including the Begonia fuchsioides

I’m lucky – there’s help. Always a good thing and especially a good thing when there are a lot of large plants and rather a lot of window surface.

Window surface?

You betcha. This is not about housekeeping points; cleaner they are, the better for the plants. It’s amazing how much light can be blocked by even a light coating of dust.

Bill clowning around with the equipment.

Bill clowning around with the equipment. ( Myself I wouldn't put the anti-static glasscloth in my mouth. But I would have it in hand - very useful)

It’s also nice to have someone who can do the heavier lifting.

the invaluable Kristi Niedermann's back - and I do mean both

the invaluable Kristi Niedermann's back - yes grammarians, I mean both of them.

The awkward, @ 15 pound pot is about at the height of my chin. I could have dealt with it by myself but I’m glad I didn’t have to.

Kristi and begonia, front view

Kristi and begonia, front view

That’s a Begonia fuchsiodes, named for the drooping, fuchsialike flowers.

begonia fuchsioides in red. It also comes in pink.

begonia fuchsioides in red. It also comes in pink.

Those flowers kept coming all summer and were coming still last month. So in spite of the usual vows to use tropical plants as exotic annuals and let them die at frost, I put it in the car and hauled it back down to the Hudson Valley house.

No knowing whether it will continue to thrive. Glasshouse Works says it doesn’t like being moved around, but this pot of them (there are 3 in there) has already done a great deal of traveling.

I bought them in 4 inch pots at Greystone Greenhouses, in Sharon, Connecticut, whose owner could probably make anything grow.

They sat under our giant spruce for a couple of weeks, then all 3 plants got wedged into one pot for instant impressiveness, crowding not mattering because they were to die at end of summer.

Then into the car and up to Maine, then all summer in the South facing but mostly shaded windowbox. Another car ride and sojourn under the spruce and right now they’re eating the entire dining room window.

the begonia, installed

the begonia, installed

So far so good. Stay tuned.

Oh, about bringing the houseplants back in. Most important thing already said here back in 2005:

“This is a good time to cast a cold eye on your houseplants and ask: would I buy this thing if I were browsing at the nursery? Would I buy it if it were on sale? Would I pick it up if it were sitting on the curb with a “free” sign around its neck? You know what to do if all answers are no.”

But do as I say, please, not as I do. The unlovely, easily replaceable with a much nicer one ( if I even wanted one, which I don’t ) Christmas cactus we got from the long dead mother of an old friend who has also left us is a constant reminder that emotional investment in plants often leads to aesthetic judgments that are – how shall I say it? –not up to one’s usual standards.

Begonia closeup and dining room picture were taken by Bill Bakaitis, who is remembering not to water it too often.

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  • ruralway Said,

    Well now this is getting scary. We spent the weekend cleaning up plants and moving them indoors too, including a prized Condropetalum, a Melastom ( which may or may not still be alive since someone forgot to water it), an Abutilon and various Begonias. Moving several dozen large containers of fading plants and salvaging the soil took almost all day. And it was much harder than planting them all out with the glory of Spring propelling us along. The veggies are snug under their row covers-it was 23 here last night. We still have 125 one gallon seedling tress to get in before it freezes here-wish us luck!

  • leslie Said,

    Hi RW

    Good luck! freely wished. And here I am feeling nervous/overwhelmed about moving a few dozen peonies.

  • Leigh Williams Said,

    Good God. I have a lot to do, but I don’t have 125 (!) 1-gal trees to mess with.

    On the other hand, it’s been a dang good year for ferns, and I’m covered over with ’em. Not to mention the various other things, mama plants I’ll take cuttings from to root flats, several plants of deep sentimental value, and then my own showy patio stuff and the roses in huge pots. The worst thing about it, for me, is that I whack these suckers way back, and then I can’t bear to waste all those cuttings, so I end up with five more of whatever it was.

    I’ve got to start selling some of this stuff to deserving folks in the spring! I’m already giving away all I can.

    But this fuschia-looking begonia is a must-have (to add to my already huge collection of begonias). IN THE SPRING. NOT NOW. I’ve already overflowed my greenhouses and have to drag a bunch of stuff to East Texas to relatives’ sheltered areas. We’re going to have to build hoop houses for the propagation in January as it is; I just don’t have any more room1

  • leslie Said,

    Wait a minute, Leigh – whole flats of cuttings? greenhouses plural? Plans to build a hoop house? Are you sure you’re not in the nursery business already?

    If not, from the sound of things you’re right: you probably should be. Never bought or sold plants on Ebay myself, but I know from friends there’s a thriving trade there, so that might be a way for you to give commerce a try with comparatively little risk.

    Keep us informed. It’s probably like good cooks wanting to have their own restaurant (almost always a horrible idea) but you never know…

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