Thursday, November 03, 2011

From jungle to nursery

A few weeks ago I decided to do something about the jungle growing in my living room. I went to Lowe’s and bought potting soil and tons of pots and started splitting the hell out of my wandering Jew, peace lily, aloe, and spider plant. So far this project has spanned two weeks and about 20 hours of labor. Can you see why I put it off?

I started with the unwinding of the wandering Jew. It had cascaded almost to the floor but it’s clever enough not to touch; instead it starts snaking its way back up in a tangled mess, so that when I did get it unwound some branches extended nearly six feet! The only thing to do is cut it into sections and root it in water, which can take as little as a day – these roots are feisty! I feel guilty doing this because I end up discarding a significant portion of the branches, but they start to die at the top and it gets unsightly and out of control, so it’s really best for both of us. This is not the best picture, but by the time I finished unwinding and cutting (two hours later) there were probably 200 individual strands strewn about my apartment:

After that I separated most of the baby spider plants from the offshoots and rooted them in water for several days. This is a painless process since they are actively seeking a place to root and are only too happy to be separated from the mother. How cute are they?

Next up was the lily. The poor thing hasn’t been repotted in I don’t know how long since it came to me from a friend, and it took me half an hour just to get it out of its pot. My bathtub was the loser here:

I ended with the aloe, another guilt-inducing project since you literally have to pull the babies from the mother and sometimes they don’t want to let go. But I have a lot of practice splitting this aloe, which started as limp plant someone at the gym where I worked in college brought in one day. Since then I’ve probably split it at least 6 times, making this round the great-great-great-great-great-granddaughters of the mother plant.

And now I have this to deal with:

  • 8 spider plants
  • 5 Jews
  • 4 aloes
  • 3 lilies
  • 5 combination aloe/jew; lily/jew, spider/lily pots
  • And, 2 parsley plants reclaimed from the outdoor garden before it got too cold
What am I going to do with all these plants?? I considered setting up a bootleg stand outside the farmer's market and selling them but it was rainy on Sunday and I didn't muster up the enthusiasm to load them into my car and try to hawk a bunch of plants that I prefer go to good, loving homes - after all, I've had them for generations.

I do want them off my dining room table, though. I'm open to suggestions and requests - a modest donation gets you as many lovingly, freshly-potted plants as you can handle!


jrteacherlady said...

You cook! You plant!!! You speak Spanish!!! You are amazing:) I would love some... But the drive to Cali might be too much for them. Good luck finding homes!

AmberAnda said...

This is so awesome... you did a lot of work!