Chasing away premature winter blues… Indoor gardening fun!

Winter doesn’t even begin for well over two weeks and I’m already wishing for Spring. We had a beautiful spring like day on Sunday here in Pennsylvania with temperatures near 60 degrees and plentiful sunshine. My daughter and I worked in the yard cleaning and tidying up because winter like temperatures hit the area abruptly this year. I still had things scattered all over the breezeway from hurriedly bringing in all of my houseplants, which is unbelievably time consuming in itself. The beautiful day though left me wanting more and yearning for spring. Temperatures today are more seasonable at a chilly 32 degrees and the clouds are back. The Christmas tree and decorations are up inside and out. A person would think that would be enough to keep a person in good spirits but it doesn’t seem to be working too well for for the gardener in me.

In order to maintain some level of sanity I’m already dreaming up outdoor lawn and garden projects for next season and I’m dabbling in some experimental seed starting projects. My daughters boyfriend brought us a dragon fruit, or pitaya, to try recently and although I didn’t care for the taste nor texture I thought it might be fun to try and see if I could grow my own. After searching on google the process seemed easy enough so I saved some seeds, rinsed them free of the fruit pulp and placed them in a pot with a slightly sandy soil. I moistened them well, covered them with plastic and put them in a south facing window. I was super excited to see a bit of green popping up here and there and on todays count I actually have about ten little babies that I think may make it. Several actually are showing signs that they are indeed a type of cactus so I will have to transplant them soon before I end up with a handful of cactus “prickly” things, or at least that’s what I call them.

Dragon fruit is not something I’d ever even heard of but I am very excited to see if I can actually grow these to maturity just for the fun of it. The fruit itself isn’t to my liking but the plant itself is rather unique looking when it reaches maturity and is bearing fruit. It will look beautiful somewhere in my home adding a splash of pink and certainly add a little pizzazz to my patio.  

Dragon Fruit

When I was sorting through all of my seeds to store them for the winter I came across a packet of cactus seeds that I had picked up at Walmart. I decided I might as well put them in soil and see if I could get them to germinate. The packet said that it took 60 to 180 days for germination and I figured I had plenty of time to waste if they didn’t. After all, winter in Pennsylvania never seems to end and all I’ve got is time. I covered them also with plastic and put them in my south facing window. Sure enough I noticed green poking up through the soil in a couple of weeks. I was super excited although since I threw the packet away I’m not even sure what variety of cacti I’m growing. I may not know for another 6 months. Of course I can always use the plant identification app on my phone or my go to plant identification group on Facebook. 180 days will take us right in to summer and perfect outdoor weather here for succulents and cacti. I do recall the packet contained prickly pear seeds. This will be fun for me as I brought a couple of prickly pear cactus’s home when I moved back from Corpus Christi. They eventually died which I wasn’t all that sad about honestly because they are quite ” prickly” and difficult to have in the house for the winter. I just recently learned however that they will grow outdoors in zone 5 which is right where I am and I’m positive I can find a perfect spot for them in my garden.

Cactus seeds

I think when I’m done writing for the day I am going to plant some hibiscus seeds. I discovered that one of my hibiscus went to seed when I was cleaning up plant debris after bringing all of my plants in for the winter. I’ve never tried to grow one from seed because I’ve always purchased them at a garden center. I’m not sure my south facing window will be ideal for germination but I can’t set up my indoor greenhouse until Santa is gone and I don’t want to wait that long to get them started. This will be a learning experience because I believe I’ve read that if you can successfully grow them the new plant may not flower the same color as the original plant. I’d like to see this for myself. I’ll keep you posted on that adventure too. I’d love to hear about your experiences growing plants from seed. It’s always fun to hear what other gardeners are trying. Drop me a comment or send me an email.

Until next time garden peeps….Stay positive and enjoy a walk through your garden!

Flowerkeeper