Shelob, and very long ramblings about houseplants

When we moved to Texas a year ago, I had to leave all my houseplants behind. (I had years of history with those plants. A couple were gifts from people dear to me. It was very sad). So last August or September, I set out to find new ones. I was excited, thinking that because there’s so much more sun in Texas, there would be significantly better houseplant options.

Not so.

Apparently, they don’t really “do” houseplants down here. At least not in the Austin area and surrounds. (I miss Molbak’s so bad, I can taste it). Pretty much, all you can find are asparagus ferns, philodendron (seriously? like you even NEED sun for those) and lucky bamboo. If you look, you can find some cool bromeliads. If looking turns into a year round habit, you can see a few other plants here and there, tucked in corners of shops on occasion.

I finally found a prayer plant this month. I’m ecstatic.

So in the end, a year ago, I settled for a jade plant from IKEA that came with bugs and totally died, an incredibly groovy bromeliad that I love from Home Depot, and a rabbit foot fern that I picked up at what everyone here in Buda claims is their favorite nursery. (They’ve never experienced Molbak’s, I can’t hold that against them). I’ve been enjoying my little collection, and with the exception of the jade, which wouldn’t even give me a chance, they seem to be very happy with me and have grown a lot.

Hence my problem, and this post.

More than lack of plants in Central Texas, is a decided lack of indoor pots. It seems that ’round here, people prefer their plants to stay in the great outdoors. I find that ironic, since most houseplants will fry in direct sun. Or morning sun. Or late afternoon sun.

I have been to many stores, looking for a suitable pot to move my very overgrown rabbit foot fern into, and have failed spectacularly. For the most part, all I can find are outdoor pots. Very rough undersides that will scratch the heck out of my table. No saucer to contain drainage. And lacking in the appropriate symmetry and refinement in craftsmanship necessary for an indoor pot.


Plus, our home has a specific look. A style that the pot needs to fit.


So, last weekend I finally found something that was the right size and shape, that would work indoors, on the less expensive side for a pot, and on sale to boot. It doesn’t remotely match my house in the slightest, but it was pretty, Nate liked it, and I’m flat out tired of looking.

That’s the back story.

Nate has named this fern Shelob. The “rabbit’s feet” don’t look like rabbit at all. It looks like a giant tarantula. Or 10 of them. And it was climbing out of its 8 inch pot.


The “feet” (legs) are very stiff, so I figured I’d bury them when transplanting into the new, 10 inch pot. Nope. They were having none of it. Aside from the creepiness of feeling like they were clinging to me as I was trying to dig the fern out of its old pot, when I dropped it into the new pot, they stretched out and over the rim. I’d buried about half of them when I noticed that they were sort of popping back out again.


Creepy. And still kind of cool.

So here she is with room to grow.


In talking to the nursery, it doesn’t sound like she’s actually going to stop growing. Great, like I’m going to be able to even find a 12 inch indoor pot down here. Maybe if I start looking now, I’ll find something by the time she starts climbing out of this one.


  1. Succulents? That’s about the only “indoor” plant we have here. And they are pretty amazing-looking. If you need a good source, the Plaid Pigeon people can direct you. They grow a lot of their own.

    Glad to see you posting again and that you are enjoying Texas. I’m about ready to flee for colder climates, but month five (six…) of summer always does that to me.

    Comment by Jessica — Friday, August 30, 2013 @ 11:26 am

  2. So that is what that plant is called. I have had mine for over 12 years now and it doesnt have nearly as much leaves as yours. Yes those feet do fall off when some of the leaves die off but when mine starts to sag and the leaves droop I take the pot and pop it under the sink tap and soak it, leave it there for a few hours and the next day it is upright and happy again. I hope you enjoy your warm weather where you are, ours is just beginning here.

    Comment by sue — Friday, August 30, 2013 @ 7:26 pm

  3. Yayy, love the blog posts. :-) Facebook is nice, but this is better. I would totally do succulents if I was somewhere with enough light to make it work (says the person a month away from the Seattle Gray). You can get mixed sets by mail on etsy that look pretty amazing.

    Love the ones that you ended up with, even if you had to hunt. And I can totally see how buying online is not the same as Molbaks. Love it there.

    Comment by Susan — Thursday, September 12, 2013 @ 11:22 pm

  4. I have so enjoyed watching your family grow, first on here and then on Facebook. I am now fortunate enough to have a wee grandson. Anyway, maybe I can help you with mung sprouts as I used to sprout them years ago.

    You need a mason jar, the ring for the jar, and a bowl. Wash your dry beans and them soak overnight. Put them in the mason jar. Cover the top with cheesecloth and screw the ring over it. Put it in the bowl on an angle so that it drains. Put it in a dark place. Every day, just pour fresh water in through the cheesecloth, swish, pour it out, and set the jar back so that it can drain completely. In a few days you will have your sprouts.

    I was a hippie Momma who did the sprouting and the yogurt making and all of that, but I never bothered with fancy equipment. My yogurt factory (I made big batches) consisted of an old styrofoam picnic cooler and large jars for the yogurt. I lined the bottom with a towel, put layers of paper between the jars of warm culture, put a heavy towel on top, and then put a hot water bottle on top of that. Closed it up and let it be. Used to pick raspberries and make sauce so we had yogurt sundaes.

    I enjoy your adventures with making bread, juicing, etc. I do miss your spinning tales. I think that is how I first found your blog.

    Comment by Reader — Tuesday, September 17, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

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