Monstrosity

For Halloween weekend and the full “blue moon” I thought I would post the scariest thing I saw this past week. Here it is:

Let me out of here I am suffocating! Help!

Plants need to breathe too! Covers if necessary for a landscape plant require ventilation. This poor plant is going to cook to death and suffocate. Plants within the proper hardiness zone need to be able to shut down for winter gradually and in their own time well into November and December. They also need ventilation. Evergreens or Broadleaf evergreens and grafted roses may need some screening from sun and wind contingent on their locations. But do not wrap plants in clear plastic or garbage bags. It will make your plants Boo-tiful. Scary!!!!!

Some plants can become a “monstrosity” and when they do their owners reach out to me for permission to prune. There is a plant however that is a natural “Monstera” and if you want to learn the “hole” lesson consider its foliage. The plant is Philodendron Monstera. There has been debate and speculation on why the plant naturally has holes in its foliage like the holes in a slice of swiss cheese. Some have suggested that Monsteras native to tropical regions evolve and develop holes in their leaves to resist the strong winds of hurricanes. Plants like Strelitzia better known as Bird of Paradise split their leaves to allow wind through as well. Others have suggested the Philodendron as it  gains height has the holes to better allow water to come in contact with their roots. You might say the “hole theories” have holes in them. Wouldn’t it be true then that all hurricane region tropicals would adapt and have holes in them? If the rainwater theory held water wouldn’t more plants do that? And if the plant is native to tropical rainforests where it rains a lot would it really be necessary to be holey? There must be a better explanation for the “do what you need to do” adaptation with these plants. A better explanation than healthy plants “shot” full of holes look interesting and make for a great social media post.  

The slits or holes in the leaves is called fenestration. It may be the Philodendron monstera as an understory plant has adapted to maximize available light. 

Read Monstera lessons in ‘I Need To Change My Plants’

Monsteras vine up trees growing from the forest floor in an epiphytic way. Light can be at a premium with the plant trying to capture sunlight that makes it through the forest canopy. A whole leaf and a fenestrated leaf can individually perform the same but the “holey” leaf is able to share light with those below. The unique leaf structure and plant makes a sacrifice for the good of all, namely light for those below to survive. They understand that they and the understory plants are in this together. 

Mini monstera, mini split-leaf, Ginny philodendron…It’s a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma with a resemblance to a Monstera deliciosa at first glance, and it’s often incorrectly referred to as a Philodendron species.

 It’s the Hole truth

The whole truth is plants are amazing adapters and they do it all with little complaining. Plants such as Haworthias, a popular succulent plant for our homes, developed leaf fenestrations so leaf tips are transparent to allow light down into the plants when buried by the frequent sand and dust storms of their native South Africa. The humble plant Lithops also known as “living stones” improve their plot in life by adapting to their environment. They emulate stones in drought ridden regions of Africa to go undetected as a snack to foraging vegetation consuming animals. 

These plants provide a natural lesson for me to learn. Change and adapt to what you have control to change and stop complaining about what you can’t change. 

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