You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Other People’s Houseplants’ category.

This amuses me no end.

No, that’s not a flowering Epipremnum.

It’s a sunflower in the same pot as an Epipremnum, or Pothos plant.

I got an email from Mom with this photo taken on her phone, and this explanation:

“All I did was throw a little soil from outside into the hanging basket in the boy’s bathroom.”

Turns out the soil was taken from below the birdfeeders.

The result was an uninvited house guest, and the appearance of a flowering Pothos plant.

That’s funny, right?

Hi peanuts, and happy Wednesday!

In my small plant maintenance business, Good To Grow, clients pay me to care for plants in their offices or homes around Albuquerque. I visit each client once a week.

Sometimes, a plant disappears, and I’m left to wonder what happened to it (i.e., who took it).

Several weeks ago, an employee asked me to check on the Pothos (Scindapsus) plant in his office. I recognized the container right away:

He explained that it was one of “mine.” Meaning, when he moved to this new office, he took his plant along with him. Meaning, I hadn’t seen it in about two years.

This job has taught me that people have complicated relationships with plants. This guy wanted the green in his office, and although he kept the plant alive for the last couple of years, he didn’t do a very good job with its care (lack of proper pruning would be the biggest issue). So, I was proud of him for wanting to be surrounded by Nature, but a little pissed that he stole one of my plants.

A few more weeks went by, and he asked me into his office again. This time, the Pothos was collapsed and almost all the leaves on the vines were yellow. He said he thought I was taking care of it again. I thought, why would I? Once he took it out of its previous office, the plant belonged to him.

I guess he wanted it to belong to me again. So I pruned the yellow vines and told him I’d check on it again the next week.

So the next week, the plant looked like this:

Sorry that the quality of these pictures isn’t great. I was using my Sony cool pix because it fit in my pocket, and I was trying to be stealth about photographing, because people work there. I don’t want to embarrass anyone, or prompt questions like, “Why are you taking photos in our office?” (Fair enough question, but, well, I like being sneaky!)

Anyway, the employee had decided to hang the plant. Which was fine, it was in a hanging basket. But he hung it directly over his desk, so he had to get up and move each time I needed to water. That was a pain in the ass for both of us – I don’t want to interrupt!

I decided enough was enough. I had to take back ownership of the plant. I moved it to a better spot – away from his desk and in front of a window. Pothos plants can do fine without any sunlight, but they like having some – what plant wouldn’t?

Here’s what it looks like now:

Again, sorry about that photo.

The moral of this story is that whether you’re in an office or anywhere else, don’t take things that don’t belong to you. Period. If it’s not yours, leave it alone. We got a deal? Gooooooooood.

Hi enchiladas, and happy Tuesday!

My friend Tiffany went out of town for a couple of weeks and asked me to check her plants while she was gone.

I said sure, but I had my reservations. See, it’s not the first time someone asked me to help out while they were gone. Being responsible for other people’s stuff isn’t always easy. Or maybe I’m just not that good at it.

A few years ago, my friend Scott asked me to check on the dogs and chickens at his house while he was on vacation. Everything went great for the first few days. The chickens were adorable, the dogs were a blast.

Then early one morning, I walked in the house like I had before, and walked straight to the back door to let the dogs outside. They went bounding out, and I followed them, just like the previous few mornings. Except this morning was different.

On this particular morning, Stu, the littlest chicken, was loose. The Husky and I saw him at the same time. I was like “nooooooooo” and took off running for the chicken, screaming at the dog the whole time. Did you know Huskies are fast? Yeah, they are.

By the time I got to Stu, the Husky had chomped down on him and was holding him in his teeth. “Aaaaaahhhhhhhh!” I screamed and made the dog drop the chicken. Poor Stu! His feathers were all bent and he was completely freaked out. But the dog didn’t pierce the skin, so I thought, shew! That was close!

Thinking I’d just dodged a bullet, I put Stu back into the coop and went on with my day. I was feeling pretty good about things until the next day. When I found Stu dead in the coop with little beak stabbings all over him. Yup. This former farm girl didn’t know that the chickens would gang up on him because he was injured.

I tearfully and apologetically told Scott what happened, and he said something about “pecking order,” which of course made me feel worse because it was so obvious. Anyway, I didn’t watch the animals for him again after that.

I know a LOT more about chickens now. I’m just saying.

Tiffany didn’t have animals, just plants, so I felt better about not screwing that up, so I said yes, I’d check on her plants.

So I did, and the first one I saw looked like this:

Noooooooooooo! Then I saw her Hibiscus, which looked like this:


Wait, what? This was my first visit to her apartment, and already I let the plants down?

I quickly checked the others for signs of stress. Here’s her Pothos:

In case you’re keeping score at home, yellow leaves are bad.

The Philodendron and the Arrowhead plants fared a little better, but they were thirsty.

So what happened? How did her houseplants go from looking gorgeous like this one:

To the damaged plants I found? I wouldn’t know for sure until I asked her, but I figured a little detective work would help figure out what happened.

I started with the Bougainvillea. Here’s a better look:

The yellow leaves that are mixed with green tell me the plant was overwatered. But the droopy green leaves and the yellow leaves on the floor tell me the plant is thirsty.

How does that happen? Easily, actually. I have my plants on a weekly watering schedule, but Tiffany doesn’t. She gives them a little water every few days. When she was preparing to go out of town for two weeks, she gave them really big drinks of water, hence the signs of overwatering. When I showed a week after she left, they were already thirsty again, hence the signs of underwatering.¹

They also may have been stressed from missing her and being lonely in the apartment without her. She’s a student and they’re used to having her home studying all the time.

By the way, she has a great view:

My dilemma was to figure out how to give them a decent amount of water, but not too much. They needed to have enough water to last them until I came again the following week.

I did the best I could, and it was with great trepidation that I stepped through that apartment door the following week. Here’s what the Bougainvillea looked like:

Oh shew! It looks so much happier. Then I looked to the Hibiscus:

It still didn’t look great, but it looked sooooooo much better than it had the week before, thankfully.

This visit, I didn’t have the same anxiety about how much to water, because she was going to be home in four days – they just needed enough to last until she got home and resumed care.

And I was so glad I didn’t have to have a “I killed your chicken” conversation with her about the plants.

The next time she goes out of town, she can trust me. Unless she starts raising chickens between now and then. That would be weird, because she lives in a 7th floor apartment, but if she did anyway, I would gently direct her to get help elsewhere.

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here!


¹ The Bougainvillea is also leggy because it wants more light. But I knew the leaves weren’t discolored because of light – the light in her apartment didn’t change, the amount of water she gave them did.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 670 other subscribers


Follow LizaWheeler7 on Twitter

About Me

Hi! My name is Liza. Welcome to my blog and thanks for visiting! I'm a Midwestern gal now living in Arizona, after many years of living in and owning a plant care business in New Mexico.

Plants are living, breathing creatures, and if they're indoor plants, they are 100% dependent on human care. They cannot water themselves.

I can beautify your home, office, or patio with plants and flowers. I have 13 years of experience growing plants, and friendships.

Please let me know if you have questions or if you would like help with your plants or garden. You can reach me at lizatheplantlady (at) gmail (dot) com or follow me on Twitter, Lizawheeler7.

All photos are mine unless otherwise noted. All content is also entirely my hard work. If you'd like to use any content or photos, all you have to do is ask. If you take without asking, you are a thief. And thieves suck. So don't suck. We have a deal? Good.