Mr. McGregor’s Daughter has organized a house plant census so I have dutifully counted up my indoor plants, including various hyacinth and narcissus bulbs.
Included in my collection of house plants are some treasured plants that I have had for 23 plus years.
The night blooming cereus, which I believe to be Epiphyllum oxypetalum, was entrusted to my care in 1987. Prior to that, I estimate that my Dad had it for 15 years, so it has been “in the family” for going on 38 years. That is a long time in house plant years.
A house plant year*, by the way, is equivalent to three outdoor plant years, so in outdoor plant years, the night bloomer is 114 years old. She’s a venerable old lady of a plant and deserves all of the space she takes up in the sun room. Equally as old is a smaller night bloomer that I acquired from my aunt a few years ago.
My aloe vera plant has been around in one pot or another, and often in multiple pots, for the better part of 25 years. The original plant came from my aunt and uncle, who got a start from my grandmother, who got one from her mother. Mine had mealybugs once, but I managed to eradicate those cottony-nasties and saved the aloe. What a scare that was.
My pothos plants, two of them, harken back to 1987. I’m not one to let a pothos vine continue to grow so that you can wrap it around the room three times or do anything crazy like that. Every spring, I whack ‘em back and stick a few cuttings from the trimmings back in the pots so there is always new growth.** I do this with a lot of my house plants, including the aloe.
Other plants that should be mentioned for their longevity under my care include a Christmas cactus, a real cactus, pictured above, which I refer to as ponytail cactus, but it could be something else, and my Crown of Thorns, Euphorbia sp., which is always blooming. That cactus, by the way, has been in that pot for 15 years or longer. It has grow up and around and through that wire shelf so that it can not be moved. I guess it has taken its own kind of “root” in that spot.
All together, I counted 47 house plants and bulbs growing in my house for this census. I do not have a large collection of house plants, by most measures, but if you add up the ages of the plants and how long I’ve personally had them or their cuttings under my care, I think I have a rather old collection.
*I made that part up about “house plant years”.
**Many gardeners claim it is more difficult to keep house plants alive than outdoor plants, but I don’t think that is true. One of the secrets to the longevity of some of my plants, other than the night bloomer, is to take cuttings of them to root before the original plant starts to decline. Then I have a back up young plant ready to take over if the original plant should die on me.