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Grow Small

August 12, 2011

When I moved into my current home a year ago, I wanted to make my room as refreshing and relaxing as possible. It would be my only personal space in a house of five women, so it had to be good! During my research of feng shui and decor books and other such silliness, I learned the importance of houseplants in spaces like mine. Not only are they pretty (unless you kill them), but they also clean up the air and add a touch of life to a room. I jumped on the houseplant bandwagon and haven’t yet jumped off.

I bought a basic bonsai, because trees are great and as a woman, I think smaller versions of things are cute. I soon lost sight of the whole “miniature” part of what a bonsai is, and the thing was pretty large and unkempt when I bought it. The tree freaked out and lost quite a few leaves at first, but when I moved it from the book shelf to the more sunny window, it relaxed. The problem was, it never grew any more leaves. It was a sad, stagnant little guy. I had this idea that because it’s a plant, it should grow BIG. But that’s not what a bonsai is for. You have to keep them small for them to thrive. This is not a concept I am familiar with, and I don’t think I am alone on that. So when I was researching how to rehabilitate the plant, I figured out how to cut back the branches, which actually encourages growth. After I pruned, it took no time at all for little leaves to begin sprouting, and now my plant is quickly becoming beautiful and healthy! It still has a long way to go — I’m waiting for it to become fuller before I chop off more — but I’m still very happy about the slow progress. Looks like that whole “patience is a virtue” concept applies to houseplants. I’ve even planted the cuttings with the hope of getting more bonsai. That part isn’t going as well! I’ll work on it.

Have you ever thought about this? Not in the gardening sense, but in the metaphorical life sense — cutting back your own branches to grow and thrive. It’s an interesting thought to me, at least.

Also, if you’re looking for an entertaining read, Plants are the Strangest People is the most surprisingly good blog I’ve read…and it’s all about houseplants. The author, Mr_Subjunctive, has 962 plants in his home. This is legitimate.


The first baby leaf - taken on 8/5

Happy tree

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