What have you Been Killing (or Not) Lately

Brooklyn, NY(Zone 7a)

Just got the latest newsletter last night. To Quote the new President of my Local Indoor Gardening Society (NYC):

"If you haven't killed anything lately, you're not trying hard enough"!!

So what's challenging you right now? Mine both happen to be succulents, (but don't have to be). Portulacaria Afra (has survived since January, this is my 5th one, longest survivor was 1 yr. old; trick seems to be to almost never water this plant). Also just bought a variegated Jade (after killing 4 or 5 of these I had given up, for $4 this one was too cheap to resist). Another plant that seems to want water rarely if ever.

So what's your latest big challenge?

Corinth, NY(Zone 4b)


I have been trying to get my easter cactus to show me that it is going to stay with me :) I had 2 started, one has new growth, and the other one, is not sure if it wants to make it or not. Also, I have a orchid cactus started, and that does not want to leave this world, new growth and looks great. So, only one that I can lay claim too.


I just killed my two marantas

Thousand Oaks, CA

Orchids drive me nuts. I can usually get away with most other house plants by stuffing them in the ground outside if they don't look right, but doing that with orchids never works. Hopeless as a houseplanter.

Point Pleasant Beach, NJ(Zone 7a)

I've just about killed my Ficus. I believe it had a buggy problem and I think I watered it a bit to much in the end (it was already declining). It stinks to cause this is my favorite and I hate to spend the big buckos on getting another. But I threw him out of the house yesterday in hopes of getting him to dry out quicker and maybe the lightening conditions will make him a bit happier. He lost 80% of his leaves in the last month. If being outside doesn't cure him, I will chop him down to almost the soil line and start fresh! and maybe stick the damaged tops into soil!
I have also killed my zebra plant. I think it had some kind of disease. It rotted from the top down. So Yuck to him and I will never get another one of those. My plants aren't happy with the light that they are recieving. SO tomorrow (or today) I will be rearranging my bedroom to see if I can give them what they want. I think from now on though, I am going to buy plants who can still be pretty, yet happy in lower light conditions. That was my problem starting out. I didn't pick the plants that would adapt to my enviornment. Just picked what I liked!

(Zone 4b)

My newly potted philos :( They're all mad at me, but then, I guess I deserve it - I've been nasty to them. Make no mistake, a philodendron can hold a grudge. I've told them I'm sorry I overwatered, but it seems to be making no difference at all.

(Zone 4b)

4 varieties of african violets who were absolutely stunning all winter long have been slowly losing flowers and fullness since spring arrived. I think it may be the heat or the increase in sun. :( so sad....

-plant girl

Olympia, WA

tired wabbit it may not be dead yet. plants don't like being moved and the adjustment is hard on them. ficus show it best. the leaves might grow back if you give them some time.

My Calla Lily is driving me nuts!!! I read posts stating that they like to sit in a bowl of water, so after getting dried tips and yellowing leaves, I figured I wasn't watering it enough, and went to the sitting in a puddle route. Yellowing leaves, yet again! After letting it dry out, as much as I dared, still more droopy yellowing leaves! I'm about to give up, and plant it outside, as that seems to be the only thing that saved my Caladium, which by the way, is doing BEAUTIFULLY outside, after hating life in my apartment!

Brooklyn, NY(Zone 7a)

Hi Talon,

Calla Lilies (Zantedechia) seem petty tricky (bought one recently which went dormant). Also was recently gifted w/ some at my office. Have kept them there, where we have more free, well lit window space than I can offer at Home (my succulents get dibs on all the windowsills). I fiddled somewhat w/ water levels, & have found that a medium amount of water (for me in NYC, indoors) once a week seems to do the trick. Has much reduced the yellowing leaves (which I cut off anyway) & I had no browing tips to start. I keep reading that these will go dormant (somtime in summer, as instructions said to start bringing in back around again in Sept.).

Caladiums definitely do go dormant (at least when indoor grown). Had a roomate in Buffalo who wintered over his Caladiums in a paper bag in a dark closet. Come around March, he'd bring them back out & as soon as he saw a tiny bit of green, he'd resume watering, & they would absolutely take off!! HTH somewhat.

Brownville, NY(Zone 4a)

philodendron burgundy. dead as a doornail, composting nicely in the backyard.

Hiya Pirate_Girl......Glad I'm not the only one fighting the Calla battle! It has such beautiful foliage, if it would just do what it's supposed to!!!! I wonder.....it's supposed to be a Golden Calla, and the leaves DO get incredibly gold-colored when they're on their way out.....could that be what's supposed to happen?
I can't believe how well my Caladium has adjusted to the Great Outdoors! Standing tall and proud, out there, when it was nothing but droopy, in here!

Brooklyn, NY(Zone 7a)

Hey Talon,

Mine too is a Golden Calla, perhaps those gold leaves ARE what's supposed to happen. It's happening to mine too, I suspect it's slowing down prior to going dormant -- who knows? We can be comrades of the yellowing leaves.

Was thinking of suggesting if your Calla doesn't get better, to consider moving it outdoors to be neighbors w/ the Caladium. But then realized the Callas would get rained on, & think that if & when they go dormant, it's probably best that they not get wet.

Anybody else know better on this?

Dear Jerry,

Condolences on your Marantas, they're lovely but I hear difficult to grow. I once tried a Calathea (they're closely related) & failed miserably, so pls. know you are not alone. I read & hear they need lots of humidity. I myself have quit trying to grow stuff whose environment I can't duplicate. The only high humidity lovers I grow now are those that can excel in a terrarium, or at least a good pebble tray.

OK....Comrades of the yellowing (gold) leaves, we are! It IS an awfully beautiful gold, isn't it?! X:-)

Well, I have just murdered my second Opuntia santa-rita... BOOOOO HOOOOO. I am just very upset over this. I really do well with most cacti, and this is my second of these to slag down into a puddle.

War! I declare WAR! They Cannot Be That Hard To Grow!!!

I am entrenching now. Ware the Stranger.


Durham, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

hey pirate_girl

i dunno how u managed to kill your jade plants, mine seem to thrive on neglect!!

i just managed to kill a huge beautiful fatsia japonica.. *sniff*, note it was not neglected, i think it didnt like the dry air in the house, should have planted it outdoors...

Brooklyn, NY(Zone 7a)


Most embarassing to admit it, but had killed my Jades (early in my succulent collecting) due to overwatering. Subsequently put them on a special windowsill w/ all crassula derivatives, & in the beginning, literally held my hand behind my back when I passed there so as not to even consider watering. Now it's just those 2 I mentioned at the top of the thread.

Can't tell where you grow, indoor or outdoor but here in NYC, I've learned the hard way not to water these guys in summer lest it invite DEATH.

Condelences on your fatsia -- now just go out & get another one!!! LOL

Durham, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

my mother has a gorgeous jade about 3 ft tall and about the same wide, it's about 15 years old and she always forgets to water them. I find they're best on a sunny windowsill so the sun can turn the stems red.

She also had a succulent i cant remember the name of, it had leaves coming to a point and produced babies along the edges of the leaves which ended up rooting in the soil.

I think i might get another fatsia, theyre so tropical looking and ill plant it outside this time!


I have yet to keep alive a Fatsia j for more than 6 months, and I guess thats a generous estimate...


Gillett, PA(Zone 5a)

I have a zogo cactus (i think its a easter cactus) it just doesnt want to be "plump" and it hasn't flowered since i bought it a year ago ?? i have no idea what i'm doing wrong any thoughts from anyone.
Now i do have good luck with Jades - I have a Trumpet Jade that i picked up last year and i have two new babies growing from it (i gave one to my mother)
The other jade started from a cutting that use to be my Great Gramas (of which my mom has now)
Does anyone happen to know the species of the Trumpet Jade or its true name?? Its a beautiful 'tree' - it was a "had to have" when i seen it!!!

Brooklyn, NY(Zone 7a)

Hi Briggs,

Re your Zygocactus, for care & culture info, pls. check out the Garden Web's Cactus & Succulents Forum (w/in that the FAQs, which are extensive on Jungle Cacti or Xmas cacti, similar culture for all).

You might also try those same FAQs re Jade plants. Very helpful info & good culture tips too. It's possible that your Trumpet Jade is a Crassula (Jade's formal name) Hobbit or Gollum, perhaps you can find pics somewhere to match. HTH

i killed an aloe- i really stink.

I kill aloes,too,as easy as some folks say they are to grow. Think I overwater them,tho.I will try one more time.Jane

Brooklyn, NY(Zone 7a)

For the Aloe Killers Among Us:

Pls. try watering less, maybe 1/2 as often as you are now. Also pls. give them lots of light. HTH

Just so you don't feel too bad, tho' I don't kill Aloes, I have killed a number of Sans. (Sansevierias, snake plants) which are often said to be indestructable. Was giving them too much water. Have learned much better & now have abt 13 different kinds & don't kill 'em anymore. So do not give up, you too can learn better!!

Also have killed many Jades, have since learned better, & now only I kill the more *exotic* ones (thankfully I rarely buy them, get them thru swaps or plant sale tables).

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