So, I recently received a question from a good friend and concerned plant owner, curious about her ailing Phyladendron:
“Girl… I have a plant, one very pathetic plant. It used to be a lush Phyladendron. It’s now a single coughing vine in a huge pot and I keep forgetting its there and then it catches my eye. What’s left of it. I want it, that last vine, to have a fresh start before I completely kill it. But I don’t know what to do or how. I never throw away plants unless All Brown… Thoughts?”
My first reaction is to respond to this question from a horticulturalist’s perspective: Cut the poor Phylo back to a healthy, low-on-the-stem node with a clean set of scissors. Be sure to keep the plant in a moderately well-lit and warm area, making sure that the soil is moist. These plants are naturally found thriving on the rain forrest floor, under a canopy of foliage, so they prefer this speckled sunlight. Since your Pyhlo is of the vining variety, I recommend inserting a stake into the soil, close to the plant so it has something to grab onto once it starts reestablishing itself. Also, I recommend misting the surviving greenage as to mimic the Phylo’s native environment which is that of the tropical Americas. These steps should serve your plant well!
My second approach, however, would incorporate more of an alternative way of thinking about plants, an approach interested in new perspectives, creative sciences and bare with me, PLANT ESP- the ability for plants and other livings to communicate, GASP, outside of our 5 limited senses.
No, no, wait. Come back!
It sounds ridiculous, and hey, it just might be, but I recently stumbled across some preTTy interesting research compiled by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, exploring the notion of plants being regarded as sentinel beings. Yes, thanks to the findings based on a one mister Cleve Backter’s (a very dedicated ex-CIA Lie Detector Examiner) research, there has been ample evidence to suggest a recordable & remarkable link between plants and other living things based on a cellular-type consciousness and perceptiveness common to all life. Long story short: We exist in a world of “Biocommunication,” a theory suggesting that plants exhibit awareness and empathy towards affected organisms: They react strongly to the death of other living cells. They go dormant when they are in the presence of ill will. There is a significant reaction on the Galvanometer in response to others’ stress, anxiety and elation- the list goes on! Hell, it might even be a good idea to grab a handsome, friendly farmer come spring for a little tumble in the tall weeds! All of that positive energy will result in spikes of cellular activity in the plant and will result in a healthy, strong and verdant crop! According to Backster.
So what does all of this vo-doo have to do with my friend’s sad plant? Well, Backter also suggested that plants are especially in-tune to their “owners” Psychic Energy, Attention and INtentions. For example, one of Baxter’s plants, upon having been hooked up to a polygraph machine, showed sharp amounts of reactivity to Backter’s THOUGHTS of setting one of it’s leaves on fire to see how it would react. It picked up on his INTENTIONS. There have been studies in which a plant was hooked up to one of these machines and it’s reactivity to it’s owners stress was still detectable even though they were half-way across the country (researches were able to correlate the time at which the owner’s plane took off and landed, and were able to match it to notable spikes on the graph.) Incredible.
There are a myriad examples I could and would love to introduce, but for the sake of time, I will keep this post relevant to the question after one further thought. I believe there is some validity to Backster’s claims. I do believe that cells can communicate with each other (think about how perfect bacteria is. Our Immune system. Every single cell working in syncopation to serve a function, to know when to defend, to communicate a range of information with the cells that worth with it and against it or are ambivalent. When those cells react for whatever reason, a signal is sent throughout the system and can easily be detected by another living creature (fauna OR flora) that is free of our limited 5 senses. Valid.
So, to finally come back and tie all of this into answering my friend’s question, I’ll end with this: I love to know how much you care about your plant, and I’m glad you didn’t give up on it yet! My suggestion is to proceed with my initial advice: Node cutting, attention to soil moistness and light quality. And in doing so, I strongly suggest acknowledging the plant. Encourage and will it to live. Do so with a full heart and let it know that you appreciate the functions it serves. Place the Phydo in a spot where it will be seen so you can be more attentive to it’s needs in the future and pass good intentions it’s way daily. Put it in the bedroom or another in another place where you do your smooching! *wink.*
Mombo-jombo? Maybe. But a little more sweetness, a little more awareness, and a little more care for all living things in this world couldn’t hurt. ❤