Pick winning plants
When someone is particularly ill-adept at managing plant life successfully it is often said they have not a green thumb, but one that is brown or even black. When you consider my talent for thwarting the survival of even the most persistent greenery, we flee past talk of anatomy and the horticultural color wheel into a dimly-lit Cronenberg-ian nightmare realm of desolate ashy hellscapes haunted by the shrieking ghosts of a thousand murdered philodendrons past.
Summer is upon us, which means now is the time to jump on the gardening train. If you have difficulty keeping house plants alive, maybe you just suck at choosing them. Here are some tips to help you pick a winner, or at least one that takes an extra week or two to kill:
- Try succulents, you know, the plants that look pretty in your over-priced, over-popularized terrariums? Those things can be tough to kill, you can even break limbs off and stick them in the ground to grow a new plant. They are so easy it feels like cheating.
- Check for yellowed or absent leaves near the bottom of the plant – this indicates a plant that is already weakened by insufficient watering.
- If the plant is conspicuously larger than its container, it is probably root-bound. Avoid.
- Pot holes are a good thing. Everything needs a detox every now and again, without them it is like your plant is taking a bath in a tub with no drain.
- Few or no flowers is good, numerous unopened buds is even better.
- New leaves should be dark green and compactly arranged – this marks good, healthy growth.
- Check for black spots on leaves, stems, and at the base of the plant. Avoid plants with numerous or even moderate spotting, as this is frequently a sign of disease.
- Lots of tiny insects is bad; one or more giant ones (dog-sized or larger) is even worse.
- Seedlings should be planted one per pot, any more may look appealing but the silent competition beneath the soil could leave them all weakened.
- Does the plant have that sad sort of ‘Ziggy-at-the-unhelpful-customer-service-desk’ kind of look about it? Don’t buy the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, look for a happier and healthier specimen.
- Still uncertain? Ask an employee at the nursery to lead you to the cream of the crop, so to speak.