Gardening for the Brown Thumb

Succulents are one of the easiest plants to take care of. Water once a week or even every other week and it's fine.
Succulents are one of the easiest plants to take care of. Water once a week or even every other week and it’s fine.

I wouldn’t call myself a gardener. Half the plants I try to grow end up dying, and the plants I do have don’t always look the best. I’ve found out that mostly it’s just paying attention to the plant and making sure it gets enough water when needed. I’ve managed to keep plants alive enough that at one point at work, I became surrounded by plants! Coworkers would see that I have a plant or two and then bring their dying plant to me to try to save it. Of course, then they would inevitably leave it behind and forget about it. Then it became my job to water numerous plants and try to pawn them off to other people. With a little time, patience, and a bit of research, you can definitely keep a few plants around.

Plants can be for decorative purposes, health, or grown for food. I tend to keep plants around that can help filter the air to keep my apartment healthy. I like to try to grow herbs and plants that I can actually eat, but with varying success. I also have two orchids that I’ve kept alive for a few years! I started out with 3 though, but 2 died. The last one I thought I was taking care of well initially. It even had a baby! Unfortunately, I found out that orchids will grow a baby if they are almost dying. Fast forward to two years later and both mom and baby are doing better after some consultation and help from my uncle who keeps tons of orchids alive. When he needs help, he consults his orchid master.

If you think that you have a brown thumb and are horrible with plants, well I was the same too! I never realized that different plants require varying amount of sunlight and watering. Picking the right plant that won’t die easily is the best way to start. The plants I have are pretty easy and I swear I’ve killed them off, but then they rebound. If you have even a small balcony or window, you can also try growing some herbs! Those are the easiest plants to grow that you can use for food.

Start small and get something hard to kill
The best way to start out is to buy a plant that is already in good health. There are a few house plants that are pretty and good for filtering air that are hard to kill. Peace lilies, spider plants, and snake plants. These three are great because they thrive indoors. They really don’t need much light and actually don’t love bright sun. I’ve had a peace lily and a spider plant for a few years and I haven’t killed them off yet. If you have bright sunlight, cacti and succulents can be fun to grow. They require very little water and the little ones are so cute. Bamboo is another great option! I have two of them stuck in a vase with water and they are growing just fine.

Growing plants for food
On my balcony right now, I have chives, green onions, red chile peppers, and some avocado plants. The avocado trees aren’t really for food… but they are fun to grow! They don’t fruit for ten years and the chances of them bearing fruit are slim unless you splice them, which I have no idea how to do. Herbs are awesome because they can grow in small tiny pots. It’s much easier to buy herbs that are already grown than growing from seeds. Seedlings take a lot of love and care. Even if they sprout, they can die pretty easily. Buying one full grown herb can last a while. You can definitely grow other plants for food! For a brown thumb gardener like me though, I’ll stick to herbs.

Don’t over water or under water
Each plant has different requirements for watering. Some need to be watered every single day, others can be once a week. Some like the soil to dry out, others like the soil to be kept moist. Knowing what your plant prefers is important to keeping it alive. Both under-watering and over-watering can kill a plant. Keeping the soil moist when the plant doesn’t like it will cause the roots to rot. Plants will usually come with care instructions. Read those and make sure to pay attention to your plants. Most people kill their plants because they shove them in a corner and leave them there for weeks.


Like any other living thing, plants need some attention to stay alive! If you don’t have the time to care for a dog, you wouldn’t buy one right? Buy some plastic plants if you really want some green but don’t have the time to look after them every now and then. I love having plants around though because they bring some life into our sterile homes. The ones I have also help purify the toxins in the air so it’s good for me too!

Do you have a green or brown thumb?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge