Saturday, January 23, 2010
Plants with Stories
Only a few of my plants have stories. I've moved so many times and across such long distances (I'm up to 5691 miles of long distance moving so far, if you just count since I've become a gardener (and an adult)) that I don't have lots of plants with histories.
Mostly I just buy stuff for $4.00 a pop at the Local Garden Center (usually Kane's for indoor plants) or Big Box Retailer or even Grocery Store. Buy small and grow large is my mantra.
But a few plants have a history. This is a cutting from a cutting from a cutting from a plant my mom got when we first moved to North Carolina in 1976 (do I have the year right, mom? I was a bit young to remember it. Heck, do I have the story right?). This Sansevieria trifasciata (snake plant) has grown large for me in the past. It's even bloomed several times. But a large pot of Sansevieria trifasciata is hard to move long distances, especially if I also have dogs, fish tanks (and fish!), and all the other houseplants I want to keep crowded into my little car (OK, so I rented an SUV to move the big fish tank and all it's inhabitants from NC to Boston but that was a lot to deal with when driving by myself, in winter, with snow on the ground). Since Sansevieria trifasciata roots easily I took a cutting. It's just starting to grow new leaves this year. I'll pot it up into a larger pot this summer and set it outside and next year - WHAM! it will be magnificent. (Here's a hint, Sansevieria trifasciata can grow very strong roots so I always pot them in plastic. I've had this one break a clay pot before!).
How about this beauty? It's about time for me to root it again. This is a Peperomia, possibly P. obtusifolia. This plant is also a cutting of a cutting of a cutting. Like I said it's time to root it again as this one is getting really, really pot bound and they just don't look as good in the next size pot (speaking, well, ok typing from experience). I once won a prize with this plant at the State Fair! This one originally came in a group of plants sent to a friend's Grandmother's funeral when I was an undergrad, long long ago. I got the whole group because everyone else was afraid to even try the houseplants. This is the one I kept. I don't remember what happened with the others, I probably gave them away during one of my many moves.
This looks like just a plain old African Violet (Saintpaulia commonalia) but it's special. When I was living in Los Angeles I noticed a leaf on the floor one morning as I headed to campus. Hmm... I thought. I bet I could root that. But I went on in to lab. That night, weary from the lab (this was grad school after all) I saw it again but was too tired to care. The next morning. Hmmm... That leaf is still there. Still looks good, too. But I need to think about today's experiments. That night. Holy Macaroni! That leaf is still there. That's it. I'm picking it up and sticking it in a pot. How much time will that really take? I was right. African Violets do root easily. In fact I have two pots of rootings from this plant that I'm growing up right now. I know, I know, African Violets are Grandma plants and I'm not supposed to have more than one for each decade of my life. I have 5 and I'm not 50 yet! So sue me. They're easy and they bloom a lot (added bonus - they're cheap, cheap, cheap). I need a better pot for this one. Most of the small pots in the Local Garden Center look like they fit in a Grandma house. Maybe I should take a pottery class so I can make exactly what I want.
Last and for right now least is my Cuban Oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus). (No, I don't really hang baskets sideways with windows in the floor. Blogger just insists this picture go in sideways. I wish I knew why it did that and how to fix it. Sorry, I don't.)
Not much of a story here. Got a cutting from my mom who got it from a friend of hers. But I have moved cuttings across the country and back so I do have a history with this plant. It needs to be pinched back hard and often. I'm not very good at doing that. It isn't good for culinary uses (not a strong flavor) but it smells nice and if you set it outdoors in the summer it will grown thick and bushy. Guess where this one's going next summer. Plus all those pinchings? Easy rooting for gifts for friends and family. Does anyone need some? No? Really? Hey, where'd you all go? All I can hear are the crickets. I guess I've given this plant out to everyone I know.