Welcome to the greenhouse

Houseplants are the best. No seriously. I dare you to name a better $4 investment for your home.

I buy plants all the time: when I’m sad and need something to perk me up; when I’m happy and want something new and cheerful around; or when Anthropologie gets a shipment of planters that look like they cost $50, but are marked $14.

plant1When I spotted these little gold numbers this past Sunday, I didn’t even bother looking through the rest of the store. I just tucked them under my arm and proceeded to the checkout before one of the clerks discovered that they were mispriced.

“Aren’t these great?” the woman at the register asked, which, I swear, is what they say to me every single time I buy something.

“Yes, very great,” I replied.

“I have one at home and I put all my spatulas in it,” she continued.

That made me think that her house probably had way too many spatulas, but I didn’t dare tell her that. I just said, “I’m going to put plants in mine.”

I can only assume she didn’t do the same because she’s one of those people who can’t keep anything alive. I know the look because I used to be one.

But things have changed and I’m going to let you in on my secret three-step process for never killing a plant again.

  1. Go to the plant department at The Home Depot and say this: “I need a plant that is unkillable.” Trust me, they’ll know exactly what you mean. They have a whole section of easy-care plants that will live through pretty much whatever abuse you dish out.
  2. Water the plant when it droops. I can’t make it any simpler than that. Don’t try to get fancy and do it when you think it’s time or every Tuesday. Just ask yourself, “Is this plant drooping?” If it is, water it. If it’s not, leave it the hell alone until it is.
  3. There’s always one person in the group who asks, “But how much do you water it?” as though he caught me in the middle of some outrageous lie. You water it until it looks wet, OK? And if that’s too hard to comprehend, then water it until you flood the table that you have it on. Your choice.

If you’re doing anything more complicated than that, then you’re probably overthinking it. For example, if you’re like the dentist who dumped me via text message and find yourself gently misting some sickly-looking fern as the branches practically crumble to the floor – you have gone horribly wrong. Just cut your losses and throw that plant out.

But keep the pot. You can put your spatulas in it.


Oh, and PS – Look who’s all hung up and pulling the living room together. Looking good, West 51st St. Mirror. Same to you, East 21st St. Hutch. I’m browsing for a nice East 116th St. Accent Chair to keep you both company



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