Pick a Plant

I like green leafy things.

These are (currently) my 3 favourite green leafy things of the non-edible variety.

Baby Tears

low to bright light, no direct sun

keep moisty

Lifespan in my care … 1- 2 months.

Maidenhair Fern

(or possibly a fern of indeterminate origin)

bright, indirect light

do not let dry out

Lifespan in my care … 1 – 2 months.

Staghorn Fern

low to bright indirect light

let dry out between waterings

can stay in pot until it gets bigger, then it can be “mounted” on board and hung on wall. (more on that in a future post)

Lifespan in my care … unknown.

Haven’t killed one yet.  Came close … but I watered her, she rallied and pulled through.

4 months and goin’ strong.

At $2.99 to $6.99 each, these little plants are a far better investment than the showy flowers I normally buy.  Plus even with my rate of plant murder … these will still last longer than any flower I would buy.


46 Comments

  1. BCBev says:

    I think maidenhair ferns are prone to suicide, myself.

  2. Bev says:

    If you hold your arms out as if to give a massive hug to the biggest thing you could possibly put your arms around, but without your hands actually meeting… that’s the size of my Nanna’s Staggy, he is mounted in a tree, in Africa. As kids we used to climb up and feed him whole banana’s because Staghorns like potassium – apparently. Staghorns Rock!

  3. Marina says:

    The answer is LOVE.

    For long life plants, only love them and a little bit water 😀 . Watch them and contemplate her beatuy. It works!
    LOL from Barcelona, Spain . I love yor blog!

    (sorry for my bad english)

  4. Plant murder? I read that and laughed out loud. The quirky way you phrase thoughts and ideas is so fresh. Keep sharing your unique vision with us and thank you for being such a welcome internet personality and one I look forward to visiting every day! Happy Monday. ~ Judy

  5. that second one isn’t maidenhair, so you might have better luck with it. as fern collector and plant lover I know that maidenhair is one of the hardest to keep alive. it looks like it’s you basic boston variety. best of luck!

    • Karen says:

      Julie – Thanks! I cross referenced the look of the plant a few times and everything led to maidenhair (because the Internet lies a lot). I had my suspicions. It’s leaves are a little frilly I thought for a Boston Fern though. :/ Hmm. ~ karen!

      • Lita says:

        Maybe a button fern? That’s what it looks like to me (not an expert). Although I did a quick google and I found photos of the maidenhair mixed in..nasty internets. I’ve had them both and the button fern is much tougher (which isn’t saying much).

        The maidenhair ferns are beautiful though, with fine delicate leaves and thin dark (almost black) stems. Gorgeous! However, they do like to die. The trick is to never EVER let the silly things dry out. I’ve seen them growing wild here outside of Austin but only near waterfalls. Really pretty much INSIDE waterfalls. They like water. Lots.

        Also, I just bought a staghorn this weekend. We are like, SO in sync.

  6. After many years of killing houseplants, a hoya in my care not only thrived, but grew monstrously. It even survived being shipped upside down in a horse trailer from Ontario to Prince Edward Island, so I thought it was indestructible, but in my fourth year down here, it started to die. I was in denial about its death until the few remaining leaves rattled in the breeze every time the door opened and I finally gave in and got rid of it. If there was any possibility of having an autopsy done on it, I would have, I was so upset about its demise. No more smugly saying, “oh, I’m no good with ferns, but I really do well with hoyas.”
    Can they die of old age? Can someone possibly give me an excuse?

  7. Grace says:

    Do you talk to your plants? If so, maybe you should stop;)

  8. Carol-Anne says:

    I have a maidenhair fern but it’s on its last legs I’m afraid. Any tips on how I can bring it back to look like yours? I also have those cute pots; aren’t they great!

    • Karen says:

      Carole-Anne – I have since been informed what I have may not be a maidenhair. I DO have maidenhair outside by my pond, but … this is apparently a Boston Fern. Although I have my suspicions about that. It has frilly leaves. Anyhow … I love my pots too! I bought mine on sale at a grocery store for $1.99 or $2.99 each. ! I think they even had plants in them at the time! ~ karen

    • Pam'a says:

      They’re far too fussy for me, but I hear from everyone who grows ferns that the key, in addition to watering, is MISTING them. Like daily.

      Like forget it.

  9. Michele says:

    I love ferns! Where did you find a staghorn for 6.99? I got one for 20 and thought that was cheap according to my research. Of course, I am thinking in US$ and I bought it already mounted, so it could be comparable?

    I have the blackest thumb ever and my staghorn has been on the verge since i bought it about 8 months ago (even though i live in prime staghorn climate: tropical New Orleans!). Still hangin’ on but not too attractive.

    • Karen says:

      Michele – The staghorn I have is pretty tiny. And I actually just checked and it’s was only $5.99! But like you mentioned, it’s not mounted. That’s probably where your money comes in. If I can keep mine alive in the middle of winter in Ontario I have faith you can bring yours back to life in New Orleans. Maybe you’re watering it too much? Or too little. LOL. That’s the extent of my advice! ~ karen

  10. I’m glad I’m not the only one who seems to kill all my indoor plants. The only ones that seem to stay alive are my succulents and I almost had a fatality over the winter from keeping it too close to a drafty window.

  11. Victoria says:

    First let me congratulate you on the lovely display of greenery you have going during these winter months! Might I add though Karen, it sounds as if you might want to start up a support group for all us houseplant challenged individuals. Alas I have trouble keeping an air fern alive! I even killed a cactus because I thought it was looking rather petrified. I couldn’t leave it alone & I will leave it at….I over loved it. My family has now band me from ever owning a houseplant again, so I deeply admire & am envious of your attempts. Keep us posted on how they are doing.

  12. lori says:

    when I lived in Maine,I did pretty good with indoor plants. then we moved and i lost my mojo. now that we are now in Tennessee I think some of my mojo has come back. I have an elephant bush,it’s an succulent plant. found it about 9months ago and it is still going strong! i did bring it in for the winter,plan on putting it back outside soon.

  13. Gina says:

    Love the pots, where did you get them???

  14. Theresa says:

    snake plants( also called mother in laws tongue – but thats too sexest for me) I have a little collection they are nearly impossible to kill – every summer I re-pot and speparate them. then they spend the summer in the yard – in dappled sunlight- some are solid some varigated – some have gotten pretty big- also I mix a gallon jug of house plant food and try to remember to water them with it once a month-its these and bottles with ivy rooting in them plus a couple of spider ferns that I’ ve manged not the kill that keep the green in my winter!

  15. I too am a plant murderer. My husband immediately apologizes to any plant I bring home because he knows of it’s impending doom.

  16. Christina says:

    Am I the only one who is totally baffled about the concept of “mounting” that fern onto a board? You should definitely write up that “future post” stat because I am CURIOUS.

    • Shauna says:

      Nope… you’re not alone, I’m super curious!! Can’t wait to see what Karen does 😀

    • Pam'a says:

      ep·i·phyte [ep-uh-fahyt] –noun Botany.

      A plant that grows above the ground, supported nonparasitically by another plant or object, and deriving its nutrients and water from rain, the air, dust, etc.

      Staghorn ferns in the wild typically grow on trees, so they’re often mounted on boards when they’re used as houseplants… Simply because they CAN. And they look cool that way. 🙂

  17. Ah, houseplants fear me also. New ones have it pretty good, but then I get distracted and they get mad. Heaven help me if we have kids!

  18. Traci says:

    I killed a cactus once but the one I’m most ashamed of is the dumpster plant. When I lived in an apartment in San Diego, the gardeners left an un-needed plant out by the dumpsters. I watched for weeks and no one came to get it. Finally, I lugged it upstairs to my balcony where it IMMEDIATELY started dying! Hello, my name is Traci and I kill plants 🙁

  19. leah says:

    I live in the mountains of NC and I keep my maidenhair fern alive by parking it right next to my humidifier at least once a week. They love moist air, so the dry winter air usually kills them. Try this trick, or mist them often.

    Karen, I don’t think your fern is a maidenhair either… it looks different from mine, but maybe it’s just being an individual. 🙂

  20. Denise says:

    I have a mounted staghorn. It’s pretty big. Had him for about four years…they are one of my favs too. I think string-of-pearls is pretty also…and would do good for you! I have a couple huge african violets that are georgous when flowering. Just water every Sunday is a good tip.

  21. Denise says:

    I have a mounted staghorn. It’s pretty big. Had him for about four years…they are one of my favs too. I think string-of-pearls is pretty also…and would do good for you! I have a couple huge african violets that are gorgeous when flowering. Just watering every Sunday is a good tip.

  22. ann says:

    this summer I bought a $7 glass jar with a glass lid at a Homegoods store, put about an inch of sand with another inch of dirt over that, pulled up some ferns from my boyfriend’s yard and planted them in. I sprayed it with water and put the lid on……and for over 5 months the water just evaporated, misted the sides and re-watered the whole shebang over and over…..
    I did not have to do a thing (except not knock it off the table it was on) until this week – and its all alive, lush and growing!
    I highly recommend making your own terrarium for kill-proof foliage all the year long……

    • Karen says:

      Ann ~ I may just give it a try and do a post on it! With all credit to you of course. I’ve wanted to do a terrarium for a while now. I like the idea of the glass jar with lid. 🙂 ~ karen

  23. That 2nd plant looks like a Boston Fern to me, too. Maidenhair ferns are much, much more delicate and dainty looking.

    I can’t keep a house plant alive for very long, either.

  24. caroline says:

    get a spider plant. I FROZE mine once (left it in the window for sun, it was winter….) and you’d never know today!

  25. Oona says:

    The only plants I can keep alive are succulents, but I refuse to give up. I just spent $50 at the hardware store on a bunch of new “low light” plants, so… *fingers crossed*

  26. Carol-Anne says:

    I highly recommend the Aqua Globe – these water bulbs have saved many of my plants. I got a bunch at the dollar store. They really help take the guess work out of too much or too little water for plants. The key is to check them and refill them which I often forget 😉

  27. Love the baby tears.. I want one. I’ve tried numerous varieties of ferns and always killed them off so that’s not on my list of plants to buy. I have three Hybiscus plants which all flower throughout the winter and believe me I do not have a green thumb by an means.. they just seem to be fairly self sufficient which is what a plant needs to be if it lives with me… just like my husband.

  28. Pam'a says:

    My best plant care tips:
    1. If the plant dies, it’s the plant’s fault for not fitting in. Get another kind.

    2. Throw your plants outside when it stays warmer than 45 at night and water them daily. Bring them back in when it gets colder than 45 at night. (If they love shade, of course, put them in shade.)

  29. Kelly Kline says:

    I love ferns!! Have not had much luck inside, but they have done well out front!! 🙂 Thanks for the great post!!

  30. grace says:

    where did you get your staghorn? did you manage to keep it alive?

    • Karen says:

      I got it at my local nursery. I actually ended up throwing it out just yesterday! It croaked. Totally my fault. ~ karen

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