Food / Fun

Hello. My name is Beth and I’m a plant killer.

You guys, I have a serious problem. As I sit here writing this, there are four dead plants in my house. And no, I don’t mean in a closet somewhere. I mean I have four dead plants on display in my house.

When you come into my breakfast nook, where I have couches instead of a table, you can gaze upon my rotting iris and another shriveled up little thing that was given to me by a student who warned with a laugh, “Don’t kill it!”. If only she knew….

Another is a little tree that someone wanted to give to a volunteer last year but the volunteer never took it so I brought it home. The student got it from Wal-Mart so, of course, there were decorative rocks glued to the top of the soil. I thought that I could hear the plant screaming from this blatantly consumeristic treatment of a living thing and so I liberated the small tree by smashing the rocks off with a hammer and planting it in a bigger pot. Then, it started looking a little sad so I thought it might need some sun. I put it outside on a patio table where it promptly got depressed, dropped all its’ leaves and basically told me, “The rocks were better”.

And finally, there are these little guys. They’re brothers.


I bought the plant at a dollar store and when I repotted it, the pot was only big enough for half of the plant so I halfed it. The plant on the right was brought inside, sat in a warm window, and was doted on as it continued to stay green. The other half of the plant was left on our back patio in the scorching sun, tipped over on its side. When we moved here, I thought that these little buddies would be great door plants because it’s apparently a very hardy plant (one that I haven’t killed yet). So I scooped up the abandoned plant, which was still amazingly clinging on for dear life and dropped it into a pot.

It did well for a while but now, well, now it’s quite clearly given up all hope. I’m going to keep watering it in the hopes that it will come back to life eventually and choose to thrive as its brother is doing.

My problem with plants is that I have this dual problem of ignoring them and then hurriedly dousing them with an amount of water that rivals the average annual tonnage of water that flows over Niagara Fallas. Then the roots rot off and I’m left with four dead plants on display. To be honest, some days I feel amazed that I’m able to keep a dog alive for as long as I have, but I guess it’s because she comes and sticks her face in my face and reminds me that she’s alive and she needs basic things like water and food. If someone would invent a plant that does that, I would appreciate it.

Just yesterday, I bought a kale plant and a cilantro plant from North Haven Gardens. As I potted them today, I realized that the basil pot I used first wasn’t big enough, so I transferred it to a bigger pot,  and then stuck the whole thing under the kitchen faucet for a good 15 seconds before remembering that plants need water in moderation.

I haven’t even owned the stupid thing for 24 hours and it’s already fighting for it’s life.

This black thumb is a serious problem.

We have a house now. A house with a ginormous backyard, begging to be gardened by two vegetarians who want to learn to grow their own food. I got two gardening books for Christmas which we’ve been pouring over and I’m eager to get started, but also a little scared. I’m sure you’ll be hearing about our garden via this blog. I wish that I could promise blogs about how gardening makes me feel more connected to the Earth and how I love sitting outside and plucking pests off my tomato leaves.

But, it most likely won’t include either of those things. It will probably be more like “Hey guys! Did you know that I had planted carrots? I forgot and then didn’t water them for three weeks and now they’re dead.”

Anyway, whatever happens, we’re officially making our foray into the wide world of gardening! Here goes!

4 thoughts on “Hello. My name is Beth and I’m a plant killer.

  1. You’re funny, I like funny. First of all, tell yourself that the plant wants to live. Get bigger pots, the bigger the pot the better. Never water the plant with fresh tap water, the chlorine kills the bacteria in the soil and the plant starves to death. Pay attention to the color of the soil when the plant is happy and water only enough to keep that color. Never wet the plant, only the soil.

  2. I can help you here! Make sure all of your pots have holes in the bottom. Without drainage holes, the water sits at the bottom of the pot, literally drowning your plants. Also, put rocks at the bottom of the pot for extra drainage. Then, potting soil is usually supposed to be used as a percentage, not the whole shebang. Use it in combination with sand and compost or some regular dirt w/ debris in it (for more drainage). A lot of plants actually prefer to be ignored and then overwatered. You can definitely love your plants too much, but each plant is different. For instance, those succulents probably would prefer rocks and less water, whereas your devils ivy (aka Porthos) prefers regular trimming and almost boggy soils. Hope this helps!

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