My Indoor Garden: Learning How to Not Kill Houseplants



One of my goals for this new house of ours is to incorporate more greenery; deck the halls with flora and foliage, you’d say.

I’ve never had much of a green thumb when it comes to indoor plants. Last summer I started an outdoor container garden that gave way to lettuce and green beans that made their way to our dinner plates.

But indoors? I’ve killed almost every plant I’ve owned. The only one that has survived is my bamboo branch, perched in water. I’ve managed to keep that one alive for a year now, which is nothing short of victory.

With a house of my own though, I am trying to reverse that and I’ve started collecting a few more plants to test the waters.

Because, to me, the natural world is one of the most beautiful decorations you can find. I’m not one for clutter, but cover a sideboard in potted plants and crowd a window-sill full of saucers of vegetation and I’m smitten. It doesn’t hurt that my favorite color is green, either, and hence has taken the spotlight in a lot of my wardrobe and decorating.

Often I’ve even found myself walking past a boutique or a pub and wanted to patron there—simply because the storefronts are filled with leafy cascades and tendrils.

All this to say, I wanted—I needed—this handicap of mine to go away. It’s like loving a pet, but every time you go near, you end up stepping on its paw or tripping and landing on top of it. You don’t mean to, but someone always ends up getting hurt.

So when we first moved into our house, my in-laws brought over some house-warming plants. With their pretty, glossy leaves, I was thrilled and then immediately reminded that this could very well be their deathbed; if history was any measure, they could very well be dead by the end of the month.

I mentioned that and my father-in-law gave me one simple piece of advice for indoor gardening that has revolutionized my ability to keep these fronded friends alive. He told me to pick one day a week to water the plants, rather than go by looking or touching the soil. In the past I’ve always ended up overwatering the plants and drowning them to death, so I loved the simplicity of it.

Monday was the day I picked. And for the past two months, each Monday morning, I’ve watered these new friends of mine with care. And incredibly? No casualties. I can even see new leaves unfurling and stems getting stronger.

I’m still taking it slow, but I’ve since bought two more plants to add to my collection. I couldn’t be happier!

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8 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tip, Carmen! I'm glad it's working for you. Plants are so nice to have around.

    When I get a place [with windows lol] I want to have plants too. Unfortunately I have cats that like to nibble on greens.

    I decided that I would get myself some air plants because 1) I can hang them out of kitties' reach (you can have them in small glass globes) and 2) they don't need water, just air and sun light ^_^ And they're so pretty...Google them, you'll see what I mean. I'm not the best at keeping green things either =/

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  2. I'm curious what your favorite houseplants are? Ones I currently like are my jades, a spider plant, and a peach flowering Christmas cactus. Like you said they all take very little watering.

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  3. Our goals this year are to start raising a few chickens for eggs (already begun!), and put in a raised garden in the back yard...(planning!). Good luck with your plants!!!

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  4. That's a great tip! I have a black thumb myself so can definitely use any tips. What type of indoor plants are they?

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  5. Jackie, let me know how the air plants go. I had one once and, uh, I managed to kill even that!

    Sarah and Urban Wife, the houseplants that I have are: a ficus tree ("weeping fig"), a peace lily and a snake plant. They're all supposed to be super easy to take care of, so I'm hoping they stay that way!

    DifferentParent, wow! I'm impressed. That sounds like so much fun!

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  6. What a great tip! I love houseplants but sometimes they can be a challenge. So glad that I found your blog!

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  7. Carmen, I'm the EXACT. SAME. WAY. I absolutely love plants, love having something *alive* around me, and I usually worry about under watering or over watering and watering them one day a week sounds great.

    Also, I would really recommend you try "cuttings" and just keeping a fresh cutting of a vine plant in a mason jar of water. It looks great and needs minimal care. That's what the majority of my greenery is right now.

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  8. Thanks for the suggestion, Emily! Are there any specific kinds of vines that work well for you? We have some climbing vines in our yard and I'd love to give it a try. Let me know if you have any other tips. Thanks again so much!

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