Plant Challenged


The only plant to survive (so far) in my house because it’s fake!

I know a challenge when I’m given one.  My good blogging buddy, Dor over at Virginia Views recently confessed a deep, dark secret. 

She is an assassin….when it comes to indoor plants.

She put it out there in cyberspace for all the world to see that, yes, she is a killer of those lovely green things that are supposed to beautify our homes and purify our air all at the same time.

Well, what are friends for if not to commiserate, console, and confide in?  So I shared with her that I too lead a secret life slaying every green living foliage that is brought through my door.  

But not on purpose!  It just….happens.

Yes, I too lack a green thumb.  Mine just happens to be black.

Dor countered with a story about the time she killed her plastic rubber plant in this post. She wanted to know if I could top that one and so we’ve entered into a plant ‘fishing’ kind of contest.  You know when you tell how large that fish that got away was,  and your friend counters back with an even bigger fish tale (or is it tail?)?

So here goes. I’ve tried, oh Lord, I’ve tried to be an indoor plant gardener.   I come from a long line of plant nurturers.  My grandmother, my mother, even my mother-in-law all had a knack for growing lush green plants indoors.

My casualty list is long.  I killed a spider plant when I lived in an apartment by myself fresh out of college and embarking on my career.  After hubby and I tied the knot, I sought to beautify our home sweet home with all kinds of flora and items from the kingdom Plantae that could be grown indoors…ivies (Swedish or English, I’m not biased; they all became deadies), a jade plant which turned into a mold plant, and since we lived in the Southwest where cacti abound, I even purchased a cactus.

Yes, it’s true.  I slayed the cactus.  Hard to do, I would think, but I managed it.

I distinctly remember being at my dentist office once and noticing a very unusual plant there.  The hygienist told me it was called a ‘pregnant plant’ because a bunch of little baby seeds hung off the leaves of the plant.  She said it was oh, so easy to grow and knocked a few of the babies off into a Styrofoam cup for me to take home.

I buried those new babies in potting soil, talked to them, encouraged them to grow, and surprisingly they did for awhile.  My in-laws came for a visit and my mom-in-law asked me about this plant she’d never seen before.  I told her its story, knocked a few babies off for her, which she wrapped in a dampened paper towel, placed in a plastic ziplock bag, and packed in her luggage for her flight home.

My pregnant plant survived but never really got any larger, but I figured it would just take time, right?  At least a year later, hubby and I traveled back to our home state to visit our families. 

You guessed it, didn’t you?  When we went to his parents’ house, there was this massive pregnant plant, all healthy and producing babies like a rabbit.  And while we were away, my puny plant which had never grown any bigger gave up the ghost.

So my tales of plant woe are many.  I’ve massacred them all.  Just last year, I managed to totally annihilate a beautiful hibiscus plant that stood over 6 feet tall.  Its previous little self once belonged to me, a gift from our home builder when we moved in our new house in Kansas City.  It never grew much, but I managed to keep it alive, just barely.

When we transferred to the Pacific Northwest, I knew it would not survive several days in a hot, loaded moving truck, and since we were traveling to our new home by plane, I couldn’t take it with us.  So I bequeathed it to my mom.  

At her home and under her green thumb, it grew and it grew and it grew.  The most exquisite red flowers bloomed on that plant and each time we traveled home to visit, I marveled at how much it thrived under my mom’s care.

After my mom passed away, the care of this hardy plant fell on my father.  He kept it alive, blooming and growing even more.  That hibiscus was 20 years old when my dad passed and the plant came to live with us.  It shriveled up, it dropped leaves, it browned and withered, and finally it was no more.

Ol’ Black Thumb strikes again!  It’s a true fact that everyone in my family knows to never ever ever give the gift of plants to me because they will soon find their way into the compost pile out in the yard.

Dropping leaves makes it look real?

Dropping leaves – makes it look real, huh?

Like Dor, over the years, I resorted to buying plastic and silk plants, but they too have somehow been destroyed (I tend to blame the cat) except for one. 

A plastic ficus tree still stands in its corner of our dining room adding a bit of green to our home.

But over the years, I’ve noticed a few leaves here and there have fallen off.  Could it be, just like Dor, I even kill fake plants??

Could be.  Matter of fact, it does look a little droopy.  I just try to ignore it and let those fallen leaves lay in the tree’s basket because it looks more real that way, don’t you think?

But it’s still standing, so for now Dor, I concede the Grand Plant Slayer title to you, oh killer of plastic plants.



10 responses

  1. This really did have me laughing out loud. Imagine killing a pregnant mother plant! 😦 That makes you a serial killer! I humbly accept the crown for being Grand Plant Slayer of Plastic Plants however, and will save other tales to tell later. Have you ever tried to save a dying orchid? 🙂


    • I’m glad I made you laugh! Oh gosh, you’re right about the serial killer thing. Save a dying orchid? Oh no, my friend, orchids even SOUND too high maintenance for me to attempt to own one. So do tell, Dor, do tell! 😉


  2. Yes, I do too, sigh. . . . why I keep persevering I don’t know. . . . With Holly, it’s goldfish. We lovingly tease her to ‘step away from the fishtank’ every time she gets near one. 🙂


  3. I think you inherited your deadly knack from your oldest sister!! As you may know from the ripe old age of 14 I was the purveyor of plants in our household!!! I will have to admit however that her dark thumb has lightened with age….as she is now the proud parent to 2 Christmas cacti and a new philodendron, all of which seem to be thriving quite nicely!!


  4. You really have a history, mama. 🙂
    A family member gave me an orchid…really, what were they thinking? Don’t you need a PhD in horticulture to rate one? Just can’t do plants with T-Bob around…he leaps into the pot and digs leaving soil all around. T-Bob is really good…but give him dirt and he just digs.


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