Posted on | December 19, 2012 | 2 Comments
I like most of my house plants. They are quiet, green, and help purify the air. Which is good. Because sometimes I go a little crazy with the bleach. And that citrus cilantro home fragrance from Pier 1. In any case, my house plants do their job and ask for little in return. The Fittonia is my very favorite.
She has brilliant stripes, is bushy and full, and sends up cute white flower spikes when she’s happy.
When she’s sad (because I forgot to water) all she does is wilt to get my attention. And as soon I freshen her up a bit, she pops right back to attention. As if to say, “It’s fine. I’m good. It’s all behind us now.” Which is how I know she’s a female.
My Wandering Jew is another self-sufficient grower.
He doesn’t require a lot of water and has the bonus of a lovely purple on the underside of his leaves. Of course, Wandering Jew can be invasive can cause skin irritation to sensitive people so he has his own container hanging out of reach. He is incredibly tough and I’ve never had any complaint from him (even when I forget to water). He actually gets even fuller if you cut off hanging tendrils and those cut off limbs will start new Wandering Jew plants if simply put in a glass of water or stuck into some soil. It’s his fortitude, ability to irritate, and easy tendency to spread his spawn that lets me know he’s a male.
My Spider Plant not only flourishes without much attention, she is flexible enough to hang inside or outside, depending on the season.
Her spiky leaves are a nice variety to the rounded lobes of my other plants. And when she is struggling (yes, when I forget to water), there are no dramatics. Her leaves just start to fade out to a paler green until I finally notice. Spider plants are also one of many plants that have been proven by NASA to reduce pollutants. Which seems like her own particular super power. That is, until you take note of how many “babies” or offshoots she can produce in a short amount of time. If she had the capacity to make any more babies, she’d get her own show on TLC.
Of course, some of my plants make a more obvious complaint about my tendency to forget about their hydration needs. My Philodendron will spout a yellow leaf or 2 as a gentle warning that she is dried out.
So will my Peace Lily.
A few yellow, dried up fronds are my Lucky Bamboo’s means of signaling for help, too.
I bought this bamboo a couple years ago with the idea of teaching her to curl further as she grew taller. Unfortunately I found out later that process entails containing your plant in a box, exposing only certain parts of it to sunlight, and turning it an inch at a time for over a year or more. So I decided I should take up an easier and less time-consuming project. Like claymation.
Too bad I introduced a dud into this hardy and enjoyable lot of greenery. Several China dolls were browning and on sale at the local nursery and I snapped them up. Rescuing crippled and discounted plants is my specialty. Usually. Unfortunately, just as fast as they greened up, they turned brown again. And they continually dropped dead leaves like confetti in a ticker tape parade.
At first I thought warm air from the heating vent was bothering them so I turned it away. But then I did a little research and discovered they really want to be watered. A lot. On a DAILY basis. Oh, hell no. Not around here.
I shook off all their dry and dead leaves and stabbed them with a fertilizer spike. Hoping the combination of shame and nutrients would trigger a new growth spurt. Not a good look for you, ladies.
Then I burrowed a deep hole into their dirt, down to the base of the planter, and filled it with water. That much water should take a week or more to be absorbed. And if they don’t like soggy roots, well, there’s always the compost pile. We don’t do divas around here.
Besides there’s a new drama queen in town.
With her own special need for watering and cleaning.
The fake plants find this appalling.
“Really. Mother Nature has no shame.”
“I know, right?”
“Ladies, ladies, please. Let’s try to keep the Christmas spirit alive, shall we?”
What? Your plants can’t talk? Huh.