Celebrating the art of making a home
  • Inspiration Wall
  • Who’s Martha?
  • Who are we?
  • Archives
  • Categories
  • Regrowth

    3 years ago my mother-in-law (who I adore) had a potted plant delivered to me on Mother’s Day. It was a lovely gesture, and a lovely plant. I had no idea what kind of plant it was (still don’t), but it sprouted pretty pink flowers.

    I figured it would be dead within weeks.

    I don’t have a very good history of keeping plants alive, you see. My instinct seems to always be wrong, and I overwater or underwater or give too much sun or too little. So I figured this little guy had no chance.

    I was wrong.

    Despite long periods of no watering, cold weather, inconsistent sun, being knocked over, this little plant held on. Sometimes it looked pretty sad, but it held on nonetheless.

    Back in May when we began our balcony garden, I started giving it more consistent care. This is what it looked like then.


    Still in the pot it was delivered in, it was living, but not thriving so much.  A month or so later I thought that maybe if I transferred it to a larger pot, it might do better. Breaking just about every rule about repotting plants, I moved it to its new home.

    It didn’t grow.

    For months it didn’t grow, and I was afraid I’d seriously damaged it, messing with its roots as I had.

    But then…..

    This picture was taken tonight.


    Bigger, happier! Not just living, thriving!

    And if you take a closer look at the right side of the pot:


    Two little shoots! I don’t know how this happened, maybe someone with more plant knowledge than I do can shed light? (I know you’re out there.)

    But not just two little shoots….


    MUSHROOMS??? How did a veritable fairy garden start growing in this pot? (Sorry for the blurriness of the picture, the lighting was not being friendly, and I know about as much about photography as I do about plants.)

    There’s an obvious metaphor here for my life- but how do you experience regrowth?

    7 Responses to “Regrowth”

    1. Like your plant I guess :) Long periods of seeming stagnation/inactivity, where all the work is subtle and below the surface and then…BAM! A leap forward. Thanks for the reminder babe.

    2. Hilary says:

      Someone watered it a bit much, and your porch is probaby shady. I have a whole LSD trip just waiting for my kids most mornings in the middle of my back lawn.
      It’s nothing I’m proud of. :)

    3. Carolyn says:

      Here’s the technical stuff: I think your plant is a Kalanchoe or another member of the genus. They’re not real hardy to cold and you’ll want to keep your plant on the dry side in winter, especially if it’s not in light soil. Here are some more growing tips. Like Brandy said, lots of potted plants delay top growth and especially flowering if they have new soil in which to expand their roots. I’m not sure what triggers flowering in that species.

      The new little plants you see aroung the “mother plant” are called “offsets”. You can probably also start new plants of this succulent species with stem cuttings (dry the ends out before putting in soil). Most plants of our familiar strawberries grow from above-ground stems called “runners” which make new plants. The difference here is that the plants are connected below the soil surface. Some plants which make new stems under the ground can also be propagated by dividing a large plant (as with chrysanthemums) or by “root cuttings” – growing a new plant from a piece of root.

      Probably more than you wanted to know. Too tired for philosophy tonight, though.

      The little mushrooms are from spores. They could have been in the potting soil, or they could have blown in on the wind. They’re very cute, but don’t let them take over, and don’t let the kids eat them.

    4. Maryanne says:

      Carolyn, I knew you’d come through for me! Thank you! It’s good to finally know what kind of plant it is. :) And good to know that it needs less water than I’ve been giving it.

      If the mushrooms start getting out of hand, do I just pull them up?

      It’s so nice to have you available as a reference! :)

    5. Carolyn says:

      What you see as mushrooms are the “fruiting bodies” of a network of fungus which grow in organic matter or in soil high in organic matter. These networks remain once the mushrooms are gone, but they generally lose strength from the effort of making mushrooms unless new organic matter is added. When you see mushrooms popping up in the same place in a lawn over and over again, it’s from an established network of fungus. If you let the mushrooms open, you get new spores with a chance of more mushrooms elsewhere. I would pull them up before open fully and release spores.

      Probably the best way to limit new mushrooms is to let the top layer of the potting mix dry out before watering again – at least an inch down. And again, some mushrooms are very deadly, so don’t let the kids eat them.

      Some soil fungi inhibit the growth of other plants and other soil fungi are beneficial. I wouldn’t know enough to guess about your cute little mushrooms.