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Airlea
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Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 12:10 am
Location: Vancouver, BC

Poor drainage

I've got an apartment that faces north and doesn't get any direct sunlight. Currently, the only containers that have surviving plants are the lavender ones.

Alas, I'm stubborn and continue to keep trying to grow shady plants. One major problem I've run into is drainage. I added a bit of peat moss to the potting soil but everything is still clogged solid. It's hard, moist, and mossy. I've got rocks in the bottom of the containers and some holes (maybe need to drill more??).

Any suggestions for someone who can kill a cactus?

Sincerely,
Lea

Green Mantis
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Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:52 pm
Location: Alberta, Canada zone 1a

Plant your cactus plants in the clay pots, they let the moisture out quicker than the plastic ones do ( learned here!! :D ) Transplant them with a mixture of good sandy cactus soil, and regular potting soil. mix half and half, and then DON'T over water! I am Terrible for that :oops: But getting better, thankfully for my plants. Good Luck. :)

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Kisal
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Location: Oregon

Ferns like moist soil and north light. You may need to mist them a few times a day, if your apartment has low humidity. :)

Avoid peat moss. Add perlite to help with drainage. I don't put rocks in the bottoms of my containers. I use window screening, the black plastic kind. You can use a scissors to cut it to fit the container. Rocks can actually get into the drainage holes like plugs and block them.

You don't have to use cactus soil unless you're growing cacti, which I kind of doubt you are, if you only have a north exposure. African violets do well in a north exposure, but most people keep them too wet. Mine do best if I allow them to dry a bit between waterings.

Sanseveria does well in low light, as does Spathiphyllum.

Is your north exposure open, or is it blocked by other buildings, or trees? :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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Airlea
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Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 12:10 am
Location: Vancouver, BC

Kisal, I went out and bought a big bag of perlite and the window screening. I just haven't done much due to a massive headache. I'd like to drill a couple of more holes in the bottom of the planters too.

I'm not trying to grow cacti--they kept sticking me. We had a bad relationship.

Everything is out on a balcony with full exposure. The only thing that could be blocking (I'm on the top floor facing a park) is a tree but it doesn't matter because the sun doesn't travel in its path. Basically the sun goes over my building and in the morning, I'll get maybe a foot's width of direct sunlight along the balcony before the sun goes high into the sky.

Since everything is outdoors I wanted some colour. I bought some impatiens and some snap dragons. Ended up coming home with more flowers than I had pots. LOL

I like the looks of the Spathiphyllum.

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Kisal
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Location: Oregon

If you want an indoor plant that's a bit different and will do well in the north light, you might try cyclamen. They're very pretty. Mine grow outdoors in deep shade on the north side of my house, where the light is blocked by my neighbor's 6' tall hedge. They're winter hardy where I am, but I'm not sure they would be in your area.

You could try some Spanish squill, which is very invasive, but not so if grown in containers. It produces pretty, bluebell-like flowers in even the deepest shade. It has established itself along the base of my neighbor's hedge, and provides a lovely bright note in that dark area every spring. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams



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