How I Keep My House Plants Alive

I should preface this post by saying that I’ve never been able to keep plants alive for long until I bought this variety that, even I, can keep alive with very low maintenance.  It’s just one of those basic “closet plants” that I think I found at Wal-Mart. Any of you know the actual name?

I’ve managed to keep two of these plants alive and thriving for over six months- probably a record for me.  I don’t know if this is technically the best way, but it seems to work for my plants:  I wait until they are drooping about like the photo below before I water them.
Then I take the plant (in it’s plastic container) out of the ceramic pot and water it generously (letting the soil get a good soak) in the bathtub and let the water drain out the holes in the bottom.  

In about an hour, my plant is all perky again!
I do the same thing with the plant by our front door, except this one goes into the kitchen sink. 

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Do you have plant watering tips?
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  1. February 5, 2013 / 12:16 pm

    I have the same problem with plants. …aaannnndddd I got that same plant (I think it's called a peace lily) about 6 months ago too. …and I do the same as you do with the watering, when I see it drooping, I water it and it pops right back up again! I've kept one alive for 6 months so I'm giving myself permission to try another 😉 Do you know any other "very difficult to kill" types of plants??

  2. February 5, 2013 / 12:53 pm

    That cracks me up! Whatever works!!! I cannot keep anything alive, hence no live indoor plats for me except for my boxwood ball! Thanks for the tip! Maybe I will finally get that meyer lemon tree and won't kill it!

  3. February 5, 2013 / 1:43 pm

    I am THE worst person for keeping plants alive! I have one similar to the yours above and I did well for awhile…and now it's on the way out. I do have a couple spider plants in my kids rooms that are doing ok. They are supposed to be good for cleaning the air. I also have a couple philadendrens (I know the spelling is wrong) and a pythos which don't need much care. They are both hanging in there. I hope you have better luck with yours!

    • December 20, 2013 / 11:50 pm

      Can you post pictures of your indoor plants. the spider, philodendron, and pythos. I've been reading up on indoor plants for air quality and I'm asking for plants for Christmas! I've never been good at plants and I'm curious how to house them and such…

  4. February 5, 2013 / 2:19 pm

    I also am a serial plant murderer! 🙂 I set myself a strict schedule for watering plants and I do it every Sunday evening. I have a gallon jug under the sink that I fill with water and a bit of fertilizer and I go around the house and water all the plants. So far I've been able to keep everything alive (well except for the one plant that the cat decided tasted good!).

  5. February 5, 2013 / 2:27 pm

    I kill just about every plant I touch. I must have a black thumb. Philadendrens or pathos are hardy plants and easy to keep alive. It's look like your plants are peace lilies….I think. If they are you will eventually get flowers, but I think it takes around three years before they start to bloom if they were babies when you got them, but like I said, I am not completely sure that your plants are peace lilies.

  6. February 5, 2013 / 2:27 pm

    I can't keep my herbs alive unless they are outside. I have a trick for keeping orchids alive…I'll be blogging about it soon.

  7. February 5, 2013 / 2:51 pm

    I've had the worst luck with succulents as houseplants. I see such gorgeous pictures of them used in others' homes, but have had zero luck keeping any alive for longer than a month. I finally owned up to my failure and asked the owner of a local nursery. Turns out succulents and normal potting mix just won't work– too much moisture, not enough drainage, etc. So he recommended the cactus soil blend by Miracle Gro. He also said that succulents need very little water. Not sure why this was so hard for me to figure out on my own, ha. They thrive in the desert after all!

  8. February 5, 2013 / 3:12 pm

    Hilarious! I would calendar when the plant gets droopy and figure out how many weeks go by and water just before it goes droopy.

  9. February 5, 2013 / 4:57 pm

    The aqua globe works wonders for indoor plants and I usually add some stones to the bottom of the planter (under the soil) to help with drainage. Also, the food you use and pH of your water/soil will change how well your plants grow, or die for that matter. Good luck!

  10. February 5, 2013 / 5:34 pm

    Nope, but I know i just killed one this week by over-watering! Didn't think i had watered too often, but it wasn't looking good so i picked it up and it was sitting in a pool of water! I am awful with plants too.

  11. February 5, 2013 / 10:05 pm

    I do best with succulents that only need occasional water or a light mist. Lucky Bamboo is easy too!!

  12. {Hi Sugarplum!}
    February 5, 2013 / 4:57 pm

    The plant gets more action in the bathtub than anyone else! 🙂 I finally bought a water meter/gauge thingie. I stick it in the soil once a week and it tells me if the plant is dry.

  13. February 6, 2013 / 12:27 am

    It is a peace lily! I am horrible at keeping plants alive as well. I inherited about 10 plants from my grandparents about 7 years ago and my peace lily and one other are the only two to make it. I love how low maintenance it is!

  14. February 6, 2013 / 1:30 am

    I've kept one of those same plants alive for the last SEVEN years! One year it even produced five lilies! Meanwhile, every other plant that has come in this house since has died. Must be a hearty plant!

  15. February 6, 2013 / 1:52 am

    I've had a Christmas cactus for about 2 years now. It's a cactus, right? Doesn't drink much? I've managed to have it drooping at times, but like you, I water it when it does that. It hasn't bloomed since I got it though. I keep meaning to put it out in the summer and bring it in when it gets cold, but haven't done that yet. I think that's how it will start to bloom??

    But yes, a cactus. I recommend those. 🙂

  16. February 6, 2013 / 2:04 am

    I've only been able to keep my Zami-zami alive for long periods of time!! I'll have to try the one you have too. I adore fiddle leaf figs but that was an expensive disaster so I give up. Those things are HARD to keep alive! I also love fresh flower so sometimes I buy those but found that buying an orchid plant every few weeks for 7.99 at Trader Joe's can be cheaper and makes my house feel much more chic! 🙂

  17. February 6, 2013 / 3:35 am

    Ikea always has this palm type plant for sale. It's the one of the easiest plants to keep alive. i water minimally once a month and it's happy. Also try aloe vera plants, i also water it once a month. My mom got me an orchid for my birthday…. must be some kind of a sick joke, i've heard they can be super picky

  18. Jen
    February 5, 2013 / 9:37 pm

    Yup, it looks like a peace lily – which is about the only plant I can keep alive too!

  19. February 6, 2013 / 3:50 am

    Sorry, this is not a plant comment. Where did you get that pretty rug in your foyer?

    • February 6, 2013 / 4:23 am

      Hi Nancy,

      That is from Home It's an indoor/outdoor rug from the Martha Stewart collection I think. 🙂

  20. February 6, 2013 / 4:59 am

    Yep, that's a peace lily, or a spathiphyllum ("spath"). I tend to kill plants too, but have a couple of thes and they do just fine – I water them like you do, when they get droopy!

  21. February 6, 2013 / 5:08 am

    hahaha, that's a peace lily. although you're obviously keeping it alive and have yourself a system there, you're probably not getting any blooms out of it that way. are you? the pothos plants and philodendrons are also really easy and will wilt for you like that. ponytail palms are great for not needing much attention, but won't work if you have indoor cats because their wispy ponytail looks too grassy, i suppose.

  22. Allison
    February 6, 2013 / 2:00 am

    Yes, it is a Peace Lily. I water mine the same way you do…whenever it gets droopy. It's bloomed a few times. That made me happy! Your Superbowl party looked like a while lot of fun.

  23. February 6, 2013 / 10:17 am

    Definitely a peace lily, we have 2. They love having their leaves sprayed with the shower head too. The water is great for the leaves, stops them getting brown edges. I stick mine in the shower under the spray for a few minutes when they're a bit droopey, leave them for an hour or so to drain then pop them back in their homes.

  24. February 6, 2013 / 7:03 pm

    I am so glad you posted this… we have the SAME plant (the only one I've ever kept alive, too) and call him Lazarus since I bring him back from the dead just about every week. I'm glad to learn what kind of plant this is, and I just might have to do my own post on ol' Laz now, too!

  25. February 7, 2013 / 12:40 am

    Definetely a peace lily… Also just fyi since you have a little one, they're also poisonous.

    • February 7, 2013 / 2:30 am

      Oh no, I've never heard that- thanks for sharing!

  26. February 7, 2013 / 4:11 am

    My husband can keep ANY plant alive–he's definitely got a green thumb, mine is a little bit more brown. we have a lot of air plants–really can't kill them and they can go anywhere.

  27. christine, just bella
    February 6, 2013 / 10:17 pm

    ohman, I need all the tips I can get! I'm down to one plant! After killing so many, I decided plants just aren't for me. I'll keep this tip in mind for my one little survivor! Thanks!

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