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To want a houseplants that just bloody lives

228 replies

Purplerayhan · 22/02/2021 22:41

That's all. No matter how much I read the instructions and follow them, source from proper garden centres, read up on the best plants for the room THEY JUST KEEP ON DYING. Even a sodding cactus went to the great compost heapnin the sky. I see other people's rooms with lush plants and I'm jealous.
And yes, I do have other things to be thinking about. No, I don't have much of a life. Yes, I talk to them but th singing might have finished them off.
YABU - clearly you're the Harold Shipman of horticulture, suck it up
YANBU - they are bottomless pits of promise and money, get over your hatred of plastic flowers

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

221 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
Unanananana · 22/02/2021 22:46

I have a peace lily that my best friends bought me when my dad passed away nearly four years ago. Its genuinely the only house plant I haven't killed. I've had succulents, cacti, spider plants and even a bonsai tree and they all snuffed it, despite my adoration for them.

I am very green fingered outside, it just seems to fall flat with regards to houseplants! Tis a curse!

BritWifeinUSA · 22/02/2021 22:49

My husband bought me a cheese plant when I moved here because I had to leave mine behind in the UK. He bought a tiny one that was more the size of a spider plant. 5 years on and it’s colossal and fills a whole corner of the living room. I love it. Very little work involved.

Pukkatea · 22/02/2021 22:50

Even my air plant is basically dead. YANBU.

BlackeyedSusan · 22/02/2021 22:51

I neglect my cacti and they seem to survive.

ex neglects his spider plant and it is still alive. God knows how.

right plant for right location. ex keeps coriander alive for months. i kill it within hours.

RichardMarxisinnocent · 22/02/2021 22:52

I used to be a murderer of houseplants. I have killed all sorts of plants over the years. However I have in recent years discovered how to keep spider plants alive. Mine sit on west facing windowsills. In the older days I would water spider plants regularly, probably once a week and they always died. Nowadays I water them randomly, when I remember. So sometimes it's once a week for 2 or 3 weeks, sometimes they don't get watered for weeks. Several times they have looked on the verge of death due to lack of water - many brown dry leaves, the green leaves looking all droopy. I cut off the brown leaves and drench them in water and they come back to life. They grow babies on a regular basis - at one point I had about 14 babies between them. So for me, for spider plants, the solution to keeping them alive is semi neglect.

chipsandgin · 22/02/2021 22:52

Hmm, was thinking similar earlier as the Boston Fern I’ve been lovingly caring for has reached a point of no return...but on the other hand I’ve got several that are flourishing despite my Shipmanesque plant tendencies (a ZZ plant and some Acera palms as well as several mosaic plants that clearly don’t mind my occasional lapses of concentration..). Recent casualties include Ficus’, blue ferns and something that include something that sounds like pepperonis which was all tumbly and pretty until it dropped all its leaves!?

I think having done some research about light/water etc that my dark, damp house (yep, fun times!) isn’t the place for a lot of them & I need to be a bit more realistic about both the environment they are in and my limited abilities! There is hope.. ;)

Notlostjustexploring · 22/02/2021 22:53

The only plant I've successfully kept alive has been an aloe Vera.

It sits beside my kitchen tap, which means it actually occasionally gets watered!

To be fair, I can't really keep plants outside healthy either. I remember being thrilled by keeping one thing alive, to be told by a green fingered friend, "um, you know that's technically a weed, right...?"

I've kept kids and cats alive and healthy though. I'll call it a win.

ShinyMe · 22/02/2021 22:57

I wouldn't listen to the advice on the label or listen to the garden centre - they really don't know that much about houseplants - they always just say 'bright indirect light, water but don't overwater' for pretty much any plant.

I always used to kill every plant I had, but I've gone houseplant mad during lockdown and have 50+ now. I've killed about 10 since lockdown started, but the others are all thriving. I've learnt from googling the specific plant after I've bought it and reading some of the stuff out there online that's very specifically targetted to caring for that plants - there are some devout experts out there for every plant you can think of, who can give you detailed, specific advice for exactly what to do, and who can help with problems when they're minor, before you kill the plant. I've found a few good groups on Reddit too, who are very helpful - r/houseplants, r/plantclinic and specific groups for plants that I have like pilea, monstera, calathea etc.

The things I'm having most success with currently seem to be spider plants (my big one has created 6 babies now, which are reasonably sized) and a big monstera that I bought in Sainsbury's for £6 last June.

MayYouLiveInInterestingTimes · 22/02/2021 22:57

You want an Aspidistra Elatior. Also known as the cast-iron plant, because it withstands everything. Spiders are pretty unkillable. Btw, "weeds" are actually native wild plants. Highly valuable ecologically. Wink

Oysterbabe · 22/02/2021 22:59

I've had my peace lily for more than 10 years and I neglect the shit out of it. Virtually unkillable.

ShinyMe · 22/02/2021 23:03

I had a peace lily which nearly died in the office during one lockdown. I went in after a month to get some papers, and the poor thing looked dead. I brought it home and watered it and left it - 24 hours later it was back to normal! It's now significantly bigger. They're like magic.

I am getting pretty plant obsessive - working from home means I end up checking them all in detail every day and stroking bits while I have phone calls.

altforvarmt · 22/02/2021 23:05

Are you the sort of person who likes to water plants often, or are you the type to ignore them until they die? I think that knowing what kind of plant-keeper you are is as important as getting the right kind of plant in the right kind of space.

Fairyliz · 22/02/2021 23:10


I had a peace lily which nearly died in the office during one lockdown. I went in after a month to get some papers, and the poor thing looked dead. I brought it home and watered it and left it - 24 hours later it was back to normal! It's now significantly bigger. They're like magic.

I am getting pretty plant obsessive - working from home means I end up checking them all in detail every day and stroking bits while I have phone calls.

I assume you mean stroking bits of the plants Grin?
Don’t want to lose your job in a pandemic!
campion · 22/02/2021 23:12

Well you're obviously a challenging case Wink so you need to lower your expectations. Also stop expecting the plants to die and instead give them the basics ie some water, light and reasonable temperature.

Try a money plant

They are quite hard to kill and need minimum attention.
My son was given one nearly 2 years ago and remembers to water it now and again and it's thriving on a windowsill. I admit to repotting it on one visit but its definitely not cherished.

Don't : water too much or leave plants standing in water; keep them in constantly changing temperatures; give them too little light.

Do : Read up a bit about basic plant care and don't give up but keep it simple for now. Just now you could get a bowl of spring bulbs eg miniature daffodils, crocuses etc from a supermarket which would survive most things!

noblegreenk · 22/02/2021 23:13

I feel your pain! My house only has north or south facing windows. Any plants kept in north facing rooms die due to lack of light and the ones kept in south facing rooms all fry to death. I've been branching out into the world of artificial plants for a while now to save to myself the guilt trip.

merrymim · 22/02/2021 23:17

Agree it's a peace lily you need.

They go all floppy and droopy when you need to water them. Some say its an early warning sign of pending death, I reckon they just do it to guilt me into watering them. Seems to work as they haven't died yet.

ShinyMe · 22/02/2021 23:18

Haha @Fairyliz yes, bits of the plants! Some of them have furry leaves, or shiny bits.

TrickyD · 22/02/2021 23:18

We are still admiring the six poinsettias that DH bought from Lidl at the end of November. He always optimistically buys some and always they die before getting to Christmas but these are going strong. Five are on the conservatory windowledge, so plenty of light, the other is on the dresser in the hall where it is much darker. He smugly says it’s because he waters them from the bottom that they have flourished for so long.

AllDoneIn · 22/02/2021 23:32

Weeping fig. They are immortal. You will pray for it to die. It will outlive you.

Agapornis · 22/02/2021 23:35

Cactuses are surprisingly easy to kill! I have more plants than I can count, and to plant-killing friends I give: peace lily, spider plant, monstera, ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia), aspidistra, devil's ivy, sansevieria, and clivia. They pretty much all thrive on neglect.

As PP said, ignore the label, google the species/variety instead, it'll give you a better idea of light levels required. And yes - do you overwater or underwater? Underwatering is easier to resolve. Water requirements change throughout the year - I barely water most of mine in winter, maybe once a month if they're lucky (certainly not the 'twice a week' you find on some labels).

Thisisworsethananticpated · 22/02/2021 23:40

They are hard work
And I’m green fingered
My tricks have been
Move somewhere that gets light , especially winter
Fertilise them
Re-pot them
For the succulents I was given a herb by a Chinese medicine that I spritz with

However my biggest challenge is orchids

I have a brand new one I need to keep alive

ifitpleasesandsparkles · 22/02/2021 23:44

We have a fucking massive aloe Vera that's survived a bird getting in and nibbling it all over. It seems happiest just left alone. Spider plant gets on well. And my absolute favourite wee guy who is thriving... I don't even know what he is! Got a couple of succulents and cactuses that are happiest left alone too. I've given up buying anything that looks at all "delicate". Needy bastards.

biddybird · 22/02/2021 23:44

@TrickyD if you keep it them the dark for 14 hours a day they will get red leaves on them again. You have to start doing this two months before Christmas.

Mumof3girlsandaboy · 22/02/2021 23:45

The only one that doesn’t die for me is palm tree. I have 2 large one. The first one last 5 years and the 2 ones I have I bought them 4 years ago and really beautiful and only give them water once a month at that all.

EarlLeighIndamornin · 22/02/2021 23:47

I can recommend the inexpensive IKEA fake ones!

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