Watch this, watch chain!

This neat little guy is sometimes called a watch chain plant. Look at those little linkages along each stem; so cool. I ordered it at the same time as my Kalanchoe tomentosa ‘Dorothy Brown’ and my Euphorbia trigona ‘Rubra’, mostly because who orders two plants only. Must order three. Makes sense. But I really like how so very different it looks.

Do dirty windows help filter direct light?

Clock’s ticking; let’s get to it

  • Binomial name: Crassula muscosa
  • Given name: Mobius
  • Native to: moderately humid environments in South Africa and Namibia
  • Delivered: Aug 10, 2021 from Grow Something
  • Original pot: shipped bare-root

Field notes–September 1, 2021

  • Soil: dry to touch, but pot is somewhat heavy; last watered 3 days ago
  • Light: 11 a.m., slightly overcast day: ~300 FC
  • Longest strand: 19 cm
  • Number of strands: 6 rooted, branching into 19 tips that have more than 2.5 cm in length
  • New growth: new tips and aerial roots
  • Signs of pests: none
  • Signs of care issues: drying along some stems (as received; probably too much light)
  • Touch: firm, neat texture (like a zipper)

Field notes–August 10, 2021

  • Repotting: 2.5 inch terracotta pot with cactus/succulent mix
Shipped bare-root style

Research notes


  • Light:
    • Indoors: a lot
    • Outdoors: not full sun during midday, unless well-ventilated
    • Full-spectrum LED grow lights work well
  • Humidity: 50% or lower is ideal; allow to dry out more if higher
  • Temperature: optimally 21 to 24 degrees Celsius; frost hardy to -6 but dislikes cold and moist


  • Preference: soak and dry
  • Frequency: when dry; more in growing season, less in winter (perhaps once per month)

Soil, fertilization, and pots

  • Soil type: well-draining; cactus mix or 1 part potting soil : 1 part perlite
  • Fertilization: weekly with diluted solution
  • Repotting:
    • During the warm season. Remove all soil from the roots and any damaged roots. Repot into fresh, dry soil; wait a couple days to water.


  • Grow style: fast (during growing period), spreading
  • Maturity: 15 to 20 cm tall
  • Common problems:
    • Too much light (signs: drying and stiffening from base of stem to the tips)
    • Mealybugs
    • Fungal disease (treatment: treat with horticultural neem oil and horticultural soap; spray thoroughly every week for four weeks)
    • Root rot (due to overwatering; treatment: take cuttings and start fresh)
  • Pruning:
    • Prune in spring to shape; keep cuttings to root
    • Occasionally pinch tips to promote branching
  • Propagation:
    • Between spring and fall, take sterile stem cuttings.
    • In soil:
      • Rest a couple days to form a callus.
      • Place in dry soil in bright indirect light, in warm area (20 to 21 degrees Celsius)
      • Water sparingly until it grows.
    • In water:
      • Place cuttings in an inch of water.
      • Roots form in two to six weeks.
      • Plant in dry soil.

Research sources: Desert Plants of Avalon, Wikipedia, World of Succulents, Succulents and Sunshine, Plant Care Today

Field notes — August 29, 2021

Got several repotting needs done in one. Used the same mix for all: 2 parts worm castings : 2 parts coco coir : 3 parts perlite.

Dracaena surculosa, Päivi

  • ~Aug 12: Root rot due to using isopropyl alcohol in soil as an overly enthusiastic first attempt to threat against thrips. (Silver lining: no more thrips…)
  • ~Aug 13: Repotted next day into fresh soil, but over next two weeks, half of leaves slowly browned and fell off.
  • Aug 29: Snipped off remaining healthy stems, dipped in rooting hormone and planted in fresh soil mix.

Pilea cadieri, Louhi

  • New-ish aluminum plant. Let acclimatize to my house for a couple weeks (in isolation; no signs of pests so far).
  • Snipped off tops to encourage branching from main stems.
  • Decided not to waste the tops and see if they’ll grow. Dipped in rooting hormone, then into fresh soil mix.

Ficus elastica, Antero

  • Roots were extending past his nursery pot (which was oversized for his few roots at the time. I had removed a lot of soil and put a small layer in the bottom, using the sides of the container to prop up his huge leaves).
  • Quite a few more roots now, so repotted with more soil into smaller nursery pot; I expect the roots can now hold the plant better upright.
  • Some signs of pest damage on new leaf and one old leaf and bugs moving in soil; probably thrips.
  • Shook as much soil out of roots as possible, repotted in fresh soil mix, topped soil with diatomaceous earth.

Plant care spreadsheet

In July, I started building a spreadsheet to keep track of various plant care information–when did I last water, repot, check the plant over? What kind of light does the plant like? How often does it want to be watered? I don’t keep this information reliably in my head, so the spreadsheet is helping a lot. It’s not complete, but I add to it as I go. It’s also useful to sort the sheet by when I watered last or checked for pests last, because it’s easy to see which ones should probably have attention now.

This is how it is.

A couple columns shown here; there’s quite a few more.

Pff I now have 52 plants. Definitely enough. I did not need to know that. Damn.
No comments necessary on that, right?

Very pleased to meet you, Vera

How rude of me, after knowing you for three or more years, so only say hello now.

New placement in bright sun on the kitchen windowsill
  • Binomial name: Aloe barbadensis
  • Given name: Vera
  • Native to: Africa, Arabian Peninsula, Madagascar
  • Given: 2017–2018, propagated by a friend
  • Grown in: Canada
  • Current pot: terracotta, 4 inch
  • New growth: they hadn’t grown much since I received them, they were kept in a low-light area, but there was a new pup.
  • Repotting: moved and divided them from a very small and shallow plastic pot into 4 inch plastic pots using cactus mix.
  • Signs of care issues: probably watered too early. Plastic pot is too large and holding too much moisture. Not enough light.
  • Soil: dry
  • New growth: none; no root development
  • Signs of care issues: one transparent, droopy leaf (underwatering)
  • Per Garden for Indoor, trying:
    Add rooting hormone to tips.
    They recommend placing 1/3 into potting mix, but I went to the base of leaves(added more cactus mix to pot for enough depth)
    Place into south-facing kitchen window.
    Keep it moist for 4 weeks.


  • Light: bright (south-facing); if facing north, rotate regularly
  • Humidity: not important
  • Temperature: 13 to 27 degrees Celsius


  • Preference: completely dry before more water, drench, then allow to drain.
  • Frequency: more water in hot weather. Might not need to water at all in winter if it’s in a cool spot.

Soil, fertilization, and pots

  • Soil type: cactus mix
  • Soil pH: 7.0 to 8.5
  • Fertilization: not necessary, but can fertilize once in spring with half-strength, phosphorus-heavy, liquid fertilizer
  • Repotting: terracotta pot with drainage holes. About as wide as it is deep or wider than it is taller; snug fit (one third larger than root system); plant becomes heavy, so want to avoid it tipping. Do not water after planting; wait a week. Place in bright indirect light until roots are established.


  • Grow style: moderately fast in growing season
  • Maturity: 4 to 6 years, 45 cm, but can spread far
  • Neat stuff: they can sometimes flower indoors at maturity
  • Common problems:
    Overwatering (signs: black spots, mushy leaves)
    Underwatering (signs: wrinkly, droopy, transparent leaves)
    Root rot (signs: wrinkly, droopy, transparent leaves due; due to: overwatering; treatment: A. cut off dead and mushy roots, repot with fresh compost, go easy on watering; B. if all roots are affected, remove them all; cut off biggest leaves to reduce plant size, repot in fresh mix)
  • Propagation:
    Pups without roots: press soil into bottom of pot. Add rocks and wedge pups between rocks OR add pups and place rocks around them for support. Wait two weeks, then repot into deeper soil and add water.

Research sources: Gardening Know HowThe Old Farmer’s Almanacthe spruceGarden for IndoorOur House Plants


This morning, after breakfast I went outside with several plants and a much too barky dog for a bit of plant care.

  • Pulled out Uhanala, the string of dolphins, from its pot to remove entirely the roots that belonged to the stem with rot. Found another stem with starting rot and removed it too, roots and all. (Am a bit frustrated at this; wondering if other strings of dolphins from same seller are having the same problem; I saw a flat of them in the shop.) Cut off healthy part of latest stem to try to propagate. Learned from Facebook Marketplace seller L. P., who had a beautiful example for sale, that string of dolphins are extra sensitive and finicky until established; it’s better to buy one with long, thick strands. Ensure light hits top of soil to maintain health. Watered all string of dolphins. Isolating in spare bedroom.
Bottom-up watering for string of dolphin plants
  • Checked pothos ‘Glacier’ (bought from L. P. last night) because two leaves were half in soil. Roots and plants seem healthy, none-the-less I was able to move the one stem upwards so the leaves were out of soil. In same 4 inch nursery pot, will need water soon. Soil is light and loamy. It’s isolating in the living room, near the window, but hopefully won’t get affected by cool drafts from the vent.
  • Checked burgundy ficus elastica (bought from Facebook Marketplace seller S. M. last night) because of three leaves, one leaf’s base was in soil and the original pot has no drainage. They are all connected to a stem with a tiny root (I should have been more gentle when removing it; soil is damp, heavy, and dense, which affected how well it removed). Seems healthy. Repotted into 5 inch nursery pot with much less soil, as I have issues with soil staying damp too long. Placed into original pot as cachepot. This plant and ultra-mini string of pearls prop from same seller are isolating in my bedroom. I’ll need to lightly mist string of pearls every few days for a month before only watering when top feels dry.

Here be Dracaenas

I’m off the edge of my usual houseplant map, exploring new areas, but I’m so glad I found you!

You’re sitting on my relatively new plant shelf in the dining room, a bit further from the light and the humidifier than most of the other plants on the shelf.

I’ve decided to also start a spreadsheet so I can track who wants moisture and fertilization more frequently, and you’re my first entry! I’ve also learned that cultivar names should be enclosed in single quotes or preceded by “cv.” and are never italicized.

  • Binomial name: Dracaena surculosa ‘Florida Beauty’
  • Given name: Päivi
  • Native to: Central-west Africa
  • Bought: June 15, 2021 at Plant & Curio
  • Original pot: 3 inch square pot (was already root bound)
  • Current pot: 4 inch nursery pot, cut shorter
  • Repotting: 1/4 regular potting mix + a little cactus mix, 1/4 perlite, 1/2 coco coir from 3 inch square plastic pot to modified 4 inch square plastic pot
  • Soil moisture: 8.5 (wet)
  • Soil pH: 7.5
  • Light: 9 a.m.: 100 (dark) (honestly though, the area is close enough to the window and probably fine)
  • Longest stem with leaf: 7.5 cm, but the new ones will be longer!
  • New growth: two new stems (started before I bought it); five new leaves unfurled, 1 cm or longer
  • Signs of care issues:
    Leaf damage: probably during transport.
    Longest wound: 1.5 cm


  • Light: bright, indirect with possibility of morning or evening sun (maintains variegation); tolerant of low light (loses variegation, becomes leggy)
  • Humidity: average
  • Temperature: 15 to 24 degrees Celsius, free from drafts


  • Preference: moist; water when top inch or third is dry

Soil, fertilization, and pots

  • Soil type: well-draining, soil-based, plenty of organic material (peaty)
  • Fertilization: biweekly in summer with houseplant feed, but water 24 hours before
  • Repotting: every other year; keep in small pots; will mature in a 5 inch pot


  • Grow style: slow, hardy and tolerant
  • Mature size: 60 to 160 cm, spread of 38 to 100 cm (can take 8 to 12 years)
  • Common problems:
    Root mealy bugs: use pesticide
    Too much light: and too little water (signs: curled, dried, brown leaves)
    Too little light: yellow lower leaves
    : reduce watering if placed in a cool or low-light position (signs: yellow lower leaves, rotten stem, wilting, mouldy soil; brown, mushy roots)
    Underwatering: (signs: yellow leaves; loss of older leaves; stunted growth; wilting)
    Nitrogen deficiency: yellow lower leaves (nitrogen moves in the plant to where it’s needed — that is, from old leaves to new growth)
  • Pruning: prune and trim old stems to encourage new growth at cut sites; prune leggy stems to encourage bushiness
  • Other care: remove discoloured leaves; shower monthly (remove dust, hydrate leaves); wipe with neem oil to remove dust (neem also protects against infestations); becomes dormant in winter
  • Propagation:
    Division of rhizomes when repotting: separate pup 8 cm or more with several mature leaves (good to reduce chances of root-bound); cut stem with two root strands attached to base. Set pup into small pot with drainage and houseplant compost; bright indirect light and room-temperature; moist soil; allow top third of soil to dry out; after one to two months, treat as mature.
    Tip cuttings with three to four leaves: insert in 3 inch pots with moist mixture of peat and sand, enclose in plastic bag; place in room-temperature area in partial shade; do not add water for four to six weeks.
    After rooted: remove plastic bag, water moderately and allow top 1 cm to dry between next watering; apply half-strength fertilizer every two weeks.
    When roots appear on surface: move plant to pot one size larger with standard potting mixture and treat as mature.

Research sources: Plants RescueNorth Carolina Extension Gardener Plant ToolboxukhouseplantsThe Gardening CookNouveauraw

Plants. Plants. Plants. Oh my god, plants.

In the modified words of Liam Kyla Sullivan:

Let’s get some plants.
Let’s get some plants.
Let’s get some plants.
Let’s get some plants.

Maybe I got too many? I mean, this whole weekend was all about

Oh, my God, plants.

Like, I:

  • brought my humidifier to the dining room and set it up for the plants. And then my essential oil diffuser (sans oils).
  • checked root systems, removed crunchy leaves/rotting roots, and repotted soleirolia soleirolii, aloe vera, divided oxalis, pothos props, spider plant props, kalanchoe props, and string of dolphin props into terra cotta pots to improve evaporation rate of water
  • repotted calathea lancifolia and philodendron brasil into custom planter pots to fit inside wall-mounted cachepots
  • moved plants around to desired light/humidity areas
  • started eleven other plant-bio stories (since I was already researching ideal light, humidity, and soil conditions, I noted them down and filled out some other bio areas, including capturing photos for most plants)
  • went out to by glass covers for soleirolia soleirolii, salaginella, and calathea ornata (but calaethea ornata didn’t quite fit the container I bought it and might not really need it, so OK for now)
  • searched amazon to order: humidifier, humidistat, activated charcoal for eventual terrarium for salaginella, yellow sticky paper to trap infesting insects, 3-in-1 moisture/light/pH soil meter (surprise! Husband already had just the one I wanted! And he gave it to me.)
  • determined there are spider mites on my jade; treated it and the nearby-sitting string of turtles with a pray bottle of rosemary essential oil + water; moved them to isolation (they should have started in isolation; will know that for future purchases)
  • added cinnamon to wounds on leaves to promote healing (will it work? Recommended by a friend. Excited to see.)

These plants rule.
These plants suck.
These plants rule.
These plants suck.

I love them. They are amazing. I hate them. My obsession is killing me. I have no thoughts, no life, except:

Oh, my God, plants.
These plants rule.
Having few plants sucks.
Having not enough plants sucks.
Not buying even one plant that I want sucks!

I also researched more plants to buy. I didn’t… I only added to my online shopping cart in three local stores…

I think you have too many plants.
Shut up!
I think you have too many plants.
Shut up!
I think you have too many plants.
Shut up!
I think you have too many plants.
Shut up!

But… I might have too many plants. They’re all I could think about this weekend. But I’m also happy. So shut up!

Stupid boy.
Stupid boy.
Let’s get some plants.
Let’s party.

Husband is indulging me after years of denying me plants.
I am buying so many.

These plants are three hundred dollars.
These plants are three hundred dollars.
These plants are three hundred fucking dollars.
Let’s get ‘em!

I mean, aren’t they beautiful? I also watched several hours worth of YouTube videos about plants. And rare plants. And plant care. And plant trends.

Um…your room runs small. I don’t think your plants are gonna fit.
I mean, these plants are kinda big.

So I’ll just stick them on more walls! I can put them on the floor — just walk around them! More shelves! More hanging pots! More! More Moooaaaar!

Oh, by the way betch,
those plants are mine betch
gimme those fuckin’ plants betch