Gardener's Notebook - Looking ahead to planting season

As optimistic as we gardeners are, it is still a while till gardening time (105 days till May 24, Victoria Day, the tradition “planting “weekend) and that is why we look to our houseplants to bring us our daily dose of gardening.

A dear friend gifted us with a peperomia plant; it is lush-looking and cheerful on these cold winter days.  Peperomia is from a large family of about 1500 cousins, part of the peppercorn family.   Most of the family originates in tropical to sub-tropical areas of the world.  The cousins don’t all look like each other, (the peperomia can also call cinnamon and avocado part of their family) but many of them have similar characteristics: they are more compact plants, growing only to a height of about twelve inches, perfect if you don’t have a lot of space for houseplants.  They have thick stems and thick, waxy-looking leaves.  These are plants that are loved for their lush foliage, and even though some bloom, the bloom is not their main attraction.

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You will find peperomia with many interesting names: radiator plant, baby rubber plant, shining bush plant, and emerald ripper plant.

Our peperomia has smooth, oval shaped leaves, rich green and almost like a succulent, and the stems are quite thick in proportion to the size of the plant.  But there are so many exciting other peperomia choices, like peperomia caperata, a plant we may not know well by name, but easily by appearance.  This plant has the small, crinkled leaves that always remind me of morel mushrooms.  Peperomia orba has small shiny leaves that have a beautiful green and yellow variegation.  Leaves that look like little flying saucers are the lovely look of Peperomia argyreia, watermelon peperomia, also giving the added beauty of striated leaves in dark green and light green, resembling the exterior of a watermelon.  Peperomia claviformis has the compact oval leaves, but with a dark burgundy-purple edging, also reflected in the purplish stems.  Very attractive!

Peperomia is a very easy-going houseguest.  It likes indirect light (no full sun).  We should water it every one to two weeks, and we should let the soil dry out in-between waterings.  As the plant gets more light, we can increase the amount of water.  Over spring and summer, our peperomia would love a little treat of fertilizer.  And this lovely plant easily adapts to any level of humidity.  This plant is interesting in that we can make more peperomia babies from any part of the plant, leaf or stem.  So if you’re looking for the perfect portable plant, ponder the pretty peperomia, one of the most easy-care houseplants!

With everything that is happening in the world, it is easy to feel discouraged, and that spring is a long way away.  But let’s make an effort to use the time towards learning something new.  As we talked about before, our gardens know nothing of covid, and when spring arrives they’ll be ready to start growing and for us, their eager caretakers.  Will we be ready for our gardens, with bright new ideas and perhaps some new gardening skills?  There is always something new to learn.  Henry Ford said “Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”  And he did okay for himself!

So far, there are no meetings planned yet for the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society. But please visit us at www.yorktonhort.cafor news and interesting plant photos!  Thank you to our friends at Yorkton This Week for their fine work.  Let’s pray for health for all and bright times ahead!  Have a great week!

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