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I killed a bunch of plants this year, here’s what happened: How to Do a Plant Audit, Ep 217



Happy almost New Year, plant friends! For my last episode of 2023, I wanted to get a little reflective about the joy and growing parts of “Growing Joy.” This year, I bravely held a funeral for many of my houseplants that were no longer bringing me joy. Yes—I lost a LOT of houseplants this year. Some of the plants I said goodbye to weren’t even fully dead yet. They just weren’t happy in my home anymore, and I took it upon myself to consciously let them go in a ritualized way that released me from guilt.

Some of the plants were slightly heartbreaking to let go of because they had fond memories associated with them – plants gifted to me by podcast listeners or special friends, or one of the very first houseplants I ever bought. Normally, I would let those nostalgic memories guilt me into trying to resuscitate unhealthy plants. But this year, I let them go with intention. 

It wasn’t due to a pest outbreak or accident. It was just life getting in the way…and that’s okay! One of the best things I did for myself this year was performing what I call a “plant audit”. This is where I thoroughly went through my entire houseplant collection and assessed which plants still sparked joy and fueled my passion, and which ones just made me feel guilty.

This is a taboo subject for some plant parents. But I believe we need to openly discuss “plant loss” to release guilt and make space for more plant joy. So I’ll be walking you through my plant funeral experience, and how you can perform your own plant audit to grow even more joy in 2024!


In this episode, we learn:

  • [00:00] I recently held a funeral for my dead houseplants this year
  • [01:21] Why I performed a plant audit of my entire collection!
  • [03:47] Let’s celebrate plant loss together
  • [04:09] An excerpt from my book about plant death
  • [04:41] Two options when a plant dies
  • [04:52] Option A: Let it confirm you're a failure, then give up
  • [05:21] Option B: Allow it to make you more curious and a better plant parent
  • [06:33] Why I had such dramatic plant loss this year (I was diagnosed with melanoma!!)
  • [08:52] Allow your plant collection to grow and change as much as you will in your lifetime
  • [09:40] Why I felt guilty about failing to care for the Hoya plants Marcia gave me
  • [10:25] Learn 30 simple and budget-friendly gardening projects with ¡Verdura! – Living a Garden Life
  • [11:45] Find your perfect houseplant with Proven Winners LeafJoy's high-quality, diverse selection
  • [13:53] Steps for performing your own plant audit
  • [14:26] #1 Give yourself a nice amount of time, play music, clear table space
  • [15:33] #2 Walk through your entire collection and assess its state
  • [17:09] #3 Revisit neutral plants – do they spark joy or not?
  • [18:20] #4 Gratitude ritual
  • [19:20] #5 Figure out the highest vibe way to discard your plants
  • [19:56] #6 Donate your healthy plants
  • [20:19] You’re still a good person!
  • [20:56] Consider “life audit” too – are aspects that need culling?
  • [22:05] Where can you find me on social media?


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How to Do a Plant Audit

I’m all about allowing plant loss to make us better, happier plant parents instead of defeating us. With that mindset, let me explain the 6 steps I took to thoughtfully let go of the houseplants that were no longer serving me or my home.

1. Give yourself a nice amount of time

I gave myself 45 minutes to a full hour for my 80+ plants. Clear off a table or area where you'll evaluate questionable plants. Play music to set the mood.


2. Place a hand on each plant and assess their state

Walk through your whole collection, touching each plant. Take a nice look at that plant. What's the first feeling you get—joy, neutrality, guilt?

If it's guilt or negative, put the plant on your processing table. Neutral plants too for reevaluation. Plants that spark joy can stay put!


3. Reassess The Neutral Plants

Once you’ve touched all your plants, go back to the table and critically re-engage with the neutral plants. Can any neutral plants spark more joy or should any be let go of? Make those judgment calls. 


4. Gratitude ritual

With the negative feeling plants, practice gratitude by remembering one positive memory you associate with each plant before saying goodbye. Appreciate what joy it did bring when you first brought them home.


5. Figure out the highest vibe way to discard your plants

I put my plants into my Lomi tabletop composter to turn them into new soil. But donate healthy plants, add them to your outdoor compost, take them to your local forest area…do what feels right for you.


6. Donate healthy plants to friends or charities

If plants are still perfectly healthy, see if a plant-loving friend wants to adopt them or donate them to a charity, nursing home, etc!


As you make space by letting go of your once-cherished plants, remember that you’re still an amazing plant parent! It’s natural for collections to expand and contract just like life. I hope this process creates space for your newfound love of plants!

And while you’re doing a plant audit, think about doing a life audit too. Are there any worn-out parts of your life ready to be composted or discarded to allow for new growth?

So if you, too, have come to dread walking into the plant room to face all your failures, give yourself permission to hold a funeral and lovingly let go of some plants to create space for joy.



Mentioned in our conversation:


Thank you to our episode sponsors:

Quarto: ¡Verdura! – Living a Garden Life by Perla Sofía Curbelo-Santiago

Celebrate the power of adding more green to your life with 30 simple and budget-friendly gardening projects that promote well-being through plants. Perla Sofía Curbelo-Santiago of has put together 30 projects found in ¡Verdura! to transform the initial spark of joy from plants into a healthy habit that enhances your life in many ways.

¡Verdura! is available January 2nd so preorder at your favorite local bookstore,,, Barnes and Noble or

Proven Winners

If you want to have success with houseplants, you’ve got to have two things: the knowledge to care for them successfully and healthy plants. Meet my new favorite houseplant grower: Proven Winner’s leafjoy™. With only the best plant genetics grown in a state-of-the-art, European greenhouse, you will not be disappointed in the variety and quality of your favorite plants from Proven Winner’s leafjoy™. This company has taken the guesswork out of plant shopping with plant tags that include scientific names and care guides, as well as color-coded collections for the different areas of your home that you want plants in!

Find plant joy in leafjoy™. Head to to find your local leafjoy™ dealer and let me know which plant you take home on socials!



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