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Hey plant friends!
I’m Maria, the "Plant Killer Turned Plant Lady" with a mission to help you care for plants successfully, grow your indoor jungles, and cultivate more joy in your life. I've got tons of content for you here on the blog, on the Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, and Bloom and Grow Youtube Show to help you keep blooming and keep growing.
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!
Growing Joy: The Plant Lover's Guide to Cultivating Happiness (and Plants) by Maria Failla, Illustrated by Samantha Leung
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.
Celebrates 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 Agrochic.com 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.
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Find plant joy in leafjoy™. Head to provenwinners.com to find your local leafjoy™ dealer and let me know which plant you take home on socials!
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