Sunday, November 29, 2009

Relationships I have had: Houseplants

I well know that bringing houseplants outside for the summer can make trouble but I usually take a chance.  This year my favourite houseplant paid the price.  I raised and loved this key lime tree from a seed. It grew slowly in the house so I put it on the patio in a sheltered northern exposure in summertime and it did fine, grew more leaves than it would have in the house and it looked happy and healthy.  

In late September it returned to its home in the south window and trouble began.  Leaves dropped continually and quickly, not just a few but many.  I sprayed it twice with gentle insecticidal soap but that didn't work.  Pyrethrum worked.  It is one of the oldest insecticides and well recognized for low toxicity to humans and wildlife but rapidly knocks-down a wide variety of plant pests and it doesn't remain in the environment.   

For the past month my beloved key lime tree has been recovering in the spare bedroom at the window.  I have kept the blinds slightly angled so it gets lots of light but no direct sun.  I think it is ready for full sun now.  You can see it has been ravaged but over a few months it will re-grow most of the leaves.  I don't think I will put it outside next summer...I almost lost it this time. 

Do you ever attach emotionally to a plant?  I develop relationships with mine.  This little tree sprouted from seed when I moved into my current home which was the beginning of life on my own.  This plant and I have been through a journey together!  I remember another plant, a Neanthe Bella Palm, that arrived in our home as a seedling the year my first son was born.  That plant is almost 33 years old.  I left it with Craig, he wanted to keep it . He has a relationship with it!   
The Ficus Bbenjamina in my living room came from a girlfriend who returned to the Faroe Islands almost 20 years ago.  I promised I would take good care of it and return it to her if she ever came back to Canada.  It is only a loaner but it looks beautiful in my living room until she returns! 

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