Sunday, September 16, 2012

Geeking out on plants (2)

I must be really bored, because I've become obsessive about succulents.

I took the jade and the very sad looking Echeveria setosa to Cactus Jungle, nervous that they would tell me I'd totally screwed up or that I was totally crazy.  As I walked by the whippet (their mascot), who was curled up under a blanket, he looked up at me dolefully.  (Then again, I think that's the only look a whippet has.)

The invited me to the counter and took my concerns seriously, in a "I'm not going to let on that I think you're totally crazy" kind of way.  The black spots on the jade may be a fungus, but it won't kill it, and they think it will in fact be totally fine.  He kept emphasizing that the black tends to be on the leaves that are about to fall off.  He repeated that in such a way that I think he was patiently trying to help me understand that when plants grow their older leaves fall off.  I showed him the chewed-on Echeveria, and he said it would recover and that the darker leaves I pointed out ... well, see, leaves die and fall off, and other leaves replace them.

With two healthy plants, I took a stroll around.  And came out with ... four more.  Two more Aeonia: lindleyi, which looks like a bonsai tree, and "Whippet," a strain they found growing on another Aeonium and named for their mascot.  I grabbed a Peperomia ferreyrae, another tiny plant for my work windowsill, which is a relative of the peppercorn and is totally adorable.

I have soil anxiety, so for every plant I buy, I ask how long it can go in that particular pot.  The very nice woman who helped me last time pointed to a plant I was considering and said, "That one will need potting soon."  "Soon?" I asked fearfully.  She said yes, like in a year.

I picked my jaw up off the floor (I guess plant-time is different from human time) and laughed as I explained that I've never kept a plant alive as long as a year.

And, finally, I bought a Sanseveria.  A classic snake plant, S. trifasciata.  I asked the same woman as last time about them, and I told her I wanted one with variegated leaves that would get tall.  I pulled out a S. trifasciata that had a variegated leaf I liked, and I said, "Like this."  She looked at it and said, "Well, those other leaves are just sort of floppy."  "Not a beautiful specimen!" I interpreted.  I picked another one, also with a leaf I liked, and she perked up, "That's a nice one!"  The other leaves looked bad just because they were covered in dust, she said.

When I got home, I gently washed the leaves of the Sansa, and they came out gorgeous.  Yes, I washed the leaves of a plant.  Who am I, and what have I done with Lisa?

No comments: