Friday, May 31, 2024

Buying a Houseplant

You may remember that back in March I visited a plant market in the borough of Coyoacán.  I was checking it out to see if it would be a good place to purchase some houseplants for the apartment.  They had an excellent variety of interior and exterior plants.  However, since I had traveled there by public transportation, I didn't buy anything.

Last weekend Alejandro and I went back there in his car, and I intended to make some purchases.

Alejandro and I posing by the cactus garden


Before looking at houseplants, I wanted to buy something for my poinsettia plant.  Earlier I had purchased some soil at the neighborhood street market in order to transplant it.  However, when I watered the poinsettia after transplanting, the soil was dense and muddy and did not drain at all.  I was afraid that my plant would develop root rot. I wanted to get something to amend the soil.  I bought a bag of small, light, poruous volcanic rocks known as "tezontle".  (When I returned to the apartment, I repotted the poinsettia again, this time mixing in some "tezontle", and now the water is able to flow well from the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.)

I then started looking at houseplants.  There were so many different kinds of plants to choose from, but I finally decided upon the plant which Alejandro is shown holding in this photo.

The plant, with its attractive striped leaves, is sometimes called a zebra plant in English. Its correct name, however, is aphelandra.  It is grown for its foliage, but also gets a spike of brightly colored bracts.  (Like the poinsettia, what we call a "flower" is actually made up of modified leaves.)  In the center of the plant there is the beginning of a spike.

After purchasing the plant, we then went to look for a pot for it.  I wanted a Talavera-ware pot (a style of pottery typical of Puebla) to go along with the other two houseplants I have.  I found one that I liked and that was the right size.  When I bought it, the young fellow who waited on me asked if I wanted him to repot my plant.  I said "Sure", so we went to a potting area in the back.  I asked him how much, and he said, "Whatever you want."  I gave him 50 pesos (about 3 U.S. dollars).  I hope that was enough.

We then put our purchases in the car and went back to the apartment.   Sometime in the future, we will make another trip to buy houseplants, but we will go to a plant market in the southern district of Xochimilco.  It is a much bigger market and would take an entire day to see.

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