Unexpected Houseplant is a Welcome Guide

Seldom do my worlds collide like they did when my interest in houseplants was reawakened and I stumbled upon The Unexpected Houseplant. It was the cover photo that drew me in, a gorgeous planter with primroses blooming their cute little heads off.

It also was the title, as I took it to mean author Tovah Martin had blurred the line between indoor windowsill and outdoor patio plants. And she has. In a big and surprising way.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before the world opened up to allow entry to an expanded array of plants that work well in pots. Don't ask me how I discovered Lachenalias, a South African bulb with flowers that are across between a chubby little Muscari and a relaxed florist's hyacinth.

I found and ordered a clutch of bulbs from Easy to Grow Bulbs, but found it nearly impossible to find any detailed information on growing them. They were in Martin's book! She called them the "easiest, most beguiling little bulbs you can possibly imagine."

Look for Ornithogalums in local supermarkets in December.
I'll be planting five bulbs of Lachenalia 'Rupert' together in a pot to brighten up my holidays. Emboldened and intrigued by the photos I saw that I bought seed for Lachenalia aloides. The seeds are as small as poppyseeds, and they came with instructions on how to treat them with Liquid Smoke to break their dormancy. I'll let you know later how that goes.

I also bought some bulbs for Ornithogalum dubium 'Coconut Cream', which I've already tucked into a planter with some Amaryllis bulbs saved from previous years. I don't know if this variety of Ornithogalum is the same one I grew last year after finding it in a supermarket, it should be close.

The Unexpected Houseplant doesn't go into detail about growing every plant Tovah Martin mentions. But with her descriptions, conversational narrative and photos, she lights a fire under every person whose ever grown plants indoors. Or outdoors for that matter.





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