Ferns, vines, flowers: I’ve murdered them all.
But, after one successful year of VERY haphazard pot plant gardening, I’m here to share my wisdom. Here are five green things even a reckless plant parent like you can keep alive!
1. Arrowhead Plant
“Leafy boy” did not have an easy start in life. I savagely plucked him from the ground, shoved him in a plastic bag where he endured a two-hour train ride home, then carelessly plopped him in a McDonalds Coke glass of water atop toilet.
A few months later, pleasantly surprised by his ability to survive in filth and shade, I decided to rehouse him into a tiny $3 Kmart pot. Since then, he’s since outgrown three pots (only one of which I’ve ever bothered fertilising), and shows no sign of stopping.
Plus, people ask if he’s real – which means he’s as healthy as they come!
Cost: FREE from my good friend’s luscious Gold Coast hinterland property.
Top survival tip: Make sure he dries out between waterings, or he could get root rot. And keep him in the pot – even though they’re not classified as invasive, they do like to get around the garden when left to their own devices.
I honestly didn’t expect the two random cuttings my best friend hacked off a jade plant and shoved into a pot (full of dirt, not potting mix) to survive.
Well, it turns out that I don’t know shit about “rooting” (not in the plant sense of the word, anyway) because these succy boys turned into brand new plants without much effort at all.
I love jade plants because they thrive on neglect. They’re happy indoors or outdoors as long as they get a few hours of sunlight a day. And, as with arrowheads, they prefer to dry out between waterings.
Cost: FREE from my secateur-happy mate in Brisbane.
Top survival tip: If your jade plant is losing leaves or turning brown, give it some more bloody water!
3. Spider Plant
I’m not kidding when I say that any idiot could care for a spider plant.
These gorgeous stripy boys love being stuck in pots, require little watering, and don’t give a shit about fertiliser.
And, bonus: Once they get comfortable they’ll produce “spiderettes” – tiny replicas you can anchor to some dirt and turn into a whole new plant! What’s not to love?
Cost: FREE from the aforementioned beautiful Gold Coast garden.
Top survival tip: Sometimes these guys get brown leaf tips. Those just mean your plant has got a bit too much fluoride in its water supply and it’s leaching out the unwanted chemicals. Don’t worry – he won’t die. Just give him a good non-fluoridated watering to flush out the excess salt in the soil.
These clumping lovelies are a neglectful parent’s delight.
They’re drought tolerant (read: let them dry out between waterings), and thoroughly enjoy being indoors as long as they have a little sun.
Plus, every time you pull off a dead leaf, a new rhoeo clump will grow in its place. These babies can be plucked off and put in some soil where, much like the aforementioned spiderettes, they’ll grow into a new plant!
Cost: FREE because I found a clump surviving (against all odds) amongst ciggie butts and beer cans in my old share-house garden.
Top survival tip: If its leaves start turning brown, your rhoeo is getting too much light! Pop him inside where he can recover from the sunburn.
This beauty changes colour when left in the sun, grows two new leaves at once, and, like all the other plants I’ve mentioned, it doesn’t need much water or fertiliser to thrive. Talk about a crowd pleaser!
And, if you get sick of having it indoors, chuck it outside and watch it grow to ginormous proportions.
Cost: $2 from a somewhat salty old Greek lady at my local markets.
Top survival tip: If you notice discolouration in specific parts of your flapjack’s leaf, make sure it’s not beside a mirror or a window where sunlight is concentrating on the plant.