Friday, August 18, 2006


The Mystery of the Shrinking Plants

I have numerous house plants, as most people do. I have experimented with many different varieties over the years, killing them off one by one, until finally I found the plants for me. They are basically of the succulent or cacti variety: jades, aloes, cacti, and burritos. They are a hearty plant that can withstand long periods of drought (forgetting to water them), and then heavy rains (over watering trying to make up for forgetting in the first place).
I have them strategically placed in sunny spots so they can grow big and prosper. My aloes, which started from one tiny baby a co-worker had given me years ago, have taken off and become giants so big that I have to prop the pots up and have separated them numerous times. My burritos have grown to several feet long, where usually they are only several inches high. My cacti have weird appendages which shoot in different directions. And then there are my jades. Once they grew tall and nice and bushy, yet in the past several months they’ve been getting thin and stalky. I thought maybe I over watered, so I cut back. They continued to dwindle. I watered more often, thinking maybe they weren’t getting enough with the summer sun. Yet they continued to get thinner and thinner. Then the other day I found out why.
I was lying on the couch taking a nap and I hear something. Usually I can sleep through just about anything. I fall asleep in the car almost instantly and nothing disturbs me. Marc can get ready for work, shower, vacuum, run the dishwasher, and still I’m a sleep. But after years of having dogs, particularly one that eats everything, food and non-food, I have become sensitive to certain sounds. The sound of chewing is one of them. So as I lay there I become aware of the sound of chewing, it takes only a moment to distinguish this chewing is not of a bone, but of something soft and being plucked. I hear the pluck, chew, pause, pluck, chew pause. I jump up and start looking around. Which dog is it? Layla is lying on my lap, not her. Riley, I go in search. I find him standing beside my jade plant going to town. Just plucking them off one by one and eating them. He nonchalantly looks around to me as if saying “what, I’m having a snack, do you mind”.
So I now know why my jades have been shrinking to nothingness over the past couple months. I still don’t know why he chose all of a sudden to start eating my plants, or why the jade in particular, as he’s left all the others alone. But in any case, all jades are now safely put up and out of Riley’s reach and hopefully they will be able to recover.

9 comments:

Tabba said...

If you ever go to a lawn or garden place, look for a bottle of fish emulsion. You mix that with water, based on the directions on the bottle. Jade plants LOVE fish emulsion. This, with moving it away from Riley, might help it along the road to recovery.

ps - this stuff is stinky, but it works great!

chunky monkey said...

Eewww, sounds great. Thanks for the suggestion though. It's looking bad. It needs something.

Bryan said...

not to mention, after spraying fish emulsion on it you could put it back down on Riley's level. Even he wouldn't it it then........

Tabba said...

Well, my lovie, you don't spray the fish emulsion. The fish emulsion you use to water the Jade. Silly, Bry! But yes, I don't think Riley would enjoy the stench. It's pretty foul.

Tabba said...

Oh, and from looking at the picture of the Jade, it looks like it could stand to be repotted & staked. This might help it along as well, Di.
Jeez. Do I sound like a plant Nazi or what??
"NO PLANTS FOR YOU!"

Frank Brigandi said...

your plants are pretty tremendous.

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