Every once in a while, I wind up looking through the photo archives for something or another, and happen upon an old photo of a plant I still have, and am surprised by how much different it looks now. It should be hard to forget that plants grow. This is, after all, much of the point of having them, and one is regularly having to repot or prune or whatever. At the same time, it's easy to forget that it's going on at any particular moment, especially with slow-growing plants, so it's nice to see the evidence occasionally.
Here are four of the most dramatic examples I've seen lately (though sadly the photo quality could be better, particularly on the Before shots):
I brought home some cuttings of 'Black Diamond' from work and rooted them in perlite three years ago. Now, after a couple repottings (to 6"/15 cm and then to 8"/20 cm), I'm actually starting to get a respectable-looking plant out of it:
Though the leaves are no longer as dark as they were. Needs more light, I suppose.
Or there's my Peperomia glabella, which has gone from a 5- or 6-inch pot (13-15 cm),
to an 8-inch (20 cm), though it's been cut back a few times and doesn't look as large in the below photo as it really is.
The Nematanthus also was from cuttings I took at work. I had actually forgotten that it was ever as tiny as the photo above. Give it three years to grow out, though, and it's looking decent:
I was amazed to find out that I've had my Coffea arabica for four years already.
I may have to adjust the PATSP difficulty level. Granted, it's not as lush and green now as it was; there have been some problems with chlorosis, and a few of the leaves have burnt from something or another, but I've changed the fertilizer on it (Miracle Gro, with micronutrients, instead of Osmocote without), and the stupid thing's gotten six inches (15 cm) taller in a month. Hopefully I'll get regular-colored leaves again soon.
Of course, plants in my care don't always get bigger and better with time:
I've only had the Adiantum two months, and it was in a terrarium the whole time, and I still let it get too dry once and all the fronds dried up and died. It's made a considerable comeback since then, though:
And obviously I'll be more careful with it now that I know.
Some plants, though, you just can't reach. I got my Radermachera sinica at the same time as the Adiantum --
-- and it has been a complete asshole.
The individual plants in the pot have been dying off one by one: tick, tick, tick. At this point, I don't even want the plant to recover, but I have trouble throwing out a live plant even if I wish it ill. It's sort of a win-win: either it will get itself together and be an okay-looking plant, or it'll continue to suck and I can throw it away. Never again a Radermachera, though. This was my second one; the first didn't last much longer or do much better. I fail to see the point in trying a third time. They're obviously not good plants for me to have.
However, Radermachera issues aside, mostly the plants improve with time. You'd think this would be something I could just assume by now, having as many plants as I do, but I actually do get so focused on acquiring new plants sometimes that I forget that the old ones do more than just sit there, and that I'm getting better at growing them as time goes by besides. These are nice things to be reminded of.