Plant Sitting: Cacti, Orchids, And Worms?

I often plant sit for friends who spend the cold months in warmer climes, or who escape the humidity of the Midwest summers for cooler destinations.

indoor orchids

Photo: Melissa (Flickr)

Pet orchids.

Plant sitting is not a life sentence as one gets to give back one’s temporary charges to their rightful owners, so it is a bit like being a grandparent. I enjoy it as it gives me a chance to learn about plants that I have never owned.

For example, last summer I fell in love with an architectural-looking cactus that had lovely crimson blooms. I had never before known a cactus up close and personal, as I had always been wary of the spikes. This plant, however, held its spines close and was a lovely flowery guest.

Last winter I enjoyed time with a phalaenopsis orchid, originally purchased from a grocery store. Watering it was easy, as one had just to provide it with three ice cubes each Sunday according to the plant tag that arrived with it.

Last summer I did my first stint as a caretaker for worms for three months. The worms were certainly less decorative than the orchid and cactus, but they were not picky about diet, as they ate paper, fruit and vegetables.

Yet they produced liquid fertilizer and worm castings that greatly enriched my garden. They wriggled around in their well designed boxes in my garage and didn’t escape, smell or misbehave at all. I am becoming quite an experienced and versatile sitter.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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