I have a bit of a confession to make today: I’m terrible at keeping houseplants alive. The worst part is that I love having plants in my home – I just have a terrible track record of keeping them around.
I’ve killed african violets, bonsai trees, ivy, cacti, hibiscus, hydrangeas, and anything else that has come into my home. No matter how high or low maintenance a plant is, I will find a way to destroy it.
Most of my problem has to do with neglect, to be honest – remembering to water something I don’t look at every day is tough for me (note to self: set a reminder on your phone). Another problem I’ve faced over the years is that the apartments we’ve lived in aren’t great for plants.
Our current apartment doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight – mostly in the morning or early afternoon, and only on one side of the apartment. I can’t keep plants in our living room or bedroom because of it, which is a bummer because I’ve always wanted a jungle in my bedroom…haha. I’ve also lived in apartments that had bug problems, mold, super dry air from heat or a/c, and even one where my houseplants got stolen after I left them outside to soak up the sun. It’s like plant ownership just isn’t in the cards for me.
Even though I have such a crap track record, I got some smaller plants for my office. I wanted something to spruce up my bare office area, and hopefully with me spending so much time here, I’ll remember to water them…but not too much. A few weeks ago, while D was out of town, I decided to pick up some supplies to get me started. I found a couple small pots at a local thrift store for $1 each, and on the way home I grabbed a couple small plants, potting soil, and small rocks.
I think in total I spent under $15 on the whole thing, and I had enough dirt left over to re-pot my only larger plant that desperately needed it. I started out by adding an inch or so of rocks to the bottom of each pot. I don’t normally do this, but since neither pot had holes on the bottom, I thought this might help for now. If I find that it doesn’t help with drainage, I’ll find pots with holes.
For now, it seems to be working just fine. I also did some research online about which potting mix to use, and this one was pretty well reviewed, so I went with it. I’m sure I could Martha Stewart it and make my own potting mix, but who has time for that?
After potting my new plants, I gave them a good watering and left them outside for the afternoon while I neglected cleaning up the mess I made. I eventually got around to cleaning it up, I swear!
So far, both plants are doing alright. I tried putting the green one in our bedroom, but it started sagging after a couple days, so it’s back in the office. I guess I’m just not meant to have my jungle bedroom just yet.
If these manage to survive, I’m looking forward to adding more to the house. I’m doing more research into growing herbs, since I’m getting tired of paying $2 every week for chives to put in my scrambled eggs, and I hear basil is practically impossible to kill – though if anyone could do it, it would be me.