Another Letter to my Houseplants

Do you think they're listening?

I know I’ve written to my houseplants before, but I believe that communication is the key to a long and successful relationship. So, I am writing to them again, because I feel like it.

Good morning everyone. Those extra minutes of daylight seem to be working their magic, don’t they?

Orchids, you are torturing me with those spikes. Yes, yes, I know it’ll be worth it when you finally flower, but darlings, I grow impatient! Almost every one of you is about to burst forth, and I simply cannot wait. As usual, however, there are a couple of exceptions. Oncidium, is that new growth going to result in a flower spike, or are you teasing me? If that’s the case, please remember that the last plant to tease me wound up in the compost pile with the other slackers. And you mini phals: not even a nubbin of a spike on either one of you. Take a look at the “spikeage” going on all around you and take the hint, will ya? Zygopetalum, I’ve given you the extra water you’ve been asking for, and now I see you’re putting out some new growth. Are you teasing me like your pal Oncidium, or if there a flower spike in your future?

Dear cyclamen, always in bloom. You are a true joy, and you never cause a minute of trouble. Likewise,  my precious oxalis. Don’t you ever get tired?

And I would be remiss if I did not give a most honorable mention to my lemon tree. In my last letter, I lamented your stagnation and general lack of enthusiasm.  I was actually thinking of giving you away to HerbDoc, who said she would try to “persuade” you to grow. Well, imagine my surprise when I peered down at you recently, and there they were: little buds at each node. It looks like you’re going to flower – and rather soon! Good going, and you are most welcome for the chelated iron.

Yours Truly,

Your Caregiver

My lemon tree. Check out those buds!


About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Another Letter to my Houseplants

  1. Peg says:

    I’m excited about a flower spike on what’s supposed to be Oncidium Lambada Cutie. I rescued it from an “as is” shelf at a local cheapo store. I KNOW we’re supposed to support our local orchid vendors… but I’m a sucker for strays.

    Meanwhile I have an African Violet which has almost no soil left in the pot, yet it blooms and blooms and blooms. I’m afraid to repot and divide when it seems so happy “as is!”


    • dirtynailz says:

      I have some “rescue plants” too. I love bringing them back to health.
      If you have a minute, I’d love to see a photo of your oncidium spike. It might help me determine whether the new growth on mine will produce flowers.


  2. fairegarden says:

    This is sheer brilliance, Cynthia! I laughed at the thinly veiled threats to oncidium and others. The oncidiums were one of the first to be composted here, never could get them to rebloom reliably. Our conditions just weren’t to their liking and the room ain’t gonna change so goodbye to them. I do think the Cyclamen should get a pageant sash or something for constant bloom? What a hoot! 🙂


    • dirtynailz says:

      Thanks, Frances. If I could find a proper sash for my cyclamen, I wrap it around her little clay pot.
      I suppose (like other gardeners) I feel like a failure for not being able to coax my oncidium to bloom. My other orchids are almost always flowering.
      But, as I acquire more experience (and grow older and grumpier) I feel less and less inclined to keep nurturing plants that do not perform.
      Sometimes, I just have to “cut bait!”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s