So I got an email from iVillage home about fifteen easy plants to grow in your home, and Being a consummate plant grower, I decided to take a look for myself. Their comments were amusing. As an indoor gardener for over 20 years, I am now going to share the actual truth about these plants…

Are they all easy? Not really.

Pothos – Will grow anywhere. Lack of light turns it fully green. Anticipate possible problems, but not many. Enough light will have it crawling towards the door, the ceiling, and small children…basically anything it can climb over or around.

Aloe – Bipolar. Won’t grow for years (literally almost a decade for one plant) and then go absolutely mad, sprouting EVERYWHERE. Good for sunburn on foolish friends who won’t wear sunscreen. Yes, Beschen, I mean YOU!

Chlorophytum – Spider plant – oops I forgot to water you. You’re still living? Good. I have one that I got over 15 years ago that I got from a guy who had been growing it at his house in Provincetown for basically the same length of time. These plants are like parrots. Your grandchildren will inherent them.

Hedera HelixEnglish Ivy – dies if you look at it the wrong way, over water it or underwater it. Cuttings from live plant won’t take, but cuttings from day-old bridal bouquet will. WTF?

Crassula – Jade Plant – will grow anywhere from the little leaves, except the leaves I brought from California. All but one perished. Upright growing, except for Cathie’s variety that grows just so tall and then cascades everywhere and sheds leaves that sprout on the floor. Not a hard keeper. Just weird.

Ficus Elasica – Rubber tree – Lazy, refuses to grow except on it’s own terms. Will leak white sticky sap that looks like – well, what do you know? It’s rubber!

Diffenbachia – Wonderful low light plant. They neglect to say that the leaves, while not toxic, are filled with tiny fiberglass like shards that if eaten by pet or child, will cause the throat to close up. These used to be – to disobedient slaves. Nice houseplant if you don’t have small children, cats, or senile relatives.

Peace Lily – Spathiphylum – WATER ME! ALWAYS! OR I WILL WILT AND LOOK ALL PATHETIC! Standard range of 85 degrees? What am I, living in a sauna? Nice plant, but temperamental.

Snake plant – Mother-in-Law’s Tongue – Sanseveria – Try to kill it, I dare you. I have been actively trying to kill one for years. It just sits there. Wrote a poem about it for class about how it just sits there. Tolerant for any idiot who can’t remember they own a plant.

Ficus Benjamina – Weeping Fig – Nice plant, but for the love of God, once it finds a place it likes in your house, don’t move it. Ever. It will drop leaves like crazy, sigh at you, and die. Okay, maybe not die, but it will look like a twig for a long time and be very slow in reviving. If ever.

Philodendron – Nice plant. easy. Will become etiolated in dim conditions (i.e. will stretch out so it leaves average about one a foot or so). Remember to water occasionally for best life.

Pepperomia – Don’t over water, don’t underwater. It will wilt to let you know it is thirsty. Over watering will cause all of the stems to die, and the plant to suddenly fall apart all at once leaving you mystified as to what went wrong. Deceptive.

Shamrock Plant – Fun plant. Nothing exciting.Might flower. Might also include Leprechaun.

Fiddle leaf fig – Similar to Weeping fig, except this one will drop dish-sized leaves all over the floor and look like a walking stick stuck in a pot. Also leaks whitish sap like the rubber tree if cut. EVERYWHERE!

Areca Palm – If you have a cat, forget it. Every Areca or Dwarf Neantha Bella palm I ever bought became cat fodder in a week. If you have no cats, you can pull this one off with some sun, some water, and a tall, cool piña colada.

Seriously, this the real truth about these plants. More than you ever wanted to know probably, but the truth will set you free, or at least stop you from trying to grow something that is not suitable!

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