Leon himself talks about his plant that it is his best friend as he never complains and they have in common that they don't have roots.

He always cares for his plant, as he doesn't only include his plant in his day routine, but also saves it in the dangerous scene at the end of the film. You wouldn't save some general plant in that situation. Matilda also plants it at her school where she names it Leon, too.

So I bother what's about the plant. Does the plant have more to do with the story what I can't see? Is it maybe a reference in real life on one of those persons? Or is it just the fact that Matilda tries to let his memory live on by giving the plant "endless life" by planting?

For what does the plant in Leon The Professional really stand?

4 Answers 4


While it's never explained, I have 2 theories on the plant and what it means in Leon's life.

First of all, if you've ever been in the military you know that one of your main tasks is to make your bed. It is then inspected by your drill sargeant. They do this for a few reasons, the main one being that it allows you to start your day with a completed task, which gives you confidence to complete other tasks. Caring for the plant gives Leon that structure.

Secondly, the plant is something that Leon can love. Leon hasn't had girlfriends, he's not very social, and he needs to direct his feelings towards something. That "something" is his plant.

  • 3
    Also, a pet might've been too on the nose ("he's a hitman but with a heart of gold because look, he likes kittens"). A plant is decent compromise.
    – Walt
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 14:13
  • Yes, these are normal things for what you have a houseplant. But those aren't reasons for me to risk my life for that plant.
    – Trollwut
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 14:57
  • Maybe I'm forgetting something, but did he actually risk his life for the plant, like shielding it from a bullet? In any case, I think it's implied in the film that Leon's mental growth was stunted somehow - he's a withdrawn, silent hitman who still drinks his milk. I don't think it's without reason that he pours all of his emotions into that plant; consider it his bonsai tree.
    – Walt
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 15:41
  • Not that exactly, but as they had to escape his apartment, he did extra work to safe his plant and nothing else from his apartment. That's when I started to wonder if the plant has more background story. --- Yes, Reno himseld said he played Leon "slightly mentally slow" so that viewers know he wouldn't really ogle with a little girl. --- Sure, the first times wathcing this movie, it was just aplant for me. And later on a plot for the end of the story. Still I think the plant gets more attention than an ordinary plant should. Remember how often it is portrait the Leon and Mathilda grooms it.
    – Trollwut
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 18:45
  • So there is no reference that this plant is more than we see? Like a comment of an author? If not, please state this so that I can finally mark your answer as the right one. :)
    – Trollwut
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 9:43

The plant is a metaphor of Leon himself.

When asked by Mathilda about the plant, Leon says: It's like me, you see. No roots. As a hitman, Leon is always traveling, never settling down in one place.

At the end of the movie, Mathilda plants it in her school's park, and says: I think we'll be ok here, Leon. Both Mathilda and the plant will grow roots in this place, watched over by Leon.

Also the plant (being a plant) has no sensations, no feelings, cannot move, cannot make a sound—contrary to a dog, for instance. In that sense it might represent Leon's dim-wittiness.


The potted plant Léon nurtures, and which Mathilda replants at the end of the movie, is an aglaonema, pronounced "ag-leon-ema". So you see this plant and the main character might be related in this sense.

  • 1
    Hello @vanquin315, Welcome to Movies & TV. Thanks for the answer. Is there any research which supports this? Can you provide a cited source for your response, or otherwise explain how you came upon this answer? Thanks!
    – freeling10
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 7:27
  • 2
    @freeling10 It’s written in the fact track subtitles of the director’s cut double dvd edition.
    – Mouvier
    Commented Sep 14, 2019 at 21:33
  • Pronounced "Aglonema", but #9 cleaner of benzene according to NASA. Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 17:19

The plant is there to make Leon more human

Such as the milk, the plant is a key element in that amazing movie. The plant is there to complete Jean Reno's character personality, providing consistence and humans features for him.

Leon, the plant, the milk and Mr Pig

Indeed, Leon is a controversial character and his relationship with that plant is an aspect of significant relevance in order to increase the identification between the viewer and the character: although he is a blood-cold hitman, Leon is also a human with sentimental needs just as everyone. Without human features like esteem, fears and generosity it would be hard to gain the sympathy for that character.

Leon watching Sing in the Rain in Cine

The plant was a master choice. As noticed in other answers, the plant doesn't move, no words, no barking but still a living being and always ready to be loved. Therefore, a perfect match for the script.

In addition, the plant is there also to interchange the continuity of scenes between Matilda and Leon almost as an another, a third, character.

Matilda interacting with the Plant

Finally, the plant has no background story. At least, I never found one myself. Great scripts always leave those empty spaces so viewers can fill it themselves making personal connections with the plot.

PS.: This answer represents basically my personal opinion only.

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