A Happy Accident?

Pairing kittens and plants is can be an interesting combination.

Before creating a foolproof barricade, I used to lean flattened cardboard boxes against my plant shelf. While my intent was to deter the cats, it turns out, they were incredibly curious about what was behind those boxes. The first few months of owning kittens involved a handful of sleepless nights. I became paranoid with every sound in the other room, fearing for my plants and also for my cats, as many plants can be poisonous. I'll be making a post on the care and keeping of plants and pets, but for now I want to focus on a specific instance in which my paranoid brain was wandering, as I lay in bed on night. I could hear the kittens running about, tackling each other, and all of a sudden, a very loud crash.

I knew what must have happened, but hoped it wouldn't be true, as I rushed out of bed toward my plant shelf in the living room. I come out to see my kittens staring wide eyed at me, with my Alocasia polly on the floor — its pot in pieces, soggy dirt all over, and some round, tooth-like objects. I ushered the kittens to a safer space, and cleared the dirt and the pieces of planter. I placed the plant and these strange, tooth-like objects into a jar, and reached out to the plant community on Instagram for help identifying what I found. To my surprise, these were Alocasia polly bulbs. These bulbs develop at the base of the roots and once mature enough, can sprout on their own. I collected a handful of these and cleaned out a plastic container to use as a makeshift greenhouse. Then, I filled the container up 3/4 of the way with some soil, placed the bulbs with the point facing up, and topped it with some more dirt. I grabbed my mister and sprayed down the soil and popped the lid back on, placing the container near my grow lights and the window.

For the next two weeks, I kept an eye on the bulbs, misting them when the condensation on the container began to dissipate, topping with more soil when bulbs were looking bare, and more. Then, finally, I saw them begin to peek out of the dirt.

It was so exciting to see these bulbs sprout. I've water propagated plants in the past, and I tried to grow a few plants from seeds, but this is the first time I've had the opportunity to take a bulb from the mother plant and nurture it myself.

Since the kittens knocked over my Alocasia polly, thus revealing the bulbs I planted, I've been keeping the mother plant in water, focusing on strengthening its roots.

Even in water, bulbs are still developing on the ends of roots and even sprouting leaves under the water. I've been trying to keep an eye on this and remove these from the water so the foliage isn't damaged.

Once the bulbs sprouted in the soil, I removed them from the plastic container, and had to DIY a way to water propagate these, as their roots were still incredibly short and fragile. To do this, I took a glass jar and filled it to the brim with filtered water. Then, using saran plastic wrap, I covered the top of the jar, and pulled it tight. I poked a few small holes in the plastic where I wanted to place the bulbs, and then very gently slid them in until they were securely being held above the water with their tiny roots dangling in.

This has been effective thus far and the roots are looking great. Since moving one of these bulbs to the water propagation station, its developed a gorgeous new leaf, which has helped me feel a bit more successful in this endeavor. What kinds of houseplants have you grown from a bulb or a seed?