House Plants That Can Withstand My Black Thumb

It's been a little quiet around here, and that's because we’ve been house ridden, yet again, with a cold this past week. Thankfully it’s much more mild this time around, but the bug has unfortunately gotten the best of Jason while I’m over here now parading around work and home with a mask over my face (i.e. 😷) in a strong-armed attempt to thwart the same sickness that took me down for a good month this past December. Remember when my entire wedding party almost went down the week after the wedding? Yeah, that happened... *shudder*

FYI for any germophobes out there looking for a good mask, I took matters into my own hands and ordered a box off Amazon here, even though my workplace provides me with one. We're running out of the soft ones at our hospital and all that's left are the stiff formed ones and those are waaay too uncomfortable and make it difficult to breathe in, so if ya need one for home, work, or travel... I gotchu! I'm definitely going to pack some up for our trip to Iceland next month too.

So to preoccupy my mind while quarantining ourselves at home, I’ve been pondering (more like staring) at the few houseplants we have. And while I have this yearning to collect more, I always get the same questions fired back at me when I point at a plant and tell Jason I like it:

  1. Is that going to fit in the car? 
  2. Where are you going to put it? 

And the reason why our plant collection hasn’t grown much, or at all, in the past year is because the answer to these 2 questions is usually “no” and  “I don’t know”, respectively. But to my defense, there are plenty of places to put aaaallllll of the plants I’ve been eyeing, so all I really need to figure out is how to fit the plant I want in our car. But also, a bigger issue remains and thus I have a confession to make: 

I have a knack for killing plants!

It’s true. I have a black thumb. So sad. I mean, who kills a succulent?! This girl. To be fair, I think it had a really weird disease because it did not die a normal plant death (even the Home Depot employees said it looked super weird) but nonetheless it died under my supervision. 

RIP succulent 1 of 3

RIP succulent 1 of 3

Jason, being my other half, luckily has a green thumb which even my mom can attest to. He’s managed to save our dying palm tree so far (more on that in a bit, fingers crossed), and in 2007 when my parents and I left for Europe, we returned to a backyard that was even greener than we left it which earned him tons of brownie points with mama Ha. 

So back on those house plants of ours. Which ones have I managed not to kill, and how are the doing? Glad you rhetorically asked! Let’s go through them 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼

 

House plants for the black thumb-inclined

 

20171207-DSC00045.jpg

Sansevieria trifasciata

a.k.a. Snake Plant, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, Good Luck Plant, Viper’s Bowstring Hemp, etc. 

By far my most favorite houseplant in our entire home, it claims prime real estate in our living room by our armchair next to the patio door. It never receives any direct light, but tons of natural light does filter in through the windows along the wall directly above it, and it also seems to be thriving in this location. It’s required very little attention from us, only a generous sprinkling to wet the soil about once a week, and it's growing super tall just where it’s at! Sometimes I’ll look back at our engagement pictures when we first bought the plant and reminisce about it’s dainty stubby days before the tallest stem was even near the door handle. It’s a tall preteen now and the tallest stem is about a foot above the door handle!

LRG_DSC00922-1.jpg

Dracaena marginata

a.k.a. Dragon Tree or Dragon Plant. Ours is a little nubby, and it's been a little nubby for nearly 2 years now, which makes me wonder why it's not growing much taller like its aforementioned friend. We do have it further in the center of our living room, away from the windows so it doesn't receive nearly as much indirect light as the snake plant does so that might be a big reason.. but we kind of like its nubby little bushy character, so we haven't moved it anywhere. Plus, we'll let you in on a little secret. It's also hiding the subwoofer for our sound system :) Aside from its nubbiness though, it's still very green, and requires very little attention and maintenance (i.e. I usually toss it the bit of water left over in my water bottle after I come home from work every day, but during winter, watering it once a week is enough—yes, I'm soo precise). There are these 2 funny leaves that tend to stick straight up at the top of the plant though, and every time I notice them start to lean or bend, I give the plant a little bit of water and notice the leaves stand right back up the next day. So quirky, this one.

20171207-DSC00043.jpg

Howea forsteriana

a.k.a. Kentia Palm or Thatch Palm

This one's been in the ICU. It's our toughest plant to care for, and also the most delicate, and the research we've done supports that... but its beauty is so worth it! Even when we first brought it home, some of the fronds were already dying and had to be pruned. We were able to save it though, and the plant was doing well until more recently, we started noticing strange white fuzzy spots all over one of the palms in the pot. It looked like it was infected, and we had absolutely no idea what the heck it was. We tried googling a bunch of remedies and after attempting to clean and prune the tree, we *think* we've gotten a handle on the issue, and are on our way to helping the palm recover, while preventing the other palms in the pot from also getting whatever it was that affected the dying one. Needless to say, our palm tree is looking much thinner now, but hopefully it'll regain its lushness as Winter makes its way out. So so delicate and finicky, but I absolutely love the look of the palm! We need to make this work! You WILL live!

IMG_1754.JPG

Succulents

Yes, I know I said I killed one, but I also said I think it was due to unforeseen circumstances... because the other 2 succulents we got the same day are still alive and thriving! I just haven't had time to show them any TLC because we haven't had the chance to shop for a proper larger pot to transplant them all into. Currently, they're still in the metal pails that I originally planted them in, and they've all grown super tall and lanky, and honestly look pretty awkward (nothing like the photo here, which is how they looked when we first got them). Some need pruning, and are growing roots in funny places because we have them beside our sink, and .. yeah. Those teenagers have outgrown their home and it's time to move out. This mama's just been too preoccupied with her palm tree patient downstairs in ICU. My bad. Maybe this blog post will be good motivation to get my plant game back on point, because it's pretty embarrassing putting this all in writing. p.s. can you spot our Dragon Tree & Snake Plant in the back of this picture? :)

 

 

House plant wish list

And onto the fun! Now armed with the knowledge of my notorious black thumb, and also my track record of current successes, any feedback, tips, tricks, or recommendations you may have to offer regarding our possible next low-maintenance house plant would be greatly appreciated! Here were some of the plants I had my eye on for quite some time now:

mike-marquez-445115.jpg

Monstera deliciosa

a.k.a. the Split Leaf Philodendron.

Those iconic leaves! These huge majestic plants are so beautiful, and I actually have a few faux stems sitting around that are also waiting for the perfect vessel to live in, but just haven't run into anything perfect yet. With this real life, living, breathing version though, I'm thinking this would do well in my office, which tends to get most of the morning and afternoon light and warms up quite a bit (more so than the rest of the house).

mike-marquez-409620.jpg

Ficus lyrata

a.k.a. Fiddle Leaf Fig.

With my luck, I'm not sure if I'm ready to venture down the picky and particular path it takes to care for a fiddle leaf just yet. I'm already picky and particular enough, and I'm not sure taking on a plant that has an attitude like my own is a good idea... maybe much later on? This one gets heart eyes, for sure, but from a feasibility standpoint, the girl with the black thumb might not be ready yet!

marko-blazevic-435245.jpg

Mentha spicata

a.k.a. Mint. Okay, not really a houseplant... but definitely practical, no? If not for cooking, definitely for cocktails! I really almost snagged this one up on our last trip to the grocery store, because they're definitely readily available, but I realized I didn't have appropriate counter space at the moment, since my overgrown succulents were occupying all the nice spots in our kitchen that get the direct morning sunlight. Gotta take care of those succs ASAP!

 

So maybe I've made this blog post more like a brain-dump / re-organize my thoughts / to-do list for myself. Sorry! But let's recap: I'm bad at plants. I've told you the plants that I've been able to keep alive! I've told you plants I hope to obtain in the future. And now, I need to find new homes to repot my succulents in so they can further thrive, find a nice vessel for my monstera stems (and will update the feed when I do!), and then probably will first buy some mint because it's the most feasible and achievable on my wish list :) The rest will come, but for now, thanks for lending your ear... if you made it this far! zzz

///

Wish list image credits: