For years I have been buying lovely houseplants from markets and florists, which as soon as I take home look peaky and eventually die on me. The puzzling thing is that I haven't got black thumbs and nearly everything I have grown from cuttings and seeds is doing so well. I have a lemon plant I have grown from a pip taken from a supermarket lemon well over 10 years ago. It even survived a winter outside, although it didn't look that good the following spring so I have kept it indoors this year.
So it was exciting for me to see that my azaleas (bought by my mother in law) are doing so well and are covered in blooms. As I had one and it died quite quickly, I'm really excited to have an azalea that is several months old.
Of course I know that commercial plants are often sterile and are forced in greenhouses so as soon as you transfer them to a room with less light and central heating, they do less well. Some plants don't even tolerate tap, you have to use rainwater.
Apparently azaleas like rainwater too, but mine has done well with tap water. The key to success with my azaleas was to monitor the compost and keep it moist. Also the three plants that were in the original pot grew so quickly there was little compost left and as soon as I divided them and put them in new, spacious pot full of moist compost, they thrived. One plant went back to my mother in law and the other two are in this pot, but will soon need repotting. The pot is positioned on a windowsill above a radiator. Provided I keep the compost moist, it is flowering well and putting on new leaves.
The plants at the bottom of this post are aloe veras. These two are mother and baby. The mother was previously a baby that has grown to generate another baby plant. I had aloe veras before but perhaps shop bought ones don't make babies. This one was bought at a charity sale and makes a baby every year. They are now sharing a pot with devil's ivy and a speckled succulent plant. Click here to find out the benefits of aloe vera, which is used in medicines and beauty products.