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12 of 365

12 of 365

January 12, 2009

The Inevitable

Day 12 of 365

I can’t keep any plants alive. I love plants in the house. I feel like it makes the house feel more alive. But I can not for the life of me remember to water them in a timely manner.

Then the inevitable happens. Eventually I throw it away, cursing myself. How hard is it to keep a plant alive?

I buy another plant, swearing that this time it will be different. But it never is. Even the hearty plants succumb to my neglect.

Isn’t enough that I manage to keep seven children fed and watered. And alive! Isn’t it?

Posted by Chris @ 8:04 pm  

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  1. Debbie98 says:

    I have the same problem! I love homes with big plants all over. I just have no luck keeping them alive. The neighbor wanted me to water her plants while she was gone for 3 weeks and they looked like your photo when she came back and she never asked me again.

  2. Heather says:

    You broke into my house and stole one of my plants. At least, this is exactly how my plants look. I think I have a case here.

  3. Maggie says:

    I have a little palm tree in my living room that my [former] roommate and I got at Home Depot 3.5 years ago when we moved to California. I neglect the thing like nobody’s business–it’s lucky to get watered once a month–but it’s still alive and kicking! In fact, I’m shocked whenever I see photos of our apartment back then, and how much it’s grown! I just got a set of Aqua Globes for Christmas, and gave it one this weekend. Now the darn thing will probably die from TOO MUCH watering…

  4. Carol says:

    That’s a low light plant, and it’s possible it’s getting too cold sitting in frount of that window.It doesnt like alot of water. Place it somewhere in the house away from cold windows and where it can get a little light, it will thrive…..well…maybe not that one!

  5. Maggie says:

    PS–For the record, I didn’t even know what an Aqua Globe WAS until I unwrapped it on Christmas. So, needless to say, it was NOT on my Christmas list this year…although the Sham-Wow! may be on my birthday list next month…

  6. Eos (Angela) says:

    I used to be like that. I remember working at place where everyone kept a pretty plant on their desk. I had to replace and buy mine several times. Finally, one was staying alive and I was feeling pretty smug until I found out the night cleaning crew was watering and feeding it for me….yeah…total thumb of death.

    A few years ago I bought, planted, watered and pampered several plants that also died.

    I thought I was a hopeless case but this year for some odd reason my plants are thriving…kinda weird but cool so don’t despair…try again in a year or two!LOL

  7. Tina says:

    And that is why we don’t have a pet. We used to have a cat and I would struggle to feed the two of them in the morning and the cat would be mowing and I realized I couldn’t handle that many people/creatures needing me. When the cat ran away, we didn’t replace it.

  8. terilynn says:

    If only my plants would beg and plead for food when they need it as my children do - either that or attack the cookies and I must feed them to ease my conscience

  9. LaShawn says:

    I couldn’t keep a plant alive to save my life…just not in me.

    My mom says I have a black thumb.

  10. Heidi Johnson says:

    I’m have the same luck myself. My mother has always had beautiful plants in our house when we were growing up. That missed me some kind of way. As did her ability to bake beautiful cakes and to sew.

    But I did get her teenage acne :)
    Man that’s depressing!!

  11. insertcrazyhere says:

    Aqua globes!! Seriously it’s the only way I can keep plants alive in my house.

  12. Corey says:

    You need to get some of those glass watering things for your plants. They sell them on TV. I don’t know what they are called, but I saw them once at Walmart.

    Or, just buy some plastic plants.

  13. Heather's Garden says:

    I don’t do great with houseplants either. It looks like you might be able to save it though. Take off the dead leaves and if there are any signs of life left put it in a pan of water and let it soak for an hour or two.

  14. Kim says:

    I don’t know why, but I’ve always thought you had 8 kids, not 7.

  15. Natalie says:

    My mom sets reminders in her Outlook calendar for watering her plants. This keeps them alive. :)

  16. Rachelle says:

    Soooo funny…. that is my moto… “I keep babies alive, not plants.” When we were on vacation my stepmother came over and kidnapped all of my plants and kept them at her house until they were brought back to health. She routinely threatens to call D.P.S. on me… (Department of PLANT Services)… :)

  17. Monique says:

    Try the trusty Christmas Cactus.
    They live through generations.
    They will bloom their hearts out for you two or even three times a year..and will look quite green and unblemished all year without much care.:)
    I am so fond of them now.

  18. Lisa says:

    I have the opposite problem. I potted impatiens with my best friend in junior high and that same summer she passed away. I was unhealthily attached to that plant and kept it alive for fourteen years. I was very sick in the hospital after my children were born and my sister watered that plant obsessively while I was in the hospital for weeks because she knew I would be heartbroken if it died. Yep, she killed it with her well intentioned watering/drowning. I was devastated at first, but after six weeks away and coming home with new babies it was strangely appropriate for that plant to be gone.

  19. G.R.Girl says:

    The plant that is impossible to kill is called “devil’s ivy.” It is IMPOSSIBLE to kill. Even my Dad hasn’t killed it! I’ll send it to you if you you email me…. it is not ivy and you can not kill it. How do I know this? Because I have always been a plant killer and I have kept it alive and passed on sprouts to many a plant killer. I have YET to find someone who can kill it. Hello… my DAD has kept his alive! It is my favorite house warming gift :-) How cool to be able to share an offshoot from one of my plants? My best friend has yet to kill hers and it has been a good 5 years. My dad has kept his alive all by himself since my mother passed. NO other living thing has survived in his home since her passing. Trust me… keeping this plant will build your self esteem, it did mine!

    /end of testimonial

    PS: I bow to your skills for keeping 7 children alive and happy. 2 challenges the heck out of me.

  20. Jodi says:

    I can keep them alive, I just don’t have the time or energy. LOL

    I have one that I have kept alive since June and I only water it once every two weeks or so (it usually starts to droop).

    My other plants are all fake. F.A.K.E. But they look nice.

  21. michele says:

    I ditto the comment on the palm tree…bought mine at home depot about a year and a half ago - have killed several other plants in the mean time - that thing is still living! even with three kittens that decided to climb it endlessly!

  22. suburbancorrespondent says:

    I’ve always been grateful that babies and children cry when they are hungry, or they would have all suffered the fate of my poor dead houseplants. I had this fantasy that once I wasn’t so busy with babies I could have a house full of greenery, but I really need to face my black thumb reality.

  23. allmycke says:

    One word - Cacti!

  24. Julie says:

    I have killed a cactus before…and they grow naturally in the desert with NO water. I have been forced to have “fake” plants that I put on high shelves with the hope that nobody will notice that they are imposters.

  25. Andrea says:

    Um, yeah…I’m pretty sure that keeping seven children alive is the equivalent of keeping a hundred thousand plants alive. :-D

  26. Kris says:

    Lazy and don’t feel like reading all the comments, but has anyone ever suggested this:


  27. Julie Stiles Mills says:

    I have four hanging planters on our back porch. They are the perfect size to hold basketballs. And for some reason, since the kids think that it’s cool - they’ve actually been putting the basketballs “away” in the planters. I’ll take what I can get.

    I can’t kill a basketball, right?

  28. SabrinaT says:

    I can’t keep them alive either! It drives me crazy. My latest attempt is dead on my patio. What once was a thriving mini tree is no more.

  29. Amanda says:

    Plants aren’t loud enough. That’s why mine get neglected too. They don’t whine “Can I have a snack?” or “When are you making dinner?”

  30. dangitAnge says:

    My children call me The Plant Killer. I tell them to be nice or I might forget to feed and water them too.

  31. Elizabeth_K says:

    Seven children kept alive is much more successful and meaningful than some plants! I share the same blindness for plants, sadly. In the store they are so pretty, in my mind they are so important, and then … dead leaves all around. Sad.

  32. wookie says:

    I haven’t watered my aloe plant in 8 months and it is thriving.

  33. t in hd says:

    Get an aloe. They thrive under any conditions (just don’t leave them outside in temperatures below -5 C). Seriously. And they’re the most useful plant you can own, bar none.

    Pathos are also super easy. You’ll notice it needs water (and it doesn’t need much) long before it actually suffers irreversible damage. They are extremely forgiving plants.

    I water my pathos and aloe plants whenever I remember, which is infrequent, at best. Sometimes my pathos droop down over the pot and the soil is so dry it’s pulled away from the edges of the pot but it perks right up with a bit of water. I’ve never seen my aloes suffer in any way from my forgetting to water them.

    Seriously, if you manage to kill a pathos or an aloe….well, that’s quite an accomplishment!

  34. catootes says:

    YES. YES, it is enough that you keep 7 kids fed and watered. Incredibly cute kids no less. I’m in awe of you most days.
    I can barely get laundry washed regularly for 2 kids and 3 adults.

    To hell with the plants.

  35. heidi says:

    I’m only allowed to have living things that can make it known to me when they are hungry or thirsty. That means yes to the children and dog. No to things like plants, fish, small rodents.

  36. tammy says:

    I have the same issue I kill any plant that comes in the front door. I had given up on the plants and had not had one in our house for at least the last 3 or 4 years. A couple of weeks ago my husband and i were out shopping and i was drawn to the plants. Yes i bought a little green plant and as of this morning it is still alive and kickin. it is green and has new growth so maybe just maybe this time will be the charm and i will develop a green thumb only time will tell and if the same fate comes to this plant it will be back to cut flowers for me.

  37. peepnroosmom says:

    Your poor plants. They look like mine. I’m with the other commenters, though. Aqua Globes really do work.
    I have managed to keep one house plant alive for several years, then a family of ants moved into the dirt. (free water, I guess) so I decided to thirst them out. It worked! No more ants! But, sadly, no more plant.

  38. Mel - Canada says:

    My kids gave me a plant one year for mother’s day and I promptly killed it. My youngest saw this and said to me, “Mommy, the next time we give you a plant, would you please give it to Miss Vicki (friend of our with a green thumb)so it won’t die?”

  39. Jen says:

    Yes. It’s enough.

  40. Ruth H says:

    I see a home schoolers science project here. Good for Mom and good for the kids. Get a new plant for each child, let them be responsible for looking up the needs, and following through on them. (Then it is the kids fault.) And there will be competition as to whose plants is doing the best.
    Over watering is truly as big a problem as not watering. Just like keeping gold fish, just enough, not too much.
    Good luck.

  41. mindy says:

    i killed my plant like that a few weeks ago. i’d had it for 10 years!!! i’m thinking maybe it got too cold sitting in our window sill. plus i have this little problem when it comes to watering my plants as well.

  42. Jamie says:

    In my house, if you cannot walk to get food, be able to at least be able to tell me you’re hungry or you don’t get fed.

  43. Katie says:

    Ditto the pothos (pathos, devil’s ivy). When it starts to look droopy like your peace lily up there, you water the heck out of it and it pops back to life in a day. And then you can ignore it for another 2 to 3 weeks. Trust me, I know. They are also awesome plants to root in water, cut off a section with a few leaves and put the stem in water, it’ll root without anything else in a few weeks.

  44. Sadie says:

    I was just thinking the other day that my house needs some houseplants. I mentione this to my hubbym who replied, “What, so the kids can dump dirt all over the house?” Yeah, that sounds about right.

  45. Ani says:

    Aloe. Aloe. Dang, where did that aloe plant end up? I haven’t seen it in over four months. that’s probably not a good thing.

    Kudos on keeping 7 watered fed and dressed. Everything else is just details.

  46. Pretty Jane says:

    I’ve been the same way for ages, until I discovered a trick: my husband and I both keep a cup of water on the bedside table, for parched throats during the night. I rarely finish all of mine (something about the dust, don’t ask), so I’ve begun dumping it on the plants in the morning. Since no plant needs a half cup of water every day, I rotate through them all, and have hardly killed any since I began. Now, I don’t promise they’re all the picture of health with no dead/brown/weird leaves, but they’re not DEAD.

    Hope that helps!

  47. Paula says:

    You need these:

    I like to flatline plants and bring them back to life. I got one of these about a week ago - I have hope :)

  48. Kate says:

    Was that a peace lily? Gurl, you’ve got a talent for killin’!

  49. kelly says:

    Some plants shouldn’t be placed by windows in the winter. Or in direct sunlight ever.

    You have to treat each plant differently and figure out what works best for each one…you know, kinda like with kids.

    I agree, keeping 7 kids alive and healthy is way more important than plants. After your kids are all out of the house you’ll need something to nurture…you can focus on plants then.

    Aqua Globes are great, but if your pot has holes in it the water just runs out the bottom.

  50. Javamom says:

    Send yourself a twitter message. Is that what it’s called? Everyone uses twitter, no? (I don’t yet but everyone is hassling me).
    Or get Miles to do it….ha!

  51. Karen (from Our Deer Baby) says:

    No advice, just laughing at you and myself and everyone else in similar situations. I think keeping the kids fed and watered is good enough, who cares about plants anyway ^^


  52. Lisa Lisa says:

    I think it’s more than enough ;o)

  53. lizinsumner says:

    (((sigh)))….I have a dead cactus in my kitchen. It’s been there for over a year. I don’t know why I just don’t throw it out and end the humiliation. I mean, what kind of an idiot manages to kill a cactus???!!!! Wait, don’t answer that……..

  54. Jenny Lemmons says:

    I’m sure some it’s been said, but,”if it doesn’t cry, it doesn’t get fed!” Your stories inspire me, both professionally and personally. Thanks for the honest look inside your world!

  55. Lucy says:

    I have killed an aloe vera plant and a Christmas cactus and after reading the comments about how you cannot kill those plants I feel eyen worse about my lack of a green thumb. Thanks, everyone!

    I have not given up hope that I can own and take care of plants and neither should you, Chris. Maybe you could hand over the plant care to your children for the time being. It would make for some great schooling.

  56. t in hd says:

    Lucy, don’t feel too badly about the Christmas cactus. They can tend to be a bit persnickety at times. I’ve had Christmas cacti that have thrived for years and then, for no apparent reason, gone T.U.

    Now an aloe. Cripes. You gotta tell me how you managed that. The only aloe I killed was one I left on the porch over a mild winter. We had an unexpected freeze one night (about -6 C) and when I discovered it the next morning, the poor thing was frozen solid. I was devastated. It was a massive plant that I’d bought as a wee tiny baby and it had grown gang busters over the years and produced babies of it’s own, all while I more or less ignored it.

  57. momzen says:

    So funny… Yesterday, I read something along the lines of… “I like to buy a really bright, colorful plant in the dead of winter to brighten things up around my house. And, since I’m such a black thumb it never lasts more than a few weeks. But then I’m free to merrily go buy another one.” (Or something like that). Point is, we can celebrate death too. And plants are so much more easily replaced than children. (Though some days I’d rather replace the children WITH the plants). Whatever

  58. Carolynn from Western Australia says:

    What if it was one of the kids daily projets to check on all indoor plants and water them and feed them when they need it.

    Would that work?

    Good Luck
    Lots of Love Carolynn :-)

  59. tracey says:

    omg. i am the furthest thing away from a green thumb girl! i keep thinking how hard can it be? but, alas! i guess just too hard for me. : ) glad i am not alone.

  60. Shannon says:

    I have a couple plant cuttings that are stuck in bowls and glasses of water. I never knew you could do that until my husband’s grandmother gave them to me. Not sure what kind of plants they are. I only have to refill the water every couple weeks, so that’s why they are still alive. If they’re in a clear container, it’s easier to see when you need to add water.