A Plant Killer’s Guide to Not Killing Plants

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I have always been of the opinion, with regards to keeping plants indoors or out, that there are 2 types of people – those who can, and those who cannot.

For the past 25 years my feet have been woefully planted in the barren garden of “Those Who Cannot.”
However, upon moving to our new house, I vowed that the grass would be greener on my side.
Which meant I was stepping over to the other side.
The side with those who can.
(That metaphor got away from me a little bit, I know).

Anyway, my mission (and one of my Happiness Project goals) has proven successful so far, and I have managed to keep several house plants – all of whom are thriving.

I can’t take all the credit for this sudden mastery over fauna- I have done some serious reading and learned lots from all sorts of strange sources. So, I thought I would share some of my most successful tips on how to keep your plants alive!

1. Choose something easy

Do you work away a lot? Are you forgetful?
Then perhaps you should get a hardy plant which doesn’t need as much care.  Some plants need pruning, watering, feeding and reading to, whilst others thrive happily on a bit of water every few days.
If you’re a plant killer, get a plant which is resistant to death – I started with a few cacti, and progressed from there.
For some inspiration on easy houseplants, check here. 

2. Think about placement.

That prayer plant might look awesome on the top of the book case… but how often do you actually pass that location?
If you put your plant(s) in places you spend time, you’re more likely to remember to water them.
For example, I have my prayer plant by our reading nook – and I see her every morning when I open the curtain, which reminds me to check her soil for dampness. She’s also right by the window, but not on the ledge. I know she’s getting enough sun, but she’s not going to burn.

3.  Choose something aromatic. 

My first success story after the flowering cactus was a lavender plant, which I kept on a side table so I could see it every time I left the house.
The sweet smell when I came in after work reminded me of the plant when I came home, and I’d check right there and then if she needed water.
She’s going strong now, and has found a home in the back yard. (2015 update: Weeds got her. Be careful to watch for weeds!)

4. Give them personalities.
You wouldn’t not feed a dog, would you?
If you start to think of plants as having personalities, you’re much more likely to feed and water them.
For example, “The Spider Plant” can easily be forgotten, but “Steve the Spider Plant” likes to keep up on current events, and thinks National Service should be reintroduced . He’s a real character.
Its kind of goofy, but I also match their personalities to their pots…
I’m not at the stage where I’m a crazy plant lady – I don’t read to my ficus or hold conversations with my lobelia, but I do quite enjoy having some greenery around the house now that we have the space (and now that I’m not a murderer).

Do you have any other great tips for not killing plants? Final KITTY suggestive digestive-01

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1 Comment

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One response to “A Plant Killer’s Guide to Not Killing Plants

  1. I’m only good at keeping cacti alive… My rose my mum bought me for the windowsill in the kitchen is already complaining. It told me in the instructions to ‘dead head’ the flowers, but it seemed to not like that!
    Our garden is fairly low maintenance though, the rhododendron and buddleia mainly look after themselves apart from chopping them back a bit in the autumn. Herbs are alright too, as long as they’re outside and not inside the house!

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