Kalanchoe is a popular houseplant here, but grows wild in Madagascar.

The plants grown as houseplants may have serious disadvantages that prevent them from being happy in the garden, but have other advantages that help them survive indoors. They tolerate the lack of direct sunlight, the lack of humidity, the minimal fluctuations of temperature and the confinement to pots that they must endure for a domestic lifestyle. Their main difficulty in the garden is most are from tropical climates, so can not tolerate cold winter weather.

However, even happy houseplants like to get out once in a while. Even though most can not survive the coldest winter weather, the mildest winter weather is actually the best for them to get supervised outings. During clear and warm summer weather, sunlight can easily roast foliage.

Houseplants with glossy tropical foliage occasionally like to be rinsed of dust and whatever residue that they accumulate in the home. (African violets and plants with fuzzy leaves do not want water of their foliage!) Foliage can be rinsed in a shower or with a hose, but are more gently rinsed by very light drizzly rain.

Timing is important. Unusually cold or heavy rain should be avoided. Plants should be brought in before the sun comes out. It is probably best to not leave plants out overnight when it gets colder and they are not likely to be monitored. While the plants are outside, mineral deposits can be scrubbed from the bases of the pots.

The rain needs to fall this time of year anyway, so it may as well go to good use in as many practical ways as possible. It may be a while before it flows into the aquifer and gets pumped out to come back later for use around the home and garden.

So much of the water that gets used around the home has the potential to be used again. With modifications to plumbing and the sorts of soaps and detergents used around the home, used water, politely known as ‘greywater’, can be redirected, collected and distributed to the garden. Water may not be so important in the garden this time of year, but a Greywater Workshop happens to be coming up next week; and advance registration is required.

The Guadalupe River Park Conservancy’s Adult Greywater Workshop (for ages eighteen and up), ‘Greywater Basics: Reusing Household Water in your Landscape’, will be from 9:00 a.m. to noon on February 18th. The Workshop will be at the Guadalupe River Park and Gardens Visitor and Education Center at 438 Coleman Avenue in San Jose. Admission is $15, or $10 for members. More information is available, and reservations can be made, at www.grpg.org  or by telephoning 298 7657.


2 thoughts on “Houseplants Naturally Live Outside Somewhere.

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