The state of our plants

Our plants are not doing well. None but the basil still looks good. Someone once told me I have a green thumb, but it’s turned yellow. Take a look.

I thought bamboo was supposed to be one of the easiest plants to take care of. The plant-shop lady said keep it’s sponge wet (it’s sitting in a sponge), and it’ll be fine. Then some of the leaves started turning yellow and getting burn marks. I thought it was weird that it was getting too much sun when it wasn’t getting any direct light, but I moved it into the bathroom for a while–maybe it didn’t like so much unnatural light. It wasn’t doing any better in there, so I thought I’d stop keeping the sponge so damp. I think that was a mistake. Now some of the stalks are withered and brown.


Our foliage plant looks pretty good. You can see one yellow-looking leaf on the left. The main reason it looks alright is because I pruned it about a week ago. There were lots of yellow leaves. Apparently it was getting too much sun living on the windowsill. I didn’t think that would occur, given our west-facing windows, often overcast skies, and short hours of daylight (less than eight hours per day). It now lives on the dresser with the Lucky, the bamboo.


This is by far the worst-looking plant (sorry, Cel). Our cyclamen is in pitiful shape. I just don’t know what it wants! It turns yellow, I give it less light. It starts drooping, I give it more moisture. Still not happy. And the less cooperative it is, the less inclined I am to give it special attention. I guess I’ll keep watering it, but I’m sort of waiting for it to die. I think it wants to.



The orchid is looking cute, but that’s only because I tied bows to its support rods. I wanted to hang a Christmas ornament from each, but we don’t have any. The last of the flowers died on each stalk so I cut the stems. Supposedly new buds are going to start growing out of the highest nodes on the stalks, but I haven’t seen any growth yet. The stalks haven’t died, though, so that seems like a good sign.



Here’s the basil. It’s fine.

I’m kind of bummed our plants are doing well, especially the bamboo. They made me so happy when they were healthy. Maybe they’ll rebound. Or, all but the cyclamen will. I wonder if it’s too cold in our flat for them. I hope not!

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7 Responses to The state of our plants

  1. Cindy says:

    Hopefully, someone who really knows plants will respond with some good advice :)

    • Sharon Thomsen says:

      I really know very little about plants (except how to kill them) but I am guessing from the pictures that perhaps they just need to be repotted into bigger pots. Especially the second one, the one you referred to as your foliage plant, and the cyclamen… they seem rather big and bushy, compared to their little pots. You might try that. Otherwise, I think having leaves occasionally turn yellow and drop off is just part of the natural cycle of things. As long as new leaves are appearing and the plant is not altogether dying off, it might be okay that you have to prune off the yellow ones now and again. Mine have been doing that for years, anyway.

  2. Lindsay says:

    the bamboo and cyclamen may have some kind of nutrient deficiency?? sometimes the plant leaves will look like they’re burned or turn yellow if some mineral is low. Here’s a pdf from the University of Arizona with a handy dandy diagnosis chart! :)

    but your orchid looks beautiful! Mine actually shot a new stalk up from the bottom when its blooms fell off the first time, but now it’s not, so you should update us about what happens and i’ll be encouraged about mine too. :/

    • K Arterburn says:

      That’s a great pdf! Thanks! I’ll let you know about the orchid. I hope it grows back soon. I miss its blooms.

  3. Joanna says:

    this post really amusing. maybe what they want is some caffeine katie. They’re thirsty, can’t you see? you should get a bonsai those are minimal care if you get a pine-y one. or a terrarium all you have to do is mist the terrarium and you can putt little figurines and write fantastical stories about the life they must live. just a thought.

  4. Sidney says:

    I can only give you some helpful hints to consider since I don’t know the environment that the plants are in. With all of your plants look at them closely to see if you see any ‘webbing’. This is a sign of mites and can be remedied by putting soap bubbles on the little web areas.
    Bamboo leaves turning yellow ~ make sure the plant is not near a vent of any kind. If the temperature is cool, use lukewarm water to water the sponge. The bamboo plant should not be placed where it receives prolonged hours of sunlight. It does like the water!
    Cyclamen ~ well, these are a tuber (bulb) so they do have a dormant stage but I would agree with Sharon on this one…repot it in a pot a couple of inches larger. Only water it when the soil is dry and try not to get water on the ‘crown’ of the plant. As long as the blooms have nice colour (which the do!) and there are green leaves, this plant is in a growing and ‘I need love’ stage. Cyclamen plants need bright, indirect light in the winter months.
    Foilage ~ this one is kinda tricky. Again, I’m with Sharon. Repot into a pot a couple of inches larger. The other ‘guess’ is to keep the soil moist (don’t let it dry out between waterings) but not saturated when you water. These types of plants don’t like to ‘sit’ in water and can get root-rot fairly easily.
    Basil ~ Lookin’ good! It likes to have it’s leaves used. The only technical information I have for this plant is to not allow water to get on the actual stem of the plant. It will rot.
    I know NOTHING about orchids but I think yours looks fabulous and I do like the bows. :-D
    Hope this helps!

    • K Arterburn says:

      Thanks for all the help. Unfortunately for the foliage and cyclamen, if they can’t survive in their pots they’re not going to make it. I don’t have anything to put them in!

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