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I Suffocated My Green Thumb

January 25, 2017

I spent a year battling a briar patch. Or, as we call them in Washington, a blackberry bush. The thorn protected vines grow voraciously and take over everything. Killing them is nearly impossible. Where I grew up, NO ONE plants them on purpose.

I was surprised when I moved to Utah to see them sold in nurseries. It astounded me that people would pay for a weed.

I have an office plant. In parts of the world, it’s considered a weed. It’s a bamboo plant. If you plant bamboo in your garden, it will quickly take over everything. You eventually have to fight it back. That’s the thing about weeds. They grow everywhere.

Except it didn’t. I adopted this bamboo plant from my wife. One of the kids gave it to her as a gift. Bamboo grows in water. We kept the small pot filled with water but the plant struggled. The leaves would yellow. Nothing seemed to work.

My coworker has a bamboo plant on his desk. It’s gorgeous. It’s large, and lush. I asked him if he’d maybe try to nurse my sickly bamboo plant back to life. Whatever I was doing wasn’t working.

My friend decided that the plant might have become root-bound. One of his first steps was to repot the plant. And that’s when he discovered the problem. The roots were root-bound, but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that the roots were bound in a plastic bag. I never noticed because they were buried under the rocks and typically under water. Whenever the bowl started to get dry, the water level dropped below the level of the top of the bag. The bamboo, a plant from the tropics ended up in a desert.

My friend freed the roots and the plant is finally starting to respond. Perhaps they should update the warnings on plastic bags to warn they can suffocate bamboo as well.

The end

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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