Confessions of a Plant Killer

I’ve been given a few skills in this life, but caring for plants is not one of them.

Heck with caring for plants, let’s go with keeping plants alive.

Does a plant count as alive if it hasn’t actually shriveled up yet?

Let me tell you the story of my plants.

Ages ago, I received a philodendron as a high school graduation gift. The tiny plant made its way to my college dorm room, where it lived proudly until Christmas vacation. Then, for Christmas break, I packed my belongings into my dad’s covered pickup truck for the trip home.

My violin was placed carefully in the heated cab.

My little plant?

In the back of the truck.

In the dead of winter.

For a several-hour drive.

That was the end of plants for many years. I traveled so much that I didn’t want to have plants. It would be too much of a bother to get someone to come and water them while I was away. Oh, all right. I also didn’t want to watch another plant die.

Fast forward to about two years ago. A friend from church heard about my plight with plants (wanting some but not wanting to kill more) and offered me clippings from her own gardens. She gave me a gorgeous (and enormous!) peace lily, jade plant, spider plant, and one more that I can’t remember. (Possibly another philodendron.)

The peace lily suffered shock on the drive home (it was in the blazing heat of August), but it perked up soon after and gave me gorgeous white blooms. Then it turned finicky. Not enough light. Too much light. Not enough water. Too much water. Demanding thing. 😛

The little philodendron-like plant was the first to go. It was so small that I couldn’t get the watering thing right. Either water spilled over, or the dirt grew hard from lack of moisture. Now, I can’t even remember what it looked like.

The spider plant did marvelously at first. It grew two or three babies that I planned to transfer to a new pot. Then a friend stayed with her toddler, and she allowed him to rip the plant out of its pot and throw it onto the floor. Oh, and her cat stomped through the dirt to grind it into the carpet.

The jade plant did splendidly. It was small enough to put in my windowsill, and it did fine with erratic watering. It loved the sun, until I forgot to water it. For a week. Or two. And by week, I mean month. Or two.

Then the poor peace lily. It had the soul of a warrior, refusing to die. When all of its companions languished, poor martyred Saint Lily (I have been admonished by readers of Ana Adored to name my plant, despite my protests that I don’t want to name something that will die anyway) struggled on. Two years later, the bedraggled plant sported more brown shoots than green.

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Hi. I’m Ana, and I kill plants.

It takes a special talent.

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