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GARDENING | THE INDOOR GARDENER

Garlic 'Leaves' Can Be Grown on Windowsill

March 02, 1997|JOEL RAPP | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

QUESTION: I know you can grow lots of herbs indoors on a sunny windowsill--I've grown basil and parsley with great success. But somebody recently told me you can grow garlic indoors. Is that true?

ANSWER: Not exactly. What you can grow are garlic "leaves," which are great in salads, dips, soups and sauces.

Start by bringing home a nice, fat healthy garlic bulb from your local market. Fill a pot three-quarters full of potting soil, then dig a hole and plant the garlic bulb so that half the bulb is buried and the pointy side is sticking up out of the soil.

Put the pot in a sunny window and water frequently to keep the soil moist and you'll have lots of spear-like leaves sprouting in about a week. When the leaves are about 6 inches tall, cut the tops, always leaving about half an inch, and use the leaves for flavor in cooking.

An 'Orchid Cactus' Is Likely an Epiphyllum

Q: I attended a cactus and succulent show recently and was much taken with a plant the lady called "an orchid cactus," so I bought it and brought it home. Unfortunately I lost the tag that was in the pot so I don't know its botanical name or the exact care. Can you help?

A: An orchid cactus could be any one of many Epiphyllums, which produce colorful flowers.

Epiphyllums are mostly air plants that obtain their water and nutrients from the air. Maybe the most commonly known Epiphyllum is night-blooming cereus, which is a common name applied universally to cactuses having large white and fragrant flowers that open only at night.

In the spring and summer, give your plant lots of warmth, water, light, fertilizer and humidity. In the winter, cut way back on the watering, cut out the fertilizer and try to keep the plant cool at night to encourage flowering.

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DEAR READERS: To all of you who wrote and asked for a specific source for Lithops, or living stones, my best suggestion is to check your yellow pages for a nursery that specializes in cactus and succulents and give them a call. In all my many catalogs and other resource books, I couldn't find any nurseries specializing in Lithops.

Are your palms pooping? Are your ferns flopping? Send your houseplant questions to the Indoor Gardener in care of the Real Estate section, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles CA 90053. Questions cannot be answered individually.

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