7.12.2013

Jaimielee 'Plant Killer' Velasquez

A few years ago I became obsessed with the idea of gardening. The thing is, every apartment I've lived in in Chicago has not been particularly plant-friendly. Whether it was due to shade for days, little-to-no outdoor space, or ninja-like Princess on the prowl for delicious-yet-toxic plant nomz, each plant I've owned has died a tragic death one way or another. The pinnacle being the tomato plant that I dropped off my window ledge one summer. I can't blame anyone but myself for that mishap, well, maybe the wind? Then of course there were my twee teacup-dwelling cacti...


Drainage? Ha! Who needs drainage!? These poor babies held on as long as they could back in 2009. I'm sure you're thinking why on Earth would I embark on this journey again and I'll tell you why. Because!

Last Saturday night (lol) Andrew and I stopped at Home Depot for PVC pipe and some other random house things. It was 11:00 pm and I wandered into the darkness of the outdoor nursery while Andrew stuck to the list. Then I saw it... The absolute most adorable "Feed me, Seymour" looking creature I had ever seen in my whole life. I immediately snatched it up and held the tiny pot to my bosom like a newborn baby. Before I knew it, another succulent jumped out at me. I'd never seen anything like that one either! Of course, I didn't bother reading either label before I grabbed a bag of cactus soil and I went looking for Andrew.

He spotted me cradling these two tiny pots, and my soil, and I could see the look in his eyes. "This again?" I asked him if it was worth it, "Only $10 for heartbreak!" He said "Do it." And I did.


So here we are, not even a week later and I've already added three more to the mix from Adams and Son. The same nursery where I got my flapjack moss, which was swimming in the mites that claimed my lettuce, basil, and hostas a few years ago. Admittedly, I was wary of ever going back but I made sure to closely inspect the new plants before checking out this time.


When I got home I wasted no time before the googling frenzy began. I found a great blog called Succulents and Sunshine with gorgeous photos and detailed advice for beginners. This set off a fever in me and before I knew what I was doing, I almost bought 125 cuttings for $56. Luckily, I stopped myself and instead chose to strip two plants almost completely of their leaves in hopes of propagating. I even lucked out with a few bonus leaves that had fallen off of nearby plants.


I think it's safe to say I'm obsessed with succulents again. I just hope these little guys survive my not-so-green thumb!

15 comments:

  1. everytime I'm at trader joes I look at the pretty plans and swear the only reason I'm not taking them home is because I want them to live. I kill everything.

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    1. I know the feeling! Though I have a terrible track record it doesn't mean I won't keep trying!!

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  2. thecuteinexecuteJuly 13, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Oh gawd they look pretty! I'm the worst with plants (well, it's half the horrible conditions of my apartment and half my being too lazy to change the soil ever), but every spring I get this primal urge to dig and plant and grow. I think the yucca I once had was my longest surviving plant (3 years? something like that) but eventually even he gave up. I'm rooting for your succulents!

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    1. I totally appreciate it because I'm clueless! And three years is pretty good, especially with my experience... Fingers crossed the succulents make it!

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  3. Propagating is so much fun! Succulents get fussy w light sometimes, mine does ok in a south facing window. Cacti can do ok without drainage if you water them rarely and don't flood them when you do. I've lucked into that balance so far. So far!

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    1. Right now over/underwatering is my biggest fear. I have them sitting in a southwest facing window and I hope it's ok for them. I'm keeping a look out for sunburned leaves but really, I have no idea what I'm doing... I'm so excited about the tiny babies sprouting though! I hope they keep growing!!

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    2. Stick your finger in the dirt. Not just the top bit, like to the first knuckle. Can get a better idea if the soil is dry or still damp. Better with succulents to under, than over, water.

      My aloe looks sad when it needs water, and when it gets it, it looks all happy again shortly. They're tough plants :)

      Maybe when you're feeling more confident I'll share some Christmas cactus with you :) Family herloom, propagates easily, and has a really cool bloom if you're lucky.

      Yay for babies!! It's so much fun to get the multiplying!

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    3. Thanks so much for the offer! I'm definitely looking forward to growing my collection. :)

      And great tip! I've been using a spray bottle to water them, leaves/cuttings once a day and adult plants once a week (though probably more like every 5 days) hoping that I don't overdo it. This'll help though, for sure!

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  4. I read somewhere that every time you think about watering a succulent, don't.

    Now I'm petrified I'm drying my succies out.
    HAHAAH

    Anxious Plant Mum Club

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    1. I'm trying to take your advice, Natalie, but it's killing me! I've been misting my cuttings with a spray bottle while staring longingly at the other plants. WHAT IF MY BABIES ARE THIRSTY???

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  5. I wish that the teacups worked. So damn cute. At least you keep trying. I need living things in my apartment that remind me that they need to eat. The plants usually make it about 6 months. That being said, I am intrigued by the succulents......

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    1. I think they could have worked, I just had to keep a closer eye on them so they didn't end up sitting in waterlogged soil!

      I suggest you give succulents a try, though! They're not as fussy as I'm making them out to be, I'm just paranoid. There are tons of books and blogs that are super helpful. And the way I see it, the folks at Home Depot aren't experts at succulent care, so at least you have the potential to rescue a $3 plant?

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  6. This isn't succulent based, but it's fun for anyone who's limited on space for gardening, thinks they can't grow anything, or anyone who's a plant geek. When you have green onions, keep about 1/2inch or so of the white parts, drop them in a bit of water, set in a bright spot. Boom, a few days later, another set of green onions.

    It'll look like this (which is what reminded me of the awesomeness)
    http://marthastalwart.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/scallions.jpg

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