Oddly enough I’ve heard people actually killing a cactus or otherwise known to most as ‘succulent’ plants. Which is impressive because it’s literally a plant that can withstand cold,hot, dry, wet and dark. If we ever colonize the dark side of the moon that will likely the first plant I would incorporate for ‘ease of use’.
But it’s usually not your fault, oddly enough. Well, not entirely.
To grow anything you need to make sure you have some things in place. Growing plants is not as simple as stores would like you to think. Sure, now a days you can go buy just about anything in a store, transplant it, and “wah lah” you’re a gardener. All the rewarding part of growing a plant from seed is gone and so is your stress and effort. Most of the effort in raising plants and becoming a good gardener is doing this from seed. From seed to small plant is the most crucial time because typically once a plant is sturdy, tall, and leafy it is pretty good at taking a beating. I’ve transplanted fully downed plants into better containers and watch them spring back as if to say thank you.
Soil. Soil is the most crucial part of what you work with. Soil is not dirt. Dirt is on your kitchen floor made up of debris and is not alive. Soil is very much alive with micro-organisms, fungi, insects, bacteria, and many things. I don’t want to know whats on your bathroom floor. Soil holds a plant in place and provides nutrients. And to those hydro-ponic people – your products suck. Hydro-ponics is the ‘big pharma” of agriculture. Soil and all of it’s micro components play a key role in each plant and how it grows and produces nutrients.
Water. Yes, sorry but this is where it is your fault. Most people always say they don’t water enough, and that’s probably true. But more often I find that most people don’t drain enough water away. In nature water does not stay around, it’s called the water cycle. In containers roots get ‘root bound’ and if it can’t drain then it gets ‘root rot’ which often looks like your plant is dying but it’s not from drying out. It is dying because where there is enough moisture there is harmful fungi who can take over and cause root rot. You need to make sure as much as you water you also take away water. In most soils outside this is easy. In most container pots it’s not because there is no drain, but there can be. Adding small rocks to a container will allow water to drain and evaporate easier and also not keep roots sitting in water – it’s actually not a good thing. Oh and yes, you still need to water your plant while you’re gone. It’s not plastic – you can get those I hear though, a plastic plant. It’s ironic – plastic is killing our planet and we make plastic plants – can’t wait till plastic starts turning CO2 in O2.
Sun. Contrary to popular belief plants don’t like all the sun you want to give them. After about 80 degrees plants shut down in order to protect themselves(humans don’t have this function.) In fact some plants don’t like it warm at all and won’t do well past 70 degrees. You do need sun but oddly enough but typically lights in your house will do – not as good, but will do. It’s still part of the light spectrum no matter the way you break it down. Yes, there is special lights you can get, and would be great – if you want to be a crazy grower like me. But all you need is a started plant and it doesn’t need much light just a long amount of light. Now if you want to start your own plants then yes you will need some T5 high output lights and keep them on a 12 hour on/off schedule for seedlings. Good luck.
Air. If you think just because plants don’t have lungs like us and don’t breathe air, like us, you are so wrong. Air is crucial but there is two different types of air a plant needs. Air for oxygen is the air that which is contained in the soil and is absorbed in the roots. And air that passes the leaves which makes the plant strong and sturdy. Plants have a term called ‘vigor’ and this is basically like a plant workout. If you could control two plants one with top air and one without top air and then put them outside the one without would wither and die because it could not handle force applied to it. But the one with air applied to it has grown up in wind and is strong. The more air that reaches a plants cell walls the cell walls thicken and strengthen giving them ‘vigor’ so don’t expect your home plant will transplant very well when a 20mph hits it hard!
Soil, water, sun, air. If you have all these 4 – you can at least have the best chances to not kill your plant. That being said go plant something, stop reading this, and find some seeds no doubt you left laying around from last year and plant something – anything.