Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Just a houseplant. . .

Once there was a houseplant that lived in my childhood home. I am not sure when it  arrived or from where it came, but I just always remember it being there. When I went away to college and got my first apartment somehow it ended up with me. I don't remember the circumstances of that either. . .perhaps my mom was just ready for a change. Anyway, fast forward a few years and you would find that same houseplant stuffed into the back seat of my car as I followed my husband of ten days on a trek across the US on our way to start our new life together in sunny Southern California. My houseplant soon became a patio plant due to it's enormous size (and the fact that it could live outside year round where we were). It followed us to each of the places we called home during our 11 years there. While looking for pictures today I found it's leaves as the backdrop for many of  our life events. . .the remodeling of our first home, pregnancy pictures from when Morgan lived in my tummy, birthday parties on the patio, visits with family, beloved pets now gone. . . it was also there to witness the removal of Andrew's comb-over/mullet when he was two months old. . . 

The houseplant that was a piece of my past became a part of my present. . . 
A steward of my memories.

 When we started packing up (now two summers ago) to head back East we soon realized that our houseplant. .  which was now a small tree. . .was too large to make the initial trip. The husband promised to get it onto his trailer when he made the final trek out in the fall. Unfortunately, his move took place later than we had hoped and we realized that the trip through the cold would probably kill our faithful friend. What some of you might not know is that my husband has a green thumb the size of Texas. . . tucked safely beside him in the front seat of his truck was a little box that contained four little pots each with a cutting from our plant. During the winter and spring and summer at my mom's in WV we watched as each of the cuttings died leaf by leaf. . .all but one. . . Every day we inspected it, checked it for water, called to each other to "come look!" when we saw a new leaf sprouting. .  . .

It now sits on our kitchen table here in KY while we wait patiently to move to our new farm. A plant from my childhood. A piece of home I took with me to California. A promise of a new start.

It's not really JUST a houseplant, now is it?


  1. Anna made me read this out loud to her. Got all choked up by the end. Thanks! ;-)

  2. your old friend's riencarnation will have to go back to being 'houseplant', very tropical and will freeze easily. A lovely hardy plant tho.
    Common Name: Schefflera (Amate, Diana, Dwarf, Gold Capella, Umbrella Tree, Trinette)
    Scientific Name: Schefflera Species
    Lighting: Bright to Moderate
    Water: Moderate to Low
    The Schefflera is characterized by foliage arranged in groups of 3 to 7 at the end of the stems, similar to spokes on a wheel or umbrellas. Schefflera's make great houseplants due to their low need for maintenance.

    Schefflera's require bright indirect light. If plant is not receiving enough light or is too far away from the light source, the Schefflera will become spindly by stretching towards the light source. Do not place this houseplant in direct sunlight or you may burn the foliage. If foliage begins to drop and turn yellow, the plant is not receiving enough light.
    Allow the soil to dry in between watering; however do not allow it to stay dry for long periods of time. On the opposite end, do not allow the plant to sit in water either, so be sure to allow proper drainage. If the foliage begins to drop and turn black in color, you are overwatering or do not have proper drainage in place. If the foliage tips begin to curl or wrinkle, you are probably under watering the plant.
    Do not be afraid to prune your Schefflera back into shape if it gets out of control. This is one houseplant who will bounce back better than ever after a nice complete pruning.

    The Schefflera does have one enemy that can be pretty common: Spider Mites. To prevent Spider Mites from taking over, once a week or more give the plant a nice misting of a soapy water mixture. If Spider Mites become present, try this soapy water misting twice a day. If this does not work, visit your local garden center for a safe alternative.

    Schefflera's are toxic if eaten. Like so many other houseplants, it is included in the list of poisonous houseplants.