Plants in The Middle East

They are NOT man-eaters!
June 13, 2008, 7:12 pm
Filed under: Carnivorous, Indoor

I’ve had this conversation three times already. Venus Fly Traps do NOT grow to become man-eaters! pictured below is a fully grown Venus Fly Trap.  It only grows to huge sizes in movies and video games, otherwise this is generally as big as they get, thus the name Fly Traps instead of Cow Traps.


“Bushier” Plants
June 13, 2008, 7:02 pm
Filed under: Indoor, Perennials

I always read that in order for your small indoor plants to become bushier, rather than taller, is to cut the top leaves when the plant reaches the desirable height.  Here is a picture showing what happens if you do:

Better picture

If you enlarge the picture above (the prominent fully green coleus), you will notice the lower branches all consisted of a single leaf.  Now that I snipped the top leaves before they fully grew I have two new branches consisting of two leaves each.  Interesting.

The Friday Update
June 13, 2008, 10:09 am
Filed under: Carnivorous, Indoor, Perennials

I’m hoping that I’ll be able to post a regular Friday update.  Here is the first one.

1. New seedling updates

I planted fresh seeds of several types of plants on the 9th (5 days ago) and the Polka Dots have already sprouted!

This is what they should look like fully grown:

Photo courtesy of

Nothing else to report on this front.  Yet to see some progress from the Sundews, Coleus’ and Sugar plants.  Will sow the Birds of Paradise today having been soaked in water for 5 days.

2. Coleus – Batch B update

Must have misplaced my Sharpie, so my finger will have to do.  Growing very nicely under my plant lights.

This batch has some yellow in it, besides the typical red/maroon.  I’m hoping my new batch (not locally bought) will show different colors.

Again, compared to some of their peers some are still lagging behind in growth.

3. Venus Fly Traps

Growing nicely and flowering.  I have two flowering simultaneously so I may leave them and then cross pollinate and plant the seeds.  I’m dooming the plants by letting them flower but it’s all for the sake of learning and experimenting.

The flower stalk is the long one in the middle (pictured above).

That wraps it up.  My yellow sunflower has a brand new flower but I didn’t take pictures yet and its too hot at the moment!

I’ll leave you with a fun quote – “I used to play sports.  Then I found out you can buy trophies. Now I’m good at everything”.

Problematic plants or ignorant owner?
June 11, 2008, 4:09 pm
Filed under: Indoor

Sometimes I get frustrated with certain plants and I reach one of two conclusions: either I’m not cut-out to own it or its a pain-in-the-arse to maintain.

Take two examples: A Cordyline I bought from Jawads (our Tesco).  It looked pretty healthy and happy there. In fact, all of them looked happy there! and I still think I can provide it a better home than a coldstore! Found out I’m mistaken.  Instructions say 1) moist (not wet) soil 2) Sunny spot. Did both, but its still not happy.  Moved it to a sunnier location (sun from wall and roof windows) and placed the ugly plastic tray under it so it can bottom feed and stay moist.  We’ll see.  If I keep cutting the dead leaves I’ll end up with a twig.

My second example is this Peace Lilly.  It’s my second time around with these and I consider myself more experienced this time around.  The leaves seem to be ok, but the flowers are dying.  This plant likes humidity so I placed a water tray next to it and I mist it once or twice a day, but no luck.  They say its natures best air purifier, but it looks like it’ll end up as compost. I’ll try cleaning the leaves but I won’t move it since it’s partial to direct sunlight and can withstand being in shaded areas.

Flight of the Bee
June 10, 2008, 2:18 pm
Filed under: Outdoor

My outdoor sunflower plants are starting to flower – so far I have a bright yellow and maroon. I ordered these since I didn’t want the same dull local sunflowers. They seem to be doing well in our weather, although the yellow sunflower plant is tall and lanky and may topple over if the flower becomes to big!

Enjoy! The bee certainly seems to be enjoying itself.

Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane)
June 10, 2008, 9:49 am
Filed under: Indoor

These are very common house plants.  I got this plant a couple of years ago and I really neglected it.  It ended up having 1 leaf and was borderline dead.  Since I didn’t have optimum lighting in my previous house I decided to bring it to work.  It has now recovered, growing small leaves followed by slightly larger leaves.

You will notice the fact that it has a long cane-like stalk (where the name dumb cane came from).  While looking into ways to fix up this plant, I came across a method of repotting known as air-layering (Click for more info).  This is basically making a clean cut (1/3 length of the stalk) anywhere in the cane and powdering with a rooting hormone and surrounding the wound with moist sphagnum moss.  This method allows roots to come out from the cut so you can then cut the plant off right under the new roots and replant.  this will make the plant shorter and better looking.  Some plants will even regrow from the original stalk.

Tried to get my hands on long-fibered sphagnum moss locally but no luck, so I had to order it.  Just received it in the mail today.

I’m going to take the plant back home over the weekend and work on air-layering.  Will post pictures.

New seeds have arrived!
June 9, 2008, 4:45 pm
Filed under: Indoor, Perennials

I got my seeds today! Included in the package was:

1. Birds of Paradise – These have to be soaked in water for 4-5 days so didn’t sow them yet. The orange fuzz on the seeds is funny (bottom of the pic).

2. Polka Dot

3. Stevia (Sugar Plant)

4. Coleus – Black Dragon

5. Coleus – Giant Exhibition

6. Coleus – Mix (Didn’t sow them)

I think my Coleus obsession is due to the fact that my father grew them when I was a child and I was fascinated by the colors. Anyhoo..

General rule of thumb – if you are sowing tiny seeds then you shouldn’t cover them with soil. My approach is I spread them over the soil and then mist with water.

I heard that Sugar Plants are difficult but I’ll try my best and hope they grow.

I will update the blog with weekly pictures so we can see the progress. Wish me luck.