Plants, Like People, Sometimes Need Change

Every living thing needs to shift course if it is going to grow and flourish.

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Posted in , Mar 1, 2019

Kalanchoe plant

Two years ago, I wrote about a personal triumph—I had kept alive a sweet little kalanchoe house plant my aunt had brought me as a gift. 

But there was more to the story than what I shared in that blog. 

Months after receiving the plant, it was surviving, but not thriving. It had grown “leggy,” with long, spindly branches that seemed like they were losing the battle with gravity as they spilled over the edge of the cheerful pot it occupied. And its last flowers were too long ago to remember.

A green-thumbed friend stopped by, and I lamented my long-delayed, but now-imminent failure with the plant. It had done so well for so long, I said. Was it now time to simply say goodbye? 

Not quite yet, she replied. Together, we launched into a major haircut for the kalanchoe, snipping off the long, twisting “legs” and carefully cutting around the strong, healthy growth. Some of the vine-like branches got trimmed so I could try to encourage them to put out new roots and set new branches.

Finally, after looking up the light needs of this plant, we decided to relocate it onto a spot in the kitchen where it could get more direct sunlight, especially during the winter months. 

The plant had an entirely new direction—literally, as I implemented a new plan to rotate it one-quarter turn at each watering. It looked different, it was receiving different care, and without those long trails tugging them away from their nutritious soil, I’d like to think it felt better too—refreshed, ready to start anew.

As for the tiny offshoots my friend and I had experimented with potting, some are taking hold of their new homes, while others don’t seem happy with their new leases on life. Regardless of the outcomes, I’m enjoying the idea that their journeys have just begun—time, patience and care is in their future.

The experience of relocating and rejuvenating the plant reminded me that every living thing has needs that shift and evolve with time. Just like the kalancoe, sometimes we all need more light, a new look and a new vantage point from which to observe the world around us. If we are flexible enough to recognize when we need a change, we will thrive. We might even flower.

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