Ep 018. 3 Traits You Need to Be a Natural Green Thumb
We wrap up a lot of emotions in plants and nature and I am not surprised! God made nature as a way to spoil us with His beauty, reveal to us His power and majesty, and remind us of His deep love for us. Nature is a pretty incredible gift! The beauty of houseplants, and why I think they are so incredible, is because we can take a little piece of nature indoors into our most precious spaces and be reminded of God’s glory and be delighted by the beauty of plants daily.
And maybe that’s not your belief system - but nonetheless I think we can all agree plants are freaking gorgeous! No one walks through a forest and says, “Wow! This is hideous!”
So of course we have emotions attached to plants and of course it can feel like a blow when the plants we admire so much just stop living. It’s frustrating!
I teach houseplant foundations workshops (that I am actually NEARLY finished creating an IN depth online course for!) and one time I taught a course and this woman attended who was going on and on and on about how she will never be able to keep a plant alive, there was no helping her, she told me. She went in fighting and almost took pride in her “brown thumb” - which is totally up to her! You know very well that we don’t NEED houseplants to live happily, to see God’s majesty, or even to add beauty to our homes. They really are an extra, THAT SAID I KNOW there is power and joy and beauty to be found within the process of caring for houseplants.
A few months later I saw this same woman in a grocery store. She recognized me right away and said, “Oh, hey! You’re the plant lady, right!?” (Which I feel like I should just switch my legal name to. Or at least, per Brian’s suggestion, get a shirt that says, “Yes, I am the lady with all the plants”)
Anyways, she continued walking through the store and said “All my plant’s died. I told you they would!”
And then went on her way.
I wasn’t surprised by that one bit.
She had already made up her mind about it.
Chances are if you are listening to this episode you are ready to change your mindset and move forward and grow your plant collection! Which makes me so. Super. PUMPED!
Let me start by saying that no one becomes a houseplant expert overnight. I think often time people get frustrated because they see people’s thriving houseplant collection and get frustrated theirs doesn't look the same. You are comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle or end. It just doesn’t make sense.
Or, and this I think happens more frequently, the you impulsively bought the most DREAMY houseplant from your local greenhouse and then a few weeks or months later it looks totally different in your home. And you feel frustrated or like you’ve done something incredibly wrong.
Do you relate to one of those scenarios?
I have found there to be three main qualities in a person who seems to have a “natural” green thumb. And guess what, they are qualities that a) you can adapt TODAY and b) are why I consider plant care to be such a personal growth process!
1. Be Patient
The first one is simply patience. Plant care, of all forms, requires so. much. patience. Growth takes time. ALWAYS. It never happens under the parameters we set for it because we are not the author of growth. We can facilitate growth, we can provide good conditions in which a plant can grow, but we can NEVER FORCE growth. It just doesn’t work. (I hope you are seeing the DEEP personal growth connection here!)
As you approach houseplant care remember that these plants are living, breathing things! They will have seasons of growth, of hardship, of rest. They will drop leaves, produce flowers, unfurl leaves, and even have times of no growth at all. They are alive - not simply a pretty sculpture in your living room.
When you approach plants with patience you are doing your part to facilitate growth and then just letting the plant do it’s planty thing! There is no need to freak out when you see brown tips or fallen leaves! One, because both of those things can be very normal things for even a healthy plant and two (which leads me into the second character trait of a “natural” green thumb) Is a chance to be curious and do a little research!
2. Be Curious
You probably picked up on this, but the second trait is to be curious! You don’t have to devote your life to studying plants, or even your week, but you do have to read a few care guides, become familiar with your plant’s needs, and ask questions rather than suddenly assume your plant is dying.
Rarely EVER will a plant just suddenly die without trying to communicate to you that something might be wrong. I have actually created a little ebook for you called Revive Your Houseplant with all the warning signs plants use to communicate to us something about their care is off. It’s just $5 and you can grab it at revivenursery.com/shop!
That said, if houseplants is something you want to to just be a buy the plant and then forget about it this isn’t the right hobby for you. You have to be curious and ask questions!
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3. Be attentive
Which leads me right into the third character trait! Be attentive! Pay attention to your houseplant! Not only will this process help you to slow down and enjoy the growth process a little more, it will also help to prevent that feeling of “my plant died out of nowhere!” Because that usually doesn’t happen.
Pay attention to the way the leaves are hanging and the way they move throughout the day, to the plant’s the color, to the soil moisture. Once a month or twice a month wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth and inspect it for pests and clean off any dust and debris. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming, I usually just do it once a week or so. But just start paying attention to your plant!! If you need help remembering set a weekly reminder on your phone. I mean, after all you bought it because you thought it was pretty to look at - so look at it!
Lastly, though this isn’t a character trait, I do think there is something to be said for setting yourself up for success by bringing the RIGHT houseplant into your home. Each home provides different conditions for a plant understanding your home’s conditions and being somewhat aware of your plant’s needs BEFORE you bring it home will make all the difference!
I have a really fun, short houseplant quiz to match you with a houseplant I believe will be most suitable to your needs, home, and preferences. Head to revivenursery.com/quiz to take it and then tag me on Instagram in your results so I can see!
Okay: a quick summary.
Be patient. Be curious. Be attentive. And soon enough you'll find that think becoming more and more green!
If you aren’t sure which houseplant to start with I have a fun, free houseplant quiz you can take at revivenursery.com/quiz to pair you with a plant that will do best for your home and preferences!
Houseplants CAN be a tool to facilitate healthy, fun, personal growth while adding beauty to your home. BUT ONLY IF you aren’t so worried you’re gonna kill it the whole time! Take the quiz below to find the houseplant that is most suitable for you, your home, your preferences, and skill level.