Potted Plant Picky? Perhaps its Position is Predicament

potted plant reaching happily for vaulted ceiling

Anniversary Potted Plant to the left thriving near ceiling.

The BIG potted plant on top of the bookcase (to the left in the picture) was an anniversary gift many years ago. It used to be a very grumpy, very picky potted plant.

Now that it’s been moved to the top of a not-quite-sunny bookshelf, potted plant has gotten about three times bigger, grown steadily, and hums happily.

I rarely hear it complain. Yes… of course I listen for complaints.

Potted plant not happy above microwave

For nearly seven years, it languished atop a microwave stand at our old house. There, it was eight feet from the kitchen window with a southern exposure, but west of the window so it only got a wee bit of morning shine.

It was bored and not particularly happy, especially since it had to share a space with a stalwart aloe plant and an overly philosophical curly bamboo.

Potted plant not happy near fireplace

When we moved to our new house a few years ago, I placed the potted plant near our new fireplace (15 feet or so from an eastern exposure window – so very little sun).

It was bored and not at all happy.

Seems that Chatterbox The Cat figured she was helping me with the gardening by pulling out leaves and stems. It was definitely not happy (the plant, not the cat).

Potted plant at peak unhappiness in bathtub

To defend the plant from the cat, I stuffed it in the guest room bathtub (the plant, not the cat) (six feet from a southern exposure – but with a frosted windowpane and a full sliding blind – so practically no sun).

Since the bathtub plumbing has to run about nine miles from the water heater, and hot water can take weeks to arrive (just kidding but not by much), the bathtub is impractical for bathing but great for holding plants that don’t gripe too loud if they get limited sunshine.

It was still not particularly happy, though at least it was safe from being demolished in mid-shower.

Potted plant hung out in the bathtub for a couple of years, barely producing a shoot now and then, and complaining to its neighbor, Other Anniversary Plant, “Gosh, sure is dark in here. Is that a mushroom growing in the soap dish?”

Finally, after two years of bathtub residency, both plants basically stopped growing altogether. No sprouts for weeks. Nothing.

With no cat-assistant-gardener access allowed in the guest bathroom, I couldn’t blame the lack of activity on curious paws.

We’d had no guests using the guest bathroom, so neither pant had been traumatized by being caught in the bathtub unawares by total strangers.

They had not been replaced in the middle of the night with artificial plant-like doppelgängers. Yes… of course I checked.

Potted plant thrilled atop bookcase—finally!

2013-06-13 19.53.03

Chatterbox The Cat: “What? How am I going to prune THAT?!”

Finally, in a fit of DUH and forehead-smacking, I moved potted plant and its neighbor, Other Anniversary Plant, out of the bathtub and into the garden room, and stuffed them both up onto the top of the bookcase, since no cat would possibly think to look up that high for gardening projects to help with.

By golly. Both potted plants started growing. And growing, and growing. And growing.

Is there a lesson in all this rambling? If your potted plant is unhappy, buy a new house? No, that’s not it… although, in this case it certainly worked.

 

To your garden success!
Casey – the Garden Lass

 

 

Flowers on Cousin Bob the Echeveria

echeveria blooming in sunlight

Cousin Bob the Echeveria blooming in full sun

If you could see in the ground space around that picture, you’d see the jittery shadow of me jumping up and down in glee. What I hope are tiny colored buds are decorating an extended stalk on the not-completely-identified Echeveria shown here. Since I don’t have a label for him, I’m calling him Cousin Bob.

This may or may not be a good thing. I’ve heard tales of plants flowering as a last gasp effort to propagate the species before dying. I do know that these two echeveria have been some of the weirdest plants I’ve watched for any length of time. I hear they want full sun, so I put them in full sun, and they act like they’re in shade – pushing up long stems and growing like mad. Maybe they think they’re sunflowers?

As with almost all projects, I did some research on the ‘net to find out what the heck is going on, and found this interesting how-to on echeveria at About.com. According to this, I’m doing things right. This means I’m doing things right, or I need to do more research!