Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Succulent Death

My succulents are dying. It pains me to admit this. I have had countless plants in my lifetime, and all have done very, very well. Except for my succulents.

It all began back when I was 19. I was working as an assistant manager of a clothing store in a small shopping mall. Each year, during Easter week, they would allow carts to enter the mall to sell items not normally sold there (this was in the 80s, before carts were all over the place). My manager's husband brought in a plant stand. One day, he needed coverage for a few hours, and I offered to help. When my shift ended, along with a hearty thanks, I was given the opportunity to take any plant that I wanted. I had never had a plant before, and was terrified that I would kill anything I took, so I set my sights low, on a $4 spider plant.

My manager was amazed. I didn't choose a big $25 arrangement, but a cheap spider plant. When she asked why I made that choice, I told her that no plant stood a chance in my care, so if I was going to bring a plant to its death, I wanted it to be something small.

That plant proved me wrong. While I will agree that it's very hard to kill a spider plant, this one not only lived, but flourished. It's babies made over ten plants for friends (I would clip them and root them in water, then replant for friends), and it lived for over 15 years.

It didn't die on it's own. My ex-husband and I would put it outside every summer to enjoy the sunlight, and it finally grew so big that we couldn't accommodate it in the house, and then we were getting divorced to top it all off, so the plant just stayed outside one year until it met its untimely death.

Since then, I've had more houseplants than I can remember. Through three houses, and varying degrees of sunlight, I've had to pass some along and make accommodations, but I've always had success. Succulents, though, have failed me 100% of the time.

I kill cactus, aloe, and any other succulent that comes my way. I've been told to water more, or water less, to give them more light, less light. Still, no dice. But I'm not ready to give up. Not yet. As I sit here in front of the fireplace, looking at my dropping, browing aloe plant, the one with still damp dirt, I wonder "What can I do to keep this plant alive?"

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