One of the things we had to do because the cats were so determined to dig up the soil in our house plants – especially Cabbages! – was cobble together barricades around each individual plant or pot. For smaller plants, we used the plastic containers from cheese balls and pork rinds we found at Costco. Containers I meant to save to use to protect plants in the garden. I’d cut them into strips to put around the inside edge of the pots and, when that wasn’t enough, to loop over the plants. That worked for things like the aloe vera, but one pot with a jade tree in it was just too big. I ended up using some 1/4 hardware cloth I had – again, something I bought to use for something else entirely – to make a wall around the entire pot. It took 2 pieces to go all the way around. This pot is a square with an inner pot that can be removed. The outer pot has a reservoir for bottom watering, and we had to jam the hardware cloth between the two. It was the only way to keep the cats from simply pulling it out. That still wasn’t enough, and we had to make a “roof” over it, too. I only had 1 inch hardware cloth left, but it was enough. Sometimes, we’d find Cabbages sitting on top of it, looking out the window!
Now that the living room is barricaded and can be used as a plant room, most of our house plants have been moved over. The one hanging in the kitchen can stay, since the cats have been leaving it alone up there. A couple of larger pots, however, needed a second person to open and close the door in the barrier and keep the cats out.
Yesterday, that finally got done.
One large aloe vera handled the transfer well. After removing the plastic strips around it, it was a bit floppy, because some of its leaves were forced to grow into curves by its protective force field.
The jade tree in the big pot had outgrown its cage a while ago. Branches were starting to grow through the larger holes of the “roof”, so that had already been removed. My daughter was a sweetheart and was able to manhandle the pot into the living room for me – the thing barely fits on the largest shelf of the plant stand we’ve been using for them! Once it was in place, I wrestled with the hardware cloth to get it off.
As soon as it came off, everything fell over!
There were three main stems in the pot and, with the cage around the pot holding them up, they didn’t have the strength to hold their own weight! On top of that, the branches were twisted around, some around each other, in various directions.
It took some doing, but…
I got it supported.
I had some thick doweling left from my outdoor kitchen model. They’re short, but strong enough that I could put them around the thickest stem and use super long twist ties to support it at the base. I was even able to support a smaller stem to those as well. The third stem got its own support.
That still left floppy tops, though. After scrounging around, I found a couple long cherry wood stems in the basement we’d saved with the intention of eventually carving something out of them. One of those is now shoved into the middle of the pot, and I was able to weave some paracord around various branches and stems and get them lifted up and supported.
The top broke off one of the smaller stems, along with a whole lot of leaves. After cleaning up all the broken leaves, I planted the broken top. Jade trees are remarkable in their ability to propagate. If I wanted to, I could have started up a new plant out every single one of those fallen leaves. I think the broken stem has a good chance of survival.
It will take a while, but eventually the stems will gain strength and be able to support themselves. Still, it’s interesting to see how the cage that was there to protect the plant also weakened it so much.
There’s a life lesson in there.
Meanwhile, now that these last two big plants are moved away from the dining room window, it suddenly seems to much bigger and brighter in there! 😄