Thursday, January 30, 2003
Steamboat Springs Trailers and climbers.
Describes some of my Steamboat hiking buddies.
For high and tight places in your home, climbing vines and pretty foliage trailing from a hanging basket enliven a humdrum space.
Tall windows, high ledges and narrow nooks are often problem spaces that trailers and climbers can turn into a refreshing point of interest.
And trailers and climbers can also be used to camouflage the unsightly parts of other houseplants such as indoor trees that have become bare at their base as they aged.
In addition, collections of these plants in front of windows provide privacy while filtering light into the room.
As with many kinds of houseplants, trailers and climbers are most attractive when placed in groupings. They are also healthier, sharing collective humidity built-up by the proximity of other plants.
All plants in a grouping should have similar watering, temperature and light requirements.
One of the delights as well as problems with climbers and trailers is their tendency to grow long stems.
At times, you'll need to snip off new shoots as well as the older, sparsely leafed stems to encourage fuller, denser foliage. Cut back to a spot on the stem, leaving a node where a new leaf and shoot will grow.
Know the hot spots in your home when placing houseplants. If you have Entran floor heating, you might want to place your plant on a stand to avoid warming its soil and roots too much. With other types of heating, the areas near the ceiling are often the warmest, which is not good for some types of ivies, which will shrivel up and die.
Be sure to check the temperature, heat and light requirements of your plants before purchasing to ensure they will be happy in the space you've selected for them.
Many trailers and climbers can be trained to grow upward, downward and sideways over arches, partitions, ledges and windows. This can create an eye-catching, indoor garden effect. When choosing support structures for your plants, seek sturdy stakes that are both decorative and of a material that can withstand the wet, soil environment of your potted plant.
Bamboo poles, stakes wrapped in moss (for plants that root along their stems) and even dark green plastic netting all will attractively support your plant.
One of the easiest trailing plants to grow is English ivy (Hedera helix), which comes in a variety of colors and leaf shapes. It both climbs and trails and tolerates dry air as well as poor light and cooler temperatures. It's great for north-facing windows.
Another pretty basket plant is the Italian bellflower (Campanula isophylla) with its profusion of white or blue star-shaped flowers that can handle cool temperatures but needs a brightly lit room.
The popular Spearhead philodendron (Philodendron domesticum) has 2-feet-long arrow-shaped leaves and climbs up to 4 feet when trained on a stake.
Grape ivy (Cissus rhombifolia) grows quickly, up to 3 feet per year, and will attach itself to all kinds of surfaces.
This is an ideal plant for training against netting along a partition wall or over a ledge.
Other climbing and trailing plants are listed in the adjacent boxed area.
Deb Babcock is a Master Gardener through the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension office in Routt County. Questions? Call the CSU Cooperative Extension office at 879-0825 or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.