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Zanzibar- An Example of Why Soil Nutrition Matters

The Zanzibar that Broke the Rules

About this time last year, indoor air filtration was of great interest to me. The zanzibar was an indoor plant who’s name kept popping up in the search for ideal air cleansing indoor plants.

And here’s what I ‘learned’ about them:

They thrive on neglect

They only need watering about once a month

They only need feeding in the growing season

They like low-light, and to be kept out of sunlight

They’re incredibly slow growing

Well…Rick thought those care instructions sounded wrong. He often would look at our zanzibar and say “It needs another watering.” So it would end up getting a drink every week, sometimes multiple times a week.

He also thought it needed some fish emulsion and I gave it liquid kelp/fulvic acid too. And I did this throughout winter.

Though they say to keep it out of direct sunlight, it would get the afternoon sun through our front window. And when it rained (that doesn’t happen often!) we’d put the zanzibar outside.

See all those new shoots? It must be almost a year that I’ve had this zanzibar and I thought I took a pic when I first got it…but don’t know where that is now. Shame, because I’m sure it’s doubled in size. The plant that is supposed to be so slow growing is always growing new shoots, some of which I’ve removed and re-potted to start new zanzibar plants.

When I first got the zanzibar, I took it out of the plastic pot and bought a larger, ceramic pot (and now it’s just about outgrown that pot). I filled it with soil from Rick’s first garden plot. This soil has been remineralised and had 2 rotations of crops through it.

The zanzibar is also in our loungeroom and exposed to a lot of both classical music and Wholetones (healing frequency instrumental music).

Then, like I mentioned, it’s had feeds of organic fish emulsion and kelp…in winter. Often people are told to feed in Spring, the growth season. But I heard a great analogy from an agronomist recently contradicting that philosophy. He said that waiting to feed a plant until growth season is like waiting to properly feed a pregnant woman until she’s right about to have the baby. One of the crucial times for a woman to be in peak health is when she conceives. Certain minerals being absent at this point can result in birth defects and disease. And plants, likewise, need good nutrition when they’re ‘dormant’ throughout winter. They’re pregnant with Spring growth, and as I can see with this zanzibar that was fed throughout winter, now it’s able to thrive and bring forth abundant healthy growth, because it had decent nutrition back when it was ‘pregnant.’

This has all been so interesting to me, because we expected the plant have little growth or noticeable changes, but it’s so active! My sister bought herself a zanzibar around the same time, and hers has had some nice new shoots too, but not so many as ours. Soil nutrition matters. I wonder how many plants would perform completely beyond our expectations if they were given a decent diet?

And this is the first shoot that I re-potted. It’s now grown a new shoot too 🙂

One Comment

  • Ruth says:

    Love the pregnant analogy Racheal and the encouragement to give our plants a healthy diet. We are what we eat and if our produce is ‘Healthy’ (homegrown or bought) we will reap the benefits when we consume it. Birdsong Market Garden provides us with nutritional produce that not only benefits us but our compost too (the environment) when we dispose of any scraps. Way to go …

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