As soon as it will get chilly, our English gardening aspect argues so much with our South Texas aspect. One half thinks gardening is a vital year-round exercise; the opposite half thinks going outdoors in something colder than 50°F is dangerous. Compromises must be made.
Making a backyard on our windowsill is the answer. Crops that match within the windowsill must be tolerant of decrease mild situations and low humidity, and, most significantly, they have to keep windowsill dimension. Our windowsills are about 5 inches deep. Which means no windowsill fiddleleaf figs (Ficus lyrata and cvs.), not even ‘Bambino’.
A windowsill backyard additionally lets us have a couple of vegetation that won’t develop outdoors in our sizzling, moist Southern summers or chilly moist winters. The one week of spring climate earlier than temperatures leap into the 90s and one week of fall climate earlier than temperatures fall into the 40s move so rapidly that we by no means have time to even transfer them outdoors.
Moreover that, it may be a whole lot of enjoyable discovering what grows finest in numerous home windows. We discover the east- and south-facing home windows work finest so far as mild goes. North home windows usually shouldn’t have adequate mild and may get too chilly, and west home windows supply an excessive amount of sizzling solar within the afternoon. Nonetheless, there’s a plant for each window. Listed below are a few of our favourite windowsill vegetation.
Air vegetation (Tillandsia spp. and cvs.)
Air vegetation are small bromeliads which have a whole lot of completely different foliage variations. Many additionally produce small however brightly coloured flowers. Air vegetation respect vivid mild however not direct solar. Most develop slowly and keep windowsill-size. They’re low upkeep—they don’t really want soil or a pot. They develop finest with the leaves pointing up and do want weekly watering and occasional fertilizer. We place ours within the sink and spray them very well with lukewarm faucet water. From time to time, we combine a weak resolution of fertilizer and submerge them for a couple of minutes. Air vegetation could be vulnerable to contaminants, so filtered water is likely to be vital. Within the winter when the warmth runs so much and the air is especially dry, it could be finest to water them twice every week.
Miniature moth orchids (Phalaenopsis spp. and cvs.)
You’d assume these diminutive orchids have been made only for windowsills. They’re completely tiny and fantastic bloomers, with flowers that always final for weeks and even months. Simple to search out, there are many completely different flower colours obtainable. Mini–moth orchids love vivid mild however not direct solar. Water them weekly, and make sure that the water drains out the underside of the pot. They usually are in a plastic liner set inside a canopy pot. Pull the plant in its plastic liner out of the duvet pot to water; after the surplus water has drained away, put it again. Fertilize each two weeks with a weak resolution of fertilizer whereas it’s flowering, after which cease and let it relaxation for a couple of weeks earlier than fertilizing once more.
String of hearts (Ceropegia woodii and cvs.)
One in every of our largest windowsill failures has been string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus and cvs.) vegetation. They’ve all died, irrespective of which window we put them in. So we develop string of hearts. All of them thrive, and it doesn’t matter which window they’re in. As a succulent plant, they tolerate neglect. We water them weekly with all the opposite vegetation, they usually additionally tolerate that. We solely fertilize them about twice a yr. As soon as the strings attain the ground (or any undesired size), you’ll be able to merely lower them off and begin over. One of many good issues about string of pearls is its funny-looking flowers, that are very aromatic. The scent jogs my memory of cinnamon pinks (Dianthus caryophyllus and cvs., Zones 7–10).
Peperomia (Peperomia albovittata and cvs.)
There are a whole lot of peperomias that may develop in sills, however our favourite is the species Peperomia albovittata. Its small leaves are coronary heart formed, striped, and brightly coloured, including so much to a windowsill. The brighter the sunshine, the brighter the colour, however they appear finest with out sizzling solar, so keep on with morning solar solely. We water them weekly, however they’re fairly drought tolerant and normally revive rapidly if uncared for to the “Oh no, I killed it” state.
Vietnamese violet (Deinostigma tamiana)
A relative of African violets, Vietnamese violet makes a pleasant flowering windowsill plant. The small rosette of heart-shaped leaves produces massive flowers (almost an inch lengthy) for its dimension. The blooms are white with purple markings and are held nicely above the foliage. Even in our neglectful care, it blooms a number of instances a yr. It wants vivid mild for the most effective present, however keep away from direct sizzling solar. We water them weekly and fertilize them each two or three weeks with half-strength liquid fertilizer.
These are among the vegetation that work finest for us. There are such a lot of attention-grabbing vegetation on the market, and we strive a whole lot of them. Not all are suited to windowsills, however it’s enjoyable discovering those that work.
—Jason and Shelley Powell personal and handle Petals from the Previous, a backyard middle in Jemison, Alabama.