Houseplant Hang-ups

By | June 3, 2015

I don’t know about you guys, but I tend to struggle a little with houseplants. It’s not that I don’t take care of them, I just always overestimate how much care they need and sometime don’t put in the time to really manage them. But, I like having live greenery inside, especially during the winter, so I keep buying them and bringing them home.

Case in point:

Trimming Near-dead House Plant - Before

(Sorry about the blurry phone pic.)

Yep, I had to really give this one a big haircut after he sat, semi-forgotten in the back room for several, several weeks during the kitchen remodel. I’d like to make excuses like, “he was buried behind a bunch of heavy hardwood flooring boxes,” but I know I still should have tried to water him. So, he got a little lot dry…and almost died. Oops. To be fair, he lived here happily for like a year before this happened, but still…not a pretty picture.

Trimming Near-dead House Plant

But, he seemed to bounce back pretty well after this, for awhile.

Trimming Near-dead House Plant After

Now I’m not sure what the problem is, maybe shock from all the attention he’s gotten lately? It’s called a dumb cane, I believe, so maybe I’m just too dumb to know how to take care of it?

Trimmed Dumb Cane House Plant - Before Dead Leaves

Ah well, I just trimmed off all the dead leaves again, which wasn’t as many this time around.

Trimmed Dumb Cane House Plant - Dead Leaves

I would feel more worried, but there are a lot of new little leaves, so I know it isn’t too far gone…yet.

House Plant New Growth - Dumb Cane

And it’s back to looking green and healthy, albeit, a little skinny.

Trimmed Dumb Cane House Plant

I also had a cute little aloe plant in our hall bathroom for several months, and it seemed to be doing really well. Until one day I moved it to clean the counters and accidentally dropped it, which caused some pretty severe trauma to the tender-water-filled arms. It also caused a huge mess right before we had company coming over. Yay…

Rotted Aloe Plant

But I faithfully replanted it, and made sure to watch it closely. In fact, I watched it closely, as it died.

Rotted Aloe Plant 2

The trauma broke the arms off too close to the roots and it just never took off once I replanted it. In fact, it sort of just started to rot away. Ick. Poor thing.

Rotted Aloe Plant 3

Even though that plant death was still my fault (I dropped it), I’m considering it more of an accident than just reckless abandonment.

In my office, the plant has a problem of the other nature…it’s growing a little too big and too fast. In fact, it’s sprawling all over the place.

Propped Office House Plant - Before

I finally remembered to grab a couple of these support stands at Home Depot the last time we were there. I think they were less than $1 each.

Propping Up Office House Plant

Then, a couple minutes and two-well-placed supports later, I had a decent-looking plant again. Feels good to have one happy houseplant, at least.

Propped Office House Plant

To be fair, the little plants in my kitchen window sill are also doing very well.

House Plants and Herb Garden Kitchen Window Sill

Just look at these guys!

House Plants Growing Well Kitchen Window

I think this one is my favorite, even though it’s getting too big for its little pot. It’s called a Croton Petra, or something like that. I need to replant him in a larger container and take a cutting to place in this one…maybe I’ll do that this weekend. Maybe.

House Plant Growing Well - Croton Petra

And the cactus I got from Wyatt’s mom last Easter is also doing really well.

House Plant Cactus Growing Well

To compare, here it is with the new cactus she got me this Easter. Bonus for keeping it alive over a year and now having two! Now I need to repot the new one into a larger, more permanent pot.

House Plant Cactus Comparison

As a side note, anyone know what kind of cactus this is and if I can grow more with a cutting? It’s starting to get a little large and droopy for the pot it’s in. Also, anyone know how to make it bloom again? I assume it’s not hot enough (or something?) in our house…

And just in the spirit of total honesty and plant-parent shaming…here’s a comparison of what the poor dumb cane looked like when I brought him home (big one of the left) compared to now. Oops.

Repotting Plants in Kitchen Trimmed Dumb Cane House Plant

Do you have trouble with house plants, too? I know all the basic tips, but still find I sometimes struggle, what are some of the easiest-to-care-for plants that work for you in your home? 

2 thoughts on “Houseplant Hang-ups

    1. Melissa Post author

      Thank you so much! That does look like the cactus it is…weird they are sold in stores for Easter but called a Christmas cactus. Go figure. I’ll have to see if I can start another little one…and maybe put it in a closet to try and make it bloom! 🙂


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