Just down the street from our little apartment is a plantas y flores shop. I wanted to make the house feel more homey-like and what is a better way than plants. I went in the first week we were here and in my broken Spanglish introduced myself to the clerk...here about 99% of the time the "clerk or cashier" is the owner as well. It's fantastic! In this case he was. We made small talk and he was very helpful in helping me select the best plants for our new digs. He first told me how difficult it is to keep real plants in this hot dry climate and showed me some nice artificial plants. I insisted on real and he of course was willing to show me some I wouldn't end up killing. I selected 2 greens, both of which I managed to keep alive in Charleston so thought I'd try them here.I also chose a flowering plant. He warned me that the flower budding one would be difficult but I was up for the challenge.
Needless to say the flower budding one slowly began to die. I tried everything: water, sunlight, drying out, singing to it... I mean, everything. Two weeks later I went back to my new friends’ store. He said immediately when I walked in..."Ahhh Hola Chelsea...you need to replace the flower budding plant." I was shocked he remembered my name, much less what I purchased. We laughed and I told him what happened. I asked him why my flower plant died. He asked me how I watered it?...I demonstrated how you would typically water a plant very sarcastically...I mean, how else do you water a plant? I thought. He showed me how to water budding flower plants before you pot them. You sit the plant dirt and roots in water right up to the stem. It made total sense! As he rang me up my new green and pot he said in his best English "Chelsea, try this one too it is gift for you". He asked me to follow him and took me and the gift to the back, where he waters and trims all of his plants, and showed me how to take care of this special little plant. The room was full of huge tubs of water. He demonstrsted and told me to do that with his gift once a week. I thanked him again for his tips and went home to plant our new addition and his thoughtful gift.
When I emptied the old pot with the dead flowering plant I noticed all the water was sitting in the bottom of the pot and the roots and plant were dry as a bone. All the watering I did went straight to the bottom, not watering the plant at all. So I did my new trick and placed all of our plants on the kitchen bay window sill for some sunlight. All of a sudden I hear a women below yelling out her window into the plaza. Saying ”¡Ay Dios mío!” (OMG). I lean out a little and see her shaking her hands in the air still yelling out her window. That's when I realized she was yelling at me. My freshly watered plants were drip drying down our window sill onto her clean window sill, and going into her kitchen. I quickly snatched my plants and hid while she continued to rant and frantically drying her sill. I couldn’t help but laugh, because the only thing other than Oh my God, I could make out was...you need to buy artificial plants. I looked out again later to notice no interior units had real plants sitting on their window sills except for one lady. I closely watched at her window to see how she watered it. One day she reached out with a spray bottle to water it...oh what a glorious thought!
Lesson learned. From now on I will continue to have real plants in my house, but I just will need to water them inside or spritz them if they are on the ledge to avoid señora and her melt downs, from a silly American not knowing how to take care of her plants while living in an interior unit apartment. The simple things right?