What's Coming Up 127: Indoor light, houseplant watering, pruning, tools

In this issue:

Dim rooms can grow these bright plants
Shopping for grow lights, simplified
Watering bulbs for indoor plants, deflated!
How to continue composting in winter
Pruning: Loppers vs. saw
Painting after pruning: Not!
Winter eye for tree shaping and preventing spring trouble

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Please note: This is an archive issue. Any educational events included there are in the past. See Where We're Appearing for current dates.

Greenery for dim rooms


Where the light is low, don't plan for flowers unless you also plan to rotate plants regularly to promote bloom and restore the plant after it's been in the dark. Better to choose plants for dramatic or interesting leaves. An upright cast-iron plant next to a trailing variegated ivy can make a great, easy-care statement even in low light.

 

 

 

 

Many gardeners know the Boston fern but not the other Nephrolepis ferns, including the much more shade tolerant 'Dallas' and 'Lemon Button' (here).

Below right: Spider plant. In lower light its hanging plantlets may be more widely spaced. Their spacing can't be changed but you can just clip off the whole hanging stem.

Below left: Given supplemental fluorescent light, many other plants including Dieffenbachia can grace a windowless space.

I say lopper, you say saw...

Bypass cutting tools such as the loppers (above) are better than anvil-type cutters. In a bypass cutter like this one the cutting blade (a) crosses its partner in a scissors motion for the cleanest possible pincer cut. However, that noncutting surface (b) limits the angle and closeness of cut. That half of the clipper can rend and crush, as well -- especially if the person wielding the tool takes on a limb that's bigger than blade or handler can manage easily.

Bypass cutting tools such as the loppers (above) are better than anvil-type cutters. In a bypass cutter like this one the cutting blade (a) crosses its partner in a scissors motion for the cleanest possible pincer cut. However, that noncutting surface (b) limits the angle and closeness of cut. That half of the clipper can rend and crush, as well -- especially if the person wielding the tool takes on a limb that's bigger than blade or handler can manage easily.

Above: Where the blade of the loppers began its cut on the apple twig shown on the previous page, that thumb-sized branch was sliced cleanly (a) and will heal quickly. However, the opposing side (b) was mangled by pressure from the non-cutting part of the pincer (b). Wood there was just as firm as that on the left edge until it was crushed under the bark, leaving the gap you see here (b1). That cavity will invite fungus and take longer to fill with restorative wound wood than if it had been cut clean to match the "a" side. In this case, additional damage was done. The loppers tore the critical layer that must do the real work to grow over the wound -- the cambium. The flap of green (b2) is bark and cambium ripped away from the branch that remained on the tree. Thus the tree has that much more edge to protect and grow over on the stub before it can seal the exposed wood.

Above: Where the blade of the loppers began its cut on the apple twig shown on the previous page, that thumb-sized branch was sliced cleanly (a) and will heal quickly. However, the opposing side (b) was mangled by pressure from the non-cutting part of the pincer (b). Wood there was just as firm as that on the left edge until it was crushed under the bark, leaving the gap you see here (b1). That cavity will invite fungus and take longer to fill with restorative wound wood than if it had been cut clean to match the "a" side. In this case, additional damage was done. The loppers tore the critical layer that must do the real work to grow over the wound -- the cambium. The flap of green (b2) is bark and cambium ripped away from the branch that remained on the tree. Thus the tree has that much more edge to protect and grow over on the stub before it can seal the exposed wood.

If you came to this page by doing a Search:
In this issue you will find answers to these Search terms:

African violets
Aglaonema
anvil-type cutters
Arrowhead vine
Aspidistra elatior
Boston fern
branch bark collar
bypass cutting tools
cambium
Cast-iron plant
Chinese evergreen
Chlorophytum comosum
Croton
Dallas sword fern
Dieffenbachia
dormant oil
Dracaena
Epipremnum aureum
Ficus lyrata
Fiddle leaf fig
fluorescent lights
full-spectrum fluorescent light
glass watering bulb
grow lights
Hedera helix
honeydew
houseplants
hydroponics
indoor plants
inspecting trees in winter
Ivy
kitchen waste
lighting a terrarium
loppers
low light plant care
low light plants
making clean pruning cuts
Mary Apelhof
Nephrolepsis exaltata
Nephrolepsis fern "Lemon Button"
nightcrawler
Peace lily
Philodendron scandens
plants for dim rooms
Pothos
Primrose
pruning
pruning paint
pruning saw
red spectrum light
scale
sooty mold
Spathiphyllum
Spider plant
storing kitchen waste in the winter
Syngonium podophyllum
tar
terrarium
trichromatic light
vegetable scraps
Vining philodendron
worm composting
Worms Eat My Garbage

 

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