My snake plant surprised me with a great lesson about how stress can lead to unexpected growth

I am in a wonderful long-term relationship with a snake plant.

For the past four years, I’ve somehow managed to keep Planty alive.

This is Planty in May 2016 (about three years into our relationship).

His survival is significant since, before him, I did not believe I could sustain the life of anything outside myself.

Snake plants are great starter plants

I still remember my awe when Planty arrived at my old workplace, a birthday gift from my mother, specifically chosen because it could withstand low light and relative neglect.

Still, I wondered: was I really ready for this kind of responsibility?

Apparently so. Planty has somehow thrived under my sporadic care, occasionally sprouting new leaves, and even outgrowing his original pot a couple of years ago.

My plant family has grown, but Planty remains the patriarch

I became bold enough to think I could care for other plants as well.

They haven’t all lived, unfortunately, but my track record is improving.

(I’ve kept Lilah alive for nearly a year now, and most recently taken on the challenge of not killing Shammy.)

The newer plants require more maintenance and attention—e.g., they wilt immediately if they get too thirsty—but Planty remains the OG in my home, stoically holding his ground in the living room.

He gets watered far less frequently than his siblings who live in the kitchen, it’s true.

In fact, Planty is such a fixture in my daily scenery that sometimes I take him for granted.

And then he surprised me.

All of a sudden, Planty sprouted an unfamiliar stalk

You know how if you don’t see someone for a while and then you meet up and it’s immediately obvious that something is different about them? Like, their hair has gotten really long, or they’ve lost or gained weight, and if you’d been seeing them every day you might not have noticed?

That’s kind of what happened Sunday night when I came home and instantly saw that Planty had changed.

Who knew that snake plants can have flower buds

wtf is this?

I can’t even pinpoint when it happened. I just know that one day I didn’t see it, and then the next time I looked, there it was:

A delicate yet sturdy stalk that appeared to be dripping with dew (although of course I touched it and it is actually some sort of sticky plant fluid that I probably should not have interfered with, oops).

And while I don’t know for sure what is going to happen, I have a hunch we are on the way to seeing flowers.

If a snake plant can suddenly flower, what other unexpected growth might bless my path?

I had no idea snake plants could even have flowers. And a little online research confirmed that indeed, such a phenomenon is rare.

And you know what makes it happen?

Stress.

“Sansevieria plants are like a lot of houseplants in that they thrive on a little neglect. A mother-in-laws tongue plant will produce a flower stalk when it is mildly and continually stressed.”

Is that not the most comforting message in all of the evers?

Stress can HELP. Stress can produce FLOWERS.

Yes, yes, please.

I am excited by the possibility and potential of Planty’s unexpected growth.

I am relieved that my mild neglect may have helped rather than harmed.

And I am especially heartened by the parallels to my own life:

I have been feeling a lot of fear lately, and though I keep trying to choose love, the fear keeps cropping up.

You might say the fear has been mildly and continually stressing me out.

And that’s okay.

I am paying attention. I am showing up.

Like Planty, I am holding my ground—and I am ready to grow. Maybe even to blossom.

The unexpected growth of a snake plant has inspiring potential.

Here’s to the beauty that stress can create.

Love > fear,

Christina

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