Indoor Clover Troubles

zanemnJuly 30, 2012

Hello.. this is my first post on this forum but I'm having a bit of trouble with some office plants that I'm not sure about :/

I work in an architecture office with an open storefront window that gets a little direct light, but mostly indirect sunlight. We wanted to plant some grass-like plants in pots to make our window look a little more lively, so someone researched and decided White Miniclover would be the best solution for low maintenance and good coverage.

We planted these pots about a month ago and at first they were growing very well, but they seem to be getting worse and worse. Obviously, the stems are growing towards the window (that was to be expected) but besides that, they look pretty wilty and sad in general.

I suspect that we may be watering them too much (MWF every week) but also that clover is a bad plant to be growing indoors. It looks like the ones in the far corner (the ones pictured) are doing the worst, and those are the ones that get the least sunlight.

Does anyone know if White Clover is even possible to plant indoors? Most websites online only discuss it as an outdoor plant, and I am starting to second-guess the person who researched this earlier.

Thanks in advance for your help!!!

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Zan, first, welcome to GW.

If you like Clover, why not get Oxalis, purple. It's really care-free, 'needs water in summer' and will do well in bright-indirect light.

Other types of clover, especially the kind that grows outdoors will grow spindly as your picture shows.
Sorry, but I'm only being honest.

There are several other plants that will grow in offices.

What do you mean by 'grassy types?' Toni

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 3:55PM
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Oh, you can do a lot better than that. You are right to be dubious, white clover, or red for that matter, if they are the same plants as the ones known to me by that name, are not indoor plants. Could it be a naming problem? Perhaps your advisor meant oxalis, which I have seen called clover or shamrock, and there is at least one for growing indoors which has white flowers. Oxalis regnelli is the one I know, but I bet people here can tell you about tons of others. Well, maybe a 'leetle' exaggeration, but certainly there are a few.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 4:00PM
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Thanks for your help! Yeah, upon further research the Oxalis plants look much better for indoor environments. They do seem pretty large, however. The picture I posted is what our best plants look like right now, and that's pretty much the size we're interested in.

We want something that has a pretty clean, minimal appearance from a distance, that's what I mean by "grassy". (Nothing with big leaves or flowers.) We were considering using moss but that obviously needs watered a lot, and I might just look into indoor grass.

I'll post another picture of the full effect, so you can get an idea of what we're looking for.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 4:05PM
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This is our full "installation".

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 4:07PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Hi & welcome to Gardenweb!

Can't see much of the spot in that picture but I think one healthy, good-sized plant would probably look best and be much easier to care for. I'm not sure what kind of statement the clover was intended to make, but most people would pull it as a weed from their gardens so it's not something that people who notice and appreciate plants would, well, appreciate. Maybe if we understood the thought process it would be easier to understand your coworker's decision here, and more able to recommend something with a similar trait or appearance if possible. I don't envy your position in trying to fix it without hurting the person's feelings who picked the clover.

I agree, it's probably not enough light, so that's an impartial fact to hang your hat on. Sounds like too much water, if you want to try that again wait until the pots feel much lighter weight, then you'll know most of the moisture is gone. (Which goes for most potted plants that you can pick up.)

I couldn't tell if you think your office has decided to try to "fix" the clover (which looks mostly dead to me) or find something else...?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 4:12PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Apparently I was typing while everyone else was. You might look at Alternanthera 'Joseph's coat.' A pretty little plant, about 6" tall, with some pink in the leaves. Some little jade plants or cactus might work.

Sorry, minimalist is not in my nature when it comes to plants, trying not to wander off fantisizing about all of that space by that giant window, or make any comments about trying Chia pets since my jokes rarely go over well.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 4:26PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Miniclover is indeed a real plant, Trifolium repens. It cannot be grown inside and is not even at its best in shady conditions outside. It's used as a cover crop, a lawn substitute, and a ground the full blazing sun. It's a charming little plant....outside.

I take it that you are looking for a spare, modern look. There are grasses that are commonly grown inside, such as wheat grass and oat grass, but even they don't do very well without decent light.
Can you measure the footcandles at different times of day?

Hmmmmm...does anyone here think that chia might work? The effect wouldn't be dissimilar to that of the mini clover.

Is there anyone in the office who knows anything at all about plants? No offense, but a little bit of knowledge goes a long way. :-)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 4:32PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Yes, although I was joking, I do think Chia would work but doesn't it need to be "mowed" periodically like regular grass? Does somebody have time at the office to shear 48(?) potted plants weekly? Sounds too messy to me.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 4:43PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I can just see all of the architects measuring out the EXACT spacing of the pots, lol. I hadn't seen the whole project when I posted. I guess that I posted my comments before 'refreshing' the page.

Purple, I hadn't even seen your mention of chia when I suggested it, lol.

Frankly, it might be an ill conceived idea in the first place, considering the limited amount of sunlight.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 10:40PM
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aharriedmom(8B FL Sunset 28)

I think that if you want a clean, yet lively, look, you need to have a variation of plants. The regimented pots don't look lively at all, but rather boring. Personally I think the only way that having the pots be so perfect would be to have plants that trail and cover the area. There are plants that can look clean and interesting but I think you'll need to have a few different types. What about adding sansevierias? They are modern and clean looking. Having them mixed with some shorter, easy to care for, plants would add interest.

And if you want Oxalis, I can send you as many little bulbils as you want. I dig them up often out of my yard and outdoor beds, the pesky little things! I'd never considered trying them in the house, lol.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 7:21AM
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I've seen rows of Scirpus in pots in magazine office design articles, althugh I can't understand the rows-of-pots-with-everything-the-same-in-them mindset myself, but apparently Scirpus (proper botanical name escapes me at the moment) is very often used in this way.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 8:27AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I totally 'get ' the desire for this streamlined, sleek look. Repetition is a very strong element in design. This concept is highly suitable for this type of business. Boring to some, perhaps, but most people would be intrigued. I've planted identical pots of wheatgrass to line up along my front porch for the winter. Loved it!

I hope that our original poster lets us know what they end up doing.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 9:28AM
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I'm not differing just for the sake of it, I do feel that most lovers of houseplants in the main wouldn't go for it. I'm happy to be proven wrong.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 12:40PM
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Wow, thanks for all the feedback, everyone! No, unfortunately no one in our office is very plant-inclined. We HAVE however decided to stick with these for maybe another month and see how it goes. We're thinking of putting some more seeds in the bad ones, rotating all of them so that the other side of the pot gets more sun, watering them less (once or twice a week), and see how they turn out. We could buy more plants, but we have a limited budget so we're going to try and stick it out.

BUT in regards to the chia pet comments, we were actually discussing that in the office yesterday! I actually have planted a chia pet before, but if my memory is right, I think once they die after a month or 2 you have to reseed them? Seems like a pain but could be a possibility.

And for everyone debating on the interestingness/attractiveness of the project, this isn't what we want it to look like forever. The attached picture above is more what we were thinking for the final design. We haven't actually decided how we want to construct that yet, so we've got just the flat pots for now.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 3:54PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

That couldn't be more cool if it was on ice!

Once per week may still be too much for tiny indoor plants such as these. Try to go by weight but that may knock the gravel loose... which makes me wonder, are there holes in the bottoms of those pots? If so, where does the excess water go?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 4:22PM
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Zanemn: Oh... I see now. You're actually going for sort of a green wave effect. That's attractive, but I feel like it's going to be incredibly difficult with living plants. Anything that's living is going to need to be maintained (weeded and groomed to pick out dead/dying vegetation) plus watered... and that looks to be an AWFUL lot of pots to do. And then there's the light factor. Is there any reason why you couldn't suspend additional lighting from the top to supplement the natural light coming in from the window? If you could do that, you might be able to get away with something like low-growing perennials that doesn't need much in the way of trimming. I wonder if any of the MANY types of thyme (for example) would work? But they do need rather strong lighting. I have lemon and wooly thyme outside, but I've never attempted to grow it indoors, so I'm not sure it would be appropriate. Just sort of thinking while I type.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 4:23PM
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