Thursday, March 19, 2009


A few weekends ago, Bruce and I visited Church of the King in Berkley, MI, and got to experience a service in their new venue at the Southfield-Lathrop High School. It was a dynamic service and I was favorably impressed with the way the church members totally transform the school lobby and auditorium into a professional and contemporary area to gather and worship. And,... in the lobby, ...there is a wall of windows, with about 5 tall beautiful flowering hibiscus plants.

These hibiscus plants reminded me of the one Samantha gave me last Spring for Mother's Day... because the hibiscus is one of my favorites!! My plant is actually three plants, about 6 feet tall, with stems woven together, and is intended to be a house plant. When Samantha first gave it to me, it was full of gorgeous blooms!

I love my hibiscus, and because I'm not typically successful growing things, I did a google search to learn how to care for her (...yes, she is now affectionately known to me as Cynthia :-D ). One of the articles I read said it was important to replant her in a pot that would be about 30% larger than the one she came in, before she outgrew it, so she would have room to grow. Otherwise, she would become rootbound.

So what's rootbound? Rootbound is when there is no effective space for new roots to occupy. One of the first symptoms of being rootbound is, in fact, that plant growth slows despite favorable environmental conditions (light, water, fertilizer, etc)."

I sure wanted Cynthia to be healthy, and to grow, so I hustled off to Home Depot, and bought her a big new pot.

The article warned, however, that hibiscuses are very sensitive, and that this change would initially cause some trauma to Cynthia, ...and did it ever! Leaves started turning brown and dropping off dramatically, and some of the new little buds never opened, but also fell off.

I was concerned.

For months, my beloved plant went downhill. She made a half-hearted effort to bloom again, but only 3 flowers made it to fruition. Not only was she not 'growing', I feared she was dying. She was looking pretty feeble, in spite of my attempt to perk her up with string of twinkle lights.
But I have continued to water, feed, and nuture her (and even, um, talk to her). In spite of my lack of horticultural prowess, she's been hanging in there.

And this week, I finally see new growth appearing on the naked branches, and her falling leaves have drastically subsided. So I am hopeful that she's turned the corner, and is heading back to her happy place.

The hibiscus article I read said, "At times we have been amazed to see the difference in our flowers once the plants had room to grow larger root systems to provide the hibiscus with all the water and nutrients they need." That's what I'm counting on!! Go Cynthia!

So, a lesson from the plant kingdom, and maybe even the Heavenly kingdom... though up-rooting can be a bit traumatic, don't get rootbound. Stretch out, and keep blooming.