Plant therapy

Since I left town for 10 days over Christmas, my lucky bamboo plant (Dracaena sanderiana, not actually bamboo nor native to Asia) has been ailing. Several of its leaves have turned yellow and are getting progressively limper. I changed the water and added some iron to it (which I have already been doing). If I could hug it and feed it chicken soup or something, I would.

This plant is important to me for sentimental reasons. Here’s the story:

About 8 years ago, when I started a job I very quickly came to hate and soon left, my new supervisor gave me a lucky bamboo plant to keep on my desk. It never thrived in spite of my attentions, and by the time I left the company several months later, it was a sickly yellow spindle. I’ve heard that bamboo symbolizes one’s career, and that one certainly seemed to reflect mine at that company. I took it with me when I cleaned out my desk, but went back to the business after hours a few days later and dropped it in their dumpster, pot and all. I needed the closure, and clearly that plant was not going to survive in my care anyway.

Soon after accepting my next job, which I loved, I bought my current bamboo and have kept in on my fireplace mantle. It has thrived for all the years since, and I’ve been careful to make sure it has what it needs. I regard it as a canary in the coal mine for my professional success, in a way, and to see it looking so puny breaks my heart for many reasons.


So yellow. So droopy. So sad.

I’ve been out of town for 10 days at a stretch before and all my plants have always been fine in my absence, so I don’t know what happened this time. Perhaps with the shades drawn in the living room, the bamboo didn’t get enough light. Or maybe with the winter sun coming in through the window all day so strongly now, it’s actually been getting too much. Who really knows?

Anyway, I have moved it into my studio out of direct sunlight and nudged it up into the arms of another dearly beloved plant of mine, a Dwarf Umbrella Tree or Angel Plant (Schefflera arboricola).


Angel plant on the left, lucky bamboo on the right. They’re bros now, I hope.

I bought this plant so many years ago I can’t remember when, but I do know I had it long before I left for graduate school 10-plus years ago. I left it back home in the care of my parents, where it thrived just fine without me. They sent it with me last week to make a little more room for my father’s burgeoning avocado farm (which is another post for another day). I dusted all the cobwebs off its leaves, put it in a beautiful new pot with fresh dirt, and so far it seems to be quite happy here. Since it has always been so robustly healthy, I am hoping it can help support my poor bamboo and together we can nurse that baby back to lush green health.

I don’t mind telling you, I talk to my plants. I touch their leaves gently every time I water them and tell them they’re looking good. I appreciate being able to take care of these living things and I want to do it right. Regardless of whether the bamboo has anything whatever to do with my career, I still want it to be healthy and happy along with the angel plant, the ficus, the fern, the Christmas cactus and the African violet.

Wish us luck!


3 thoughts on “Plant therapy

  1. Good luck with the nursing! I have given up on house plants for now as we’ve been giving all our attention to the outside. But soon I want to replace the plants that didn’t make it since the move and find ones that aren’t so picky about location. šŸ™‚

  2. Pingback: Alas! Poor Fern | Journey of a Creative Playful Explorer

  3. Pingback: Ailing plant update | Going Forward

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