Join the Bloom & Grow Garden Club!

Let Maria slide into your inbox twice a month with planty education and inspiration created just for YOU to help you “keep blooming and keep growing” your indoor jungles and spirits (you’ll also be the first to know about upcoming events, launches and other exciting things we are working on!).

What To Do When A Plant Dies with Cassidy from Succulents and Sunshine, Ep 171



Are you a plant killer? It's a question that plagues many of us who have tried our hand at gardening, only to have our beloved plants wilt and die despite our best efforts. But fear not! In this episode, Cassidy Tuttle of Succulents and Sunshine explains that it's all a matter of understanding your plants and their specific needs. Come join us as we take a deeper look at how to deal with plant death.

In this episode, we learn:

  • [00:00] Does being a plant parent mean you’re also a plant killer?
  • [05:24] Who is Cassidy and how she became the plant parent she is today
  • [06:00] What is Succulents and Sunshine about?
  • [10:55] Cassidy's take on how plant parents handle plant death
  • [12:45] Trying to keep an echeveria succulent alive
  • [14:36] When to toss vs. treat your plants [it's simple!]
  • [16:24] The importance of a plant care routine
  • [18:34] Why it’s important to know your plant number
  • [19:27] Emotional attachment to our plants [feat. Maria's lime tree story]
  • [22:20] Maria's experience with generational plant gifts
  • [25:45] What Cassidy learned from every plant failure
  • [25:52] Tip #1 Be more attentive to your plants
  • [26:18] Tip #2 Different plants require different care
  • [27:41] Tip #3 Don't be too hard on yourself; plants die in the wild too
  • [28:43] Where to get plant seeds that are guaranteed to last longer
  • [30:40] Get quality grow lights that will last and look stunning next to your plants
  • [32:31] Why most of the plants we have aren’t designed to live in our homes.
  • [34:39] Why Haworthia is most suitable as your indoor succulent
  • [36:37] Should you try to grow the same plant again or let it go completely?
  • [41:20] What are some ways to reduce your plant collection?
  • [44:13] Learning to let go of dying plants
  • [48:32] The mental cost of holding onto something that no longer serves you
  • [51:23] What are the two options when you kill a plant?

Order my book!

Growing Joy: The Plant Lover's Guide to Cultivating Happiness (and Plants) by Maria Failla, Illustrated by Samantha Leung

Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast,

so you don't miss the amazing episodes we have coming up!


When Is It Time to Let Go of a Plant?

It can be difficult to watch one of your beloved plants struggle. When a plant is not looking its best, it can be tempting to try to save it at all costs. However, sometimes it is necessary to accept that a plant has reached the end of its life and make the difficult decision to dispose of it. Here are a few factors to consider when deciding whether to throw or try to save a plant.

  1. The extent of the damage. A plant that has sustained only minor damage, such as a few yellowed leaves or a small pest infestation, may be worth trying to save. However, Cassidy shares that if the plant is severely damaged or has multiple issues, like severe mealybug infestation, it may be beyond saving.
  2. The potential for recovery. Even if a plant is struggling, it may still have the potential to recover with proper care. Consider the plant's overall health, the length of time it has been in its current condition, and whether it has responded to previous efforts at treatment.
  3. The cost of treatment. Sometimes, the cost of treatment can outweigh the benefits of trying to save a plant. For example, if the plant requires expensive pesticides or frequent trips to the nursery, it may not be worth the investment.
  4. The risk of spreading pests or disease. If a plant is infested with pests or has a contagious disease, it may be necessary to dispose of it to prevent the spread of the problem to other plants.


What You Can Learn from Plant Deaths

While we love this hobby of ours, we can also risk attaching our worth to how many plants we can keep alive. Plant friends, don’t let these plant failures hold you back – not from taking care of more plants nor living your best life being your best self. We should take every opportunity as a learning one, and here are additional reminders as you further explore the world of plants: 

Tip #1: Pay close attention to your plants

It's easy to get caught up in our busy lives and forget to check in on our plants. But it's important to take the time to look at them more closely and pay attention to any changes or issues that may arise. This doesn't mean inspecting them every day but simply making a conscious effort to check on them more frequently. By being more attentive, you'll be able to catch problems early on and take corrective action before they become more serious.

Tip #2: Different plants require different care 

Not all plants are created equal, as Cassidy shares – not even within the same family or genus. It's important to recognize that each individual plant has its own needs and preferences. Some may require more light or water, while others may prefer a different temperature range. Paying attention to and accommodating these differences will go a long way in helping your plants thrive.

Tip #3: Don't be too hard on yourself; plants die in the wild too 

Cassidy pointed out that even in the wild, plants die for a variety of reasons, such as disease, pests, or extreme weather conditions. So if you experience plant failure, don't be too hard on yourself. Instead, try to learn from the experience and see if there's anything you can do differently next time.


Our Emotional Attachment to Plants

There is something special about caring for a living being, especially a plant. It requires effort and attention, and in return, it brings life and beauty into our spaces. Cassidy says that for many people, plants become more than just decorations—they can form deep emotional attachments.

One way that this emotional attachment can manifest is through the act of giving and receiving plants as gifts. When someone receives a plant as a gift, it can be a meaningful and thoughtful gesture that conveys love, appreciation, and a desire for a continued relationship.


Generational Plants (or Heirloom Plants)

The emotional significance of receiving a plant as a gift can be further amplified when it is passed down through generations. A plant that has been nurtured and cared for by multiple generations can become a treasured family heirloom, filled with sentimental value and memories. However, it's important to also recognize that taking on the responsibility of caring for a generational plant can be challenging and even stressful at times.

Maria and Cassidy touched on this in their discussion about finding ways to alleviate the burden of keeping the plant alive and not tying their own self-worth to its success. It's important to remember that plants, like all living things, have natural lifespans and it's okay if they die. It's not a reflection on you as a person or your worth as a caretaker.

Instead of stressing out or feeling shame if a plant dies, it can be helpful to find other ways to connect with family members and preserve the sentimental value of the plant. This could include sharing stories or memories associated with the plant, taking photos, or finding other ways to honor its memory.

Overall, while generational plant gifting can be a wonderful and enriching experience, it's important to remember to take care of yourself and not let the responsibility of caring for a plant become a source of undue stress and negative emotions.


Mentioned in our conversation:


Thank you to our episode sponsors:

Territorial Seed Company

It's time to start planning for growing season 2023! If you’re looking for plants for your garden, skip the lines at the garden center and let Territorial Seed Company deliver top-of-the-line, healthy and hardy vegetable plants right to your door! They have a great line of pre-grown plants, an expansive seed catalog, and over 40 years of experience delivering the best seeds and plants for everyone's garden.

Get 10% off by visiting – discount applied at checkout.

Soltech Solutions

Soltech Solutions makes the grow lights you’ve heard me talk about for years: whether you are looking for a pendant light, track lighting, or a simple bulb to screw into any standard light fixture, Soltech has got you covered. They offer quality products with great customer service, free shipping, and a 5-year warranty. Keep the sun shining and the plants green inside your home with Soltech Solutions.

Check them out at and get 15% off with code bloom15.

Follow Cassidy


Follow Maria and Growing Joy:

Order my book: Growing Joy: The Plant Lover's Guide to Cultivating Happiness (and Plants) by Maria Failla, Illustrated by Samantha Leung

Join the Bloom and Grow Garden Party Community Platform & App AKA the plantiest and kindest corner of the internet! Get your FREE 2-week trial here!

Take the Plant Parent Personality Quiz (Get the perfect plants, projects and educational resources for YOUR Lifestyle)

Support Bloom and Grow Radio by becoming a Plant Friend on Patreon!

Instagram: @growingjoywithmaria

Tiktok: @growingjoywithmaria

Subscribe to the Growing Joy Youtube channel! /growingjoywithmaria


Pinterest: @growingjoywithmaria

Leave a Reply

Follow along,  plant friends!


Stop wasting money on plants that don’t fit with your lifestyle.

Take the Plant Parent Personality™ quiz, and get curated recommendations for plants, projects, and podcast episodes inspired by your lifestyle to unlock your Plant Parent Potential!

Take the Plant Parent Personality™ Quiz