Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why I kill houseplants

I consider gardening to be one of my main gifts. I enjoy it. I'm pretty good at it. I think about it and read about it nearly every day, currently I'm reading about growing herbs in pots that I can move indoors in the winter and put on the patio in the summer, which leads me to my problem.

I kill houseplants. The three houseplants that my mother-in-law gave us (they had belonged to my Mister) early in our marriage struggled off and on until three years ago, when they finally gave up and died. The plant I received as a young woman at a church activity centered around the idea of "growing our testimony" did well for a few years before I killed it (I hope that doesn't reflect poorly on my testimony). Plants from various funerals have all passed on.

As good as my intentions, and as skilled as I am outside, I can't seem to keep a plant alive inside. The only "living" plant I currently have inside is a Jade plant I bought a few years ago. It was actually doing okay until this spring when I think I overwatered it, and then my toddler pulled the whole thing out of the pot several times (amazingly it's starting to grow tiny new leaves.. I think I love jade plants).

Anyway, so back to growing herbs. In my search for a way to grow herbs without killing them, I discovered something called a self-watering planter. Seems like something that might improve the odds of survival for my houseplants, if they work...

I've found a website that talks about why houseplants often die. Lack of light, and overwatering. Turns out houseplants that don't get as much light really don't need as much water. You think I'd know this. The website Inside Urban Green may just be my new best friend. They suggest watering your plant, then weighing it. Then weighing it again a week later to see how much water it actually used up, and using that as a gauge for watering in the future. As for the fancy self-watering containers? I linked to one at Ikea above that is relatively inexpensive. I've seen them online for $30 for a tiny pot that wouldn't work for most herbs after a year. Inside Urban Green recommends saving your money, and making planters out of old soda pop bottles. Maybe not something for your front room, but then again, you could stick the plastic things inside nicer looking/less practical planters (If you see any big ones at DI or something, get them for me!).


natalie said...

Your posts have been particularly fun lately. I like your writing style:)

Allie said...

Thanks! Maybe I'm more clever/funny/whatever when I'm sick.