Let’s face it: we’ve all been terrible plant parents at some point in our lives. It all starts out well enough – “I’ll be the Martha Stewart of maidenhead ferns!” you cry, “The Picasso of ponytail palms!”
Inevitably, though, things end with dry soil, sore disappointment and a neglected cheese plant gathering dust in the corner of the room. The good news? It doesn’t have to be that way!
Here are the five stages of plant parenting we’ve all been through a hundred times (and the secret to doing it well instead).
Is it Pinterest? An art exhibition? A trip to somewhere leafy and lush? However the inspiration strikes, you soon find yourself on your way to the local florist or garden centre, adding several leaf emojis to your Twitter bio as you go. You’re a plant person now! A nature person of the Earth.
After lots of humming and hawing in between the fertilizer and the birdseed… behold! You’ve spotted it: your perfect plant (or two, or five). They’re spectacular. This deserves five more leaf emojis. You give all your money to the person at the till, and barrel towards the door.
It’s all well and good to buy a two-metre tall philodendron, or a butterfly palm as wide as a house. Getting it home safely is another matter entirely! Either it’s strapped to the roof of the car or it’s getting strange looks on the bus. No matter what, soil is spilled. Skin is scraped. Leaves are left on the ground.
You’ve made it! Your brand new houseplant is safely home and in the pre-picked spot you prepared for it. The air smells of photosynthesis and horticultural awards.
At first, things are a bit discouraging. You’d had visions of making your flat look like a Scandinavian architect’s office from a minimalist design blog. However the reality is a bit less glam.
You consider giving up straight away, but then you pull yourself together. You draw up an elaborate watering schedule that spans seven spreadsheets, and figure out how you can rotate its position to achieve optimal sun exposure at every moment of the day.
After all that careful primping and preening, the expensive plant food and the artisan vase, life gets in the way. There are birthday dinners and late nights at work, weekends away where you swore you’d get a plantsitter. It’s hard enough looking after yourself, let alone a Madagascar dragon tree and three pots of tuberous begonias!
The houseplant has met its inevitable death. But the cycle doesn’t have to keep going! That’s because now there is…
If you saw yourself in any of the steps above, or have ever managed to kill a cactus (we’ve all been there!), then this book is for you.
With clear and simple visuals, it explains how to care for any and every houseplant you could possibly want in your home. Including essential info on watering, feeding, re-potting and fighting pests, it’s the perfect companion for those of us who aren’t gifted with a green thumb.
Happy plant parenting!