The Story of My Dracaena fragrans
Keep any plant long enough, and your life’s stories start to stick to them. Here are some stories that have stuck to my Dracaena fragrans.
1992. I was walking down the street near my apartment in Santa Cruz when I spotted a former houseplant lying on the sidewalk. It had been pulled out of its pot, and the previous day’s rain had washed all its dirt away. It wasn’t much more than a stick with some roots, still circling an invisible pot.
I had no idea what this plant was, but the way he’d been abandoned struck me. I had just been through a breakup, so I think I related to him. I picked him up, brought him home, and stuck him in some dirt. I named him Fred.
Fred sat in my room for months. My housemates thought I was nuts, watering a stick. But eventually, he put out a leaf. Then another.
2000. Heather and I went to Italy for two weeks. When we came home, my apartment smelled funny – kind of sickly sweet. In the bedroom, Fred had burst into bloom. A stalk had grown out of the top with a cascade of golfball-sized clusters of flowers. I didn’t even know Fred flowered. In 2001, he did it again. He loved that window.
2003. Fred grew until he hit the ceiling. I chopped him back to a few feet from the base. He responded by growing two stalks instead of one.
2011. Now Fred’s about to hit the ceiling again, so I asked Heather to take a photo of us. Don’t tell him what I’m planning to do.
Update: Here’s what he looks like now. Hurry back, Fred.