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With the hustle and bustle of the holidays over, and a few precious hours to myself yesterday afternoon, I was able to knock out a few indoor chores that have been hanging over my head for several weeks.

In the fall, I took cuttings of my Salvia greggi (Texas Sage), in hopes that it would root and I will be able to enjoy it in the lasagna garden again next year.  (I was disappointed to discover after I bought it that it is not hardy in my zone!)Salvia 'greggii'It did indeed root well for me:Salvia greggi roots in waterHowever, I recently noticed that the leaves looked unwell and some had fallen:007Closer inspection revealed some sort of infestation.  Hopefully you can see the web in this picture:001I could not find my bottle of organic insecticide, so I rinsed the stems, leaves, and roots under a gentle shower of lukewarm water from the kitchen faucet.  Then I set about potting them.

I had brought the bag of potting soil, frozen solid, in from the garage the night before so it was at room temperature and usable!  It was quite dry, though, so I dumped some in a bowl, poured some water over it, and let it soak in before I used it.  If I had not done that, water would have simply drained straight through the pot, without the soil retaining any moisture.019(My husband is thrilled, by the way, to see our mixing bowls used this way!  I say that’s why we run it through the dishwasher afterwards!)

The roots on the Salvia grew very long!Salvia greggi rootI put a bit of moist soil in the bottom of a small pot, hollowed out an area, and set the roots into it.  Then I filled soil into the rest of the pot, gently firming it around the roots.023028Hopefully, the Salvia will perk up now and get through the rest of the winter.  Later this week, I’ll buy some more insecticidal soap and give it a spray, and in ten days or so, I may trim off the top three inches, with the thought that some of those tiny new shoots coming along on the bottom half may develop further.  I also need to decide whether to put them back in the dining room windowsill where they’ll receive natural light and the warmth of the house, or to take them to the basement to live under lights in cooler air.

I continued playing in the dirt, potting up one of two Pineapple Sage  cuttings.  These look quite healthy and have grown considerably since I brought them inside.  They’ve even bloomed!010015This plant can grow large, and I don’t want to re-pot it again until it’s time to go outside for the summer, so I chose a pot big enough for it to grow into.  Pineapple Sage likes sunlight, so I placed this pot in my west-facing kitchen windowsill.  As with the Salvia greggi, once this plant has had a little time to get established in its new digs, I’ll clip off some of the top growth to encourage branching.033Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) is named for the scent its leaves emit when rubbed or crushed.  I’ve not used it culinarily, but have read that it makes a nice addition to fruit salad, salsas, or even chicken.  It may also be used in potpourri or in dried herb wreaths.

Having limited house space for yet more potted plants, I’ll leave the second cutting in water until it’s time to put it outside, as long as it continues to look healthy.

Lastly, I finally re-potted this poor Tradescantia zebrina, more commonly known as Wandering Jew.  038

Sad to say, I have not treated this poor plant particularly well in the three years since I brought home a cutting from a friend.  I let it live in a jar of water for far too long.  I finally potted it but forgot to keep it watered.  Most recently, when I brought it inside in October, I dropped it on the floor, and most of the dirt fell out of the pot.  I did not have time to properly re-pot it at that moment, so I just plopped the root ball back in the pot and have at least remembered to water it when I do the other houseplants.  It has not merely survived this neglect, but has actually grown a new rosette of leaves at the bottom of its stem!  040

I’ve made a New Year’s resolution to take better care of this lovely plant!  For now, it lives on the fireplace mantle, behind the large Philodendron.  It receives a good deal of bright, but not direct, light, which will help keep its lovely color vibrant.  By spring, I should need to move it to a larger pot!047It sure was nice to get my hands into some dirt and play with my plants on a winter day!  Next, all of my Christmas cactuses need re-potting, but I ran out of soil and time, so that is a job for next week!