8 Plants and How to Kill Them - Part 1
A love of gardening doesn’t necessarily translate into a green thumb. In fact, sometimes the greatest lovers of the flora are actually serial murderers when it comes to the plants in their care. Learn from Meghan and Elyse’s mistakes!
African Violets - M
An African Violet was gifted to me when I moved into my first apartment. I took care not to over water, as I had been warned that was the surest way to kill African Violets. That’s why I was very surprised that after a month or so the entire plant just…fell off. The entire plant just rolled right off the pot one day. Turns out, you can’t water African Violets from above. You have to put water under them, and allow the roots to soak it up.
Peonies - E
My grandparents’ home was surrounded by several flowering plants that seemed to grow effortlessly, and my favorite of them were my grandfather’s Chinese Peonies. After buying my first home, I went to the greenhouse to find those pink flowers with piles of soft, weightless petals. They didn’t have them, but they did have some coral-colored hybrid called a ‘Singing in the Rain’/ Itoh Peony. As a huge fan of musical theater, the name alone stole my heart. I had planted them in the perfect place, I thought, right by the patio with the best soil- where the grass grows tall and green. But with tall grass comes the need for mowing, and let’s just say that 14-year-olds are NOT the most observant of their surroundings, and they were mowed right over by my son, all because I wanted them to have the best spot in the yard.
Shamrock Plant - M
I bought one of these to give to a friend who had recently lost an elderly (and Irish!) family member. I managed to kill it in the short period of time between buying the plant and delivering it. I had assumed that an “Irish” plant would need a lot of water. I was wrong. Especially when that plant is headed into a dormant season and should actually be put away in a dark corner and utterly ignored for a while. I killed it with my attentiveness.
Yucca - E
My cat peed in the pot. Like, dozens of times. I’m not even going to take credit for this, cats are like that.
Zinnias - M
I have tried growing them from seed and starter plants. I put them in pots and on the ground. I place them in bright sunlight. I give them some shade. I water regularly – I let them get a little dry. I have killed Every. Single. Zinnia. Meanwhile my neighbors have bed after bed of enormous, brilliant colored flowers all summer. And those neighbors just look at me and shrug. To be honest, there’s no lesson here. I really don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
Will the authors ever learn? Have they had enough? Tune in next month for the thrilling conclusion of 8 Plants and How to Kill Them
Meghan Budinger and Elyse Adams are shameless plant murderers and do not work at Downtown Greens for obvious reasons.
This article was published in the February 2023 edition of Front Porch Magazine. To view the full publication use the link below.