Geraniums in Need

I don’t deserve my houseplants.

In college I bought two geraniums at a plant sale. I’m reasonably sure I’m watering one of them in this short film my friends and I made in 2008.


I since gave one to my dad. It’s beautiful and lush and is living out its days on the front porch. The other one stayed with me, and I’ve been treating it with an attitude that could very generously be called laissez-faire.

Here it is.


It’s been wasting away in the window of our living room for a few years. This past spring I finally got it together to give it a dash of fertilizer, which inspired it to grow this long tentacle off to the right.

To its credit, it’s been blooming more or less constantly all this time. I’ve been hoping to collect some seeds, but while I’ve gotten a few fluffy spikes from the spent flowers, no actual seeds have appeared.


Deciding I owed it to this plant to try and make things right, I took a few simple but decisive steps. First of all, I cut off the tentacle. It was the newest growth, but it was unsustainable. It could barely hold itself up and was only going to get longer.

For curiosity’s sake, I stuck it in a bucket of dirt to see if I could get it to take root.


I removed all the flowers (and, since, a few of the leaves) to help it focus its energy on root-growing.


I trimmed up the main plant a bit and gave both containers a big dose of kelp meal and water. I set them in the dappled shade for a few days, then moved them to fuller sun.

Now it’s been a little over a month and, against all odds, both plants are alive and kicking.


I’m especially impressed with the tentacle which, with four leaves to its name, has produced a big clutch of flowers and buds.


If I’d known this thing was going to make it, I might’ve taken a little more care planting it – like cutting it down or sticking it in better soil that wasn’t infested with mulberry seeds.


I’m not about to mess with now, though. I’ll give it some more time either to establish or exhaust itself, and then I’ll take stock.


The main plant is looking much better, too. It’s still on the spindly side, but it’s a lot greener and blooming more vigorously.


I’d say Project Geranium was a success. They have another good month or two outside to build up their strength, so hopefully it’s only up from here.


If they hold on long enough, they just might get to star in another movie.




Spider Plant Magic

Winter is here with a vengeance. It’s been unseasonably mild, but the honeymoon is over and we’re finally getting some real cold and snow.  This is now the only way I can leave the house.


My spider plant must not realize this, though, because it’s flowering! I noticed it was putting out a long shoot and thought for sure it would make another baby spider. I was excited, since all the previous spiders had been ripped off by the cat.


Instead I’ve got a long series of buds, two of which have already opened. There are a couple grassy strands at the end, too, and I won’t be surprised if they do turn into a baby spider.


I’ve had this plant since I was a sophomore in college, and I can’t recall it ever flowering before! Whether this is a special event or I’ve just never looked at the right time, I don’t know. Nor do I know if spider plants are self pollinating, but I’m going to go at it with a Q-tip regardless and hope for the best.


These are exciting times we live in.