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Plant Parenthood

Parenthood. What a wonderful experience. It's a time we welcome a new addition to the household and watch them grow and develop and become a unique personality. It's also a time filled with challenges.

A recent term that has come to use is plant parenthood. It's when a person brings a new plant into the home maybe for the first time. Those looking for a plant to place in their home may wander for hours in a greenhouse looking, touching and smelling to find just the right plant that fits their home and even their personality.

We in the greenhouse industry see this all the time. That same person may come back to the greenhouse to report on their plant and start talking about their plant in a very personal way. They start referring to the plant as "he" or "she." "He" is doing fine or no "he" seems to be a little on the down side. In this case these individuals are looking at this plant from a very personal view point and takes its care or demise very seriously.

Plant rearing is not an exact science. Keep in mind that horticulture is both an art and a science. There are countless books written on how to take care of plants. Once can also take hours of coursework on how plants should be grown. But it all comes down to some basic principles that are fine tuned to fit a certain plant in a certain environment. I like to call this "gut horticulture." The reality is, the plant you own have never read a book on how its suppose to grow. They, like children have their own personalities and no one size fits all solution works.

As a new plant parent, don't get consumed by "plant culture." Those tags that come with plants tell you everything you need to know on how to take of the plant. Or do they? You have to add a bit of common sense gardening. You never really know how to grow a plant successfully until you have killed a few and learn what to do or not to do. Houseplant culture can create unrealistic expectations for taking care of plants. Soil moisture and light levels are listed as priority points on many plant labels. They are very subjective. Use them as starting points and then modify as you go along. Remember that the best moisture meter you have is located on your hand. Your index finger, poked into the soil goes a long way in determining if a plant needs water or not. It is much better than some set date and time on a calendar.

Plants, like children, change over time. No plant will ever look the same from the day you bought it and put it into your house. Your house or apartment's growing conditions are not the same as those found in a greenhouse. But, that not to say you can't maintain a nice collection of plants in your home. You will have to realize that the plant will have to adapt to your conditions given a little help from you. If you think the plant you bought will never lose a leaf or look a little sullen at times, then maybe you need to consider plastic. The only change you will see here is that over time they may turn blue.

The real joy of plant parenthood is through observation and attention. The joy of seeing a new leaf emerge or how a prayer plant's leaves will close up at night. When you take care of your plants but don't go overboard or do things without knowing why, the plant says thank you by growing and thriving.

For those that are getting into plant parenting there are several plants that are more forgiving than others and may be a good place to start your collection.

On that list is Pothos, Sanseveria or Snake plant, Spider plant and Philodendron. Stop by and take a look at our offerings. These plants offer interesting and often colorful foliage as well as being very architectural as is the case with Sanseveria.

Plants are more than things to look at and decorate with. They are loving. If you want something to look at and decorate with that sits quietly in the corner, try a floor lamp.

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