My Dad just has to look at a plant and it thrives. It’s as if they photosynthesise and flourish from his company alone. It’s no surprise that he was raised by a forester – by a man who was so knowledgeable and skilled when it came to nature that he made a living out of it. If you give Dad a plant he’ll know how to nurture it in to something aesthetic, tame it in to something manageable and harvest it into something resourceful. I, on the other hand, am a plant murderer.
I bought a basil plant two days ago and already it has retreated in to a miserable state of irrecoverable frailty. I had a plant in the apartment before that, and instead of growing up, it grew sideways across the floor as if heading for the door trying to make its escape. It died.
So, until the day arrives when I have both the time and patience to become a good plant parent, I’m confining myself to plants that don’t expect to be watered every day and don’t mind living in the same soil forever. Here are the four least needy plants I’ve owned so far and four more as recommended by the plant expert (a.k.a Dad):
1. Rubber Plant
Abandoned by a previous tenant, this rubber plant was there to greet me when I moved in to an apartment while at college. I adopted it and, despite only being watered once a week (and having an Australian souvenir clinging to it), it has miraculously stayed alive.
2. Peace Lily
I’ve had the same peace lily since my college days and today it lives in my office. It doesn’t get the best light and doesn’t demand too much attention.
3. Aloe Vera
I bought an Aloe Vera plant six months ago, watered it VERY little and it’s still thriving. The transparent goo inside the stalks (‘transparent goo’ is definitely the scientific name for it) is the best treatment for burn injuries so every house should have an Aloe Vera plant. Next time you burn yourself cut open the stalk and spread the goo on the burn.
I received a Kentia as a housewarming gift when I moved to Dun Laoghaire a year ago. I love this plant because it’s so big and really adds character to the place. Like the others, it’s not an attention seeker because it can live in low light with hardly any water.
“A few plants I can recommend, that not even you could kill Jenna, are the spider plant, the Jade plant, the Golden Pothos or any kind of cactus plant – there are lots of variations”.
Let me know if you can recommend any other death-defying house plants.
By Jenna Crotty