The condition of my house plants

Recently I have been very worried about the condition of my house plants. Especially with the move coming up, I was concerned that some of them might not make it. I was right. After one of my house plants died recently I decided to do a full inspection; perhaps I could save some lives.

My wandering Jew appeared very weak last week when I took its pictures and wrote a blog post on it. Originally it lived on the windowsill in the living room. But while we staged the house all of the house plants went into the laundry room. My husband once joked about how the laundry room was where plants go to die. Somehow he was right, it seems like since last summer every time I put a plant in the laundry room it died, especially green healthy leafy plants.

Last year when I grew tomatoes and various other plants in my laundry room we had an outbreak of spider mites. Upon further inspection I noticed not only spider mites but some kind of small caterpillars had taken residence in my wandering Jew. Oy vey! I was going to have to try to eradicate this pesky little buggy once and for all.

I quickly got to work pulling all of the plants out of the laundry room. I started with my spider plant, Chlorophytum comosum. She had given birth to a baby plant!  

Check out that adorable little ariel plant hanging on. Mama is ready for a new pot too! These plants were gifted to me from my Mama Niki. Thanks for the gift that just keeps giving. My wandering Jew is also made from cuttings of your plant just last year! 

These plants are so hearty and they grow so fast. The mama spider plant wants a bigger pot. After cutting off the baby (scroll down.) I gave the mother plant a deep soaking. The water helps soften the roots for re potting. 

  
Next I pulled her out of the confining little blue pot. I could tell she was ready because the roots were coming out of the hole in the bottom. Once I got her out you can see she was root locked so badly that she couldn’t grow any more. That is why she made a baby! 

  
Nice root structure lady! I loosened up the roots some, very delicately separating some of the larger ones. I realized this plant wasn’t just one plant but a few more babies had formed beside the mother and grown up along beside her. Check it out! 

  
If I wanted to separate these into three different plants I could. But with the move I think it would be best to save that for another day. Instead I plant her in a nice green pot with fresh potting soil. I left a good lip to protect her in the car during our move to California in a few weeks. 

  
  
Her new pot looks great with the leaves. Here she is back on the little table with water, fresh soil, light and love. That’s what makes plants grow! 

  
Aww little baby spider plant. It was just barely big enough to be cut and planted. I feel like the plant midwife. 

  
Cut the “umbilical cord” as I like to call it, as close to the Mama as possible. Some people cut in other places this is just how I did it. A segment of the stem should always be left on. 

  
If you look carefully at this photo you can see the ariel rootlets. I cut mine between my ring finger and my middle finger. Planting those under the soil will develop quickly into the baby plants first real roots! 

  
Now for the bad news, the wandering Jew got slashed. She was so infested with spider mites I decided I had to cut out the majority of the plant. Upon visual inspection there were so many little bugs that are almost invisible to the naked eye, living on the leaves. Every leaf that had a spider or caterpillar on it, or even an injury for them to hide in, got cut off of the plant. I am sorry to say the wandering Jew is much smaller now. Pray that it lives!

  
This plant will be watched carefully for the next two weeks for any sign of bugs. If it is still infected by the time we move I will be forced to put it out of its misery. I also took a few cuttings from it and put them in water on the windowsill. I am hoping to start a new plant. Who knows maybe they will all live?

  
The rest of the plants seem to be safe for now. I brought them all out of the laundry room and placed them around the house. They seem to be doing much better. I’m sure the cactuses and the aloe Vera will be happy in California. 

  
Here are my baby orchids along with the baby spider plant on the windowsill above the sink in the kitchen. I’m surprised I haven’t killed any of them.

  
I have two other surviving orchids, and two bamboo plants. One of which the largest bamboo plant I got from my brother. The orchid in the pink pot was the very first orchid I ever received. I’m shocked it’s not dead. 

  
On the contrary it seems to be doing quite well. I must get my green thumb from my father, thanks dad.

  
 
I also have two little Christmas cactuses. When they are in full bloom one has red flowers and the other has got pink flowers. The hot pink one even has a couple buds on it now. 
  

Last but not least are my aloe vera. I started this aloe vera in the apartment Alan and I shared when we first started dating. It was only one tiny little piece of a thing and now look at it! I have taking out numerous babies and given them to all sorts of people and they just do this. The aloe vera that keeps multiplying!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my plant collection. Please feel free to leave your comments below, or email me directly at Barrentinedominique@gmail.com 

-Dominique Barrentine 

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My “Wandering Jew” 

This is my “Wandering Jew,” otherwise known as Tradescantia fluminensis, or small leaf spider plant.  

 
It seems to be stressed out about the move, and fairly tired of the dark gloomy days of the Pacific Northwest. The leaves are showing some serious damage. 

   
 I’m not sure exactly what is going on. I think these dead spots will be pruned out today. Then after the move I will propagate this mama plant into babies. 

I just read an excellent blog post about where this plant got its name.

 Plants are the Strangest People Blogspot

Not only does the author tell this hilarious (but totally fictional) story of Jesus cursing some Jewish  fellow to wander the earth until Chists return, but she also adds fun facts about this much beloved house plant. 

I would love to get some different varieties of this plant at some point. Looking at pictures I dedided the next one is going to be a Tradescantia Zebrina which has purple leaves and flowers more frequently. My little green Tradescantia has yet to bloom but believe it or not this plant is less than a year old!

The “Wandering Jew” is a hearty and fast growing houseplant. So far it seems very difficult to kill. I do think it will survive the trip nicely. 

I can only bring my house plants and 1 rose in the truck to California. They don’t allow outside plants with native soils and bugs for fear of contaminating the nation’s farmlands. Most of our food comes from California. I would hate to accidentally introduce apple maggots or something wild. 

I would love to hear your comments on the Tradescantia Flueminensis. Do you like the name “Wandering Jew?” Would you prefer a different variety? If you have one of these plants I’d love to see pictures. What varieties do you have? And does anyone know exactly what is going on with these leaves?  

 
-Dominique Barrentine