Plants Take Their Turn to Blog

I thought it was time to give my plants a chance to speak for themselves. I write about them all time. Now it is their turn to blog.

An arrangement of succulents and cacti. Image credit:

My jade plant, formally known  Crassula ovata is first to volunteer for this speaking opportunity.

I was surprised to read on the Internet (Really!?) that cactus plants are eschewed by Feng Shui proponents as lovely, but thorny plants that can bring bad Feng Shui if placed in a wrong area. The Feng Shui designers claim that a cactus in your bedroom can disturb your sleep and peace.

Cactus plants have strong protective energy, but their spines are a problem—especially if you’re a zombie. Here’s what I mean: Plants vs. zombies CACTUS LIFE Animated Cartoon

A photo of a jade plantBut look at me. I’m not spiney, am I? I’m a succulent, not a cactus. I’m called a lucky plant, a money treed, a jade plant. Who wouldn’t love me?

Next up is my tall and languid Norfolk Island Pine, otherwise known as Araucaria heterophylla.

Here I am languishing in West Virginia—so far from my native roots off the coast of Australia and also found on Pacific Island. Although you’ll see my cousins prevalent in the grocery, hardware, and floral retail stores around Christmas time, I have become a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.'Pine

The five greatest threats I face are:

  • Housing and urban areas,
  • Tourism and recreation areas,
  • Small holder grazing, ranching, or farming
  • Logging and wood harvesting
  • Invasive non-native/alien species and disease

Sometimes I daydream about where I’d most like to be…I imagine the subtropical and tropical forest lowlands where my kindred comrades cannot just survive but thrive if given the chance. In this time-lapse video you can watch one of my fellow Norfolk Island Pine trees being successfully transplanted from one location to another. 

I hear that although we are vulnerable, we are sustained through conservation actions and protections on Mount Pitt in the Norfolk Island National Park. There is a public and private effort to remove non-native species from the Norfolk Island National Park and replant and re-establish my genomic friends. You can find out more at Contact the Global Tree Campaign

Next up is my charming, colorful Coleus Solenostemon scutellariodes ‘Colorblaze Rediculous’.

col_redic_mainAlthough they call me an annual and expect me to just disappear, die, at the end of the growing season, I am so beautiful and colorful that most gardeners insist on bringing me indoors to overwinter. Well, it’s tough to make it through the long, gray, short light season. I can’t tell you how many times I just bolt. Unless the caretaker puts me under a grow light of some sort, I’m not gonna’ make it. But don’t judge me by my short life. In any given season, I’m probably the most sustained, striking plant you’ll have in your yard.

I fantasize about moving to Florida or somewhere in the Caribbean. Maybe if I bolt soon enough, my caretaker will capture my seeds and share me with a southern friend or Master Gardner group based in the deep south. Then I could imagine future generations of me. There are so many varieties of beautiful coleus plants. Let me show you a compilation of the best: Best Coleus Plant Photos – Gambar Tanaman Miana Terindah

Next up, is my mother-in-law’s tongue, also known as George’s sword, snake plant, viper’s bowstring hemp, and Sansevieria trifasciata.

Image of snake plant grown indoorsIf there were a competition for getting into our caretakers bedroom, the snake plant would beat the cactus hands down.  The Sansevieria trifasciata purifies air by absorbing toxins through the leaves and produces pure oxygen. It is an ideal bedroom plant because while most other plants release carbon dioxide at night (in the absence of photosynthesis), the snake plant continues to produce oxygen through the night. This plant consisting of creeping rhizome, exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide using the crassulacean acid metabolism process, which is unique to only a few plant species. The Sansevieria trifasciata can withstand drought. The microscopic pores on the plant leaf stomata, used to exchange gases, are only opened at night to prevent water from escaping through evaporation. Stored oxygen is released at night with the opening of the stomata.

Considered a week in some parts of Australia, Sansevieria trifasciata is used primarily as an ornamental plant—outdoors in warmer climates and indoors in cooler areas. A NASA Clean Air Study found that Sansevieria trifasciata has the potential to remove four of the five main toxins associated with sick building syndrome. See, I am a good plant for my caretakers bedroom. Enough said, cacti.

This video time-lapse captures the Sansevieria (snake plant) undergoing a rare indoor flowering. 

Up next and last but not least, my Poinsettia.

IMG_5858You think I’m just a Christmas flower, a symbol of the holiday season. I am so much more than that. My stem and leaves and flowers and sap are used to make medicine. I am native to Mexico. I also grow in southern areas of the U.S. along the Gulf coast. People who understand my unique chemical properties, consume me to treat fever, stimulate breast milk production, and unfortunately to sometimes cause an abortion. People consume my Poinsettia latex sap to kill pain, kill bacteria, and cause vomiting.

Some people apply my latex sap directly to their skin to remove hair, treat warts, and treat other skin and topical disorders. I am even used as a means to cure toothaches. But these are all bad ideas as explained in this video: Don’t Eat a Poinsettia.

The Poinsettia is loved and distributed world-wide. I was introduced to the U.S. by an American diplomat, Joel Poinsett, in 1800. It is said that the Poinsettia brings good luck to whoever receives it as a gift as long as they handle the plant with care and affection.  

Thank you, plants!