Green Thumb


My plant is dying. I don’t know why. It was so lush and green when I bought it, a beautiful hanging philodendron. It grew vines almost to the floor. Now all of a sudden the leaves are turning yellow and withering. I don’t get it. I’m not doing anything different than I ever did. Why?

I just don’t have it – a green thumb. Oh, I’ve tried, believe me, I’ve tried. I would love to be surround by green, living things. It just doesn’t seem to happen. I select my plants carefully. For a while they do okay, then one day leaves start to turn yellow one at a time. After that it’s down hill all the way.

I watch my plant die until I can’t stand it any longer, then throw it away and buy a new one to kill.

I’ve read the “how to” books. They all say how easy it is to grow tropical houseplants, how it is just a matter of light, water, and humidity, with a little plant food at times. That’s immediately before they launch into 300 pages of horticultural mumbo jumbo that would make Mother Nature afraid to bring a houseplant home.

I always buy the species that say “easy to grow.” The easier the better, I figure. But nothing is foolproof, well, maybe it is for some fools, but I can kill an iron plant.

What about cactus, you say? No one can kill a cactus. Wanna bet? I kill them with love – love and water. They look so thirsty I just have to give them a sip. They thank me by rotting off at the root. I kill jade plants that way too. Easy come – easy go.

I must admit, though, I had more success with cactus than any other plant. I had one that was very weird. It looked a bit like it had it long hair with dreadlocks. We coexisted for several years before it finally decided it was time to seek new ground, started putting out roots in the wrong places, and eventually dried up and died.

African violets take one look at me and start coughing. They need light, but not full sun. They need water, but from the bottom or the leaves will rot. They need plant food, but it has to be a special kind. They need humidity. See, I did read the book.

I once had an African violet that almost survived. I brought home other African violets for company when I heard that they are social. It grew, and grew until it was sprouting on the end of a long spindly stem several inches above the pot. It was ugly beyond belief – but alive.

So, I figured I couldn’t go wrong with a yucca plant, a native of the desert. But, it twisted and grew toward the sun. I turned it around and it grew in another direction. Soon it was twisted in a dozen directions and sadly deformed. Yes, it is alive – I almost wish it wasn’t.

The stores are now full of lush spring plants again. I’ll think of my philodendron with yellowing leaves, my twisted yucca, and my sick assortment of shriveled greenery. I will promise myself that if I get a new plant, I won’t over water; I’ll fertilize carefully; I’ll give it light; I’ll even mist it – maybe.

Who am I kidding? The plant is wilting already just because I’m looking at it. Apparently some people are just meant to have artificial plants. I wonder how long it would take me to kill a artificial silk philodendron?


Do you have success with house plants?  My plants will appreciate any advice you can give me.

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
This entry was posted in Humor, Plants/Gardening and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Green Thumb

  1. Hey everybody! Anyone can have a green thumb. You just need to buy a plant that fits the place you are placing it in. Don’t buy a high light plant and put it in a low light area, etc. Use your finger to see if it needs water. NEVER water on a schedule. Light changes, temperature changes, and this all affects whether the plant needs water or not. Start with one plant and find out what it needs. Check it at least once a week. If it starts getting problems, you can get them under control early. Try again! Houseplants are worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Years ago I had a bromeliad on our front door step. Living in Melbourne, Australia, the summers are not for the faint hearted. Sometimes 40-42 degrees Celsius. The plant man, who sold me said bromeliad, assured me nothing, (including me) could kill this thing. It lasted about 2 years. Following that I replaced the bromeliad with 2 yuccas. They were in tall, beautiful, blue, glazed pots. I spent ages picking out those pots and paid a ridiculous amount of money for them. They also lasted about 2 years, when some Dick, under the cover of darkness, stole both of them off our door step!!


  3. I have zero plants in my house because if I did, they would all be dead. I have some succulents outside and those seem to do okay. And by okay, I mean some have lived and some have died. Better than all dead!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m a gardener and I don’t keep indoor plants except for pothos. I wintered over a palm that went out on the porch yesterday. It rewarded me by getting scale and depositing sticky stuff all over my floor. Don’t think I’ll winter over again.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. geezer94 says:

    Oh nooooooo … you suffer from the Medusa Touch …

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Linda says:

    I can’t tell you how happy I am to know that I am not a lone plant killer. I come from a long line of beautiful green thumbers but the green thumb gene stopped at me. I can’t even look at a plant or it will die. I have been banned from gardening stores because they don’t have enough liability insurance set in place for me to even walk in their stores let alone allow me to have a sneak peak at their beautiful plants. It’s a heavy cross to bear, let me tell you, especially when you are the only house on the street that isn’t lined with beautiful lush green and colourful plants. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment and make my day.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s