The year was 1978. If you are young, that was a long time ago. If you are old, that was yesterday. I was at the local nursery searching for a plant to set by my balcony window. An apartment was my home then, and I wanted to spruce it up. A nice tall plant would do the trick, but there was one small problem. I didn’t have much money back then, but I wanted a tall plant by the balcony window. The other apartments had one, why shouldn’t I have one?

At the nursery I saw beautiful plants, but they were not cheap. I looked at the price tags, $20, $30, and more. And that is back when twenty dollars was a lot of money, remember the year was 1978. “I can’t afford any of these plants,” I said to myself. I started heading back to the car when something caught my eye. There was a small area which held a few neglected plants. ‘Bargain Bin’ read the sign next to the plants. The bargain bin was not a pretty sight. There were brown plants that should have been green. There were crooked plants that should have been straight. There were plants that had not been watered for ages. Those plants were all marked down, $8.00, $6.00, $5.00, some of the plants were as low as $4.00, if I remember correctly. The prices were low, but the plants looked terrible.

The tag said YUCCA CANE , “What’s a Yucca Cane?” I thought. Then I saw the price tag, $6.00 was all it cost. I picked the plant up and examined it. There were three stems sticking out of an eight inch pot. A lot of the soil was missing from the pot, I could see bare roots exposed, the soil was dry and as hard as stone. But the leaves on the three stems were green, which was more than I could say for some of the Bargain Bin plants. The Yucca cane was only 18” tall but the tag said it would grow quite tall.

“Is this all?” the lady at the cash register asked as I handed her my chosen plant. I paid the price and headed home. I was proud of my little plant, it had potential. I read the tag on the plant several more times, especially the part that said the Yucca Cain could grow quite tall.

After putting the Yucca by the balcony window I sat down in the reclining chair and admired it. I sat there and looked at it for several minutes, imagining how great it would look when it grew taller. Well, I’ll tell you this, I must have filled that little plant with positive energy because by the next summer it was twice as tall. The summer after that it was nearly five feet tall. The next summer, over six. I had repotted the plant several times.

Finally the plant hit my eight foot ceiling, I believe that was the fifth or sixth year. It took a lot of nerve but I cut the plant back to about three feet. The cuttings rooted easily and quickly. The plant seemed to thrive on the pruning. Since that first time the plant has hit the ceiling several more times, and I have cut it several more times, and rooted many more cuttings. I have given rooted cuttings away to friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family. Last week I brought the plant back inside for the season, it had been outside near the back porch all summer. Again the plant is well over six feet tall, I guess I will cut it again next year.

Yes, that little neglected, six dollar, bargain bin plant has been with me for over thirty years, and it looks better every year.    I just wish that I could say the same about myself
    This is a picture of me and the Yucca Cane taken about 15 years ago.