I’m not exaggerating, my friends. I’ve killed hundreds of plants. Maybe even thousands. I realize that I sound heartless when I say this, but I’m gonna say it anyway. Killing plants is a great way to learn how to keep plants alive. No, seriously! When I lose a plant it gives me a chance to reflect on how and when things went sideways. Did I overwater? Did I underwater? Was there evidence of pests and/or disease? After I puzzle out the plant’s (most likely) cause of death, I give myself permission to try again. So if I see that same plant in a garden center, I don’t feel animosity towards it. We’re still friends. And I will try again. Also, for the record, I am not encouraging plant violence with this advice. Instead, I am trying to encourage those who have killed a plant (or many plants) to just keep trying. Don’t let plant failures make you afraid to purchase that next beautiful plant.
Now it’s time for the confessional section of this pep talk. The part where I tell you what plant/plants I have murdered most recently. I’ll be honest, this one really hurts. Just today I gave up on one of my top ten most favorite plants. It was once a gorgeous Calathea musaica (pictured above) but what I threw into the trash can this morning was really just three yellow leaves poking out of a pot of dirt. I gave it weeks of gentle care, searching for signs of insect pest damage, Neem oil sprays, Hydrogen Peroxide treatments and a soil change. But all of my care came to nothing because my beloved little plant, my sweet and beautiful musaica, died. One unfortunate side-effect of plant murder is some pretty intense plant shame. A lot of that shame is probably due to the fact that a few months ago I was blowing up Instagram with pictures of my pretty little Calathea and advising others that it was an easy houseplant.
Friends, realize that all those Instagram pictures of perfect specimen plants are cropped and edited and Photoshopped to look that way. No plant is perfect and guess what? We plant parents aren’t perfect either. So the next time you are tempted by a beautiful plant in the garden center, don’t let it fill you with anxiety and guilt. Do your research and give it the best care you are capable of giving.
Mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you.