I think I have said before that I don’t grow potted plants very well. I’m almost positive I have said it out loud. I have thought it numerous times, as proof stares me in the face.
The thing is, I forget about the poor guys until they look, well… dead. And now that I think about it in greater detail, I realize that my plants’ stages of decline closely resemble a human’s stages of dealing with problems.
First, they are in denial that any responsible plant owner would withhold water from them. They are also in denial of the fact that they do not have a responsible plant owner.
They conveniently skip the anger stage and go straight to bargaining. “C’mon. Just a little bit of water…I’m jonesin’ over here, lady! You think this is the Sahara or somethin’?!! I’ll perk up if you could just spare a teaspoon or so…” They start to look a little wilted, hoping I’ll notice their distress. And then…
Acceptance – the final stage. They come to fully realize that I am not paying the least little bit of attention to their pleas and they give up. Drooping down the side of the pot, their little stems shriveled from existing on their own nutrients, they resign themselves to the fact that their demise is imminent and their care-giver is clueless.
In February of this year my co-workers gave me a coffee-cup plant pot and I loved it so much I just had to stick a plant in it. So Margie brought me some jade and we both reveled in the fact that jade is a hardy succulent and that it should have no problem thriving in my office, as it does in her office just two doors down the hall. I think it wasn’t until one of the branches broke completely off and lay on top of my filing cabinet that I noticed the plant looked a little dry. Of course, I immediately flooded it with water but it was apparently too late. I noticed a couple of weeks later that someone (Margie) had stuck a fork in it to help the neglected little sprouts stand upright again. As desperate as the plant looks, I still only manage to water it about every other week, despite its wilted and defeated appearance, which I absentmindedly ignore.
Trying to work a solution here, I have one of those as-seen-on-TV glass watering bulbs that I have put into the jade. Sometimes the water drains right out in a day and other times I don’t see any water leaving the bulb for days on end. I think the darn thing just creates a vacuum of reserved water that the plant has no strength to fight for. In the end I fear it won’t be long before another plant of mine takes a dirt nap.
My grandmother once gave me a fake African Violet, noting – out loud – that a silk plant might be the only kind that could survive my care. She said this because of the year she spent visiting after Aaron was born, where she witnessed firsthand (and commented on often) my plant neglect. I still maintain my view that a houseplant is the absolute worst gift for a new mother. She already has one new living thing that she HAS to keep alive and that is stressful enough. For the love of all that is holy, don’t send her home with MORE things that depend on her care and attention!!
But now that the children are school age and I feel I have successfully established that I can keep them alive, maybe I should try a little harder for the sake of the green leafy children. I so want to have thriving plants. I have made several attempts at an herb garden. Basil remains the only thing I can grow, only outdoors, and only because it appears to be more stubborn than I am. Plus, I want a vegetable garden some day soon. That’s not going to happen if I can’t remember to water the houseplants.
Trouble is, I have no houseplants at the moment. I killed them all in my checkered past. So, I am going to purchase some plants and make a new, honest effort to water and feed them on a regular basis. I’ll need to correlate the watering to another chore that I don’t forget to do. Perhaps every time I do laundry? That’s three times a week. I’ll let you know how this standard of care progresses.