Yeah…I’ve Killed That Before

Rest in Peace, my poor baby.

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.

28 thoughts on “Yeah…I’ve Killed That Before

      1. I have heard you mention in your videos a couple of times, that you are thinking of selling plants.. Do you have a plant/price list?

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      2. Yes, I sell at plant shows mostly. I just started selling on Etsy. My shop is called MatildaAndClementine. I figured it would give me a feel for selling on the internet.

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  1. Such great advice! We dont consider that these nursery plants were grown in a GREENHOUSE! Alot different than that window in your house! Congratulations on your new site! I wish you the best!πŸ™
    Entering ur giveaway! πŸ€žπŸ™πŸ’œ

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  2. I know the feeling of failure. I have lost so many plants I couldn’t begin to count them. But like your advice, I won’t give up. I keep trying. Lol. I love my plants !

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  3. I gave calathea plants a try and so far so good. I’ve never seen this one in my area but its definitely on my wish list . Great post thanks for sharing

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  4. I really feel you when in comes to plant shame. Just a couple months ago, I almost lost my first and only Haworthia cooperi, my dream succulent, my baby. I thought I was doing everything right, but it slowly became…I don’t know. Less happily compact and fresh-looking? I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Water? Nutrition? Sun? Pests? Fungi? I finally tried putting it in an even shadier spot than it was already in, and it finally started to come back to life (still in the process of greening back up). The worst part of the ordeal–second to almost losing my lil baby–was the creeping shame I felt for having turned the once happy and vibrant plant that I shared pictures of into a tired-looking clump of withering plant cells. Thank you for bringing this up, though. It helps to hear that I’m not alone. I mean, I knew I couldn’t be the only one who was feeling this way, but it still helped to hear your tangible, real experience. I think this is what you were going for anyway, but man I feel so inspired. I dont want to be so hard on myself anymore. I’ve mentally punished myself way too much for failures that were really more of just learning experiences. Seriously, thank you.

    (comment entry for giveaway)

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    1. I’m so glad this was uplifting for you. It does really suck when you are in the middle of killing a plant that you adore, but hopefully others can use it as a learning experience like you are I are doing! Thanks for commenting!!!

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  5. Super congratulations on your new blog, what an adventure for you! I love the articles and I will refer to it frequently because I love the plants you grow.

    If you want a succulent idea, what I would love addressed is: What succulents do well on window sills, either north, south, east or west? I realize there are many different houses with windows facing every which way but some succulents are more able to handle sills.

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  6. I’m so guilty of overwatering. But! I am also guilty of trying to battle gnats that live in my potted plants. They’ve been sitting with inches of sand on top until the winter comes and I’ll actually be clear. Please write more about how to control gnats in potted plants

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    1. Agree. I don’t know why, but it makes me feel better to know that I’m not the only one who had killed a plant recently. Especially since I literally sell houseplants as a job, I feel like I shouldn’t be killing them.

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  7. I’ve had my peace lily for about 2 years and she hasn’t grown much. I will be trying your soil mix recipe, thanks you so much for all the wonderful information! πŸ€—πŸŒ±πŸ’š ( Comment entry for your giveaway) and good luck to everyone! πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€

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  8. Great advice! I’ve also killed some plants and definitely my problem was over watering πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ I learned the hard way, so now I stop my self before watering my plants and take the time to poke my finger in the soil and think πŸ€” before I decide if they need water or not yet. I would really love to win one of the plants in your generous giveaway VSOH is on my wish list 🀞🏼 πŸŒ±πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’š

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  9. Agree on having killed many plants, usually it’s due to giving it too much love (aka water). For me, I’ve been consistent about killing my peperomias. I just can’t seem to get it right. Calatheas, i’ve stopped trying b/c I just don’t have the conditions they need. So I’ll just enjoy them from a distance (instagram). Congrats on your blog!

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  10. I I love your website and blog..i struggle with apider plants..i dont no why but its a real struggle now cor my calathea.s we get along PERFECT.but my humidity plant room they are loving it…thank you for great advice and the blog:) happy planting:)

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