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black thumb

My mom believes that indoor plants are good for a home because they purify the air.  Her house is virtually a terranium full of lush, living things.  She wants me to breathe pure air, so she keeps giving me plants, and I keep taking them and killing them in due course.

When she offers me plants, I should say no, but I never do.  First, I’m Korean, so I’m programmed to avoid saying no to my mom whenever possible.  Second, I usually think that despite the dead plants littering my past, I might have better luck with the next one.  Third, my mom always assures me that the plants she gifts require minimal care.  I think her definition of minimal care is to water once a week.  My definition of minimal care is less co-dependent, and is based on the assumption that the plant should be able to fend for itself, as nature intended, without relying on the assistance of others.

I currently have three plants in my house in different stages of distress.  Actually, one of them no longer feels distress, because it is dead.  But I believe the other two are still alive.  The first one, commonly known as a Christmas Cactus, lives on my third floor in indirect sunlight.  My mom has the plant that this plant was cut from, and the mother plant blooms bright pink flowers every December.  My plant has never bloomed, on Christmas or otherwise.  But I try not to hold it against the plant, since I only remember to water it once every two months.

The second plant is the newest addition to our home.  It looks pretty green and its leaves are relatively shiny, but I’ve also only had it for eight weeks.  In his Montessori classroom, my toddler and his classmates learn how to care for their plants by wiping the leaves clean.  At home, Tate practices on this plant.  You can see the scars from his tender loving care.  Tate also likes to say hello to the plant by karate-chopping the leaves.  I fear for the plant’s continued health.

Lastly, my air plant.  I’d been coveting one when my friend Monica gave me one as a gift.  I can’t be 100% certain that it’s dead, because even when it was alive, it didn’t look very alive.  But I do recollect that it looked more green than it currently does.  In my defense, it took me by surprise that in spite of its name, an air plant requires more than just air: you have to spray it periodically with water.  If I can’t be bothered to water a plant with a cup, chances are slim that I’m going to be spritzing it with a water bottle on a regular basis.  As it turns out, the chances of that happening are actually zero.

teeming with life

I recently submerged the air plant in water in an attempt to shock it back to life, but so far, there’s been no discernable change.  I’ll keep you posted.

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20 Comments Post a comment
  1. According to my brother’s gf, airplants require a periodic soaking which she does by dunking hers in the sink every month. I too have contemplated raising plants but the guilt (coupled with the high probability) of killing one rides too high on my conscience.

    January 19, 2012
    • But there are so many variables! Like, how long do you dunk for?

      January 19, 2012
  2. p.s. “this” is a link. i’m not expecting you to read my mind.

    January 17, 2012
  3. hey yoona!

    i’ve just come across your blog and i have to say, i LOVE it. sadly, it’s been a while since i’ve read a blog that i want to come back to, so this is kinda exciting. anyway, i’m a wife and mom, as well, but i am not a lawyer. i do have quite a few lawyer friends, though, for some reason.

    as for air plants, keep them in your bathroom. the steam/moisture from your showers equates to you never having to water them. oh, and if it helps, i’m definitely 100% certain that the one in the picture is totally dead. so sorry for your loss. your fiddlehead fig (middle picture), however, is made of steel, and should be pretty hard to kill. keep it in indirect sunlight, and water once every 1-2 weeks. if that’s hard for you to remember, try to make a habit of adding water from your water glass every time you’re in the room, or happen to walk by. in about a year’s time, this should happen.

    January 17, 2012
    • Celia: thank you, thank you for this easy-to-digest and helpful info. Now that I know it’s called a fiddlehead fig, I’m finding it that much easier to pay attention to. And I’ve accepted that my air plant is dead. Onto the next!

      January 17, 2012
  4. i don’t have a green thumb either but i know how to cheat… i buy almost fully grown plants from the nursery & viola! plant lives! hehheee…
    i learnt this after trying to grow strawberries from seeds – oh my goodness sooo very difficult. My other disasters – herbs, even the hardy Rosemary have died in my hands…
    But i’m not giving up – i currently have tulip buds sitting in pots on my balcony, waiting for Spring to come. Fingers crossed they will poke their heads out in a few months ;p
    Oh i did manage some decent tomatoes one year – we had a harvest of like 15 or so tomatoes from like 10 plants – will never be able to make a living as a farmer… hahhaa

    January 17, 2012
    • i’ve never heard of anyone killing rosemary. you have my utmost respect.

      January 17, 2012
      • Actually if i want to – i could blame the weather for the death of my rosemary – it was growing nicely, till i left it out & it got taken by the 1st frost (which is normally quite harsh here). It sat in a small pot so had no ground warmth to save it. i learnt all the above after it died & i asked a friend about it. i learn & i learn some more – hopefully one day i can say i have a plant which lived for more than a year 😉

        January 18, 2012
  5. K How #

    Yeah I can’t keep plants alive either. I have never seen an air plant before though! That’s so crazy looking! I sort of want to get one…… Although… my dog will probably decide it tastes good and she should therefore eat it as soon as possible.

    January 13, 2012
  6. Kathryn Williams #

    Have you tried succulents? They tend to die when you over-water them…trust me, I’ve killed more than a few. This may be just the thing to begin to turn your thumb from black to a nice shade of deep, aqua blue. Best of luck.

    January 10, 2012
    • why are they called succulents if they don’t like water? i’m apt to get confused about whether they like water or don’t like water…

      January 17, 2012
  7. Fia #

    My boyfreind has a plant from his bachelor years. It’s very very very ugly and I’ve tried to kill it on prupose by “forgetting” to water it. But it survives miraculously each time. At the moment I’ve hidden it behind the curtains.

    This is a great plant for us that sometimes forgets the watering procedure: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jade_plant

    January 10, 2012
    • Fia #

      By the way, I don’t know if I told you, but I’ve translated some of my posts now. So if you’re interested they are available in English now 🙂

      January 12, 2012
  8. Pinto #

    You know you have been reading too many of Yoona’s blogs when you start to question how you dress. I woke this morning got dressed after getting up at 4:30am with my son and mumbled to myself, “I wondered what Yoona would say about this outfit.”

    January 10, 2012
  9. I have seen your posts on clothing. Anyone with that much clothing to maintain and coordinate has enough on her hands without adding foliage. Stick to your strengths. Those of us with no fashion sense with take care of the plants.

    January 10, 2012
    • that should say “will take care of the plants.” (that’s what I get for doing this when I should be working.)

      January 10, 2012
      • but who will take care of MY plants? 🙂

        January 10, 2012
  10. Kaula #

    I do the same thing :-/ I’ve also never been able to keep any kind of fish alive for more than a month or two.

    January 10, 2012
  11. You and I have the same issues with plants. Except I’ve given up.

    January 10, 2012

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