HOUSE CREEPERS: Plants & Plant-Like Objects Even YOU Can't Kill

Cheap and easy ways to houseplant up your homestead whether your thumb is green, black or whatevs.

Nov 10, 2011 at 11:00am | Leave a comment

House Creepers is BACK, baby! And although I promise you we'll be creepin' outside my own humble abode soon (like, real soon!) I wanted to show you just a few more items from around my place. This time -- since you guys responded so nicely to the fake flowers I made and posted in our last installment -- I thought I'd focus on some inexpensive, attractive and nearly un-killable plants and plant-like items that'll add some greenery to your lives even if your mere glance causes flowers to wilt and roots to rot.

Let's do this.

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1. HAIRY GRANDPA CACTUS

Seriously, if you can't keep a cactus alive, things are looking pretty bleak. I am a hardcore killer of plants and even I can handle a cactus. It helps to use a pot with a hole in the bottom for drainage so the soil won't get too moist -- and make sure the soil you buy is the type specifically meant for cacti and succulents. Oh, and wear gloves when you transplant it ... cuz OUCH.

I love these hairy kind of cactus sometimes called a "grandpa" (Latin name: who the hell knows?), and I especially love how they look when you glue a couple of googly-eyes to them. He looks like the ghost of Captain Caveman and I couldn't be happier about it. Again, I'm no Plant Whisperer, but I've been able to keep my cactus alive by a) keeping it in a warm, well-lit spot and b) watering about once a week or so (when I remember).

As an added bonus, this is not the kind of plant that's likely to be chewed-on by your cats. Trust me on that one.

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2. TOTALLY NOT-ALIVE KNITTED CACTI

You either need to know how to knit for this one, or you'll need access to a knitter. The cactus in back was a gift, the one up front I knitted myself during a class led by my pal Julie from the band Deap Vally (who also runs my fave LA yarn shop, The Little Knittery). I am a huge fan of knitted or crocheted things that look like other things, so you know I love these bad boys. I found a very similar knitting pattern for them online here. HINT: These also make great cubicle-warmers.

Now don't fret, crocheters, there are four patterns for crocheted cacti right here. HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW?

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3. SUCCULENT TERRARIUM WITH ACTION FIGURE

Succulents are like the next step up from cacti, responsibility-wise. You need to water them a bit more, in my experience, but they won't draw blood and they come in so many cool configurations. Throw 'em in a glass fishbowl (mine was 59 cents at the thrift store) and they can mimic a desert and/or alien landscape. Like cacti, this will need light and warmth -- a kitchen window works great if you have one.

I added a plastic cowboy dude to give my terrarium a Spaghetti Western kinda vibe, but I could have just as easily added my C-3PO action figure and turned it into a mini-Tattoine. You could of course leave action figures out entirely, if you want to be all classy and "adult" or whatnot, but zzzZZZZZZZ oh SORRY, I just fell asleep looking at your terrarium.

These terrariums can last several months (mine have gone as long as six) but the plants will eventually grow and need to be transplanted. But that's OK, since you can then start over with newer, smaller plants (or cuttings) and create a whole new "world." ALSO IMPORTANT: Don't use a closed container or a container with a too-small opening. Succulents and cacti need good airflow and won't take well to being trapped in an overly humid container. You're not growing mold here!

There are some nice and simple instructions on making a succulent terrarium here. Oh, and I poured in some sand and added a few rocks to mine, but it's totally optional.

 

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4. HANGING MINI-TERRARIUM WITH AIR PLANT

My birthday was on Tuesday (you're totally allowed to sing if you like) and HOLY CATS I got two of the most amazing gifts I want to share with you since they totally fit our theme. The first one is this hanging glass terrarium thingie my pal Nichole gave me. It looks sooo swanky, yet I already know I won't kill it. Why? It's an AIR PLANT!

If you're not familiar with air plants (aka Tillandsia) they are super easy to care for and don't even get planted into soil. The li'l guy you see above is just nestled into the glass teardrop on top of some colorful moss and a little sand. To water an air plant, you either submerge it into some water every 2-4 days, or just keep a sprayer nearby and mist it regularly. (More plant care tips here.)

I'm not sure where my friend found this particular model,  but I sniffed out a similar hanging glass mini-terrarium for you here. It's hard to tell scale from the photo above, but mine is about the size of a large grapefruit -- only no grapefruit was ever this cool.

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5. HANGING ORB VASE

Please pardon the not-great iPhone snapshot taken with zero natural light, but I really wanted to show you this, which was a present from my pals Charissa and Steve. It's a small (about the size of an orange) ceramic vase you can hang from wherever, that you can pour a bit of water into and use to display a single cut flower or a few teeny posies. Genius!

Thanks to a sticker on the bottom, I figured out where this is from; it's the "Hanging Aerium Orb" from Chive and it comes in teal (their pic shows the true color better), gray or white for only $17.30.

I popped in a sprig of antique linen millinery flowers from France I had laying around (part of my craft-making stash) just for the sake of the photo, and I like it well enough that it's staying in there for now. But once my garden-savvy neighbor's jasmine is in bloom again I'll be snipping off bits of it to display in this small wonder. Honestly, it also looks good empty, like a hanging sculpture.

Stay tuned for more House Creepers! Next time we'll be exploring the wild world of OFFBEAT BEDDING. It's gonna be a scorcher.