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Houseplants Save Winter

Posted by on February 25, 2014

I once killed an aloe plant. I know: the fact that a cactus experienced failure to thrive under my care does not reflect well on my gardening abilities. Keep in mind I was about 14 years old, and my concerns tended to be focused on grasping algebra, finding a date to the formal and attempting to look good with braces (impossible). Suffice to say, houseplants dropped off my radar for a good 10 years (with the exception of one plant in university which my housemate dubbed “Varun”. Because I loved it so.much. and it survived.)

Upon moving to Ontario, I experienced the 7 month plague which is Winter and decided I needed something to break up the grey. Over the past 3 years, I have fallen in love with houseplants. Every time we go out of town our friends have 14 houseplants to water! My newest addition is a Yucca plant, which, like the aloe, is also experiencing failure to thrive. (Apparently I’m not good at desert plants)

But before we talk about that, would you look at my amaryllis?! A dear friend gave me a box at Christmas that contained soil, a bulb and a pot, sold together as part of the Amaryllis campaign to raise money to find a cure for Huntingdon’s disease. A very dear friend of ours has Huntingdon’s and every time I see my plant I’m reminded to pray for him and others with the disease. It’s such a beautiful reminder!

When I first planted the amaryllis, it was an ugly looking bulb that Varun was sure would never grow. However, after 4 weeks of sitting in the pot, it sprang into action. I tried to take pictures every day, but sometimes forgot. I never missed more than 2 days–it just grows very fast! Okay that’s a lie, I went to a work conference right when it bloomed, so the bottom row is one week after the row above it.

Et voila!

amaryllis Collage

Is this not the best houseplant/miraculous bundle of joy ever? Yesterday, Varun and I were standing by it marveling.

Me: I still don’t get it. Where did it come from?? All I put in was dirt and water and sunlight. How did it make flower petals?!

Varun: (Something scientific which I forget. It had to do with matter)

Me: Yeah but there’s no matter missing. I mean, the soil’s still there. Oh…right. Sunlight.

Varun: Sunlight isn’t matter.

Me: Yes! E=mc^2. Energy equals matter times the speed of light squared.

Varun: And what’s going the speed of light?

Me: Light!

Varun: (Shakes head)

Anyway, I’m still baffled as to how a seed can turn into a plant with just soil, water, light and air. I know. It sounds elementary; but plant a seed and tell me if you’re not amazed.

So the Yucca plant. It’s not doing well. Maybe because I bought it for $10 at a grocery store or because I brought it home in a snow storm. Or maybe I really can’t manage desert plants.

yucca 1

Maybe it’s not even a Yucca plant. That’d be awkward. Anyway, any insight would be greatly appreciated; I really want to learn how to care for a plant described as “no care”. I did some googling, but still can’t figure out. Is it overwatered? Underwatered? Under-lighted? Help!!!

5 Responses to Houseplants Save Winter

  1. Miranda

    Looks like a yucca to me! How often are you watering it? Less than once a month, hopefully?
    I agree, houseplants do save winter!

    • Amelia

      Yipes! No! Like once a week! It’s so dry–all the leaves are crispy and falling off!!

  2. Joanna

    I’ve had similar conversations with my scientifically minded family members. For example, I recently expressed how crazy it was to think about airplanes flying, despite having flown an airplane myself and grasping the physics of it. I mean, they’re huge! And heavy! And they just hang out in the sky! My mom simply responded that it makes perfect sense, not understanding my sudden awe at the concept of flight.

    All that to say, I know how you feel marveling at the simplicity of growing plants. I makes sense, but still… WOW.

Thoughts? I love hearing from you!