Money Tree

I am by no means known for my green thumb. I do remember to water my houseplants once a week (well, most weeks) and most of them appear to be happy. My outdoor plants are largely dependent on rainfall (my rain gauge picked up 66 inches last year), although I do water them now and then during dry spells. I live southeast of Houston, not too far from Galveston Bay, and last night we had our first freeze in several years. I won’t know for a while which plants survived, and I won’t worry about it until spring.

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But a sad case came into my life a couple of weeks ago, and I have resolved to nurse it back to health. A day or two before Christmas, a friend left a money tree plant for me on my desk at the Scorekeeper. This is probably what it looked like at the time, but I wasn’t there to see it.

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Jo Anne didn’t give it much thought, and she had no reason to go into my office, so when I came in to work on Tuesday morning after Christmas, I found the plant pushed off the desk onto the windowsill, with most of its leaves chewed off, the victim of Sam, one of the office cats. Jo Anne thought the poor thing was a goner. It definitely wasn’t safe from Sam on my desk, and it wasn’t going to get enough light anywhere in my office, so I brought it home. This is how it looked on New Year’s Eve, with just a hint of new growth.

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I’ve left it in my kitchen (yes, it’s sitting on the stove, giving you a hint as to my cooking habits—the microwave is on the other side of the room), following the instructions for a bright, well lighted area without too much direct sunlight, and it seems to be on the road to recovery. This is how it looks today, two weeks after its encounter with the plant-eating cat, still hanging on to the largest surviving leaf. All the other leaves are new, with more to come.

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According to my on line research, the braided trunks of the money tree symbolize locking in good fortune for someone keeping the plant in her home or office. This particular money tree has certainly seen the ups and downs of fortune. I’m hoping we’ll thrive together.

Watching Plants Grow

A few weeks ago I found myself wandering through the garden section at my local Lowe’s, looking at plants.  I’m pretty good with outdoor plants.  I put them out where they’ll get some sun and some rain, and once in a while I trim them, and generally they do all right for themselves.

Indoor plants are not so easy.  My house was built in the 1950s, and it was designed to stay cool in the Texas summer:  windows shaded by porches and vines, and a roof shaded by lots of trees (a magnet for guys with a pickup truck, a chain saw, and a limited command of the English language, but that’s another story ).  So I don’t have a lot of big sunny windows.  Actually, I don’t have any big sunny windows.

But in the house plant ward at Lowe’s, I found a handsome dark green plant with a tag that read “Plants of Steel.”  “Wants minimal attention,” the tag said.  “I can do that,” I said.

The plant, called Zamioculcas zamiifoli, didn’t have a common name on its tag, but I like ZZ Plant.  (I’m not the first to think of that, as I found when I looked it up on Wikipedia.)  It comes from eastern Africa and was introduced to commercial production by Dutch nurseries about twenty years ago.

Apparently ZZ Plant is happy in its new home, because not long after I brought it home, I noticed a new, light green shoot springing up through its established branches.

August 3

August 3

A few days later, the new shoot was a good bit taller and beginning to unfurl.

August 12

August 12

And this morning, taller and more open.

August 20

August 20

And if you look right in the middle of the plant, you’ll see the tip of a smaller new shoot.  According to Wikipedia, ZZ Plant may even flower in due time.

Watching plants grow–yet another distraction from writing.