in less than three hours

Confession: in less than three hours I killed a plant. This is a new record for me (and one that I’m not very proud of… or happy to share).

For those of you that follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may have seen my story from last week where I discovered a plant shop in my neighbourhood, went in just to take a peak, and then proceeded to purchase four new plants on a whim. Can you say #plantaddict.?! Yes, I think you can. Sometimes sporadic plant shopping is the best! Sometimes.

What when wrong?

For context, let me first share with you the video where I introduce my four new plants. Pay special attention to the second plant, a Purple Shamrock (otherwise known as Oxalis Triangularis).  Do you see how it’s limp? I acknowledge in the video that something seems off, but I’m hopeful she’ll bounce back come morning.

Rewind to two hours earlier… I enthusiastically arrive home, new plants in tow. I assess my planter situation and assign homes (i.e. pots) based on apparent size and ‘what might look good together’.

This is my first mistake:

Plants are beautiful. And their rise in popularity over recent years is directly linked to their use as decor within a home. It is understandable why anyone (myself included) would want to ensure that not only the plant, but also the pot it is going to live in, looks good in your space.

I began the process of potting my plants. I selected an adorable milk-glass planter. I then gently removed it from it’s plastic pot and maneuvered the plant into the milk-glass. But there was a catch. The milk-glass planter doesn’t have any drainage holes in the bottom, so I had to add some rocks in the base to create a way for water to drain away from the soil*

Here is my second mistake:

In my excitement I didn’t think about the fact that when you add rocks, the plant has less room inside the pot. Once the plant had gotten as far down into the pot as it could go, there was still about a half inch  of important soil sticking out of the top. I quickly realized my error and went to remove the plant in order to re-asses which pot might work better.

And then… The biggest mistake of all:

As I was removing the plant from the milk-glass, I didn’t realize that the bottom half of the plant was stuck. I not-so-gently tried to shake the plant out… And ended up separating the top half (leaves) from the bottom half (roots).

Devastated, I quickly used Google to determine if my plant could survive such a catastrophe. There was a glimmer of hope, as Purple Shamrocks grow from bulbs, which appeared to be intact. I took the bulbs, still attached to the stems/leaves, and put them back in the milk-glass with fresh soil. An hour later following the video, the outlook was not good. But I went to bed hopeful.

The next morning I awoke to find a very sad, and dead Purple Shamrock. It was apparent to me that there was no recovering from this mistake. I was too sad to take a photo at the time, but I will share with you the current state of this plant:

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It’s not pretty. And no, I’m not keeping a dead plant hanging around as a form of self-punishment. I’ve been told that there is a small chance the plant could come back to life. As in, the bulbs might still produce new steams & leaves. I’m not keeping my hopes up this time, but figured it doesn’t hurt anyone or anything to see what happens. Who knows?!

Some lessons learned:

  1. While it is understandable that you would want your plant & planter to look good, the most important thing is to find the right home for your plant. This means taking into consideration its size and what specifically the plant needs (for example, some plants like room to grow & a lighter, airier soil).
  2. Planning ahead is always a good idea. And in the event that you do happen to buy your plant on a whim, there is no rush to re-pot. Take the time to fine the best home!
  3. Be gentle! Even heartier plants can have a negative reaction to being moved, so always handle with care.

And because I am a legit #crazyplantlady, I went out the next day and bought a new Purple Shamrock. I’m happy to report, so far so good!

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Stay tuned to my Instagram & Twitter for updates on whether or not my original Purple Shamrock comes back from the grave.

*Using rocks for drainage is a ‘controversial’ topic amongst house plant enthusiasts. I plan to cover this topic in a future blog post, but for now I will say that I have had success with using rocks as a way of creating drainage!

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