I don’t have much of a green thumb with houseplants. There are some varieties I gave up on long ago—the Boston fern, for instance. A fern in the dry heat of a northeastern home in winter requires a degree of misty tender loving care I can’t or won’t supply.
I used to joke that my home was a hospice for plants, a gentle place where they came to be ministered to while they slowly—or in some cases, quickly (a particularly fragile specimen lasted only a day)—died.
But that’s hyperbole. There are actually a number of plants I’ve cared for that have managed to stay alive in my home a long time, even decades. These survivors tend to be types that do well despite lowish light and a bit of neglect, such as philodendron.
A Thanksgiving cactus of mine has been going great guns for about two decades, blooming twice a year with an abundance of peach-colored flowers, and all I seem to have to do is to water it whenever it occurs to me.
And then there’s a pink spathyllum I’ve had for six years. When purchased, it sported lovely blooms, and my previous experience with spaths and their modest needs gave me great hope that this one would follow suit and continue to produce abundantly and almost indefinitely.
But its early promise didn’t pan out. Oh, it grew all right, but only green foliage. Not a single bloom followed in the footsteps of the ones it possessed when I bought it, despite coaxing and special feedings and various manipulations designed to get it to strut its stuff.
But right before I sold my house towards the end of this past summer, when I thought I’d probably leave that spath behind—why bother with the uncooperative boring little thing?—I glanced at it one day and noticed the following:
When I least expected it, there it was: blooming and beaming and just begging me to take it with me.
And so I did, to my temporary digs with friends. And there it sat until today, when I make another temporary move, this time to an apartment. We’ll see what may bloom there.