My office plant is dying. I donít know why. It was so lush
and green when I bought it, a beautiful hanging philodendron. It
grew vines almost to the floor. Now all of a sudden the leaves are
turning yellow and withering. I donít get it. Iím not doing
anything different than I ever did. Why?
I just donít have it Ė a green thumb. Oh, Iíve tried,
believe me, Iíve tried. I would love to be surround by green,
living things. It just doesnít seem to happen. I select my
plants carefully. For a while they do okay, then one day leaves
start to turn yellow one at a time. After that itís down hill
all the way.
I watch my plant die until I canít stand it any longer, then
throw it away and buy a new one to kill.
Iíve read the "how to" books. They all say how easy
it is to grow tropical houseplants, how it is just a matter of
light, water, and humidity, with a little plant food at times.
Thatís immediately before they launch into 300 pages of
horticultural mumbo jumbo that would make Mother Nature afraid to
bring a houseplant home.
I always buy the species that say "easy to grow." The
easier the better, I figure. But nothing is foolproof, well, maybe
it is for some fools, but I can kill an iron plant.
Someone at the office still has a lush red poinsettia. Can you
believe it? It still looks just like it did in December. Iím
lucky if I have one that can make it until December 26th before
all the red petals hit the dust.
What about cactus, you say? No one can kill a cactus. Wanna
bet? I kill them with love - love and water. They look so thirsty
I just have to give them a sip. They thank me by rotting off at
the root. I kill jade plants that way too. Easy come - easy go.
I must admit, though, I had more success with cactus than any
other plant. I had one that was very weird. It looked a bit like
it had it long hair with dreadlocks. We coexisted for several
years before it finally decided it was time to seek new ground,
started putting out roots in the wrong places, and eventually
dried up and died.
African violets take one look at me and start coughing. They
need light, but not full sun. They need water, but from the bottom
or the leaves will rot. They need plant food, but it has to be a
special kind. They need humidity. See, I did read the book.
I once had an African violet that almost survived. I brought
home other African violets for company when I heard that they are
social. It grew, and grew until it was sprouting on the end of a
long spindly stem several inches above the pot. It was ugly beyond
belief Ė but alive.
So, I figured I couldnít go wrong with a yucca plant, a
native of the desert. But, it twisted and grew toward the sun. I
turned it around and it grew in another direction. Soon it was
twisted in a dozen directions and sadly deformed. Yes, it is alive
Ė I almost wish it wasnít.
It wonít be much longer until the stores are full of lush
spring plants again. Iíll think of my philodendron with
yellowing leaves, my twisted yucca, and my sick assortment of
shriveled greenery. I will promise myself that if I get a new
plant, I wonít over water; Iíll fertilize carefully; Iíll
give it light; Iíll even mist it - maybe. .
Who am I kidding? The plant is wilting already just because I'm
looking at it. Apparently some people are just meant to have
artificial plants. I wonder how long it would take me to kill a
Copyright 2004 Sheila Moss