Confessions of a Former Plant Killer

Photo by: Dawn M. Turner

Photo by: Dawn M. Turner

I have a confession to make: I kill plants. Or at least I used to. If there was a plant around with any life in it, I could kill it without even trying. I have been known to kill everything from your average, everyday houseplant to an air fern. Since an air fern only requires air to grow, this was a special talent that was manifest when I killed it. I have even been known to kill the occasional silk plant. What?! A silk plant, you ask? Well, it is amazing how they melt when you knock them into a fireplace.

As the years progressed, I became quite skillful in my never-ending manifestations of my talent. This was very disconcerting to my parents as I grew up in a family that gardened. In fact, it was so bad that during a period of time when my grandmother was in the hospital, she actually asked me to not touch any of her plants as she wanted them to still be there when she arrived back home.

So how did I turn this around? Well, some would say that I married well. I was fortunate enough to marry a man who was pursuing a degree in horticulture. I was lucky in that he loved me enough to marry me despite my professed talent for killing plants. During the early years of our marriage, I learned a few things and when he graduated with his degree, I graduated from plant killer to mere maimer.

As time progressed, he managed to teach me even more about plants and gardening. To the amazement of my family, I was even able to one day secure a job in a local garden center. I had finally gone from being a plant killer to having the ability to grow a healthy plant.

Now, while everyone isn’t as fortunate as I was to marry a plant doctor, there are still things that you can do to turn your brown thumb into a green one. Hey, if a self-professed former plant killer can do it, then anyone can!
Here is a list of things you can do to experience success in the garden:

Educate Yourself
One of the most important things that you can do is to learn all you can. This can be done in a variety of ways and methods. You may want to check with your local department of Continuing Education for community classes. Many successful gardeners participate in the Master Gardener Program, which is usually facilitated through their local county extension office. Your local garden center may offer how-to classes and this is a great place to get information.

Ask, Then Listen
Another great way to learn about gardening is to ask people who are experienced in gardening for advice. Then be sure to listen to what they will tell you. You are sure to find friends and neighbors who are successful in gardening and will be willing to offer you great advice.

Read, Read, Read
There is a vast array of knowledge to be found in printed matter. You should be able to find plenty of books, magazines and online articles to answer any question you could possibly think to ask.

Don’t Get Discouraged
Sometimes, no matter what you do, a plant will die. Some plants will just die no matter who is growing them. Don’t let this discourage you from your quest of growing healthy plants in your home and in your yard or garden.

Practice, Practice, Practice
Remember that practice makes perfect. The more you practice, the better your garden will grow.

With a concerted effort, you too can go from plant killer to plant professor. What are some of your past failures and successes in the garden?


  1. This is such a great post! I love it when people encourage others. 🙂

  2. The title of your blog post caught my eye bcuz I am so proud this season that I have kept 2 plants alive inside all winter and they are even growing…

    Keep up the good work!


  3. Brenda Emmett says:

    See…success can come even in the simplest forms. Keeping a plant alive causes the soul to jump for joy! Way to Go!

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