Last year in a rare fit of adult-like domestic responsibility, I went to the Union Square Greenmarket and purchased five small succulent plants. I didn't expect them to last a month. In college, I watched one bamboo plant each year suffer a quick and untimely demise, my apartment in Louisville kept nothing but the roaches alive, and I welcomed "Shloopy the Succulent" into my first New York apartment but distraughtly watched him go to that great garden in the sky after just three months. So even though I had a ton of fun picking out ceramic teacups and creamers to be their new houses and even more fun naming them after the five Huxtable children, I had little hopes for future and survival of my new shrubs.
Much, much to my surprise and wonderment, it's one year later and they are all still alive. I think it has to do with the amount of direct sunlight they get on my kitchen windowsill, but honestly, I have no idea what is keeping these guys going - I've actually had to repot a few of them, and I'm probably due for another repotting sometime soon, but that's assuming I get my act together and get some larger pots (and then figure out where the larger pots can live).
I also tried my hand at propagation. Sometime last summer, one of the plants lost a leaf during it's "bath." I felt bad about it, so I threw the leaf into a rosemary plant pot on the balcony (was I supposed to do this? Probably not). About a month later, I realized there was new growth on the leaf. So I bought a new teacup (Fishs Eddy is my place to go for all things ceramic), filled it with dirt, and put the leaf into that. Amazing, that too is still growing.
Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised. Millions of people grow all sorts of things all the time (if that's not the most obviously general statement ever, I don't know what it), and I guess a few little succulents aren't all that complicated. But I'm still pretty proud of my little guys. They keep me company when I putter around in the kitchen, and it was really refreshing to have life and growth in the apartment during those insufferable winter months. It's possibly fairly pathetic to wish happy birthday to a plant, but since I have yet to venture into the wide world of dog ownership and/or actual child-rearing, these plants are the only "kids" I have at the moment. So happy birthday to Sandra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa, Rudy, and the propagated Olivia - thanks for sticking around Apt. 4B. ;)