Saturday, April 03, 2010

Knowing When to Quit

The large houseplant - Jade plant or Crassula ovata - that I had taken from my neighbour is gone. It really was too far gone.It spent the first couple of days in my house dropping it's shrivelling leaves across the tiles. Any time a person walked by they ran the risk of snapping more leaves or even small branches off this poor plant. I gave it a trim, cutting back all the shrivelled succulent branches. There was a BIT of hope. One branch was not shrivelled and the four leaves that clung to it were quite healthy looking. There were even signs that new leaves were forming at that spot. In the end it was a huge plant with four leaves on it. I didn't want to wait more months to see if it would sprout from other areas and I took the decision to chuck it out.
I am glad of the decision I made. If I had some nostalgic or sentimental reason for keeping it, I would have kept it alive and indeed brought it back from the brink. But there was none of that, so out it went! The plant isn't gone completely, I had a cutting from this plant a few years ago when it was in its full and vibrant glory. This scion is growing away quite well and will soon reach the size that the parent plant was.

I am glad that the jade plant is gone. It took up a lot of space and was quite ugly. The space vacated by the old rescue plant was very quickly filled. A new rescue plant has taken its place this week. It is commonly called a Cheese Plant - after Swiss Cheese due to the holes in the leaves - Monstera deliciosa.

This beauty was sharing office space with The Man of the Place. When he was told that he was moving his office to another floor, this neglected specimen was left alone . . .It got sparing amounts of attention and from the rootbound looks of things, I bet it has been sitting in the same soil for well over a decade.

I took it out of the pot, knocked out some of the potting soil. The old potting soil didn't smell all that fresh and a bit moldy. I suspect that the plant had been overwatered and the soil allowed to get rank at one point. New potting soil was put in the bottom of the pot and more new material went on top of the root ball. The soil on the top of the root ball will work its way down as I water it.
As it is a very large plant, maneuvering it out of its pot was a very physical job. I managed to snap a bit of it off (Sorry plant!). The bit that snapped off had a number of arial roots and I've just potted it up using the pot from the recently vacated jade plant. With all the new soil, regular care and lots of sun, this new specimen will flourish! I'm really looking forward to seeing some new leaves.


Susie said...

You're such a good plant mama!

dogbait said...

We have a similar story. Inherited a small monstera from MPS years ago and it stayed in pot until about 5 years ago and it's flourished ever since.