7 Tips for the Black Thumb


Image via The Sill

Do you kill your houseplants? Are bouts of crippling depression, rotted roots, and wilting leaves getting you down? Are you looking for something, anything, to call a companion that doesn’t smell like the back corner of your veggie crisper after a week and a half? Look no further. With the following simple, foolproof tricks, you and your black thumb can learn to live in harmony, and give your plants the strength they need to love you back the way your ex never did.

1) Determine the amount of sunlight in your home, and pick your plant accordingly. Figure out what direction your windows face and what that says about you as a person. Think deeply about your character flaws, body image issues, and financial situation, then place your plants accordingly.

South Facing – You are basically facing Antarctica and your life trajectory looks about as good as that of the icebergs. Suggestions: A prickly and low-maintenance Cactus (Cactus) will suit you just fine. You aren’t capable of taking care of much else due to the downward spiral that is your pitiful time on this planet we call Mother Earth.

West Facing – Manifest destiny is in your bones. You are dominant, alpha-masculine, and ready to take over the world with your ambition. Suggestions: The Pachira Aquatica (Money Tree), is guaranteed to bring you wealth and happiness. Or, take a gamble on the more lucrative Cannabis (Marijuana) to begin building your agricultural empire.

East Facing – An uptight New Yorker with excellent skin and a perfect winter wardrobe, you have a sourpuss attitude that can only be tolerated by high maintenance creatures like yourself. Suggestions: Attempt to grow a dwarf Meyer lemon tree indoors to add extra bitterness to your life and keep your standards unattainable.

North Facing – Like South-facing window types are to Antarctica, so are you to the North Pole. You’re basically related to Santa Claus, so any failure to keep plants alive thus far is likely due to your lack of Christmas cheer. Suggestions: Keep a Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir) in the house year round, or give up and hibernate for 11 months out of the year. If you spent too much money on the holidays, Santa’s Elves designed the Euphorbia pulcherrima (Poinsettia) so poor people could enjoy plant life, too.

2) Sun Protection

It is imperative that plants, like cell phones, redheads, and babies, be kept out of the harsh light of the sun. But unlike cell phones, redheads, and babies, plants need sunlight to photosynthesize – the horticultural equivalent of eating doritos to grow and live. To prevent both death and sunburn, coat your plant’s leaves in SPF 50 every morning before you leave for work, with kind but firm encouragement that the plant re-apply every four hours.

3) Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

The best thing you can do for your plants is love them as enthusiastically and passionately as you would your infant, puppy, or fiance (before you got married and ruined everything). Check in regularly to make sure they are never dehydrated. Signs of dehydration include: brown spots, wilting leaves, headaches, and dry soil. Because brown spots, wilting leaves, and headaches are also signs of over-hydration, watering plants is a total shot in the dark no matter what! Your best bet is to water your plants all the time, or keep them crowded together in a moist environment such as a bathroom, surrounded by mildewy towels and wet bathing suits.

4) Fertilize

Dedicate yourself to regularly fertilizing your plant with the vitamins and minerals it needs to grow. For example, ash is one of the best fertilizers that exists, so make sure to extinguish joints, pipes, and cigarettes in your plant’s soil. Amazing to have a friend, ally, and ashtray all in one! Once inebriated, go the extra mile and light your plant’s leaves on fire, providing both fertilizer and much-needed light in the absence of sun.

Extra loving plant owners can provide extra nutrients with their tears. To do so, gently lift the foliage, and cry thoroughly and directly into the potting mix until a trickle appears from the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot. Let the plant absorb the fluid for at least thirty minutes before repeating the process.

5) Get Enough Sleep

Simply put: all living things require companionship. Sleep with your plant every night for at least eight hours, making sure to snuggle it, caress it, and re-enact your deepest original sin fantasies by using its leaves to cover your body parts during role play.

6) The Golden Rule

Ever heard the saying “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” Of course you have. But were you aware that the aforementioned saying also applies to plantae? It’s true. Plants are people too, so give yours the love and treats you give yourself. Special treats like brie cheese, charcuterie, Soylent, rainbow sherbet, rainbow sprinkles, and breast milk will make your plant feel relaxed, pampered, and willing to love you back. To really go the extra mile, adorn your plant with gold jewelry as you would your muse or illicit lover.

7) Buy More Plants

By now, you should have come to the realization that despite the best care, all plants must die. Such is the circle of life and parenting. Whenever a plant dies, head over to your local nursery and buy another, from someone with a little expertise this time. Make sure not to tell anyone that you killed it, as there’s nothing like a judgmental stare from a passionate horticulturist to make you want to give up gardening forever. Skirting around the issue is best.

Some tips for plant shopping:
– Ask about new species: “What about a mint plant for my kitchen? or “What’s in season?” or “Do you sell coca plants?” are great introductory questions.
– Shower your helpful horticulturist with compliments. “I love the dirt under your nails. I find it sexually exciting,” followed by “Have you ever done it ‘in the garden all in the dirt?’ Like in that Ludacris song?” are two examples of what you might say.
– Take your now horny horticulturist out behind the soil plot in the back, tell him you want to buy a few seeds to plant in your “personal indoor garden,” and consummate your shared interest in plant life!


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