PDA

View Full Version : I fail at plants...



Maria de Luna
31 Aug 2012, 04:43
So I have tried my hand at planting a few things in the past, and my husband is getting annoyed that I keep buying plants just to invariably kill them... Is there some easy to grow herb that is good for cooking? I have a tiny apartment and will have to keep plants in a planter in my only window in my miniscule kitchen, and if tyhere are any suggestions how do I erm... not kill them?

DanieMarie
31 Aug 2012, 10:41
Basil is a good starter one. It's fairly easy to care for, but it does like things just-right as far as water and light go, so if you can get that right, you'll be able to manage anything else. It also goes well with lots of different food! Make sure you water it enough so that it's not totally dry, but let it dry out enough so that the top layer of soil gets dry (this kills off pests and fungus!) Pinch off any flowers it gets, and use the leaves often...I used to think that if I picked my herbs too much, that they wouldn't do well, but actually the opposite is true...harvest away!

Asrais
31 Aug 2012, 18:16
My favorite for the kitchen is Thyme. It's easy to grow, likes lots of sunlight, so let it live on a good sunny window sill. It doesn't mind if you let it dry out a little - watering once a week will be enough unless it's very hot. Most mediteranian herbs will grow well in similar positions - sage, orgegano, marjorem. Rosemary is fairly kill proof too - but keep it in a pot by itself as it can get big.

Prune/ harvest regularly to keep nice bushy growth and if they are on a window sill, rotate them once a week so that they get sunlight on all sides.

Good luck!

Jembru
31 Aug 2012, 20:23
I also struggle with window herbs. I currently have basil, curly-leaf parsly, thyme and dill. The dill looks dead and began drooping within days of getting it. It is also sun-bleeched. The parsly and basil are both okay but were larger plants than the other two so maybe hardier. They all need a ridiculous amount of water. If I miss just one day, entire sections of the plants are dead by the time I realise and water them. They'll be drooping, as though thirsty, even when there is bloody MOULD growing on the surface of the soil.

Oh and the thyme. I LOVE the smell of this herb so I really hope it survives, but this gets very leggy and tangles into the leaves of the other plants. If I take it away from the others, as I need to do to cut off the dead, sunbleeched or ridiculously long bits, it just droops and flops, limp, over the sides of the pot. It basically needs the other plants to boost it up.

I don't think I'm really doing anything wrong. I think these are just not as happy on windowsills as we're led to believe. Or maybe only do well on south facing windows? I bought them all as kitchen herbs from the fruit and veg section of the supermarket. They're a pain in my ass, but I like the smell and taste when they're added to cooking, and will sometimes pinch their leaves just to freshen the air in the kitchen. I guess the effort is worth it.

Asrais
31 Aug 2012, 20:54
Jembru - I wonder if maybe your plants are missing something other than water? Have you tried giving them a seaweed solution or some epsom salts (1 tablespoon : 1 litre of water)
Most herbs like to have at least 5 hours direct sun every day. Some can do well in shade, mint for instance.

With most herbs, you can cut them right back and they will regrow, so you can do this with your leggy thyme. There are also species you can get that are less leggy, creeping time is one that I have found to be more compact, if trimmed regularly.

Maria de Luna
02 Sep 2012, 03:41
ok I'm gonna try 3 (really tiny window) and will see how they work out!

SCoyote
02 Sep 2012, 18:29
Consider getting a plant light fixture for you herbs, they generally like full sun and that is diluted through a window. Still, most herbs won't do well inside despite being touted as being easy indoors. A good way to grow basil is to get some cuttings from the grocery, stick them in a mason jar with water, they will root, same as with mint and rosemarry. they like well drained but moist soil, let dry between waterings and keep them on a tray of pebbels for humidity as indoor air is usually too dry.

Willow
02 Sep 2012, 19:59
I have this... thing.... growing in my dining room. My sister (who is studying Botany at uni) gave it to me because I could never keep any kind of plant alive. I'm not sure what it's called, but it's extremely resilient. If I forget to water it, it's fine for days without any care. I've had it for about 2 months and it's still going strong. If you're interested, it might be a good starter plant to get your confidence and practice built up a bit. I'll have to bother my sister for its name, but it's not a cooking herb. :shy:

Asrais
02 Sep 2012, 21:26
Not a herb, but if you are looking for a plant that can survive anything, you can try a pot-bellied fig. I have one as a bonsai (not a true bonsai as I don't do anything to it) I water it when it starts to look a bit droopy, maybe once a month and thats it.

Maria de Luna
03 Oct 2012, 06:36
I hade sage and thyme in the window... apparently my cat enjoys thyme, because she ate it... all. She just ate it, she can't actually jump onto the counter so I don't know how she even managed to get it off! Can't make her eat catnip, but holy cow the thyme! maybe I need something bigger, is a pot bellied fig (mmm pork) very large? and does it need a whole heap of sunlight?

B. de Corbin
03 Oct 2012, 06:50
I hade sage and thyme in the window... apparently my cat enjoys thyme, because she ate it... all. She just ate it, she can't actually jump onto the counter so I don't know how she even managed to get it off! Can't make her eat catnip, but holy cow the thyme! maybe I need something bigger, is a pot bellied fig (mmm pork) very large? and does it need a whole heap of sunlight?

Thyme has an effect on cats much like catnip (as does valerian), although generally catnip has a stronger effect.

anunitu
03 Oct 2012, 07:02
Don't feel bad if you have trouble with plants. If I get near a plant it dies. I had an ex Girlfriend that was VERY good with plants,a real green thumb. She would not let me get even close to her plants(about 20 plants growing inside) because if I did they started dieing. I don't know why,I personally like plants for their beauty and their ability to produce clean air,but it seems I am cursed when it comes to plants. With animals it is very different,I seem to have a way with them,and even a MEAN dog will respond to me very well,people are amazed when I get near a nasty dog,they calm down and come right to me.

Hoho
03 Oct 2012, 09:14
I had a bamboo plant and some type of tropical palm growing up as a kid, they both died but that may be because I was well, a kid, and just not good at it.

A neighbor brought over a giant avocado, I'm talking like, 8 inches from top to bottom, and she says after it ripens for a few more days, we can plant the seed and in no time have an avocado tree! Apparently they really like the weather here in Florida, so I'm very excited to grow one! I love avocados!

Maria de Luna
05 Oct 2012, 01:58
Eh maybe I should give a fikus (pot bellied fig etc.) a go. I need a different garden center though, because mine is confused when I go in and ask for a specific plant. Well I'll have to find out what a better season to look for one is.

PhoenixMask
07 Oct 2012, 01:13
If its any consolation I'm not so great with plants myself. The only things I have grown that were a success are:

Columbines- I thought these were weeds in an old planter my grandad gave me. The leaves looked like a shamrock so I left them alone because they were neat. I completely ignored them and BAM! Flowers appeared.

Forget me nots- Ok so the flowers haven't really grown but my genderfriend (I'm dating a genderqueer) gave me a flower pot they had put seeds in and somehow spilled in their car. I took the pot and put it on the back deck and theres a bunch of cool looking leaves growing out of it.

Carrots- Well they were going to be tasty but a deer got to them first. O.o

thalassa
07 Oct 2012, 04:19
I've often grown mint with success in a hanging planter by a window, as well as basil, lemon balm (which is a mint family plant), and sage. If you kill plants, don't grow rosemary or lavender...they can be finicky. One thing I've found though...if you are growing them indoors, it helps to have the window open for them, or to have a place to put them outside periodically. I've never been as successful with windowsill gardens as I have balcony ones!

Shahaku
09 Oct 2012, 07:00
I'm pretty horrible with plants too. I got a calla lily this last summer and it's actually survived this far. It's not a particularly demanding plant, it lets you know when it needs water by drooping some. But you can't cook with it.

Asrais
09 Oct 2012, 20:24
Sorry it took my so long to answer the question, I missed it - my potbellied fig is on my kitchen counter, it gets a fair amount of light, but not direct sunlight. I have had it in darker areas of the house and it did ok, but I find it does better with in direct light.

tseringdolma
10 Oct 2012, 12:50
try Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis), it is fairly easy to grow indoors and outdoors and is super hardy. It's got anticeptic properties and also tastes good in salads, ommelettes etc :)

Hawkfeathers
11 Oct 2012, 03:56
I've been lucky with plants - bought my first one in 1984 ( a Maranta, also called rabbit track or prayer plant) and it's still with me. It had pretty much died off last year but there was one little twig left that I just had a feeling had some life in it so I kept watering weekly as always and suddenly new leaves came up. As for herbs, my rosemary always dies off in the fall! I usually have basil, parsley, thyme, & rosemary in the kitchen. The temp./light/water balance can be tricky but once you get it , you're good to go! It can get hotter right next to a sunny window than you realize.
I'm not sure what a pot-bellied fig is.....I'll have to look that one up!

Farren
08 Nov 2012, 16:14
likeThalassa said Lemon Balm is good herb, it can be used as a garnish on sorbets and drinks, and when infused can be used as a mild tea to treat digestive problems and anxiety. I would grow it in a pot though, when it gets established it tends to spring up all over the place.
The Marigold is another good choice, its easy to raise, the flowers go nicely in salads, and as an infusion can be either drunk to help sooth premenstrual tension, or applied to the skin to clear the complexion and tone the skin.

Jembru
09 Nov 2012, 12:05
My herbs are doing a lot better these days. I think they were forced then had been in the supermarket a while before I brought them home. Adapting to their new conditions took a while. They don't look like textbook speciments, but hey, they're mine! Earlier, my basil told me it was in trouble. Seriously, it called for help the only way a plant can! I was straightening up the livingroom because my mum and niece are planning to visit me, when I became aware of a very strong smell of basil. I thought it was just me at first, but then it just seemed to be stronger and stronger. I guessed it wouldn't hurt to check on my basil. I went into the kitchen and guess what... a very guilty-looking kitten was sitting in the middle of the floor, and my poor basil was in the sink!! It's amazing how strongly scented some herbs are. I mean, to have spelt it from another room. Lucky it had this method of accidental communication and could tell me it was in trouble! ^^

Asrais
09 Nov 2012, 17:05
Jembru - there has been some scientific research done (don't ask me where, I just remember reading it some where, I'm sure if you googled it, you'd find it) that said that plants can react with fear, pain and happiness. They hooked up some sort of sensors to the plants and noted their reactions to being cut, the presence of sharp objects, being stroked and talked to etc - makes me a bit paranoid when I have to give my plants a trim, I find myself talking them through it!! lol

I'm glad you managed to save your poor basil from your kitten! I have two cats and a puppy, I'm surprised I manage to grow anything!

This is a pic of my potbellied fig, for those who were curious. Ignore the little elf, he just stopped there for a nap ;)
1214

About 3 weeks ago, the fig was looking very sorry for itself, so I pruned off all the leaves, leaving only the new shoots and gave it a good feed with an organic multipurpose food, and sure enough, this is what it looks like today - I'm tellin ya, they can't be killed!

Jembru
11 Nov 2012, 06:43
Jembru - there has been some scientific research done (don't ask me where, I just remember reading it some where, I'm sure if you googled it, you'd find it) that said that plants can react with fear, pain and happiness. They hooked up some sort of sensors to the plants and noted their reactions to being cut, the presence of sharp objects, being stroked and talked to etc - makes me a bit paranoid when I have to give my plants a trim, I find myself talking them through it!! lol

I'm glad you managed to save your poor basil from your kitten! I have two cats and a puppy, I'm surprised I manage to grow anything!


Well, I haven't looked very deeply into the research but I do know from my scholarly background (read, 'by watching the panel show QI'), that it was discovered that the acacia will release a kind of 'panic hormone' when it is being grazed on by giraffes or other animals that have evolved ways around the acacias impressive lines of defence. This, apparently, triggers other plants in the area to release a response hormone, as though warning them that danger is coming.

Now, do I really believe there is a genuine fear or distress from the plant? I'm pretty open-minded these days, not so gullible as I was as a teenwitch, not as overly sceptical about everything as I was in my mid-late twenties, but basically willing to at least accept the possibility of many things others would find preposterous. So yes, maybe. However, the most likely thing that is happening, without having delved far enough into the research, is that this is about speeding up the healing of the plant after damage has occurred. Just like we have platelets to seal wounds and protect them while healing accures, so too, do plants have a mechanism of sealing of the dead end so that new plant growth can occur. This is probably what the acacia releases, something to trigger this healing. The other acacias pick up the chemical with their own hormone receptors, and begin to release their own, ready for the onslaught.

There are many things we don't fully grasp about how plants work. They are quite remarkable organisms. I remember when I was in college, being told scientists had detected the chemicals but not the mechanism, that lets a seed know what way around it is in the ground. There were good theories, but nothing solid. I imagine we fully understand how it works now, it's been a while and I'm out of the science loop these days. But this kind of thing was really fascinating.

As for the plant reacting just to nearby scissors, that's weird and I would definitely have to check the data on that one. Sounds like it may have been a biased test, or something else was at play (scissors recently being used on the same kind of plant, so being coated in what I amateurishly referred to as 'panic hormone' earlier.

Still, those with caring natures could do worse than sooth and speak to plants. If nothing else, it has a positive impact on us. If plants do have feelings, they'll be happy for the attention, if they do, the carbon dioxide wouldn't go amiss.

Asrais
11 Nov 2012, 18:04
While looking for the plants have feelings article, I found this - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2157221/Maybe-Prince-Charles-right-British-scientists-reveal-plants-really-talk.html which talks about similar chemical communication, but also "clicks" that plants use to communicate. Taken with a grain of salt, of course, but I definately think there is more to plants than we realise.

We also have to consider, for those of us who spend time chatting with our plants, the positive impact may not be from talking to it, or stroking it's leaves (I do this all the time, people think I'm wierd, I go around garden centres stroking plants before I decide which to buy!) but rather because we take time to look at our plants while we do so - therefore picking up on any diseases or problems the plant may have early.

Azvanna
02 Jan 2013, 12:40
I was given a beautiful Oregano plant. I mean it was healthy. Now I'm just cultivating dry herbs. >.< 1341

Jembru
02 Jan 2013, 13:11
I really don't know what I do wrong. I watered my herbs every day and let them dry out once a week before watering them again the next morning. They picked up after I first got them and ended up living a few months but finally began to wilt and die. I had guests comming over, so I decided to replace them with healthy plants from the supermarket. That was two weeks ago and the basil is already dead. The thyme is just about finished too.

I got a rose plant for Yule and most of that is dead now too. I try so hard but they just refuse to live for me :(

Ula
02 Jan 2013, 15:16
I really don't know what I do wrong. I watered my herbs every day and let them dry out once a week before watering them again the next morning. They picked up after I first got them and ended up living a few months but finally began to wilt and die. I had guests comming over, so I decided to replace them with healthy plants from the supermarket. That was two weeks ago and the basil is already dead. The thyme is just about finished too.

I got a rose plant for Yule and most of that is dead now too. I try so hard but they just refuse to live for me :(

It sounds like a light issue. Can you change windows?

Jembru
02 Jan 2013, 16:37
Never thought of that. I do have to turn them often because they lean towards to window, so maybe you're right. There is a south window I could try (the window they're on faces west), but I like them in the kitchen because I can access them more easily when I am cooking.

iflewoverthecuckoosnest
02 Jan 2013, 23:30
Sorry if someone else already said this, but bulbs of almost any kind are pretty easy to grow, and this is coming from someone else who kills just about every green thing she touches. Just put 'em in some soil, keep watering them, and they grow to be healthy just about every time. Good luck :)

Azvanna
19 Mar 2013, 02:43
I really don't know what I do wrong. I watered my herbs every day and let them dry out once a week before watering them again the next morning. They picked up after I first got them and ended up living a few months but finally began to wilt and die. I had guests comming over, so I decided to replace them with healthy plants from the supermarket. That was two weeks ago and the basil is already dead. The thyme is just about finished too.

I got a rose plant for Yule and most of that is dead now too. I try so hard but they just refuse to live for me :(

Jembru, I wonder where you are buying your plants from? You say you bought one lot of Basil from the Supermarket, if you bought the others from there too that could be your problem.

Any plants that I've bought from a big chain store or supermarket has ended up dying. I thought it was me, too! I mentioned this to someone and they said it could be to do with the environment those chain stores create for the seedlings.
This person explained that plants that are raised inside a shop or in a hot house may just not have the fortitude to survive in the real world. The lighting and oxygen in those kind of stores are just not the same as in your garden.

Since then, I've started buying from the nursery close by instead and I have a really great garden going now. I'm not perfect, I'm still killing oregano somehow but most of my other stuff is growing reasonably well.

The other thing is to make sure its in the right pot. If the pots too small or doesn't drain, the plant suffers.

Hope this helps you.

callmeclemens
21 Mar 2013, 16:41
For the past two or three years my Wife and I would go and buy small plants to container garden on our apartment porch. They usually would yield okay, mostly attract Bee's, moth's and other insects, but nothing fantastic.

Now I can't say I've seen any actual results yet, but this year I decided to go organic, and raise the plants up from seeds in my little workshop. Made a bit of a green house setting for them, and over the past week the growth has been fantastic.

Maria de Luna
22 Mar 2013, 01:46
I tried raising plants this year from seed... the thyme grew a little, and then it all just... dunno died. The rosemary and catnip and lemon balm never even sprouted, when I went digging the seeds, they never even opened and rooted. The sage started out really well, growing quite fast... I had 30 little plants, I transplanted 8 into bigger pots... there are now 3, cause Cthulhu ate the tops off of the others and they died... I have 3 little sage plantlings... stupid plants...

callmeclemens
22 Mar 2013, 03:41
Interesting, according to your location we live close to one another so I can rule out environmental issues. As I can really say is make sure the temp and lighting is up to the standard of the plants, that's important, also, remember not to over or under water. Lastly what kind of soil are you using? Often I here people say the either bought a bag of top soil, or just pulled dirt from outside. If you're using Top soil in pots, there's a good chance it's nutrient bare and potentially to compact around your seeds for them to sprout, and if you've used dirt from the outside, especially this time a year there could be numerous things wrong with it.

Maria de Luna
22 Mar 2013, 03:56
Nope I bought a bag of "seed starting soil" and according to the packets for all of the seeds (except the catnip) the seed pots should be in a cool moist soil, which they were, the catnip needs sunlight to sprout and they need to be out of kitty reach, (have you ever tried moving something out of the reach of cats?... yeesh) So they had their own special places. now I will say that the inside of this house is not much warmer than the outside, but it has not actively been freezing in the house soooo.... well w/e looks like sage is all im getting this year, and only some of that...
I'm honestly fairly convinced that its me... and I just may be laced with plant poison... perhaps it seeps from my pores...

callmeclemens
22 Mar 2013, 04:25
(have you ever tried moving something out of the reach of cats?... yeesh)

I have, with three Cats any potting done inside is just out of control haha. Have you tried those seed started Green House kits? Lots of people have success with them.

Also, when people read sun, they like to put things right next to windows not realizing during the night hours, a draft could really harm things quiet a bit.

Maria de Luna
22 Mar 2013, 04:37
I had one of those when I was a kid, and grew a whole bunch of mold, I have since been afraid to try them... Maybe I am just not meant to grow plants...