High Stakes Plants: An Inheritance

We hopped on a call with Vera App Product Manager Michael Luchen to hear about the plant he inherited from his grandmother. Plus, the pressure he feels to keep this particular plant alive…


Q: So Michael, tell me the story of how you got your plant.

Michael: Four years ago, Gina and I were visiting my grandmother who lives in Northern Minnesota. She was getting to the point where she was thinking about downsizing from her home, and she had some plants. She likes giving away family things, and since we didn’t have a plant at the time, she gave us a plant. I have no idea what type of plant it is. She just gave it to us in this little plastic pot to take home. We drove it all the way back to KC. The only background on this plant was ‘oh yeah, we’ve had it for like 40 years'.  I thought to myself: ‘The beta fish that Gina and I bought already died--how can we do this?’ So we bring it back and it makes the drive (which is a miracle in itself), and it goes somewhere in our apartment. Throughout the next few years, it goes through a cycle of life and death (or more like the brink of death) where we might not water it for a while or it was in a dark room and it would start to wither and become brown and leaves would fall off and it never really grew. But it still clung to life.

Q: Do you think an app live Vera might have helped you?

Michael: Yeah, it would have definitely helped give me the tool to remember and track health over time with pictures. It wasn’t until a couple years after owning it where we ended up just putting it in a ‘to do' list reminder. So that’s what we still use to this day. Once a week, we get a pop-up that’s like ‘water the plant’, and so I do...sometimes I don’t. So that’s where having that tracking history and the reminders with Vera would really help


Q: How would you feel if your plant died?

Michael: I would feel the weight of shaming my family for generations, because that’s literally what it is. It’s a plant that has been in the family for 40 years. I mean, my mom grew up with that plant, and here it is still sitting in a plastic bag.


Q: Why do you think people struggle to take care of their plants?

Michael: I think it could just be the busy-ness of life. Plants are just like background. It’s almost like furniture in a way (except it’s not). And so why would you water that kind of stuff?


Q: Anything else we should know about your plant?

Michael: Since the poor start into the plant, it has gone into a period of rejuvenation after we moved here to DC. It made the trip to DC and our apartment has more natural light. I’ve also been more consistent with watering, and so it has probably tripled in size since we moved here (which is awesome). But we still need to repot it in the pot that we got for it a year ago--it’s still in the plastic pot. One step at a time

Bonus question: What type of plant does Michael have?

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