Plants for Busy People

Plants for Busy People

Are you too busy to raise plants? The right easy-care houseplants will change your mind.
Life is busy. And sometimes things slip through the cracks. Like watering your plants. And then, one day, you realize you killed your plant. Argh. 

But just because a plant or two might have died under your care doesn’t mean you are doomed to be a bad plant parent. On the contrary, with a little help and advice even a self-described plant murderer can enjoy a plant-filled home.

The key to success, however, is being honest with yourself. If you’re super busy with kids, work, pets, or travel, it makes sense that watering a plant or two will fall way down on the “to-do” list.

Don’t fall in love with plants that thrive on attention and expect them not to sulk unhappily when being ignored. (Here's a fact, though: once you have some successes with houseplants, you'll feel more confident about buying more challenging types...)

Instead of buying a thirsty fern or peace lily, for example, look for drought-resistant species such as succulents and cactus. They can go more than a week or more without water and will still look terrific when you come home from an extended vacation.

Another important thing to consider is light. If you have a dimly lit home, don’t assume that sun worshippers like croton, yucca, or sago palm will  thrive. They may look fabulous at the garden center, but will most likely die a slow death in a dark room. Better options for dim situations include snake plant, peace lily, ZZ plant, philodendron, and pothos.  

It’s also smart not to go overboard when buying plants. Start with just one or two and see how it goes before diving in head first. Snake plant, ponytail palm, and ZZ plant are three excellent beginner plants because they’re all very forgiving if you forget to water them. If they work out for you (and they will!), you can gradually expand your collection.

Finally, don’t expect miracles. If a plant fails, don’t beat yourself up. Plant problems happen to even the most experienced plant people. Just think about what might have gone wrong and try again. The only way to really learn is by experience. And there are millions of plants available for you to choose from. 

And, whatever you do, don’t switch to artificial plants. That’s the ultimate sign of defeat. :-)

Written by Doug Jimerson