Saturday, August 7, 2010

Wandering Jew Tribulations

I mentioned that there was a story behind the Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina) that I planted in a hanging basket ("Planted in Pots" section on my Excavated Plant posting).  As I recently moved the plant to my hanging basket pole, I thought I'd tell the tale.

I was shopping at a nearby big box nursery when I spotted a large clump of Wandering Jew that had broken off and fallen to the concrete.  There it lay, its bright purple leaves slowly getting cooked on the hot pavement.  Standing over the abandoned plant portion, I pondered.  "It's just gonna get swept up in the trash at the end of the day.  No one is gonna buy it potless."

But I walked on by and kept moving up and down the aisles.  But my steps soon returned; by now the forlorn plant had been stepped on and kicked over to the side.  Snap decision made, I stooped down and grabbed the straggly branch and stuffed it into the lower pocket of my cargo shorts.  Then I was back to browsing.

But this nursery was not to be my only stop.  Soon I was driving to other chores, and the hours drifted away.  Morning passed into afternoon.  Returning home, I unloaded the truck and immediately dove into several different tasks: some outside in the heat, others sitting at my computer.  And afternoon crept into evening.

Meals came and went.  Tasks and chores and relaxing occurred.  Night arrived as did the time for sleeping.  Dirty clothes went to the hamper and I went under the sheets.  As my conscious mind began to fade towards that sweet oblivion of dream-land, it suddenly (and finally) made a connection.  "Hey dummy - that poor abused plant is still in your pocket."

Oops.  I crawled out of bed and burrowed into the dirty clothes.  Identifying the pocket, I withdrew the bruised and battered foliage.  Bleary-eyed, I sloppily filled a small glass with water and stuck the wilted branch into the liquid.  Lights out and back to my pillow.

Days passed as the plant sat ignored in the utility room, a dim bulb its only companion.  Spotting it as I passed through towards the garage, I noticed it was bravely sending out roots.  Topping off the water, I decided it deserved better (and that if I didn't do something immediately, there was a good chance I'd forget the little bugger again).

Soon, I had the little plant potted into its very own hanging basket.  The growth spurt it put on over the next few weeks was impressive.  It still has a ways to go before it fills the basket, but it is well on its way.

That is one tough little plant.

Planted in Pots:



  1. That's a good plant-rescue story. It has repaid you handsomely, hasn't it?

  2. You did the right thing in picking it up, but then you already know that. LOVE the variegated aloe!

  3. i would have done just the same as yourself. The plant said, "thankyou" by turning into a wonderful hanging basket. I bought one of those plants from the bbs. It was $7. How could I resist. I only hope that the neglect it is suffering while I am away doesn't 'do it in'. We shall see. I love the variegation. My mother always had one of these as an indoor plant, which is where mine was, lacking decent shade in my garden.

  4. I used to have one of those and forgot to bring it in on a first frost night and, well, you know what happened.

  5. That plant was just destined to be in your garden. It looks great hanging off your lovely "Shepherd's Hook".

  6. Your plant loves you! It looks beautiful now!
    I rescued a little broken piece of cactus once off a shop floor. It stayed in my jacket pocket from autumn to spring, when I put on the jacket again after the cold winter. The little cactus was finally planted and is growing big and healthy for many years now, even flowering every summer.

  7. Great story, and great story-telling! Very nice photos too. Makes me want to grow one of them again.

  8. That's a great story! I love that plant with the green and purple striped leaves. I have two myself!