Monday, September 3, 2012

I tried, really I did.

A while back I brought my first plant into my home.  A kentia palm.  When that died, about a year ago, I went back to OSH and bought another palm, this time a majesty palm.  That has died as well.

The first died from underwatering; the second got mold from overwatering (I was told to drench the soil, not dump the occasional leftover glass of water in it), so I stopped watering it to kill the mold.

This time, before returning it to OSH, I did some research on "plants you can't kill."  What did we do before google?  I immediately found the magic list.  I was in particular looking for something that I didn't have to water at all, since I'm really good at that.

I cross-referenced that list with the list of plants that are poisonous to cats (which crosses off philodendron pretty quickly, but that's OK because they are vines and need to be put somewhere other than the floor) and came up with Snake Plant and its, well, relation, Mother-in-Law's Tongue. Both of these ominous-sounding plants are from the genus Sanseviera, which makes me wonder if Sansa Stark is a namesake.

They are considered air purifiers and are even used for treating sick building syndrome.  Kind of like turkey vultures: ominously-named creatures that have a peaceful purpose.

[That turkey vulture link goes to another post of mine from a year ago that I only just discovered I'd never published.  A lost manuscript.  I backdated it, so it looks like I published it a while ago, but anyone investigating its provenance would see is that it's dated exactly a year ago from this moment.]

Snake plants are on the poisonous-to-cats list, but further googling shows people with cats saying (1) they are only mildly toxic, and (2) no one has ever seen a cat try to eat one.  One person reported that her cat destroyed her snake plant, but the cat was not harmed.

Off to OSH.  The woman in customer service looked at my plant and told me all the reasons it died.  Whhnnnahh wnah whnnaaaahh.  (That's the Charlie Brown "adults talking" sound.)  When I mentioned snake plant, looking for approval, she suggested I get a philodendron.  Then I told her I was thinking cactus or maybe something plastic.

I went looking for snake plants and found three puny ones.  I found other plants that you can't kill: lots of dracaenae, but they were more poisonous; bromeliads, but they would have given me nightmares (the online photos don't do the creepiness justice). Also, the "plants you can't kill" site says they require copious water.

I may need to buy a snake plant from a place that really sells plants.  Right, a nursery.  Well, it had better not die.

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