It’s gotten downright chilly here in the high country of northern Arizona, and for those of us that still have our gardening groove on, it’s time to shift our focus to indoor plants. But if you have pothos or spiders in every corner, you might be on the lookout for more daring or unique plants to grace your home – or to give as a holiday present.
I’ve got three suggestions for you of plants that are unique but not difficult to cultivate that you might want to explore; two of them will also make a fun project for the whole family.
This form of Japanese gardening involves taking the root ball of a plant and suspending it in a mud ball, which is then coated with soft green moss (the word literally translates to “moss ball”). It means that you have not only a plant but a living planter which can then be displayed in a container or hung on a string. If you hang several of these plants up, it’s often referred to as a “string garden.”
What’s wonderful is that creating a kokedama isn’t much harder than planting a regular plant. Probably the most challenging part is the soil, because you need something with enough clay so that the ball keeps its structure. However, a good bonsai type of soil will work, or you can create your own using clay and peat moss. You’ll also need your featured plant, moss, string, scissors, water in a spray bottle and perhaps a bucket (if you need to soak your moss to make it pliable).
As for your featured plant, ferns and ivy do well, but avoid succulents and cacti, as the soil ball at the heart of your kokedama will typically be too moist for them.
Also known as “gardens under glass,” these displays of plants are housed in partially or even fully sealed containers, which allow heat and light to enter the container but confine moisture. This results in a little eco-system that is pretty much self-sustaining.
You’ll want to feature plants that thrive in low to medium light with a mixture of leaf sizes, texture, and color. Popular plants to include in terrariums include African violets, ferns, lucky bamboos and prayer plants. Try to make sure you pick plants that will like the naturally humid environment of a terrarium. If you are thinking about using cacti or succulents, don’t fully enclose the terrarium – these plants need open containers for air flow.
Tiny and super colorful, this is a unique plant that’s requires no work from you; the grafted or “moon” cactus has already been created out of two different plants. Grafted cacti have solid green succulent stalk that looks like a traditional cactus, but then are topped with bright, almost neon-like domes in shades of hot pink, flaming tangerine and sunshine yellow.
That bright little ball on top is a “mutant” pup from a regular cactus. In the wild, it would detach from the parent plant and ultimately die soon after because of a lack of chlorophyll the plant needs to photosynthesize. The grafting process, however, allows the base plant to provide nutrients not only for itself, but its colorful pup.
I hope you’ll consider making some room in your home for these unique plants or giving them as a gift this year. If you have any questions about these plants – including how to create a terrarium or kokedama – please stop by. We’ve got the supplies and expertise you’ll need to get started.