Help me find a houseplant I can't kill! - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 04-19-2006, 04:41 AM
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Okay, I've never been exactly green fingered. Next year or sometime I would like to try growing some vegetables or something, but now I'd like a housplant. I want some confidence, really.



I've never been able to keep a plant alive. My cactus was rescued by a friend because it looked like I was killing it, and every other plant has pretty much just died. I don't think I'm that bad. I can remember to water something, pretty much I'm like a hair's breadth from ordering this, but preferably I want something with flowers.



So what is pretty and really easy to look after?
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#2 Old 04-19-2006, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by isowish View Post

Okay, I've never been exactly green fingered. Next year or sometime I would like to try growing some vegetables or something, but now I'd like a housplant. I want some confidence, really.



I've never been able to keep a plant alive. My cactus was rescued by a friend because it looked like I was killing it, and every other plant has pretty much just died. I don't think I'm that bad. I can remember to water something, pretty much I'm like a hair's breadth from ordering this, but preferably I want something with flowers.



So what is pretty and really easy to look after?

I was at the store the other day and I may have seen one or two you can keep..for a LONG time.

How about a plastic plant made out of recylced material?



Here are a few http://www.terragenesis.co.uk/infopages/page307.html
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#3 Old 04-19-2006, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by barrylove View Post

I was at the store the other day and I may have seen one or two you can keep..for a LONG time.

How about a plastic plant made out of recylced material?



Here are a few http://www.terragenesis.co.uk/infopages/page307.html

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#4 Old 04-19-2006, 06:27 AM
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I'm looking for the same thing. I plant on asking the people at the plant and garden place when I go, but I've heard that aloe vera plants are very resiliant and basically just need water. That might be a good option, plus you could have fresh aloe if you ever needed it!
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#5 Old 04-19-2006, 06:38 AM
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I second aloe vera - I've always been notoriously bad at keeping plants (bad for a botanist!) but got two little aloe plants from a friend and now they're HUGE with millions of little babies sprouting from them.



They're really easy to look after, just don't put them in direct sun (i.e. a windowsill where the sun blasts in all day) and water when the soil dries out. Seems to have worked for me!



PS since the aloe revelation, I've been growing herbs in a window box, and I've got one basil plant that's over a year old
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#6 Old 04-19-2006, 06:48 AM
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I'm bad with plants too, but I've always found the Wandering Jew to be an excellent indoor plant that I was never able to kill



They don't flower (I don't think) but the leaves are pretty enough:



http://mgonline.com/wanderingjew02.jpg
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#7 Old 04-19-2006, 07:06 AM
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The easiest plants to keep alive are spider plants, pothos it's a kind of philodendron (you can't kill these), and certain kinds of aloe. I have this aloe plant that just won't die. My mom had it at her place and was trying to kill it off for some reason by keeping it in the basement. It just wouldn't die. If you are prone to forgetting to water plants, they make planters that are self watering. It's got a little bowl under it that collects water. They're great.

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#8 Old 04-19-2006, 09:17 AM
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I second the pothos. I think you'd actually have to water it with salt water or bleach to kill it. They do not die.



Spider plants are also pretty easy to grow, but in my experience cats will absolutely not leave them alone. I don't think they're poisonous to cats (I had a list once a long time back) but they don't look so nice eaten to within an inch of the dirt.
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#9 Old 04-19-2006, 09:26 AM
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Spider plants are also pretty easy to grow, but in my experience cats will absolutely not leave them alone. I don't think they're poisonous to cats (I had a list once a long time back) but they don't look so nice eaten to within an inch of the dirt.

yes, I was going to say this. My parents used to have these, and the cats ruined them



Thanks all for your suggestions.
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#10 Old 04-19-2006, 09:42 AM
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I definitely agree with the spider plant option. I've had mine for about 4 years now. I treated it like crap for the first year and a half, but it didnt die and it still loves me. I give it tons of sun and it has grown huge. I also have an aloe plant that is doing well. My last plant is an asparagus houseplant:

http://www.tandjenterprises.com/asparagus_fern.htm

This thing has been to the edge of death more than once and always grows back very easily. I've had this one for about 5 or 6 years (2 of those years being in college) and it is still doing good.
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#11 Old 04-19-2006, 09:59 AM
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Sanseveria aka "Mother-in-Law's Tongue" will live for months with no sun and no water. They are as close to a plastic plant as a living plant can be.



Cacti are actually quite easy to kill.
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#12 Old 04-19-2006, 10:31 AM
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Hmmm... flowers...



Plants are wierd sometimes. I usually do well with plants, but there's something about begonias and me: I kill them.



Anyway: How much light will there be where you will have them? Also, what will the temperature be at different times of the year? Do you know how humid your area will be?

Peasant (1963-1972) and Fluffy (1970s?-1982- I think of you as 'Ambrose' now)- Your spirits outshone some humans I have known. Be happy forever.
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#13 Old 04-19-2006, 10:40 AM
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I sympathize. I should ahve a green thumb. My mother can bring plants back from the dead. My dad grows organic stuff. I can't keep a dandelion alive for a few days.



I have been able to keep one plant. Bamboo. Hardy and don't need much water. You can keep small bamboo plants in little pots. I named mine Charlene.
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#14 Old 04-19-2006, 11:01 AM
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Go with a pothos. As long as I was in college all my plants died except for the pothos. They can really take a beating.
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#15 Old 04-19-2006, 11:02 AM
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I vote for a goldfish plant, which in my family, are known as Bong Water Plants. Back in college, a friend of mine bought a little plant at one of those plant stands when vendors come onto campus at the beginning of the year. He had a failed water bong in his bedroom, and instead of getting fresh water for the plant, he fed it bong water. It didn't do well. Christmas time rolled around and he was just going to leave it in his room to die but I said I'd take it home cause my dad has a greenhouse and see if he can fix it. He did. Now we have the original bong water plant, as well as "sons" and "grandsons" of bong water plant made from cuttings. We found out later that they're actually called goldfish plants because when the flower, the flowers look like goldfish!!

This past winter, I was sick for a month and in the hospital/my parents house. I asked my bf to come water my plant a few times. He forgot. Beyond that, he closed the curtains because I wasn't home, and turned the heat down to 50. After a month of being cold, dark, and dry, I gave the plant a good watering and opened the shades and soon thereafter it bloomed. The flowers lasted a while too.

Anyway, cool plant, hard to kill.

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#16 Old 04-19-2006, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Ludi View Post

Sanseveria aka "Mother-in-Law's Tongue" will live for months with no sun and no water. They are as close to a plastic plant as a living plant can be.





Is it safe for cats to chew on? I can't keep any plants because Sabrina will nibble on them. I have no idea which plants are safe for cats and which aren't.

*this space not for sale*
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#17 Old 04-19-2006, 01:31 PM
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Is it safe for cats to chew on? I can't keep any plants because Sabrina will nibble on them. I have no idea which plants are safe for cats and which aren't.





It's considered to have low toxicity risk.



http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/c...on/Sansetr.htm
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#18 Old 04-19-2006, 05:34 PM
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Try growing catnip, hard to kill, it is in the mint family so all it really needs is water.

Go to a store and pick up one of those small metal decorative bird cages, you put a pot in it and plant the catnip, the cage is decrative and protects the plant from the cat.

it blooms pretty purple flowers and best of all most cats love it asa treat plus it makes a great tea for upset tummys for people
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#19 Old 04-19-2006, 05:43 PM
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I have a prayer plant. By brother-in-law tried to kill it when I moved last because it looks kinda like a weed. It was totally dead when I received it back, but I watered it and it recoved and it blooms with a white blossom. It's also known as a clover. The one I have is a three leaf variety. They are very hardy and recover easily.... Good Luck - Plants like me though.
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#20 Old 04-19-2006, 05:47 PM
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I grow catnip for my sister because she has the black thumb of death. After I start it growing, I hang it from one of her light fixtures so the cats don't get to it.



Cats love to eat plants. Bamboo is usually destroyed. So if you have cats, put the plants in a place the cats cannot get to. And if the plant is toxic to cats, don't get it. Cats usually love to eat wheatgrass and it's so easy to grow. I do it all the time for my sister's cats. And yet they still look at me like I'm the devil.

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#21 Old 04-19-2006, 06:50 PM
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bamboo?
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#22 Old 04-19-2006, 07:51 PM
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There's also Chinese evergreen and Spathiphyllum (aka peace lily aka closet plant). Both of these can tolerate pretty low light conditions and are very easy to care for.



Pothos is good too, but it needs more light. I had to move mine outside.



I agree with Sanseveria (aka mother-in-law's tongue aka snake plant), but I should point out I somehow managed to kill one of these and I'm normally pretty decent with plants-- I suspect I tried to care for it too much. Like Pothos, it does better with more light than a lot of apartments can provide.
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#23 Old 04-19-2006, 11:58 PM
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Zamioculcas zamiifolia or "the ZZ plant" is a big palm-sort of looking thing - and you CANNOT kill the thing!



I got one and hardly ever remember to water it - and sometimes the blinds to the room it's in stay closed for a week or more - it doesn't care... no sun, no water and it still does well.... how can you lose?
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#24 Old 04-20-2006, 08:35 AM
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Wow, after reading all of these intelligent botanical suggestions, I'm afraid I'm about to get pelted with fertilizer for what I'm about to say...



How about a weed?



Check out my little baby. This is "Helicopter" and she's 4 weeks old:





I found her growing in an old pot. Just a stub with two leaves (hence the name Helicopter). I was about to rinse the pot out, but then I remembered the Emerson quote: "What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered."



So I decided what the hey. I haven't had a houseplant in over 8 years (ever since I decided it was cruel of me to keep killing them accidentally). But I'll be happy to take care of any visiting plants who come my way.



I'm dead serious; why don't you go fetch a dandelion from the sidewalk that would otherwise be killed. That might be a fun place to start.
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#25 Old 04-20-2006, 08:36 AM
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A weed is just a plant that is out of place.





I grow dandylions , I think most people think of themas weeds I say they are yummy.
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#26 Old 04-20-2006, 10:39 AM
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A weed is just a plant that is out of place.





I grow dandylions , I think most people think of themas weeds I say they are yummy.



You eat them in your salads? Just the flower or the whole stem too?



I've read a few places that they think if you make a tea it might be cold drink of the dandelion it can cure cancer.



You might be preventing cancer with your delicacy!
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#27 Old 04-20-2006, 01:25 PM
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A weed is just a plant people have decided not to like, no reason not to keep one if that floats your boat Just be careful if you eat dandelion's that you know they haven't had pesticides applied to them.



A jade plant is also very easy to keep alive--just don't over water it.
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#28 Old 04-20-2006, 02:15 PM
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You eat them in your salads? Just the flower or the whole stem too?



I've read a few places that they think if you make a tea it might be cold drink of the dandelion it can cure cancer.



You might be preventing cancer with your delicacy!

Do you ever buy those spring salad mixes?

Dandylion leaves are in those.

The leaves are only slightly bitter when young and are good for you.



The plant can be made into a tea but there is a reason dandylions are also called piss-a-bed because they are a directic.

The roots you can clean and roast on a very low heat to grind up like you would chicory root for coffee, it has a kind of chocolaty taste.
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#29 Old 04-20-2006, 04:42 PM
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I have killed Wandering Jew, Aloe, and mint (both spearmint and peppermint) at least three times. Each. Plus many other types of plants I only attempted once.



After you kill a plant several times, you learn what conditions it won't tolerate

I now have three-year-old Wandering Jew and Aloe that have gotten very large and that I have propagated into other pots that are also doing well, and I have a one-year-old chocolate mint plant that is doing great after recovering from near-death.



Wandering Jew does flower (lots of small pink flowers), but it is mainly grown for its leaves, which are purple. They will turn green if the plant doesn't get enough light, though - if you don't have sunny windows, leave it under a flourescent light that is usually on during the day.



Aloe also flowers, though my grandmother's plant did not start until it was 20 years old. I haven't been able to find any information on what conditions cause aloe to flower.



Flowers tend to be less hardy, easier to kill, than foliage plants. You might try a forced flower, though. Narcissis ("paper whites") are grown by commercial plant sources, who sell a bulb. You plant the bulb in rocks, basically, and it makes flowers from the nutrition in the bulb and water you give it. They can only be forced once, though, so most people throw them out after one season.



Fruit tree cuttings can also be forced, I believe. Just stick a cutting in a jug of water, and you can have cherry blossoms or apple blossoms etcetera for a few weeks.
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#30 Old 04-20-2006, 04:53 PM
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Wow, after reading all of these intelligent botanical suggestions, I'm afraid I'm about to get pelted with fertilizer for what I'm about to say...



How about a weed?



Check out my little baby. This is "Helicopter" and she's 4 weeks old:





I found her growing in an old pot. Just a stub with two leaves (hence the name Helicopter). I was about to rinse the pot out, but then I remembered the Emerson quote: "What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered."



So I decided what the hey. I haven't had a houseplant in over 8 years (ever since I decided it was cruel of me to keep killing them accidentally). But I'll be happy to take care of any visiting plants who come my way.



I'm dead serious; why don't you go fetch a dandelion from the sidewalk that would otherwise be killed. That might be a fun place to start.

DeflatorMouse,



Most of the plants we know as weeds are also very hard to kill, so that might be the perfect solution for someone with a brown thumb.
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