I've been meaning to do a post on houseplants for a while now. A lot of people keep them in their homes, and I would wager that most people's houseplants were propagated as cuttings from other people's houseplants. I've thought about how cool it would be if we could look at them genetically, and see how swaths of people in certain areas all own what is essentially the same plant.
Not to mention the connection that a person can feel because they have a plant that was given to them by a person who is no longer around, or is around and the plant just reminds us of them.
For example, the original plant that the cutting in the middle came from, a Swedish Ivy, was given to my mom by a neighbor who passed away young. It must have been the early 1970's as we had just moved into the house where I grew up. I've got three versions of this plant in my house at the moment, and just started this one. I don't want to be the one who breaks the chain and lets the plant die, you know?
The plant on the left was part of an arrangement someone sent to the funeral home after my mom died. My SIL, who ironically is not a plant person, had the foresight to grab a cutting before the rest of the arrangement was tossed, and they propagated it in their home for a few years. I then took a cutting a few years ago. I've got a couple of these, too. I don't know what the name of it is, but it's a vine, and there is a tremendous plasticity in the leaf shape, depending on how much light it gets. Lots of light makes large (8" x 6") leaves. Not so much light makes smaller, rounder leaves. It's pretty cool.
You'd recognize the plant on the right if you saw good examples of the leaves. They unfurl with cutouts on them, and they can be large (8-10" across). This one's also a vine. I just looked it up and it's a Split-leaf Philodendron. The Biology Department where I went to school has a large specimen of this plant, and when we started holding classes in a new building next door, the office ladies moved it to the end of a hallway. It was quite an effort, as various parts of it had to be supported either with sticks or from wires hung from the ceiling. Somewhere in the process, a leaf and a bit of stem broke off. Someone put it in a large lab flask, put some water in it, and there it sat in the lab where I taught as a grad student, for most of my last year of school. When I was nearly done with school, there this sat, one tired leaf in a swirling mass of roots. It was an orphan I need to rescue, and it likes its new home. Almost too much, the thing wants to be a really big plant.
Every summer, I move to the front porch the half-dozen or so houseplants that are in my bedroom. Sometime in October, I move everyone back to my room, which happened this past weekend. I recently moved to a new office space that is direly in need of some green stuff, so in the usual cutting back to tidy up the plants, I made a few starts to eventually take to my office cube. I love how the process continues, that I can utilize these plants to make my new space prettier. And that they mean something to me.
I've also really liked having the starts on my window sill. I don't know, plants have always done that for me. I look for signs of root growth as I do the dishes. It's supposed to be warm for the rest of the week, so I might take one or two of these to work today while the weather's nice. I can then just bring a pot with a bag of soil once the roots are ready.
Do you have any plants with a past?