Washington Trust gifts indoor seeds to its customers

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 6:30pm

After the scare with some island residents receiving seeds from China, one resident, Alex McCabe, reached out to The Block Island Times after receiving seeds in the mail from the Washington Trust Company. Being a customer of the bank, McCabe was curious as to why she had received the Money Plant seeds and wondered what she should do with them.

“There was no mention on the mailer whether these are indoor or outdoor plants. Money Tree Plants are an invasive species — they are dangerous to the island’s ecosystem… The island already has a problem with invasive species that is slated to do nothing but get worse. People should at least be informed not to plant these seeds outdoors,” said McCabe.

Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing and Corporate Communications Officer Beth Eckel also spoke with The Times to clear up the confusion on the seeds. McCabe had previously noted that she had spoken with Eckel, and that the company would send out a message stating the purpose of the seeds, and to plant them indoors.

“I did speak with Alex, and in the meantime, I had circled back with my team to make sure of the exact species. Years ago, we did plantings and we worked with the team on Block Island. This time it was a customer wide promotion to celebrate our 220th anniversary. We worked with a company that we typically work with when we do seed mailings, and we wanted to make sure we were aware of the China seed concern. We had to order them to prepare for mailing in advance. We were conscious that nothing was from China, it was from a seed company, and we thought that if it was coming from us, [our customers] would realize that it wasn’t a spoof mailing from an unidentified source,” said Eckel.

The mailing contains a small packet of Money Plant seeds, as part of the company’s 220th Anniversary Celebration, which have been sent out to the customers as a token of appreciation, “not only to thank you for your business, but to serve as a symbol of our wish for continued growth and happiness in the days ahead,” as stated in the mailing.

Eckel added she understands the concern with planting seeds outdoors that are not native to the environment.

“I do understand the concern, and with Block Island the concern for people planting them outdoors and causing an environmental issue. We are sending out an email with some tips — they are an indoor house plant and not something that should be put out in the garden,” said Eckel.

The plant species being mailed to customers, epipremnum aureum, or Golden Pothos, is a similar species to philodendron.

“They are really easy to grow inside, and you don’t have to do a lot. They are very common in these kinds of kits because of the fact [of how easy they are]. They thrive and don’t need a lot of light and water,” said Eckel.

“We recommend that it is planted indoors. It’s an ideal house plant because it helps filter out chemicals,” added Eckel.

The following message was sent out by the Washington Trust Co. on Tuesday, Sept. 15, as a follow up message with tips, steps and instructions for the seeds and how to care for them:

“Last month, Washington Trust mailed a Thank You card with a packet of Money Plant seeds to our customers as part of our 220th Anniversary Celebration. We’ve received a great response to our mailing and wanted to provide some follow up information and tips on growing your plant.

“The US company, which sourced the seeds, noted that this “Money Plant” is also known as “Golden Pothos,” and is of the variety epipremnum aureum. An indoor plant, it is very easy to care for and is similar to another common house plant, the philodendron.

Tips for Caring for Your Money Plant

PLANT The Money Plant can thrive in both bright sunlight or dim lighting inside your home. The only lighting conditions it can’t tolerate are full, direct sun and complete darkness.

WATER Its root system is rather shallow, so you only need to water enough to penetrate the roots. Avoid over-watering, or your leaves may turn yellow. A standard houseplant potting mix will work well. It should be well-draining, but hold on to enough water to remain moist in between watering.

GROW This plant is quite hardy and can survive without fertilizer for months on end. However, if you want to produce vigorous growth and foliage, give it a 20-20-20 mix.

You can prune your plant to control its shape throughout the year.

“Your Money Plant will make an ideal houseplant, as it will thrive in any condition, and ranks highly on the list of best air purifying plants, absorbing or filtering harmful chemicals, such as toluene, formaldehyde, xylene, trichloroethene, and benzene, from the air. As with many houseplants, the Money Plant can be toxic to humans and animals and should be placed out of reach of children and pets, to avoid ingestion. Because the Money Plant thrives so well in various conditions, it should not be planted outdoors, as it may grow freely and overcome other neighboring plants.”

For questions or to learn more about the Money Plant, please contact the Washington Trust Co. Customer Solutions Center at 800- 475-2265 or by email at info@washtrust.com.