• Richie Crowley

I Killed Her Houseplants

Yes, houseplants. Plural. All 4 of them. It’s March 10th, the recycling bin is full with broken down Amazon boxes, mismatched sets of tableware fill kitchen cabinets and our jeans are spattered with paint droplets. “Oh, sh*t these are stylish now.” Anyway, you’ve been there.

Then she says “let’s go get some plants” which to me sounds like an opportunity for a Sweetgreen salad and a Kombucha.

“Deal, let’s go”

I see that the florist is only .7 miles away on Google Maps and get nervous we won’t pass by my desires, but we do, and we use this snack to set our strategy.

  • How much do we want to spend?

  • How much time do we want to take care of these plants?

  • How many should we get?


Business plans have been less thought-out than this napkin strategy. We agree to get 4:

  • 1 Spider Plant

  • 1 Philodendron

  • 1 Devil’s Ivy

  • 1 Dumb Cane


And with the sound of the “remove card now” reminder, we became parents.


For those of you who don’t know, parenting plants is unlike children. I don’t have children so I can’t be entirely sure, BUT, these plants never disrupted a night of sleep, and I left them home alone from the start.

We were instructed that the care for these plants was very lightweight: water them weekly with enough water to seep into the saucer dish, drain the dish after 30 minutes, keep indoors with indirect and direct light, and they’ll be ok.

Now, at this point in the story, one may recall the title of this tale and question my abilities for pretty much anything because I failed to follow an elementary 3 part check-list. Chewing gum has been more complicated than my plant-parental duties. But, I ask you not to snicker, but to be impressed. Impressed at how one can so quickly kill 4 plants.


*My first of three jokes

It’s embarrassing, but let me tell you what happened.


About a week ago, it was a gorgeous sunny Los Angeles day in the mid 80’s and I decided the plants needed some real Vitamin D. So, I moved them outside into direct sunlight, and I soaked them.

Each plant is individually potted with a hole at the bottom, so even with my generous watering, I thought they’d leak out what they didn’t desire, similar to when watering indoors. I just gave them a little extra because it’s hot out here. The first few hours looked good. Green. Full of vitality. I went for a bike ride, came back 2 hours later and still, they looked great. At this point, I’m quite proud of myself that I am not a helicopter plant parent.

The sun began to set, I checked the nighttime temperature to see that it wasn’t going to dip below 68 degrees (our indoor temp) and thought “Wow, the kiddo’s can sleep outside tonight.” I did not consult my partner.


*My first of two errors I slept in until about 10 am the next day and when I rose, I admittedly didn’t first check the plants. I made green tea, ate a grapefruit and then checked them. Let’s call in 11 am.

Death.

Shriveled brown leaves scattered the stone surface they sat on, and populated the celery green stems of each plant.


This was bad.

But how?!

Were houseplants this weak?!

I didn’t have time to answer that question, nor was I qualified to answer that question, but I needed a solution. So I did what every investigator in pursuit of knowledge does.

No, not Wikipedia.

I took a picture of the plants and posted it on fucking Instagram asking for help. How you must feel right now if you were born before 1990 because you don’t fully understand the power of Instaface.


*My second of three jokes

Now before you shame me, DID YOU KNOW: Instagram is not only filled with influencers but also gardeners. I considered this a strategy to crowdsource some basic knowledge for what my next steps would be, and I got great replies. With this base, I then developed my plan of action that I’d like to share with you now.

Step 1: Bring all 4 of your dead plants directly to your local plant person and alert them that you need to purchase these exact same 4 plants, pot them in these exact pots, and bring them home before she returns at 6 pm.


*My third of three jokes, and second of two errors.


The autopsy, knowing that this is a term reserved for humans, would have returned a cause of death to be: overwatering, poor water quality, lack of humidity, and too much direct heat exposure. So, here is the real guide of what to do when you kill her houseplants called: What To Do When You Kill Her Houseplants

Step 1: Trim off brown leaves; they’re not coming back.


Step 2: Repot your plant using fresh soil. (Rooted wouldn’t recommend watering the plant because most of the time overwatering is the reason for plant death. Here’s Rooted NYC’s video on how to pot / repot.) Step 3: Understand the terms associated with the amount of sun your plant needs, and remain disciplined. Step 4: Love them.

It’s May 30th, and I’m committed to nursing our 4 plants back to health. I’ve given them all a haircut, so if you see them please be considerate of their appearance. They’re sensitive right now.

If these plants were children, I’d be in jail.

*I did not anticipate making this joke, but please consider this my fourth of three jokes

Richie. Human.


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