It's Time to Give Plants Some Faux Sunshine

The Gardenia just keeps flowering despite my treatment.
I don't know why I didn't do this years ago. But now, I no longer have to watch my plants succumbing to a slow death all winter long. Or at least that's the plan.

I bought four Sun Blaster bulbs to put in some track lighting in the room at the back of the house (for lack of anything else to call it). The room has high ceilings and a concrete floor, and it's where the huge planters live in the wintertime.

Swallowtail butterflies
love Murraya.
As soon as we installed just two lights, the Gardenia perked up. (Yes, the same one I tried to kill.) It now has three open blooms, seven buds in various sizes, and three flowers that I cut to enjoy in other parts of the house.

The lights run just $7.99 apiece and screw into regular-sized sockets ala track lighting.

I'd wanted to keep the Murraya paniculata in the sunroom, but it will, I think, do better in with the big guys.

Murraya blooms outdoors in summer.
The Murraya, or orange jessamine, was given up by my cousin who had no room for it. Her husband had bought the specimen--a mature plant trained as a standard--for her as a gift but she had no place to put it, so she gave it to me. (for which I'm eternally grateful) I couldn't think of a more perfect guest, which is still how I think of the plant, and how I treat it.

The Murraya transmogrifies itself into the most beautifully-scented plant in my garden at least twice per season. Its flowers arrive in clusters at the end of the branches. They're nothing fancy, but when you carry a fragrance like orange blossoms, you don't have to be visually impressive. During the winter, if it's happy, it will bloom just enough to remind me it's there.

A happy clutch of bloomers preen beneath the plant lights.
And that's the thing about plants growing indoors. In order to keep the bugs and diseases away, they have to be kept happy. A healthy plant is much more able to fend off the evil spoilers like fungus gnats (more an irritant than anything), spider mites and aphids, just to name some of the more common suspects.

The lights will certainly have a good influence on the refugees from the winter. I won't have to listen to their leaves drop or face the sticky substance left by so many aphids by mid-February. At least I hope not. It might be too early to tell, but I'm optimistic enough to feed them with a blooming fertilizer.

1 comment:

  1. If a light bulb is all it takes you and your plants will be blessed. It seems I get out of the habit of watering the plants I bring in which brings along many of the same complaints. Good luck.

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