impossible to kill houseplants? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 08-07-2002, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i dont know if this is exactly right for this thread, seems like its mostly for herbs. but i would like some advice for inside plants that are really really tough.

i love plants and have had many but i have killed every last one of them my house seems so baren and dry without them but i cant keep spending money when they just die, its so depressing. so before i break down and just buy some plastic trees and "nature" smelling spray can ne one help me?
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#2 of 15 Old 08-07-2002, 07:42 PM
 
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I'm a total brown thumb with houseplants. I just forget about them! I do find that the more of them I have, the better I am about remembering to water them. Not much danger of overwatering in my house, although I hear that's the usual problem when houseplants don't do well.

Two that I have abused terribly which seem to hang in there are pothos and peace lily. True, peace lilies do better when they get enough water, but they have this convenient warning system of going into a dead droop when they are parched. If you at least water whenever they droop, they won't die. They won't bloom or flourish, but they won't die in my experience.

I have put my pothos through drought conditions and they survived! Oh, I've also had good luck with dracaenas (sp?).

I think it helps to buy larger, more established plants. The small ones need more babying. Try a place like Home Depot or Target, their prices are usually low enough that if the plant dies, you aren't out a bundle.

Stay far, far away from ficus. They are very temperamental, although beautiful, of course! I confess I buy them anyway (if I can find inexpensive ones) because I can get them to last about six months usually, and that's good enough for me.
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#3 of 15 Old 08-08-2002, 01:18 PM
 
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Jade plants and other succulents don't need much attention and get pretty big and interesting-looking. I also love to have a scented geranium in the house year round. They come in such interesting scents and actually don't need much attention.
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#4 of 15 Old 08-09-2002, 04:44 PM
 
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Hey fionnsmom-- how about trying some cacti? They are pretty low maintainance. I have (happy, healthy) plants all over the place but really don't know too much about what I am doing with them. Some that I think are pretty easy to tend to are: ivy, spider plants, pothos, and heart-leaf philodendron. These are all cool because they are easy to propogate. Clip, allow roots to grow, pot and before you know it you'll have a house full of plants. Another good one to try is the peacock or "second-chance" plant, so called because just when you think you have killed it, new leaves unfurl. It's a beautiful plant and mine has given me not only a second chance, but a third and a fourth as well. Another one that's quite easy to care for is the snake plant. I think they are quite striking. Christmas cactus, Easter cactus and African violet all seem very easy too, although I am doing something wrong as mine never bloom.

Good luck and let us know what you pick!
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#5 of 15 Old 08-09-2002, 05:05 PM
 
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I've found that if you learn the secret for any particular plant -- then it isn't so tough. Ficus are tempermental -- but if you water them a lot, make sure they get bright direct sunlight, and you feed them every 2 weeks -- then they do well.

African violets are hard, IMO. They need very direct sunlight in order to bloom. And they need plant food regularly. They must be watered from the bottom -- the water damages the leaves. And they like to dry out pretty well between waterings. There is a special kind of pot they like -- it is 2 pieces. You put the water in the bottom part and it drinks as it needs too. Otherwise, make sure the pot it is in has holes in the bottom to allow for good drainage.

Cactus need bright direct sunlight. Food and water about once a month.

Peacelillies are easy -- if they are kept in low light and watered constantly. You can put a tray or saucer under a pot with holes in it, and fill the saucer with water to let it drink constantly. People actually plant these in fish bowls, completely submerged, and let the fish feed on them. They cannot be overwatered -- which is nice, I think. Worrying about overwatering can be more stressfull than forgetting to water, for me. antheriums are similar in temperment, but come in pink and purple. I like that they flower year 'round. Rembember -- low light.

Pothos and philodendrum are very good ones too. They bounce back if they are damaged. My dog ate our philo down to nubs sticking out of the dirt, and it grew back and is once again gorgeous. Funny thing too, because they are supposed to be highly poisonous. But the dog is okay.

Spider plants and ivey are pretty easy too -- they don't want direct light though, and they like damp soil and mist on the leaves.

Tropical plants - palms especially - can be really difficult to care for. I avoid them because I kill them. Though rubber plants are pretty good.

I've been working at Home Depot for six months -- and was soley in charge of the houseplant are for most of that time. I didn't know a thing when I started, but I am finding it easy to pick up and I enjoy it. Home Depot carries a thin magazine/booklet about houseplants. It is .98 cents. The info is straight forward and simple. I recommend it!

Editing to add -- HD guarentees houseplants for a year. Save your receipt and bring it back if you accidentally kill it. That way, you can try another one without racking up bills!!

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#6 of 15 Old 08-09-2002, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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*franticly scribbling notes down,tyiing to learn a new language*

thanks sooo much for all the suggestions

i think i will take the plung this weekend and acually get a plant


mamaduck WOW your a book of helpful info, the HD thing is absolutely PERFACT, o im so exicted. i feel like im adopting a kid :LOL man the things that will excite me these days:
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#7 of 15 Old 08-09-2002, 10:28 PM
 
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I've never lived in a house that had enough windows to provide even low-light houseplants a suitable year-round environment. What I like to do is rotate my houseplants about every three months giving each one a chance to recover outdoors. I put them out in the backyard beneath the shade of the oak tree and they flourish with the extra humidity and fresh air. I live in the Deep South so there are only 3 months of the year when I have to keep all of my houseplants indoors or in the garage to protect them from freezing weather.
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#8 of 15 Old 08-10-2002, 06:53 AM
 
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I think my aloe has been very easy.

I just potted it in a terra cotta pot and water very seldom and it is doing great with all kinds of knew leaves.

And it is useful too.

Stephanie

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#9 of 15 Old 08-10-2002, 12:57 PM
 
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Snake plants (also called Mother-in-Laws Tongue) is really easy, doesn't mind going without water for a good long while, doesn't need much sunlight, but can't get too much either... and is really good at removing toxins from the air. It's the only one of my house plants that survived for more than a year.
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#10 of 15 Old 08-14-2002, 09:56 PM
 
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hey fionnsmom!
i would second (third? fourth?) the pothos and mother in law tounge! i have had both of mine, grown from clippings, for about 11 years now. they are very hardy IMO. I seem to have a hard time with succulents (except the MIL plant)of any type, but am trying a little barrel cactus......hope it lives! I also have a philodendron of some sort, which is about 15 years old and has lived thru 4 moves, being dug up by the cat, shredded by the dog (when he was a puppy), dropped off the deck, left out in the hot car for 2 days! Pretty hardy, if you ask me! good luck and let us know what you chose!

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#11 of 15 Old 08-19-2002, 02:08 PM
 
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OMG, I have killed many a plant too...especially aloe, I cannot get them to live! Which is sad cuz I like them. And african violets, why dont they like me? I put them in direct sun and they scorch and burn. But otherwise they dont flower... I water the right way, even fertilize, *sigh*. And my dh keeps bringing home more houseplants for me to forget to water,lol. Right now I have 3 plants which I have not killed yet, a wandering jew, a philodendron and something which no longer has a tag so I dont know what it is. They are doing okay, actually I just watered one because of this thread =)
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#12 of 15 Old 08-23-2002, 08:05 PM
 
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I have particular expertise in this question, since I am a certified houseplant killer, yet I work at a florist/greenhouse. One plant that has not been mentioned yet is the sheffelera (most likely spelled wrong), also known as an umbrella tree. If you get a large floor plant size it is very hard to kill (though I've managed to do away with a number of the small ones). It has very nice foliage and they are usually not very expensive even for a very large one. Good luck
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#13 of 15 Old 08-29-2002, 12:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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whew i finally made it to home depot, only when i got there i realized i had forgotton all the notes id printed out from this thread!:

so luckily im with a friend who knows a fair amount of basic houseplant care, so while im walking around looking as lost and confused as a chicken when its raining, my freind carefully guides me in what i hope turns out to be a good direction.

i got a small prayer plant and some cool looking thing with white lines on the viens of the leaves and some sorta spouting tuby pretty things

and its been a whole week and they havent died yet!!!!!:LOL

next weekend i am going to make extra sure i bring my notes,

thanks for all your help everyone
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#14 of 15 Old 08-31-2002, 11:09 PM
 
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I am so confused.

I too, have a brown thumb. So far all my plants have died. Home Depot told me to try a peace lily, which I have bought. But she said NOT to water it very much, at most once a week.

It is already looking droopy. I went ahead and watered it really good the other day. It still does not look that great. I don't know what to do. Can I really not over water a peace lily?

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#15 of 15 Old 09-01-2002, 12:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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