Saturday, September 20, 2014

18 Year Old Plant

When I was in the third grade, my family moved into an apartment complex. It was great! There was a lot of streets in the complex to ride my bike and roller blade, but I had a bit of a problem. Since every apartment looked the same, I had a problem finding my way home. My wonderful Momma bought me a Joseph's Coat plant for the front porch. Problem solved!

Let's fast forward 16 years. The plant is still alive, but it doesn't exactly look like it! It hasn't looked very good for quite a while now, and I was pretty sure that I'd finally killed it. I have not been gifted with a natural green thumb, but I love gardening and taking care of plants, so I'm learning. Well, I discovered that my poor plant had root rot. So I dug it up, and chopped off all the dead roots. I wish I had a picture to show you, but that was two years ago, and I didn't. There wasn't much root left. I also butchered the limbs off. I had read that when you grow Joseph's Coat that you are supposed to prune back 1/3 of the branches each spring or fall. It looked terrible. I was certain that it wasn't going to grow again, but I repotted it anyway. And it grew, not very well, but it looked better.

Fast forward again. The plant is now 18 years old, and since the last time it was due for a prune I was 6 months pregnant and packing to move, it just didn't happen. And then when we moved, I did something silly. Joseph's Coat is a tropical plant, and I put it right next to the air conditioner vent. It was already looking pretty rough. The dog had chewed off a few branches. The few leaves it had were small and kind of shriveled, and then the cold air hit it. I was positive that I'd killed it for sure this time! So last week I moved the plant to the other side of the living room. It perked up a little bit, so I knew it was still alive. Today, since I've had the time, I did something drastic. I unpotted and then repotted the plant to check for root rot since it is extremely susceptible to it. And I butchered the limbs again. This time, though, I cut them more than a 1/3 of the branch away. The bark had been rubbed away on two of the branches, so I chopped them off right below that, which ended up being a little over 1/2 of each of those branches. The third branch had two different clumps of leaves , so I left the bottom clump. Hopefully it will continue to live. We shall see.

The rest of the garden is starting to sprout! Maybe I'll get to show you on another post. They are too small to show up in a picture. :) Speaking of pictures. Here's my Joseph's Coat out of the pot. No root rot! Yay! 

Oh, and before I forget, if you have one and need to prune it, remember that the sap in the branches is poisonous, so be sure to be careful!

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