It’s ALIIIIIIVE!!!!

Since I left home to go to college, I have had houseplants. My parents have houseplants, and I could not imagine living someplace where I didn’t have a houseplant. So I purchased a small dracaena marginata for college and named it Spike.

I still have that plant. It now lives in several pots, and has been replanted several times besides being chopped off to nearly nothing after getting too tall. These are cool plants: you can chop the stem close to the root, cut the stem into several pieces, plant the pieces individually, and you will wind up with several new plants and your original one will probably grow more than one new stalk to replace the part you cut off!

Over many years of dormitory and apartment living, I acquired more and more houseplants. A pepperomia was left by previous residents in my first apartment, and it looked dead, but with water it revived and I have it 15 years later, still going. My friend Kate was propagating walking irises once, and I now have a large pot of those. I acquired a cutting of my mother’s double red hibiscus, now a large plant and parent to hibisci owned by several friends. I have a fern that used to be in my parents’ house, and a plant with pink flowers that was a hostess gift. My parents also gave me a Christmas cactus. When I worked at a school with a horticulture program, I wound up with a snake plant, and some of its smaller relatives, which keep making more of themselves!

When my husband and I bought a house, it was time for more houseplants! When I helped some friends move I acquired a piece that fell off one of their houseplants, a purple-leaved vine that I can’t remember the name of. I have lots of those all over the place, now, including several pieces rooting in a vase on the dining room table (perpetually–they sometimes get planted in window boxes, but I keep winding up with these really long vines that need to be cut off, and I find it really difficult to throw them out!). My parents gave me an old fern, and a miniature orange tree which I have always loved and wanted:

Many of my plants live on the back deck in the summer, and winter indoors. I carefully maintain them with just enough water…

Except this year, I wasn’t so careful. The first to go was a potted rosemary, not the first one I have killed, but this one was a big disappointment because it had lasted longer than most. I’ll replace it with a baby one this spring, and try again to make it last. Then, the miniature orange dried up entirely, and a bay tree that my husband and I decided together to buy also dried up entirely!  I was very upset by this incident, but I have nursed the orange back from the brink in the past, so I figured I would try again with it. I will have to prune it drastically in a few weeks before putting it outdoors since some branches are clearly dead, but there are a number of little new leaves on it already.

Today was laundry day, and I found myself in the loft putting hang-to-dry clothing on a drying rack, and I noticed that the bay, which I was sure was completely dead, HAS A LOT OF LITTLE TINY BRANCHES WITH FRESH GREEN LEAVES ON THEM GROWING OUT THE BOTTOM!

YAY! IT’S ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE!

This has made my weekend a lot better. That and being done with the laundry before 4 PM! Now if only I had already written my code for physics…

6 Responses to “It’s ALIIIIIIVE!!!!”

  1. Doris Says:

    Over the years I have had many, many houseplants. Some grew so large, I had to give them away (a ficus benjamina, several draecena marginatas, a couple of ferns, a jade tree). Some plants just resisted all my efforts (I’ve never been able to keep rosemary alive). Others just grew old and faded away. I still have a couple of ordinary foliage plants that have thrived for years with little attention. I am so glad that your orange tree has survived! I received it as a premium for sending in a proof of purchase for Dixie cups when you were brand new. It came, appropriately enough, planted in a Dixie cup, and I transplanted it several times over the years as it grew and grew — just like you! It grew too big for me to keep it, so I gave it to you. The same age as you, it’s pretty old for an orange tree. It won’t last forever, but I hope it still has a long time to live. Treat it with care.

  2. WT Says:

    Happy the bay tree survived!

  3. Joanna Says:

    It’s finally hitting me that I may now have enough sun to have some plants at home!!! I killed most of the plants I attempted at the apartment because of lack of sun, and too much heat from the radiators in the winter. But now… Something in the kitchen, of course, and maybe some on the window seat in the living room…

    And I have some hopes for the pansies and bulbs I planted out front over the weekend.

    So if there are any cuttings you want to pass along…

  4. Doris Says:

    Joanna, can you use a Christmas cactus? I’m not sure what color it is–red, pink or white–but it’s rooted and growing. I can pass it on to you through “teawithbuzz” later this summer. It requires very little care, and is so exciting when it blooms (which might be September or October, instead of December). If it’s the red one, it’s from my grandmother’s plant — probably well over 50 years old!

  5. Joanna Says:

    Hi Doris,

    I would love a Christmas cactus. My mother is so good with them – she uses the ‘wholesome neglect’ method, or so she says. Any color would be lovely! Thanks!!!

  6. As old as me « TeaWithBuzz Says:

    […] “proof of purchase” seals or possibly box tops to receive a dixie cup containing a miniature orange tree.    She gave me the tree some years ago, and I have variously under-watered it to the point of […]

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