When You Can’t Keep Succulents Alive, Should You Really Be Keeping Plants?

updated May 2, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Day 8 Task: Bring fresh flowers or a plant into the kitchen

Who can’t keep succulents alive, you ask? That would be me. But they’re the easiest plants to take care of! Yes, so I’ve been told. Like, seriously. So easy! I get it. Really, they require almost no water! OK STOP.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

I don’t know what it is, but I have terrible luck with plants. I used to blame it on New York City air (only half kidding), saying that there must be something going on that makes all my plants die, even the supposedly hardy ones. I’d go to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s annual plant sale every May and specifically ask for hard-to-kill plants. I’d be quite honest about my shortcomings. The lovely workers there would recommend succulents, or cacti. I’d get both. They’d all end up dead.

My problems are two-fold: I either over-water or under-water, and I never know which one I did. In the case of my (old) Jade plant, I think I overwatered, because the leaves all fell off. Today I went to a plant store in my new Boston neighborhood, and I saw another jade plant, so beautiful and bushy. (I’ve always loved this plant.) The guy at the store told me jade plants can go without water for up to two months. Even when the soil is bone dry, you don’t want to water the plant until the leaves start to look a little wrinkly. He made it sound so easy, so foolproof, I went ahead and bought the plant. I am courting disaster, people, and yet I cannot resist.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

So into my kitchen it goes, right in front of the window, and next to my rosemary plant. (Which has also not died yet, miraculously — are the winds finally blowing in my favor?) I also bought two bright pink blooms at the plant store, just for the fun of it.

I feel a new day coming on, people. Could this be when my plants finally stay among the living? I welcome any and all secrets to success.

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