By: Ivan Davenny
I don’t mean to brag, but in the last year I have kept almost two plants alive. Now, rather than hoard my expertise, I wanted to go over a few common problems people have with their plants, and offer my Extremely Practical Tips.
Q: What does it mean if the leaves on my Chinese evergreen are turning yellow?
A: This is super common and super easy to fix. It either means it’s getting too much water, or not enough water, or maybe not enough light, or the pot is too small or possibly too big. Depending on nutritional factors—for instance, if you and your plant have been out to sea on a long voyage—it could be jaundice. If this is the case, spray it with the juice of ten or so limes and drop a steak on it. That’ll shut it up.
Q: The leaves on my pothos are curling and drooping. What should I do?
A: We don’t have enough time here to fully explore the myriad causes of vegetal depression. It’s been a hard year for everyone. But try to be supportive. Speak words of affirmation to it. Compliment it’s posture, the hue of its leaves, the suppleness of its petioles. Take it for walks. Have it keep a dream journal, and don’t roll your eyes when it wants to talk about its feelings. Stop playing Morissey. That last one has less to do with the plant, and is more just a general suggestion.
Q: What are these weird white webs on the leaves of my croton plant?
A: It sounds like your croton may have spider mites. I could tell you that there’s an easy solution. I could point you towards sprays and powders. And sure, sprinkle some diatomaceous earth around, can’t hurt. But let’s be honest with ourselves here, the arthropods were here hundreds of millions years before us, and they’ll be here when we’re gone. So, my advice? Learn to love them. Try to convince yourself that they’re cute, like industrious little fairies. I personally know many people who have gone on to have very fulfilling relationships with their spider mite populations.
Q: Occasionally, when I walk past my Monstera I hear a moaning sound, sometimes accompanied by sobbing or the faint laughter of children. What’s up with that?
A: Ah this one is a bit trickier. Most likely, you’ve used haunted dirt. Changing the soil will usually solve this. But there is still the risk that the new dirt is haunted too. It is harder and harder these days to find a bit of earth that hasn’t been the site of a massacre or grizzly murder, or cursed or desecrated in some way. If you have a good exorcist, great, but many of us aren’t so lucky. The simplest solution is to find soil sourced directly from the moon. Moon dirt is the only dirt that is guaranteed to be clean and pure, free from metaphysical contaminants. Just go to your local hardware store and ask to see their selection of moon dirt. If they claim that they don’t know what you’re talking about, simply ask louder. Hardware store employees generally respect you more if you yell at them.
And if your plant dies, remember: you bought it for $7.99 at the grocery store. Just go back, put a little succulent on the conveyor belt next to your antacids and tell yourself that it will be different this time. That you’re different. That your capacity for growth is not necessarily analogous to that of the plants in your care. And maybe set a weekly reminder on your phone to water this new one.