I don’t know about you, but this year, I found had no desire to make my “traditional” New Year’s resolutions—you know the ones I’m talking about: things like eating differently, exercising more, and so on. Instead, I decided it would be more beneficial for my well-being to simply lean into things that make me truly happy, and one of my biggest sources of joy in 2020 was my ever-growing plant collection.
Houseplants and gardening have taken off in a big way in the past few years, and personally, I’ve amassed a small indoor jungle of greenery that always manages to put a smile on my face. To keep growing my hobby, I’ve set a few plant-related goals for the coming year, and I hope by putting them out in the world, I’ll be able to hold myself accountable for sticking with them.
I’ll admit I went a little plant crazy last year. I couldn’t even go into Home Depot without at least picking up a little cactus or succulent, and my collection of plants doubled over the course of the year. I regret nothing (except maybe thinking I could keep a Majesty Palm alive—my apartment is simply too dry), but this year, I’ve decided to take a “quality over quantity” approach to houseplants.
With so many new plants to take care of, I’ll admit that they haven’t always gotten the TLC they deserve. Don’t get me wrong—they’re not withering away and dying, but occasionally I’ll be a few days late to water them or forget to prune off dead leaves. This year, though, I’m committed to taking better care of my green babies, helping them to live their best lives. This means on-time waterings, regular fertilizing, repotting any that are root-bound, and just giving them everything they need to thrive. Plus, I think it will be a good exercise in being content with what I have, instead of always looking forward to something new and “more exciting.”
I feel a tinge of remorse any time I have to buy fresh herbs for a recipe. Why? First of all, I only ever use up half of those huge bundles of parsley you buy in the grocery store, letting so much go to waste. Plus, fresh herbs are pretty pricey when you consider how inexpensive they are to grow.
Seriously, all you have to do is buy a few packs of seedsand pop them in some soil, and you can grow a huge bounty of basil, parsley, mint, and more. The plants will last for months if taken care of properly, and most herbs are fairly low-maintenance, too. Really, what am I waiting for? This year, I want to finally start an herb garden where I grow all my favorites. Fresh pesto, here I come!
To date, one of my favorite houseplants is the lemon tree I grew from a seed—it’s actually the plant that really got me interested in gardening. One day, I was juicing a lemon, and I wondered if I could germinate the seeds that fell out. I googled it, and it turned out to be surprisingly easy. Fast forward six years, and my lemon tree is about four feet tall and as happy as can be. (TBD whether it will ever grow any fruit, though.)
It was incredibly satisfying to grow a plant from seed, and I’ve been angling to do it again. This time, I think an avocado plant would be a fun choice. Every time I take the pit out of an avocado, I usually save it for a few days in a baggie, swearing I’m going to attempt to grow it, but this year, I’m determined to actually do it. So if you have any tips for growing an avocado plant, send them my way!
At the end of January, I’m closing on my first home (eee!), and since I’ve been living in apartments for the last decade, it will be my first opportunity to partake in true outdoor gardening. (One time I grew a tomato plant on my apartment’s patio, but I don’t think that counts.)
I’m quite excited about the prospect of designing flower beds and maybe even planting a vegetable garden, but I’m nervous, too. I’m well-versed in the intricacies of houseplant care, but outdoor gardening is a whole other ball game. After all, you have to work around the weather and there are all new challenges, such as pests and weeds. There’s so much to learn, which can seem overwhelming, but that’s also part of what makes it fun.
My current game plan is to keep things simple for the first year and follow expert gardening tips to maintain what’s already there. If I can keep my flowerbeds from dying out all together and maybe grow some fresh tomatoes, I’ll consider it a win.
One of the things I love about being a writer is that I get to share my passions with the world (or at least the internet), and this year, I want to write about gardening and houseplants more—starting with this article! It makes me happy to see more people have found a love of plants in the past year, and I hope to spread the joy of gardening even further by sharing my own journey and insights.
Am I the only one who takes it as a personal slight when plants don’t thrive? Like I mentioned above, Majesty Palms just don’t do well in my apartment, and the one I had last year kept turning brown around the edges, despite my best efforts to keep it humid. I ended up throwing it away because it had one half-dead leaf remaining and was a total eyesore.
And that was far from my only plant failure. I was soo excited when my beautiful Monstera deliciosa put out a new leaf with lots of leaf fenestration (the technical term for those lovely inner holes), and I watched for days as it slowly unfurled. But then it started to turn brown, and by the time it was fully open, half the leaf was dead. I was unbelievably disappointed, and of course, I blamed myself for somehow causing the issue.
It’s hard not to take it personally when something bad happens to a plant you love, but this year, I’m going to try. Sure, the problems could have been a result of something I did, but it also could be due to factors completely out of my control. Failure is part of growing plants, so I’m going to do my best to lean into the good and laugh off my blunders.
How did 2020 change the way you approach gardening at home? Tell us in the comments!