The Rubber Plant Doctor

This post will be more meaningful if you scroll back and read “Casey’s Rubber Plant” from April 29, 2011 and “Tending the Rubber Plant” from May 20, 2011.

I don’t know where the summer has gone! I had intended for the Rubber Plant Doctor to make a house call in the early spring so the plant could enjoy a season outdoors. But it is now autumn and instead we will need to prepare it (or them) to spend the winter in the house.

I say them because one plant has exceeded all my expectations of growth and health. It no longer fits the original pot. We need to divide it into three. We don’t want it to be “root bound” and wither.

The doctor will be 80 on her next birthday. Her mind is 25 but she doesn’t kneel easily so the surgery will be done sitting on a stool.

I think I will tell this story in a way that will allow you to learn the procedure. So here is “How to Make Three Rubber Plants Out of One.”

  1. Take all the furniture out of your kitchen.
  2. Cover your kitchen floor with a small tarp. Remove the small tarp and replace it with a big one.
  3. Lug the Rubber Plant to the kitchen and set it in the middle of the tarp. Tip the plant carefully so it will slip out of its pot. (It won’t.)
  4. Find a screw driver and poke it through the hole in the bottom of the pot pushing the roots out.
  5. Say you are glad for the tarp because now there is dirt all over. With four hands, two of yours and two of the Plant Doctor’s, grasp at the root bound soil and find it resistant to movement. Gradually you will be able to trace the root system to the stalks of the rubber plant and realize you will need heavy duty tools.
  6. Gather large scissors (which will not work), a coping saw (which will not work), a large butcher knife (which will not work), a hack saw (which will not work), and a hand saw. (This will work.)
  7. Let the Plant Doctor decide where to saw.  (It requires experience, competence and faith to rip into this root ball with the force required to crumble concrete and believe the end product will have a better chance of life than before this traumatic act.)
  8. Relax a little when the doctor says, “I like the nice strong roots still clinging to this stalk.” The doctor seems to be growing in enthusiasm. Let yourself whisper to yourself, “Maybe I didn’t kill it.”
  9. Go and get the bigger pot you have planned for the transplant.
  10. Go out into your yard and steal (from yourself) the decorative rocks you have carefully placed around the perimeter of your pond.
  11. Place the rocks in the bottom of the pot. Insert a stake (you can use the dowel from your miniblinds) in the hole in the middle of the pot.  Surround the stake with the stolen rocks.
  12. Scoop in several cups of indoor potting soil guaranteed to grow plants.
  13. Let the Plant Doctor insert the root system as this has to be done with precision just so deep and so close to stake, rocks, pot etc.
  14. Cover the roots with soil almost to the top of the plant. Press down firmly, especially where the doctor says to press.
  15. Discover you don’t have any cord for securing the plant stalk to the stake so find an old pillow case and cut narrow strips. The gracious doctor will say that this works “great.”
  16. Tie the strips in a figure 8. When you ask the doctor why she will say so that you can keep them tight without strangling them.
  17. Find a spot where the plant can get plenty of sun. (But not too much.)
  18. Water the plant until the saucer it sits in flows over. (Mop up the extra with a towel unless you have a turkey baster which I don’t.)
  19. Repeat the above steps two more times so the rubber plant becomes three.
  20. Sit with the doctor, drink a cup of tea, eat a scone, and tell each other what a fun afternoon you have had together.
  21. Plan to repeat this adventure once or twice a year (there are other plants in my house).
  22. Laugh with the doctor between each of the above steps.

Reflect on what God means when He talks about pruning so you can produce more fruit. Will you let Him cut the roots that run too deep?

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2 Responses to The Rubber Plant Doctor

  1. MaryAnn Rice says:

    How appropriate your rubber plant blog was for me today. I mulled over what to do with the almost leafless example of the skills of my black thumb rubber tree house plant maintainence abilities.. Raspberries, pickles and set onions are more in my abilities to produce an end result I don’t have to quickly shift to the basement as the doorbell rings. I wouldn’t want to be accused of house plant abuse.
    So now I wonder what high school Agriculture or Home Econimics session I missed out on that might have put me on the green thumb path rather than the black thumb path of house plant destruction. I guess I should have signed up for Agriculture 101. Oh now I remember, I did sign up! But the school principal called me into his office and said a young girl in a class of 12 or so boys would be too disruptive so I and my house plants future was out of luck..
    This blog was great and came on a perfect day–a day when I needed a few good laughs–the day after we buried a favorite teacher, good friend and co-worker. Thank you Roselyn and thanks fo God for cheering me up. And now I am going to read your blog again. I am smiling already. Even my plant has a happier look about it.

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