Peace Lilies Hate Me

July 5, 2012

My college roommate was good with plants. Every saturday she carried all her potted greenery out the breezeway for a thorough watering with miracle-gro. She spritzed them with a little spray bottle and trimmed away the brown leaves. Her green thumb was one of the reasons our apartment looked sort of grown up and nice compared to my friends’ places.

I learned from her. I once kept a rabbit’s foot fern looking awesome for years. But basically I’m too lazy for any kind of challenging houseplant. So I try to stick with plants that will tolerate a little neglect.

You’ve got your succulents:

The Number One Plant

This guy grew from a cutting taken from a plant that belonged to my green-thumbed roommate’s grandfather. Sometimes I forget how many people I’ve given cuttings to. I love seeing its offspring at friends’ houses.

And your cacti:

They’re like thumbs- that want to hurt you.

This is my second batch of cacti grown from seed. The seed packets always claim they have many varieties, but I only ever get these thumb-shaped ones.  They grow so slowly that you think nothing’s happening, and then one day you’re like, whoa, that there is a tiny cactus!

You’ve got yer low-light jungle vines:


Does anything beat a philadendron for hardiness? This variety is literally called monstera, and it grows gangbusters. A few months ago I had to prune it severely because it was blocking a door.

And don’t forget:

Snake plant (with another unassuming jungle vine)

This classic 70’s houseplant grew from a cutting that had been lying around for several weeks. Can you kill ’em? I’ve never managed to.

And then there are peace lilies. I’m told they are extremely hardy. I have observed them thriving in libraries and offices and coffeeshops, where their care is no doubt indifferent at best. When I tell people I can’t grow the things, they say really? Peace lilies? Because killing a peace lily is inherently preposterous. But let me just say, someone gave me one for my birthday. I watered it. I put it a few inches away from the plants above (which are doing just fine, thank you very much). The next time I noticed it, it looked like this:

Like Marley: dead as a doornail.

I would blame the place where my friend bought the plant, except that I kill them every single time.

It’s like a superpower.


5 Responses to “Peace Lilies Hate Me”

  1. It’s kind of a funny superpower, not unlike my superpower of not noticing the litter box needs emptying. It’s still nice having all those other plants around the house.

  2. artmodel said

    I have no experience with peace lilies, but i suspect I’d have the same results you did! Cacti and succulents are my thing. They like me, I like them, and I won’t disturb the stability of our relationship.

    The snake plant you show here, I’ve known that as “mother-in-law’s tongue”. I wonder if it’s the same plant or a variety.

    Great post!


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