Friday, May 30, 2014

Houseplant-Related Beliefs and Traditions

Stealing someone else's potted plant takes a year off your life. (Stealing a plant from someone's garden or landscaping or whatever takes off three.)

Plants in black pots grow better than plants in pots of other colors. Plants also grow better in pots made of pure diamond, though not many people know about that, for obvious reasons.

Pruning a Codiaeum variegatum brings bad luck, usually in the form of spider mites.

If you burn an Ardisia in front of a mirror on your 16th birthday, you may see the face of your future spouse in the flames.

If you're opening a new business and someone gives you a dye-injected plant as a gift, your business will fail within the year.

A dye-injected Phalaenopsis.

Having no houseplants is bad luck.

Having too many (more than about 500) houseplants is also bad luck.

Singing all four verses of The Star-Spangled Banner to any plant in the Rutaceae (Citrus, Murraya, Fortunella, etc.) protects the singer from attack by wild cats (tiger, lion, puma, etc.).

Brown spots on a Dracaena's leaves mean that an enemy is thinking about you.

Some people put rocks or a piece of broken crockery over the drainage hole when repotting houseplants. This is to prevent demons from leaving the root ball through the hole.1

In their natural habitat, Spathiphyllum spathes are red. They only turn white in the presence of evil people.


If a child is afraid of the dark, put a houseplant in their bedroom window for five months, then dispose of it in the trash: the child's fear will be gone once the garbage is collected. If the plant dies before the five months is up, it means that the thing the child is afraid of is real and you should probably move before it does whatever the child fears that it's going to do.

Having potted plants at a funeral guarantees that the deceased will get to go to Heaven, even if they don't deserve it.

Unless one of the funeral plants is a poinsettia.

Growing a Stapelia in the room where you pay bills, balance your checkbook, count your money, etc. means you'll never be poor. (Disclaimer: only works if you've never been poor prior to getting the Stapelia.)

Having blooming aroids (e.g. Anthurium, Spathiphyllum, Zantedeschia, Alocasia, Amorphophallus, Dieffenbachia, etc.) in your home cures erectile dysfunction.

;^) 2

Jumping over a Ficus (except for F. pumila and F. benjamina) at exactly 10:30 PM on New Year's Eve guarantees prosperity for the coming year.

Not pruning a Codiaeum variegatum brings bad luck, usually in the form of spider mites.

People don't bring potted plants to people in the hospital to cheer up patients and make rooms seem more comforting. The real reason is to distract the ghosts of people who died there (hospitals are just crawling with ghosts, for obvious reasons) so they don't bother the patients. This is most effective with plants that have lots of leaves, because the ghosts stop to count all the leaves and then forget to go after the patients.

If you repot a Begonia while you are pregnant, your baby will come out spotted and asymmetrical.

Begonia 'Puffy Clouds.'

If you burn an Ardisia in front of a mirror on your 38th birthday, you may see the angry, shouty face of your current spouse in the flames.3

If you make a wish while removing the dead flowers on an Echeveria, it will come true, unless there's a Gasteria nearby, in which case the wish will never come true.

Owning a Codiaeum variegatum brings bad luck, usually in the form of spider mites.

Dropped buds on a Schlumbergera means something so terrible that I can't even bring myself to write it. Just, you know, pray that it never happens to you, 'cause if it does you're totally hosed.


1 No idea why you'd want to keep the demons in the root ball. Maybe they keep the root mealybugs out or something.
2 For those keeping track of these things: the inflorescence in the photograph belongs to #223 ("Patty Cake").
3 It also tends not to be great for the mirror.


Ginny Burton said...

Holy cow! Thank you for filling me in! I don't know how I avoided multiple catastrophes, but I'm armed with this knowledge now.

ardas said...

Entertaining :)

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Bahahahahahaha...this was hilarious! Definitely the best blog post of the day :)

Anonymous said...

I really think we should spread around that one about how stealing someone's plants takes years off your life. It is amazing how widespread the belief is that it is okay to steal cuttings - especially at stores.

By the way, if you ever want to try crotons again, I highly recommend trying to grow them in hydroculture. After the tragic loss of a croton with sentimental meaning, I finally have a Petra doing nicely in hydroculture now. I also have high hopes for a Mrs. Iceton cutting in hydroculture even though I lost a huge portion of the rest of that plant in the process of getting the cutting going.

Liza said...

Obviously, you want to keep demons in the root balls because where else are you going to keep them? On the mantle? They would never stay there. Sheesh!

You can't have demons spilling out of pots all willy nilly. It'd be demonic chaos! I for one am comforted to know people are out there preventing chaos with a little piece of clay. Good job, people who do that!

Daniel McClosky said...

Hilarious. I ran across a beautiful, massive, tree-sized gold dust Codiaeum variegatum in a conservatory (the awesome, architecturally stunning conservatory at Madison, WI's Olbrich Botanical Gardens to be specific). But all I could think of was, "But where are the spider mites?" And, more horrifyingly, "Do spider mites scale up with the size of their host?"