We were getting ready to go a performance by the Alabama Symphony Orchestra (I talked my husband into this under the guise that it was even better for the baby than Baby Mozart CDs) and I glanced at a houseplant, slightly wilted, in the living room.
“I can’t even take care of a plant! How am I going to take care of a baby?” I started sobbing, and no one was more bewildered than my husband, who had probably thought he was the one more likely to wind up in tears of frustration that night.
Even now I love a few well-placed houseplants, but when they get crisp or straggly, the effect is ruined. Instead of communicating well-tended vitality, they bear witness to your neglect. The Aqua Globes that are in every “As Seen On TV” aisle promise to keep secrets for a busy mom who is doing good to hydrate kids, let alone plants.
Similar products have been in garden catalogs for years, but it took a $9.95 price tag (for a package of two) and placement on the impulse aisle to get me to try them. They claim to keep plants watered for up to two weeks, but it is sufficient to know they could sustain a plant through a vacation or a forgetful spell at home.
They really do work, although not in place of watering – after all, the globe itself has to be filled – but in letting the plant draw water gradually as the soil dries out. The globes are almost as much effort as watering with a can because the globe stem is small and it takes a precise pour or stream at the sink to fill it. However, once the globe is filled and inserted into the soil, the globe keeps a steady drip of moisture available so the plant can slow dose without drying out or, alternatively, rotting at the roots. Since each globe only holds a little over a cup of water, it’s a stretch to say it is sufficient for the needs of a moisture-loving plant, but it is adequate for the most common houseplant varieties.
A couple of caveats: You must make a hole in the soil deep enough for the long neck of the globe to fit into. It would be easy to break or clog the neck otherwise. Also, you must jiggle the globe so that you see bubbles once you insert it into the soil, which indicates that water is able to drain out of the opening at the bottom. Other than that, just spread some Spanish moss around the plant base and the Aqua Globe. The moss helps the soil retain moisture but also helps cover the globe so that it is not as obtrusive.
The globe can look like a pretty ball to a little one, so consider it carefullly if you think it might tempt your young child to grab it as a toy. For that matter, we moms should carefully consider owning any type of houseplant. Wilting plants just tell on us for being busy and distracted, and the kids already tattle on us enough.