Plants Want to Live

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Well, I guess it isn't a secret, but it is easy to forget sometimes: Plants Want to Live. It's what they are created to do. It doesn't mean they don't need our help to get going, but plants are made to thrive and survive.

I know this is true and yet, I often have to learn the lesson all over again. The other day I was mowing our backyard, enjoying the peace that walking back and forth with the mower brings, when out of the corner of my eye, a gorgeous leaf caught my attention. It was so striking because this leaf was hiding in a huge pile of brush where we pile our yard waste: branches, limbs, weeds and, yes, sometimes our plants that didn't make it.

Orbifolia calathea in the compost heap

This particular leaf wasn't just one plant, there happened to be three plants once I looked closer, including one tucked among some wild grape vines. They were all Orbifolia Calatheas that during the heat and humidity of a Florida summer, had declined to the point where they didn't seem salvageable, so they got tossed onto the heap. But here they were alive and thriving in a place that gets no water except for rain, no fertilizer and very little light. But alive they were. Actually, not just alive, but recovering beautifully. So, I stopped what I was doing and quickly potted them and put them back into our houseplant collection. Of course, now that we are paying attention to them again, they'll probably get moody and stop growing. I've already threatened them that if they do, I'll send them back out to the heap.

Orbifolia calathea growing in the compost heap

These little beauties hiding in our pile of yard trash made me really appreciate that plants want to live. It's what they are made to do. Sometimes, I think, we kill our plants with too much love, giving them way more than they need and overreacting to their subtle changes. Be kind to your plants. They will love you back and thrive along with you. Come to think of it, it's kind of the same way with people.

Joey and Kim, Owners of The Kerby's Houseplant Shop

Joey and Kim, Owners of The Kerby's Houseplant Shop


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