The backstairs (aka the cat stairs) go from the hall upstairs to our Dining Room. Originally our Dining Room was the Kitchen, which theoretically makes these the “servants” stairs. I don’t think our house ever had servants given our house’s location and size, but I suppose maybe these were handy for the kids to go up and down. We have had a baby gate on ours for the last 3+ years (with a hole cut out for the cats). The kids are good about not trying to use the stairs, so we thought it was okay to take down the gate. It has been down for a few weeks and so far so good. Now time to pretty them up! I have put some of my indoor plants on the stairs for the last several years, since it is a nice out of the way spot (and we rarely use the stairs ourselves). The plants go out on the porch in the warmer months, so it is really just for the colder 6 months of the year.
The random pots were looking pretty sad, and I was way over due in re-potting some of my succulents. So a trip to Ikea was in order to pick up a bunch of white pots (Kardemumma) in several fun patterns to brighten up the corner. I should note that although I have a pretty extensive perennial garden, I am not blessed in the art indoor gardening. My mother has an amazing selection and all seem to thrive, but I have killed more than my fair share of house plants. I now stick to almost all succulents (and a couple of dracaena marginatas), since they enjoy being neglected. I have several aloe plants already (also convenient for burns) and a couple of other random plants. I picked up a few more at Ikea for $1.99 & 2.99 to create a more interesting mix of textures and colors. I also have a couple from the Tropical Sale at Scott Arboretum this spring.
When I stopped by Terrain a couple of weeks ago I admired their pretty collection of succulents. I saw that they had a charcoal product for putting in the bottom of pots that don’t have holes, to help keep the water clean. I prefer not having to deal with saucers with my pots and thought this was worth a try. It does mean you have to be careful not to overwater, otherwise you still risk rotting the roots. I also used a moisture mat which helps keep the extra water in place and slowly releases it back into the soil. For the soil I used standard potting soil amended with peat and sand. Once I got going it didn’t take too long to get everything replanted.
I am still working on the exact placement of the plants, but I am much happier with this corner now! The only thing that I have to remember now is that I have to pull up the roller shade to get more light in every day. The one disadvantage of a solar shade is that it blocks enough of the light that the plants were starting to look pale. We will have to see if I can keep these plants alive!
We will have to see if I can keep these plants alive!