Sunday, December 2, 2007

Random plant event: Zamioculcas zamiifolia can grow new leaves!

I confess, I'm being a little tongue-in-cheek with the title there: I knew they could grow new leaves, because I see it regularly with the plants at work. But my own plant hasn't done a thing since I bought it (November 3, 2006), which is a long time for a plant to do nothing. Granted, it hasn't dropped any leaves in that time either, but one does expect something to happen after a year, for even the slowest plant. (Hell, even Lithops will grow a new pair of leaves, minimum, in the course of a year.)

I had actually given up on seeing anything meaningful happen, and then about a week ago, the plant in question fell on me. It was up high, and I was trying to slip a tallish Dracaena fragrans by it, and leaves tangled, and the end result was that I got thunked in the head. And then I had to replace the spilled dirt. Three or four days later, we've got new growth poking up through the soil I replaced. Coincidence?1

This is actually the second plant I've had that started growing after getting dropped on the floor; the first was an Araucaria bidwillii (monkey-puzzle tree Bunya pine) that put out a small spurt of new growth after wind blew it off a shelf. Of course, that was the one and only time it grew at all, and it didn't last long. But I'm developing a theory that the way to deal with stubborn plants is to hurl them into the floor.

Which is often my first impulse anyway.

As if that weren't enough, I had fourteen Zamioculcas leaflets I was trying to root as well, and I noticed last Friday that one of them also had new growth.

So it can be done. This is no guarantee, obviously, that the plant is going to live to see its first birthday, but let's be hopeful. Of the other 13 leaflets, one got mangled and was thrown away, four have gone brown but could still be functional, and eight are green but have done nothing. I assume professional ZZ growers get their kicks doing more fast-paced, action-packed things, like betting on cake races, or watching building demolitions-by-erosion.


Photo credits: all me.

1There's an outside chance that I got thunked on the head more severely than I thought, and the new growth I'm posting about is some kind of brain-damage-related hallucination.

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