Down in the Dirt because I’m Down in the Dumps

It’s been a rough week emotionally, mentally, and at this point also physically. So I bought myself a prayer plant as some self care, and I’m getting deep into learning about it and my two bloodleaf plants (that’s right, it’s two now – read on for how that happened) who need a little TLC.

My prayer plant and my ‘Derive’ candle, chillin’ under my poster wall

So about a month ago I bought a bloodleaf plant from a local shop, but it wasn’t doing so well after a few days at home. When I went to repot it, it turned out to need separation – so now I have two bloodleaf plants.

One stayed in a southern-facing window.

The other went in an eastern-facing window.

They look better than they had, but neither still looks all that happy. Upon learning more about these plants and talking to my dad, it seems since they’re just babies they might benefit from more indirect light. They also need better humidity, as does that new prayer plant I mentioned – so I purchased some ‘humidity stones’ (which haven’t come yet) and moved them all to the same spot near, but not in, a southern window.

Now, I don’t want this setup to be permanent. What I plan to do is let them be here for now with some gentler light and love, then when the humidity stones come separating them with the bloodleafs both in an eastern window with one of the stones, and the prayer plant where it is with the other stone. I like the aesthetics of that better, plus I don’t want to crowd this shelf because my cat likes to sit by the prayer plant. Thing is though, grouping plants can be good for them – we’ll see what the best move is.

Now, in somewhat unrelated news, you’ll notice my tiny basil propagate in that old Starbucks glass. I was worried at first because it looked droopy, but look at it’s root structure now!

I mean, okay, it makes sense. I’d be droopy too if someone pulled me off of the rest of my body and stuck me somewhere by myself. (As if.)

But seriously, I’m proud of this little dude.

Prayer Plant Factoids

  • It’s called a ‘prayer plant’ because it’s leaves fold up at night, like praying hands! Good to know, because I thought it wasn’t doing well!
  • They’re native to South America but are named after an Italian botanist.
  • My prayer plant is specifically a ‘lemon lime prayer plant’.
  • They like somewhat acidic soil, indirect light, regular room temperatures, and high humidity.
  • They’re pretty sensitive to chemicals in the water. So, I’m going to start using distilled water for them and probably all of my plants, and I’m going to try to figure out a good way to collect rainwater.

Subsequently, I’d like to thank this commenter for commenting this on this video. I sure hope I do a good job with my prayer plant, but I have a thriving Calathea in my apartment so I trust I can care for a Maranta.

Bloodleaf Factoids

  • Bloodleaf plants are also, like prayer plants, native to South America.
  • They have lots of other common names besides bloodleaf, including chicken gizzard and beefsteak.
  • They don’t need tons of sun and do well in warm, humid places. This makes me think I’m just going to move both of my little dudettes back to the bathroom to be with my Calathea.
Courtesy of The Spruce

I wasn’t sure if my bloodleaf is this exact species, as mine doesn’t have those characteristic purple-red leaves but rather has green leaves with purple-red veinage.

From reading it seems that there are a lot of varieties of herbstii though. I genuinely don’t know what mine is – I’m still seeking answers!

Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll’s empirical chemical formula is C55H72MgN4O5. That’s

  • 55 carbon
  • 72 hydrogen
  • Magnesium
  • 4 nitrogen
  • 5 oxygen

So yeah, not a small molecule by any sense!

courtesy of the American Chemical Society

Chlorophyll is the photosynthesis molecule. More scientifically, it’s a green pigment and is actually a name for more than one molecule – there are different kinds of chlorophyll with different chains of atoms on them.

Personally, I think the coolest thing about chlorophylls and other pigments is how the beautiful color they endow is intimately connected with something’s energy. When something is visible as a color it’s because the chemical make up of that something reflects that color of light. So green light isn’t absorbed by green leaves – it’s reflected. Red light is well absorbed by plant leaves, and so it’s actually the energy of red light that best helps plants make their own food inside themselves. That’s some impressive energy.


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