All of my adult life because of a combination of kids, cats, and poorly placed windows, I’ve been severely limited in my ability to grow plants indoors. First I had an apartment, with little room, and I didn’t know as much then as I do now. I had a patio garden and some hanging pots of pothos near my patio sliding door, but not much else.
Then I had a house, and I gardened the hell out of that house. Most of the pictures on my blog are from that house, but it was outdoor gardening. It did not have a single south-facing window, not a single one. No deep window sills for plants. We did an addition off the back and I had a deep window sill added there, but it was just one, and not big enough for a large potted plant, 8-inch pots tops. I lived there for 13 years.
Then we moved to Tennessee and lived in a rental a couple of years while we built. I had a few more windows and more natural light but with a baby and the cats and the transient nature of the place, I didn’t do much.
But now, now I have my forever home, that I designed… and while in some sections of the house I intentionally do not have many windows, in others I do, huge windows, deep window sills, a greenhouse, and…. in the middle of the house…. over the stairs…. a skylight. And not just any skylight, a 22×11 skylight. This thing is a beast of natural light, it filters down to the first floor. 30 feet-ish below the skylight apex I have my amorphophallus titanum in a small pot, the cats and kids don’t bother it though I worry. More like 35-40 ish feet below the skylight and off to the side I have a ginger lily doing fine with just that filtered light.
The potential for me to grow around this stairwell under the skylight is very high and stratified. Shade plants do well on the bottom levels, but sun lovers can do well at the top because the third floor right under the skylight is super bright and gets a good quantity of direct sunlight. There is a spot or two where a large potted tropical tree would go nicely, but I need the pot and the tree, and to be fully moved in and not unpacking and whatnot. It will take me a while to fully take advantage of all the great locations for me to grow in this house… and I haven’t even mentioned the greenhouse.
I love the idea of beautiful fragrant flowers growing indoors, having little experience with indoor plants thus far I know I have learning to do. I want to explore trying to grow Gardenias as I hear they are very fragrant, but finicky indoors, so I say trying. Right now though I am working on morning glories.
So a stairwell has a lot of vertical height right? What better place for a trailing vine plant? I’ve always loved the classic morning glory appearance so I am growing those, and it works. Some years ago my parents got me a nice copper planter, a 4′ window box, and I never had anywhere to put it. I tried at one point to mount it on my old house but turns out my house sheathing at that place wasn’t strong enough to support the box. Then I realized, you know? I could put it indoors on my railing around the stairwell, and what a great place for growing morning glory.
So, I did this. And I’ve proved it’ll work I have some morning glories potted and blooming, even though I’ve been barely watering them (apparently they tolerate drought well, who knew). I’ve been barely watering them because apparently the window box leaks so a couple of days ago I had to de-pot everything, clean the box out, and apply FlexSeal to hopefully make it watertight (it was dripping down on to my stairs every time I watered). A window box with a tray would be better, but that is not what I have.
I am excited that it worked though. I can just envision in a couple of months having a very healthy drape of morning glory showing off in my central stairwell. Now I just need to think what else I want to plant, ideally something fragrant.
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