It has never been more apparent that in a deeply divided world we need a collective force of determination and love to unify us. And if plants have the power to heal and inspire, then this week I would recommend looking to Heartleaf philodendron. The name "philodendron" originates from the Greek words "philo", which means "love", and "dendron", which means "tree". That makes this plant the love tree.
Some people grow it as a trailing plant, but this jungle vine is much more interesting if grown from ground level. Once in position it will almost immediately angle its leaves towards the sun, like mobilised solar panels, and with a graceful and quiet determination begin its ascent to the ceiling in search of the light, using small aerial roots to aid its swift vertical rise and leaving a trail of perfect heart-shaped leaves in its wake. But don’t be fooled by the delicate demeanour - this is one of the toughest houseplants you can grow and can take just about anything, other than cold temperatures.
Its natural home is in the jungles of Central America and the Caribbean, where in the wild it would be wrapping itself around thickly twisted tree trunks, using them as support as it makes a break for the canopy. So if you can place it in a spot that enjoys indirect filtered light and high humidity all the better.
Finally, our “love tree” has one more trick up its sleeve. It is able to filter impurities from the air like a hoover - in particular formaldehyde, a carcinogen often found in carpets, furniture, paints and varnishes. An incredible plant and a truly inspirational one.
* Warning: this plant is toxic if eaten by cats or dogs, which is another good reason to grow them up rather than down to paw level.
Green-House - Chysis
Another kindred spirit to this column is the Los Angeles-based non-binary artist Olive Adrizoni aka Green-House. The name says it all. They make music “designed as a communication with both plant life and the people who care for them” and their EP, Six Songs for Invisible Gardens, released on Leaving Records in January, has been on rotation in our house since its release, delighting the humans who reside there and our myriad green friends. The cassettes came in wildflower-seeded OCard sleeves, so you could plant the sleeve and grow wildflowers.
Chysis, named after a genus of orchid, wasn’t on Six Songs…, but is the perfect accompaniment to our chosen plant this week. A burbling jungle stream and birdsong accompany the minimal new age tones, with a delicate melody that wraps itself around you, growing in stature as the song progresses. Adrizoni’s music exists to filter out negativity, banishing dark thoughts and spreading love and positivity. The perfect soothing sonic balm for these times.
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