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.
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.