Who's my freeloader? Plant ID
June 26, 2019 10:19 AM   Subscribe

I replanted my albizia julibrissin rosea seedlings into separate pots (normal gardening soil) and went on vacation. I came back to find a freeloader in one of the pots. It's not any of the other plants at the office. I'm tempted to say tomato but it doesn't have any scent when I rub the leaves. Who's my unexpected guest? And as a bonus, if it's worth keeping, how should I separate the two? Half of my seedlings didn't survive the initial replanting so I'm loathe to disturb it more than necessary.
posted by I claim sanctuary to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
Looks like a potato or other nightshade. Just pinch it off at the soil level.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:53 AM on June 26, 2019

I was gonna guess eggplant.

EDIT: actually bothered to look and realized the leaves are probably way too deeply lobed to be an eggplant. Disregard!
posted by saladin at 11:29 AM on June 26, 2019

Best answer: Looks just like a tomato to me. They don't smell as strong when they're little.
posted by Redstart at 11:33 AM on June 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

strikes me as a tomato too- let the freeloader grow, maybe you'll get some late season fruit!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 12:16 PM on June 26, 2019

You could try running it through plantsnap. It's identified most of the plants I've run through the app.
posted by she's not there at 1:31 PM on June 26, 2019

A tomato plant will completely engulf that little mimosa start within a few weeks. They cannot occupy that pot long or short-term
posted by humboldt32 at 2:34 PM on June 26, 2019

It's a tomato. The seeds seem to survive the composting process sometimes. I potted up a fern this year with compost from a bag, and ended up with two freeloaders like yours. I plan to move them to their own pots tomorrow...
posted by pipeski at 3:09 PM on June 26, 2019

Best answer: Let the freeloader grow in another pot; I'm not sure it's a tomato or if it's a weed but it will likely need to be outdoors for full fruiting.

To divide, you can get the soil nice and wet first (if it will dry quickly enough to not rot your other seedling) then try gently tugging the unidentified plat object at the ground level to nudge out of its abode. If that doesn't work you can unpot the whole thing and divide.

As an aside:
My favorite way to get new tomato plants is to cut back my leggy plants early summer and plunge stalks (that have little rootlike nodules on the lower stalk) into a pot. They usually tske off from there but often cold weather arrives before tomatoes can form.
posted by mightshould at 5:34 PM on June 26, 2019

Box Elder tree.
posted by Oyéah at 6:08 PM on June 26, 2019

Response by poster: Thank you for the ID! I pulled on it and it came with a small root, so I've chucked it in one of the pots from the dead seedlings. Any tomatoes will be a bonus. (And also cause me to die laughing because this is all in an office room...)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 12:52 AM on June 27, 2019

Response by poster: Three months later, the tomato plant is two metres tall, half-suspended on fishing line tied to the ceiling, splinted in two places where it broke during replanting, and has just formed tiny tomatoes. I will be saving seeds if possible because this is one hardy plant!
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:07 AM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

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