Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New Year's Resolution - Shot

It only took me a month to blow it. I'm kind of proud that I lasted a month though. It's like some kind of record for me.

My resolution this year was to get some houseplants and not kill them. I dreamed of a house full of green living things all thriving and making clean air. There'd be lots of herbs on my dining room windowsill. I'd pluck them and cook delicious dishes. Ehhh. Me and my fantasies.

And jeez, wasn't that a simple resolution? I wanted something realistic, not some huge BE A BETTER PERSON kind of resolution, though in my world being able to not kill plants IS being a better person, but oh well.

I got the herbs - basil, rosemary and peppermint. They were gorgeous on the day I brought them home. It was pretty much downhill from then on.  I got an aloe, which is still ok, but starting to look wrinkly. Then my husband got in on it and got a bunch of big, potted palmy things at Costco (of course because he is physically incapable of shopping anywhere else).

Things were looking ok.  For a day or so.

I am feeling so negative writing this.

I tried though. I swear to God. I made it part of my daily ritual to water the plants. Then I thought I was watering them too much so I eased up and went to every couple of days. The rosemary started to get all limp and brown and dropped needles. I didn't even get to use one sprig in one pot roast dammit and I wanted roasted potatoes and pork roast. Then the peppermint dropped all its leaves.  After that the cat palm from Costco started doing something called "brown tipping" and I looked it up and it's caused by too much or too little watering. This sent me into a fit. How could I know which one?? I decided to cut the brown leaves off.

Then my husband, in an attempt to remedy the herbs took them outside, but this caused an out of sight out of mind syndrome to occur and I let them perish the rest of the way until I saw the basil struggling. I brought it back inside and put it in the sink and watered it. This I got to use a few leaves of in some tuna pasta last week, but I don't know if it's going to make it.

I just suck at growing houseplants. I guess that's why I'm not a farmer. I have a black thumb and it's so sad because I desperately want to be one of those people who grows things but every attempt I have ever made at keeping a plant alive has failed dramatically.

I used to say that I should never have kids because I couldn't even keep a simple houseplant alive. I'd never manage a baby, I believed. Well, the baby is four months old, thriving and doing well.  Apparently babies are easier than houseplants.

Can I start over with a new resolution?


Feilin said...

best thing to do with herbs is plant them in the garden and let nature take its course , always , always works for me

Anonymous said...

Agreed with Feilin. Herbs thrive on neglect. I hardly touch mine except to pluck the blooms off the blooming ones (so the plants last longer) and I was giving them away into NOVEMBER.

Your aloe sounds overwatered, too. Usually plants do not require watering every day. The trick I use - learnt from my decidedly green-thumbed aunt - is, put your index finger into the soil, and only water if the soil is dry up to the first knuckle.

FreeDragon said...

Do you have gas heat or a gas stove? Sometimes the fumes harm the plants.
Here's how to tell if you plant needs water- push a popicle stick into the dirt. If it has dirt stuck to it when you pull the stick out the plant has plenty of water. No dirt on the stick means no water in the pot. Also, make sure the water can drain out of the pots. If it is sitting in the pot the roots can't get air. They start to wilt, you add more water, they wilt more, add water, then it dies.

Arwen said...

I've got two black thumbs too... except Rosemary which I haven't been able to kill. Someone left me some viney plant at work and so far I haven't killed it either but I was told when they left "even you can't kill this one" so I'm assuming that's why it's still living.

A said...

What Arwen is probably refering to is what you really need to start out with for a house plant- a philodendron. More specifically, the heart-shaped variety. I've never killed one one and that's including the ones I've forgotten to water for over a month and the ones I've never fed plant food. The good thing with these is that you can cut tendrils off, stick them in a vase of water, and within 2 weeks they'll root and then you've grown your inventory.

Kerry said...

I've noticed plants don't do well in the pots they come in. They do ok for a week or two, but then that's it. They need to be transplanted into better soil, bigger pot, something.

Your aloe is going to be pretty tolerant of being dry. I think they're from Africa and they're succulents, so they can go quite a ways without water.

Good luck- I share your wish for green things in the house and also your bad luck with plants. I just bought a pot of daffodils that I'm hoping I can keep alive.

LegalMist said...

I'm terrible with plants, too. I've found that I can comfortably keep one or, at most, two alive at a time.

With the exception of a Basil plant we had once. We planted it outside (in Arizona -- VERY hot and dry here) and watered it occasionally when we remembered (once every few days, sometimes once a week). It got HUGE -- we're talking Volkswagon Beetle size -- and lived for YEARS. And then we decided to add a back patio and had to pull it out so we could cement over its spot under the kitchen window.

So, try planting Basil outside. In Florida, where it actually rains sometimes and there is humidity in the air, you could probably water it once a week or so and it would be fine.

Good luck!

LegalMist said...

Oh, and we've had Aloe living outside our house for years here in Arizona. We never water it specifically. It gets some water when we water the grass, but generally goes all winter with nothing but the inch or so that falls naturally from the sky on three or four days in December and January.

So, plant your Aloe outside and ignore it. It should be fine.

Delainie said...

Somehow w/ my black thumbs, I can keep philodendrons alive. Try it! When all else fails there's always bamboo....

sunnygrl said...

My mom has the greenest thumb of anyone I've ever known. People give her their dead plants to bring back to life and she's never failed. I didn't get that gene, but I love plants and got tired of killing them until I tried Aqua Globes. They're really pretty, and all you have to do is stick them in your plants and refill when they're almost empty - about every two weeks or so. My plants have never looked better, and grew so much I had to re-pot them. They come in a few different sizes, and look beautiful in a window. Give them a try before you give up, and good luck!

beatgrl said...

Do over!

Mint and Rosemary will do great if you just stick them outside and forget about them, except when you step out there with your scissors to harvest fresh herbs for dinner. Yum!! Keeping stuff alive in pots is hard. Glad baby Lawns is thriving!

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