I could easily spend days at the the botanical gardens, spend hours shopping in the gardening center, and drop an entire paycheck just on plants. I want my house to be where all the butterflies and hummingbirds come to live, and I want to have my own slice of heaven off my back porch. But unfortunately for me, I didn’t inherit the “green thumb” gene and, ultimately, have been cursed with a brown thumb.
Hello, my name is Lindsay, and I am hospice for plants.
Look, I don’t like to talk about it, but I know there are others who also suffer from this brown-thumb syndrome. Let’s start a “Brown Thumbs Anonymous”; the first step to recovery is admittance . . . right?
We all want to be that lady whose house is one plant shy of a Rainforest Cafe; but alas, we are not. Sadly, my home has been a place where plants go to die. What once was blooming and green, quickly becomes crispy and brown. Meanwhile, across the street, Suzy Sunshine has the botanical gardens growing inside and out of her house. She smiles and waves to me in her gardening gloves and straw hat as I throw another lost plant into the trash.
In spite of my greatest efforts, my gardening skills have always fallen short; and by that I mean nothing actually grows to even “fall short.” Over the years I have researched the never-ending lists of easy-to-grow plants and ways to keep them alive.
I once read that speaking kindly to your plants will give them positive energy to flourish and thrive on. When my words of encouragement were met with root rot, I realized I was kindly drowning my plants.
The ridiculous lengths I would go, only to end up back at the trash can, begrudgingly waving at ole Suzy.
Get to know your plant.
However, it was through my trials (and mostly errors) that I began to discover the plants that wouldn’t completely keel over while in my care. Surprising, I know. But, as my plant survival rate began to go up, my thoughts began to change . . . maybe I wasn’t cursed.
On my search for enlightenment, I discovered some useful apps and websites. I use Picture This, an app that helps you identify plants. With one click of your camera it’s able to generate the plant’s name, whether it’s a perennial or annual, where it originated, and the care it needs. The Spruce is also a favorite resource I use.
The key to gardening success is fully knowing your plant, from the roots up. Picking flowers and plants while knowing very little about them will almost always end in disappointment.
Here I’ve listed my most successful plants, giving them all a 10/10 “Surviving Lindsay” rating. These plants could be baked in an oven at 350 and still look fine — the best plants for my fellow brown thumbs. If I can keep them alive, then anyone can! If you’re just getting into gardening, these are all great starter plants too. They require little effort but render big results.
Hosta – These tough guys are perennials, coming back bigger and more resilient, year after year. They like shade and grow short and wide, making them great flower bed fillers.
Purple Heart – Purple Heart is also a perennial and by far the easiest to grow. It offers great ground coverage and is self-sustaining; they thrive on neglect. Use cuttings to create more flower pots, by simply putting them into the soil, and let them do the rest.
Begonias – They come in array of colors, but you’ll mostly see them in red, white, and pink. Begonias small blooms and waxy leaves. They don’t like to be wet, so when watering, focus more on the soil and not the plant.
Sweet Potato Vine – My all-time favorite filler. Wherever you plant them, it will be a cascade of gorgeous green and purple foliage. They are versatile plants that thrive in either sun or shade, flower beds or containers. Sweet potato vines can be grown from an actual sweet potato. Check out this video showing you how.
Geranium – Clusters of blooms sit atop their tall stems; from a distance it looks like flower balls. They come in a variety of colors and sizes and enjoy full sun. Geraniums do require some deadheading, after blooms have wilted, to promote new growth.
Pothos – If you follow any home decor social media account, then you’ve seen this plant. Dubbed the easiest houseplant to grow, it is incredibly hard to kill; pothos will do well in any setting.
Arrowhead Plant – This plant goes by several names: American Evergreen, Five Fingers, Goosefoot, to name a few. This tropical plant needs to maintain a high humidity and does best being misted daily. Arrowhead plants do grow rapidly, so be prepared to repot often.
Succulents – Another type of plant that thrives on neglect. These little guys store water in their leaves, and need little to no watering. I repurpose old candle jars to plant my succulents and water them about once a month. They love light, so window sills are ideal places for them.
Dumb Cane – Supposedly, its name came to be because if the leaves are ingested, it can cause temporary paralysis of the vocal cords. So, maybe not a great plant to have if you have animals or kids who like to bother them. Otherwise, this plant is easy to care for and can grow to be six feet tall.