grow camellia, gardenia and azalea/rhododendron indoor

Hello experts,
I'm new to gardening and I'd love to learn. Here is california, san francisco bay area, I guess zone 10/11? I do not have any yard space. :-( I live in a condo which has a northwest facing balcony. I saw beautiful camellia, gardenia and azalea/rhododendron in the stores now. I'm very eager to try them. I've bought a 5gallon camellia Tom Knudsen and replanted it in a 13" pot with the help of home depot expert. I put it in my family room which faces southeast. I put it by the window to get some sun. I checked books and found some saying that it is an outdoor plant, some saying it can stay in the containor. Looks like it is not good for indoor? I feel very upset.
My question is that if I put the plant close to the window so it gets the sun through window and blinds, is this considered as "direct sun" or "shade" or "filter sun"? Should I keep it in my family room for some warm sun or should I move it to the balcony without sun exposure? What are the choices?
I really want to add some colorful flowers at home. I don't like color leaf plants. I have peace lily. What are robust flower bearing plants that can grow indoor? Can I try to grow camellia, gardenia and azalea/rhododendron indoor?
Thanks a lot for your help! Tiffany
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Had a corded electric mower when I first moved into my last house which had a very small yard. I spent more time moving the cord out of my way than I did cutting the grass. I HATED it.
If your yard is small enough, maybe one of the new rechargeable battery powered mowers would be a good choice.
Hound Dog
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I'm really confused. Are you trying to post for my question? I asked about whether I could grow these plants indoor.
Anyway, I don't have any yard, not even a small one. :-( Only a small balcony. I just feel that these plants are very atractive so I'm wondering if I could try to grow them indoor.
Thanks, Tiffany

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camellia will grow best outdoors in California. (The inside of a house usually is too dry - it has too little humidity), and certain kinds of diseases and fungi spread very rapidly indoors, without air circulation. If your balcony is pretty shady, that's ok - camellias do not need a lot of direct sun. For indoor flowers, probably the most successful one under the most common circumstances is the african violet. Many people have success with christmas cactus also.

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Frank) wrote in message

Put that camellia outdoors. You have a great climate for them, and they will do much better outdoors.
J. Del Col
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None of those plants will be happy indoors for more than a week or two. Plants which grow easily outdoors in most climates will seldom make good candidates for houseplants - it is too warm and too dry in our houses for them to thrive. Put your camellia on your balcony - that sounds like an ideal location for it - and visit a local garden center or store that specializes in houseplants (not HD or similar). Explain your light situation to them and they can help you select suitable flowering houseplants. One of the most long blooming and low care flowering plants for inside are orchids. If you select one that has a few open flowers and lots of buds, with the right care it can bloom for months. Rather tricky to get them to rebloom, but if you purchase at a place like Trader Joe's, they are inexpensive enough for that not to be a concern. Gardenias can also be grown indoors but they are considerably more fussy about conditions than orchids.
pam - gardengal
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On 9 Feb 2004 17:55:13 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Frank) wrote:

snip
None of these are good choices for indoor plants with maybe the exception of the gardenia. There is a variety that can be grown successfully inside. It is small and wouldn't be in anything larger than a 6" pot. The name escapes me right now but in any case I wouldn't recommend it to a new gardener. What does very well in the bay area are bromeliad and begonias.
zhan
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Thank you all for your replies!
I'll move my camellia to the balcony and hopefully it will be happy about it. Here is my new gardening plan for the year. I'll buy a 1G gardenia and 1G azalea. I found them in wal-mart nursery. They are in 6" long pots so I'll have to transfer them to 8" pots for the first 2-3 years. For indoor, I'll buy anthurium, begonias and orchid for colors. How does this sound? I heard it is difficult to grow orchid. What species are good for a beginner? Moth orchid? cyum....?
What are good nursery stores? I checked online and went to a "Summerwinds" near me. Their plants and pots are more expensive than HD&walmart. Is it true that HD&walmart are always cheaper? I found some labels on the plants are the same as those on HD plants. So if they are from the same source, maybe I can just go with the cheaper store ones?
Also, I posted a question about self-watering container. It would be great if you can share your experience with it.
Thanks again! I really appreciate all your time and help!
Tiff
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- Tallahassee, FL - Only where people have learned to appreciate and cherish the landscape and its living cover will they treat it with the care and respect it should have - Paul Bigelow Sears.
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Most national chains get excellent plants from national and foreign large scale growers. The day the plants are delivered, they are in excellent condition. How they fare from then is up to the quality of the staff at the chain store. Some times they are well taken care of and sometimes they aren't. The sooner you can get your after they are delivered, the better luck you will have.

Nurseries vary considerably. Some sell beautiful plants that are not hardy because they know people will come back and buy more when they die. One of the "best" local nurseries in our area has this philosophy. Other local nurseries use kids to take care of their stock and have the same problem as the national chains. Not every local nursery better than every chain store.
If you are lucky enough, it is best to buy from a local nursery that has field grown plants. They are a little more difficult to transplant, but will do the best in the long run.
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Growing orchids is easier than you would imagine......getting them to rebloom again is a different story. You may get different opinions, but I find Phaleanopsis or moth orchids very easy to grow and extremely long blooming. and the easiest to get to rebloom. Select a healthy looking plant with deep green foliage and a flower stalk with as many plump buds as you can manage. These will unfurl slowly over a period of several months. Moths prefer a bright but indirect light, although they will tolerate quite low light levels. Just make sure you keep it out of direct sunlight which will dry out the plant and bleach the foliage. They need lots of water and shouldn't be allowed to dry out completely, but they do not like standing water. I water mine thoroughly at the kitchen sink and allow the water to drain off before replacing them in their decorative pot or saucer. A layer of pebbles on the saucer will help avoid any sitting water but allow for some more humidity. Daily misting will help increase humidity too, but avoid misting the flowers. Room temperatures are perfect, but avoid drafts or placing close to heat vents.
Once the orchid has stopped blooming, cut the flower stalk back to the second node ( a little triangular shaped appendage on the stalk) from the base. Start fertilizing then with an orchid fertilizer (s/b available where you purchase the orchid) according to the package directions. In 3-5 months a new flower stalk should begin to emerge from the point where you cut the old one back. With good care, this should bloom for you as well and perhaps the plant will reward you with generating a second flower stalk, too. Good luck!
pam - gardengal
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