Friday, November 14, 2008

"Passalong" Plants

I forget where I first acquired one of these little succulent plants some twenty-odd years ago, but ever since then, I have not been without a few pots of them. They easily make pups and have become one of my favorite "passalong" plants. Probably one of the haworthia species of succulents, they are easy to grow. All you have to do is ignore them and keep them out of the hot sun.

Wikipedia tells us succulents are also known as "fat plants" because of their water-storing ability. My haworthia don't seem to care if you water them or not, although a little rain never hurts. Their roots don't seem very tenacious. The plants sit loosely in their soil. Yet they are alive, and I appreciate their steadfastness.

I learned there is a Haworthia Society. They even have a plant exchange for their members, and publish a magazine for their members called the Haworthiad. Perhaps when I retire in a year or two, I will join and become even more of a plant geek than I already am.

Aloe vera plants are also easy passalong succulents to grow, and very good to have on hand for burns. I love the whole concept of passalong plants. The last passalong plant I received was some oxalis triangularis, which seemed to die out but then came back last spring. I was elated, because this particular kind of clover is very odd-looking. (I tend to have the "one of everything" plant disease.) Often passalongs are old fashioned species not usually found in retail stores, such as antique roses. Legend has it you don't thank the giver for such a plant or it will die. Now that's just plain silly in my book (if you have good manners, saying thank you is just natural!), but an alternative may be giving thinks to Mother Nature. I feel grateful to live in a relatively frost-free locale where it is easy to keep lots of plants alive over the winter. The Houston winter is not so much a cold season as it is "not summer". And that's fine with me!

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