My Secret Garden (Jungle on A Windowsill) - Participant# 104 || 2004 Contest

Tropicas oasis in Siberia
by Rinat Ziganshin (Siberia, Russia)

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My name is Rinat Ziganshin, I am 18 y.o.

I was born and grew up in Central Asia, in sunny Uzbekistan, likely all know, where such juicy and bright fruit as fig, apples, grapes and peaches grow. It's a mild-temperate climate area closer to subtopical, equal probably to zone 7-8 USDA. In Winter temperature dropped rarely down to -10°C (15F).

For some reasons, I had to move from there to cold Siberia, and here winters are as cold as -30°C (-20F). I was wondering if if was possible to amuse myself during long cold evenings, when it's so little of a sunsine, still dark by 8 am, and already dark after 5 pm...

The decision was made that I needed to create tropics or subtropics on my windowsill!

I got some seeds out of dried fig fruit (dried fruit, snack type) and sown them.

I was waiting for the germination about 3 weeks or hardly more, the seeds sprouted in October.

They were sitting next to a frosty winter window...

I waited for another 1.5 months, and plants have grown up, I realized they need more room!

The solution came across my mind and I decided to make a miniature Hot House. I took 50 liter (15 gal) fish tank, it seemed to be enough. To provide a warm 'tropical' climate, I used a regular aquarium heater placed in a jar with water.
Here they are, the real Tropics on a Windowsill! The plants just loved it and started to grow fast and vigorously. Occasionally I opened the top glass, so the condensed water did not drip on fragile small leaves, fed up with a weak solution of liquid organic fertilizer.
The new mature type of leaves started to appear.

This experience was a great reward for my efforts. Then I started to use more concentrated fertilizer soultion and it made my plants stronger and bigger.

After couple of weeks the stems became woody and started branching

That was the best reward and Ablolute Holiday for 'Tropical Papa' (me) :-)
Sometime in January I re-potted my 'babies' into larger pots with potting mix, and since then they develop even more actively.

My experience is not limited just with fig trees. I also grow many other tropicals from seeds!


Jacaranda was planted in summer 2003, now it's already 70 cm (30") tall!
coffee I got this coffee plant as a tiny seedling.



Strelitzia was sown in the spring 2003, and now look at it!


Solanum was sown in the spring 2003, when it sprouted it looked just like a tomato. It grew very slowly, bottom leaves yellowed all the tome, but finally it turned out to a nice plant that now looks like real Solanum.


And I got much more!





My advice for everyone who lives in cold climate is - try, and just in a couple of years you will have perfect mature exotic plants!