I don’t know about you, but I can’t keep a houseplant alive to save my life. Happily, I have never had the need to, nor can I envision those scenarios. (Well, actually I can envision them. My imagination likes to come up with all sorts of improbable scenarios. Like one in which my very life is tied to the life of a spider plant. Or maybe a ficus. Like some sort of living, leafy voodoo doll. A bug climbs on a leaf, I feel my skin crawl. I get weird cravings for plant food. I forget to water it too long, and suddenly I don’t even have the strength to reach the watering can…I imagine I’d last 2 weeks, tops.)
Seriously, though, we have no houseplants. I have killed many houseplants over the years. I like plants. Don’t get me wrong. I just seem to be unable to consistently remember their existence for a long enough period of time to keep them alive. Pets I could handle, because they would typically make their needs known. Well, not itemizing their needs. But they would make it known that they had needs. By making noise, or looking at me with sad faces, or chewing on things, or getting smelly. Or piddling on the floor. Houseplants are just too quiet and too immobile. They just sit there in a pot. They might drop a leaf here and there, especially when they’ve gone a few weeks without water, but beyond that they don’t intrude. And then before you know it, you happen to glance over at the shriveled corpse of the thing.
Surprisingly, I’ve had some success in my life with gardening. Not that the plants are any noisier, but somehow the greater needs of a garden are easier for me to remember than the occasional needs of a potted plant. I wouldn’t call myself a gardener, by any stretch, but the handful of times I’ve gardened, I’ve kept the plants alive long enough to get some sort of rewards.
I also seem to have a remarkably green thumb when it comes to growing vegetables. Not vegetables that I’ve planted, but those vegetables that I have purchased with the intention of using them as food. But then they grow into plants. In the house.
That makes them houseplants, right?
We kept this sweet potato around for several months, and it was the healthiest looking plant this household has seen in years. It stayed on the kitchen windowsill for several weeks. (Eventually, though, we released it to the wild.)
How about you? Have you the thumbs of green? Or are you a plant-killer like me?