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Manny: A Repotting Story.

Plants I've Known

These are the stories of the plants I’ve known.


Manny: A Repotting Story.

Austin H Howard


Given Name: Manny (after the Woolly Mammoth in Ice Age)

Home: Potted at Spark Makerspace. Spark is a community maker-space in New London CT, its one of my fave hangouts. 

Plant Name: Philodendron Selloum


Maintenance: Bright indirect light, prefers moist but not soggy soil. Water less in winter.

Propagation: Propagate a Philodendron Selloum from stem cuttings. (I consider myself to be pretty good at propagation, but I have been unsuccessful at propagating Manny.

Toxicity: Philodendron Selloum is a very poisonous houseplant with a level #3 toxicity. All Philodendron contain calcium oxalate crystals. Eating any part of the plant may cause the following symptoms: pain in the mouth, drooling (dogs & cats), and vomiting. If swelling of the lips, tongue, and airway occurs, it becomes difficult to breathe or swallow.


I met Manny about two years ago, he was donated to the community Makerspace that I’m proud to be apart of. Most of his time as a Spark member was spent at the former Reinspire and former Emporium location. After moving locations he has found his forever home in the Coworking room next to a beautiful floor to ceiling window. (the perfect location in your a big leafy plant.)

Manny may be known to others by a different name, or simply as the giant overgrown plant by the window. He is not my plant, like most things at Spark, he is shared and meant to be enjoyed by all.  I don’t know how long Manny has been in the black pot he was donated in but I do know it’s been far too long. I first felt the need to repot him a year ago when he and I were spending a lot time together at the Emporium. Things were busy then and I just never got around to it. (Sorry Manny)

After moving into the new location at 225 State st space, Manny found less subtle ways of letting me know he needed to be re-potted. Note the tendril like roots flowing down from his pot. The longest one was almost 4 ft. Every time I sat in the shared work space,  hosting our writer’s meetup, I could see Manny’s roots searching for more Earth. Finally, last week, I could take it no longer! I had to take him home for a good re-potting.

Just getting him off his bench was difficult his large leafs were wrapped around the other inhabitants of the Coworking window. I realized there were 5 different plants in the one pot. Things grew more difficult from there.


A struggle ensued and I found it almost impossible to remove him from the confines of his pot. Pattyface (my partner in all things) giggled from the sidelines as I got my ass kicked by a plant.


I had to take a couple breaks to catch my breath. It was hot as hell and I was losing the battle.

At this point I thought the only way to free him was to break the pot...

Luckily, Pattyface stepped in just in the nick of time and reminded me why he’s my partner in all things… With him and I pulling Manny and his pot in different directions, we were finally able to free him without breaking his pot or him.


Look at those roots!

 I took a breath thinking, “Yayay, it’s done!” But Manny had other plans. Now began a new fight - a fight to get his different parts unwound. I again had to enlist help, it was a delicate procedure. Thankfully Pattyface and I make a good team, finally all of Manny was free. 

Here you can see Manny and his many parts. I ended up pulling the one on the far left apart even further and now, Manny is many.

Five to be exact.



Manny raised to the fifth power? Manny times….. Yeah math was never my strong suit.

Most of Manny has been returned to his forever home at Spark Makerspace, here he is enjoying his beloved window.

I’m currently trying to find locations to fit the rest of him.

For more facts about this type of plant or to fact check my facts go here.