What Is The Oldest Potted Plant in the World?


Going through and organizing images on my computer recently I ran across these few I wanted to share.

Here are pictures of one of the oldest potted plants in the world – Encephalartos altensteinii – which lives in the Palm House at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.



What struck me while looking at these pictures:

  • How the plant has survived 200 plus years?
  • What type of plant care does this plant receive?
  • How often does it get repotted?
  • Could I if asked to care for it – keep this Cycad alive?

Although I cannot answer the questions directly, they made me think of you who enjoy plants and want to provide the best care possible.

  • How long do you keep plants alive?
  • What houseplant(s) do you think you could care for and enjoy for the next 20 years?

I’m sure many of us know someone in their 70’s or 80’s that has always given beloved care of African violets as they sit perched in their kitchen window for decades.

I’ve had many an email from readers over the years who have carried their Dracaena with them on every move across town or across the country. Some of these span 25 years. Their plants are older than their kids.

Even though these “house plant experts” do a great job in caring for their plants and have for years they want to make sure they do not slip up and cause any harm or make sure – everything seems normal.

They invested in learning more and improving their plant knowledge. Too many times as I watch people stroll through the garden center and look at plants for their home, they do so without putting much thought into learning how to care for them and keep them healthy for years and decades.

When I look at the Encephalartos altensteinii at Kew I’m so thankful to the people back in 1775 who took the time to collect the cycad, plant it, give 240+ years of sago palm care, and share the plant knowledge with others so many more people decades and centuries later could experience their work and passion for plants.

How about you? What plant care knowledge do you need to learn or discover for your plants to be enjoyed by others decades from now.

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