Saturday, June 5, 2010

One down, two to go.

Well, I did it. I've already managed to kill one of the house plants I bought earlier this spring. I'd never really had a real house plant before, so I thought I'd "branch out" (ha) and give it a try. I bought three on a whim when they were on sale at Lowe's.

I watered them enough to keep the soil damp, but tried to avoid over-watering them. I even found some pretty pots for them at Tuesday Morning (only $10 each!). I thought, surely I can manage to keep them alive. How hard can it be?

Apparently, pretty hard.

Here's what this Cordyline plant looked like in its glory days. As you can see, it boasted lush, glossy, green foliage with tinges of reddish-purple. This one was Luke's favorite.

The little tag on it said it needed "high light" and to be fertilized every other month. I set it in our dining room, which I thought had enough light when our patio blinds were open. I also recently bought some fertilizer from the garden center to be mixed in with its water, but that was probably too little too late. By then, the damage had already been done.

Over the past couple of weeks, Cordyline seemed to be losing more and more color, and some of its leaves would fall off at the slightest touch. Earlier this week, I thought foolishly that maybe if I set it out in the sunlight for a few hours, it would magically be revived. Well, a stiff breeze blew off half of its brittle leaves, leaving behind this sad sight:

R.I.P. Cordyline (Sorry, Luke.)

However, after further inspection of the original plastic pot, I saw some gross little wormy insects coming out of the holes in the bottom. Not the earthworm variety. The creepy-crawly kind with legs. Disgusting. I don't know if this is normal or not, but I do know that I don't want this in my house anymore.

As for the other two survivors, a Mass Cane and an Anita, they may meet their fate under my watch soon, too. Mass Cane is also started to look a little wilted and it's getting a couple brown leaves. Only Anita, which says "high light or low light," seems to be faring far.

I'm not sure exactly where I went wrong, or if it was a combination of factors that contributed to Cordyline's untimely death. Maybe I'm just not cut out for house plants, and I can accept that.

Honestly, after seeing those worms, I'm not sure that I care if the other two plants live much longer or not. I also think that the plants have been the source of some annoying fruit fly-like insects that started appearing around the time we brought them home. Coincidence?  I think not.

See? This is why I stick to the fake stuff.


Anonymous said...

If it makes you feel any better, I find a good proportion of the plants I buy are already sick or buggy when I get them. Many seem to be over-watered and have little friends like fungus gnats...I am getting a bit more cautious about checking the plant soil and leaves out before I take them to the till, but I still get a dud from time to time.
Consider your home to be the palliative care center that good plants go to before they die. You are providing an important service!
Thanks for sharing all your hard work.

Comeca Jones said...

This was too funny. Good luck with the next set of plants maybe try pothos plant they are a little less complex.Tropicals are just a finicky bunch.

Amanda @ Little House on the Corner said...

jansmith - thanks, that does make me feel a little bit better!

comeca - you're right, they were of the tropical variety... they just don't belong here in the midwest. :) i'll remember your suggestion about pothos plants, if i ever decide to give it a go again. thanks!

Cindy @The Flipping Couple said...

I kill houseplants a lot. We inherited a whole bunch from my MIL when she was in the hospital for chemo, and so far I've killed 2 of them. Which means I still have 4 that are alive, and those aren't bad percentages, right??

Megan said...

What if you repotted the other two with new soil? That may help get rid of the bugs, if there are any. I have bad luck with house plants too... even bamboo, which is supposed to be basically indestructable! The only plants that thrive in my house are the ones in my frog tanks... high humidity, light, and everything. My peace lily has survived a year, but my ivies always die. Good luck!!!

Marleah said...

I totally agree with the mention of pothos! I've had them in my old office (virtually NO light except the fluorescent kind) and at my house right in front of a window, and they do great either way. I water mine maybe 3 times a week. They have a bit of a tropical look too, and they can sit in a planter or hang too.

I also have not had much luck with bamboo (I think not enough light? not enough drainage? who knows!) and with ivy (mine always get spider mites and I can't ever get rid of them).

Don't give up on them, just look for easy to grow varieties. :)

Allison @ House of Hepworths said...

I'm horrible with house plants! I kill all.of.them. I really love fake plants. They look great year round and you never have to water them!

Sara @ Russet Street Reno said...

Sometimes plants need to be in bigger containers. My hibiscus was not looking good so I put it into a bigger pot and now it is absolutely flourishing. Adding Perlite and potting mix (not soil) to the containers can also help with drainage. Not sure where those wormys came from though?

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I have a black thumb too. Wave petunias are the only thing I can keep alive. They are really hard to kill. Really. ;) Thanks for the visit while I was away!


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