So I went to PA this weekend with my mom for a cousin’s wedding. Whenever I see my mother, a few things happen. First, she is much more religious than I, reminding me of my not quite as intense relationship with God. Second, I am reminded where I got my love and knowledge of plants, animals and music.

We’ll save the religious implications of this weekend for a later post, hopefully delaying the wide eyes stares and scoffs of disbelief that that post will bring. In any case, my mother does not have a green thumb, but she does have plants. Whenever we travel, she will always ask for clippings of plants friends have, or seeds, in order to attempt to bring them home and cultivate them. I inherited this “not green thumb, but loves plants” and as such, I generally get just as excited about grabbing random clippings of plant matter, while attempting to keep them from going into too much shock from not only being moved, but going through drastic changes in temperature.

Plant 1) Aloe vera: A common plant that you’ve probably heard of, I am a huge fan of this plant because of the smooth beauty of the leaves. I also remember the aloe plant that was kept in the window of Richmond Comix (my first real comic book style ‘hangout’) that must’ve been nearly a foot or two tall, and would bloom every now and again. I’ve attempted to have them in the past, and I’m pretty sure I drowned them each time. I’m at it again with a plant from my aunt. It had some wide, ungangly leaves that were bent several times in transport, but I’m hoping it will survive.

Plant 2) Nightblooming cereus: A plant I’d never heard of until now, it’s an odd plant that only blooms at night, but the flowers are so beautiful that many keep it anyway, and then stay up to enjoy the blooms. We got a cutting of this from my mom’s Aunt Joy (My great aunt?) unrooted, so we had to keep the end wrapped in a wet paper towel. It’s supposedly easy to root, and right now it’s sitting in a cup of water at home waiting for some roots to grow before getting a pot of its own.

Plant 3) Angel’s Trumpet: People call it a tree, but it’s actually a large shrub, the boyfriend turned husband that was living in Poppie’s house grew one of these in the basement. It was nearly 6 feet tall, and had recently dried up and come back to life (he doesn’t live there anymore, so it’s probably a bit neglected), and had six or seven beautiful orange/peach blossoms. My mother watered it while we were there, and when we came back later that day they had suddenly begun smelling amazing. I managed to find a tiny little sprout, and after detaching it from the main shrub, found it had a nice sized root of its own, so I put it in a little container and brought it with me, in hopes that it will grow up big and strong.

Plant 4) Christmas cactus: Another common one. While at the Home Depot to get soil and some new pots, I came across a collection of plants being sold at discount after Christmas. I picked up one and decided to bring it home because I’ve always wanted one.

New information: I have failed at plants many times in the past. I moved to Rockville with three or four, only to have the shock of moving zap them all. (including the spider plant, which is usually impossible to kill.) I decided this time I would learn everything I could in order to give these plants the best chance at survival possible. (There’s only so much you can do if they just die from the shock.)

So this is when I learned that I probably killed my old aloe vera by overwatering. (It’s a cactus type plant, and usually goes dormant in winter months.) I also learned Angel’s Trumpet are usually hardy (though toxic, I’ll have to watch out when we get a cat.) but they can lose all their leaves before growing when they’re being rooted, as mine is. I also learned that the aloe and christmas cactus like well draining soil, while the trumpet likes moist soil, so I got different types of soil for the different plants.

I also found out after the fact that repotting also causes a good amount of stress, as such I will be watching them all very closely for the next few days in hopes that I haven’t already killed them all. Updates to come later.

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