The Joys of Plant Parenting


Art/Photo by Sullivan Kolakowski

Plants have so much to offer. Not only do they purify the air and look amazing, like this zebra succulent, but they can also help improve your mood.

Hannah Vickers, Staff Writer

   ‘Mary Mary quite contrary, where does your garden grow?’ For many students, it’s in their own home. Quarantine has trapped many to a lonesome fate, but through plants, these three students found a way to keep themselves preoccupied.

     Marie Malig (11) has cultured her own plants for four years. She commented, “We’ve been stuck inside for so long, so it’s nice to go outside and see my succulents…they just bring me a little bit of joy.” She owns a lovely selection of succulents, including hanging clusters of donkey tails and the blushing blue giant: “It’s very powdery, and it blushes violet when it’s really cold out.” She’s coupled her interesting collection with a hobby that’s just as interesting—propagation. She explained, “You can cut off the leaves of some of them and [the leaf will] grow into new succulents.” The succulent itself will continue to grow, and if planted properly, the leaf will grow into a whole new succulent of the same species. Malig concluded laughingly, “They’re just kind of multiplying.”

     Kalia Ro (10) talked about the maintenance and responsibility that comes with the job. She recollected, “The most time consuming is repotting them…Their roots get really clumped together, so you have to put them in a bigger pot so they can grow. I think once I spent two hours repotting some of my plants.” For rookies looking to start with easier game, Ro suggested “succulents, because they’re super easy. They’re basically indestructible.” Ro continued, “There’s also the spider plant, which is actually my first plant because it’s really easy to take care of. The snake plant too.”

     Sharmaine Legaspi (11) an eleventh grader from Torrance High, is also well-versed in succulents. She recommended cacti and the zebra plant, going on to explain that “they need a lot more sun and they don’t need that much water. So you can keep them in the window sill or you can keep them inside. And generally, you don’t want to keep them in the areas where it’s below 60F or 55ish…but they’ll survive a couple nights outside.” 

     From the parlor palm to the chinese money plant, Legaspi has more than just succulents. An oxygenating plant of hers in particular would be a bundle of bamboo she keeps in her kitchen. Bamboo is said to be a natural purifier, “Because it produces a lot more oxygen…They grow easily, so they’re easy to maintain.” They’re also said to be symbols of luck, peace, and prosperity. It’d be an interesting alternative to the live-laugh-love memorabilia.

     Legaspi certainly found happiness in growing her plants. For her, she explained, “I felt like I could do something that was worthwhile. I could actually see my progress. It was something different from school because at the time I was really struggling…everything just hit all at once so I needed that thing that would make me get up in the morning and make me have to do something.” This year, plants have been an all around motivator. Though there’s responsibility to it, there’s more reward than there is chore.