• Kara Errico

Sufferin' Succulents!

Kermit was right! It’s NOT that easy bein’ green.

Just ask my husband. We’ve joked for years about how any plant (flowering or otherwise) that enters our home is doomed to a slow death by starvation and torture.

I want to be that woman who loves to garden – the lady who has a windowsill full of beautiful blooms. But here I am, with under-watered (if they’re lucky!) and overexposed leaves. And it’s not like I’m not aware that there’s a living thing out on our porch. I just look at it, make a mental note that, “yeah, I should probably water those,” and go about my day … until I repeat that same cycle a week or so later.

See this woman? Yeah, this is the polar opposite of me!

Back when we lived on the East Coast, we had a hanging basket out on our lawn that we'd rotate out each season and big bushy mums staggered amongst tiny hay bails for Fall decoration. God bless my husband for watering them daily, otherwise any of the pricey arrangements we’d purchased might as well have just been transported straight from the car to the dumpster. And when our eldest was strong enough to lift her Mickey Mouse shaped watering can and toddle out the door with me closely behind (sloshing loads of water along the way, of course) – it became an activity I could do to kill some time in those seemingly long hours after daycare “before Daddy gets home from work.”

So it comes as no surprise that, when we moved out to California, I had zero intentions (or interest) in trying to grow or maintain anything of a botanical nature.

Well, that quickly changed one day when I spotted my husband strutting back from some time at the pool and my daughter on his heels, shrieking in delight that they’d gone dumpster diving (not the words she used, but totally what they’d done) and found something for our porch to put plants on.

You can picture my facial response to that, can’t you? Yep. It was that tight, forced smile and the equally forced “Wow! That’s so great!”

But then I discovered Mother Nature’s greatest gift to those with black thumbs like me.


potted plants

These aren't my plants, but I have similar pots and mine are planted like this.

Lo and behold! Here was a plant I could water and completely forget about and it wouldn’t instantly keel over and look as though it had been through Hell and back.

Well, that’s what I thought. Turns out most times folks do a Google search on their succulents dying, it’s from overwatering them. But, naturally, they can also cease to exist if you fail to water them at all like I’d been doing.

Psst! You can get a cheat sheet here that will help you out.

I’ve been happily co-existing with these weird looking little buds for nearly two years now – not all are the originals we started with, but most have survived the insanely hot temperatures, dry air, Santa Ana winds in the fall, and occasional “monsoon” rains. (Legit! That’s what a weather site called them once – if they only knew what real crazy rain 24/7 was like … am I right, Pennsylvania, Pacific Northwest, and other parts of the world?)

Well, I don’t know what got into me, but I decided yesterday to buy a small potted chrysanthemum from Trader Joe’s (oh, how I love that store!) and repot it, which somehow meant that all of our succulents needed some tending to as well.

Before we go any further, let me give my hubby another shout out – sometimes (OK, far too often than my master’s degree holding self likes to admit), I’ll have a thought and then completely disregard it in order to take the easy (lazy) way out, which almost always leads to creating problems. Like when I did this outdoorsy project in our kitchen sink. Totally forgot about the little pebbles and slightly larger stones that were in a few of the little pots to help the succulent grow better!

face palm

Since we’re in an apartment, I couldn’t just put in a maintenance ticket to have the guys come out and fix the garbage disposal, as they’d discover the rocks … so the darling man that puts up with far too much of my antics did some plumbing work after he got home and cleaned out the disposal so we could continue to use it as it was intended.

We shall see what becomes of my plants – I removed a lot of dried leaves and carefully brushed at some of the roots that looked beyond hope.

Only time will tell if these guys have a sudden rebirth or not. But I’m learning. And the fact that they’ve appeared to have been alive for two years is a HUGE accomplishment in my book.

But ... just in case, watering the plants once a week is now an item on our six year old’s chore chart. Ha! Ha!

girl watering plants - clip art

#succulent #gardening #botanical

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