Isolation Tool Kit: My Plant Children

My track record with raising plants has been… not great.

I’ve killed at least 4 or 5 plants since moving into my apartment about 3 years ago, including a snake plant (which they said would be “unkillable”!!! ok!!!), a spider plant, basil, and a couple of scallions that honestly would’ve done better in a jar full of water. My last batch of plants died when I went on a two-and-a-half week long vacation in late winter without making plans for someone else to water them. Oops!

Since entering quarantine, I’ve come to appreciate indoor greenery for bringing ~*nature*~ into my home. I have also decided to use my newfound and copious amount of free time to actually learn how to take care of them properly! I’ve even resorted to buying some fake plants because I loved the extra greenery and wanted more without the extra responsibility.

(It did take some ego wrangling to actually admit to myself that I’ve been a bad plant parent and should resort to some fake ones, lest I sacrifice more for my own hubris!)

Aloe (short for “Aloe Blacc”)

I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the man, yes I am, yes I am, yes I am!”

I bought Aloe at a CVS near the beginning of quarantine, around April.

Right before, I had put my last neglected plant to rest in the compost bin and had four empty pots sitting vacant throughout the apartment. I longed to go to the garden nursery down the street, but had no idea what plant shopping would be like with Covid-19 restrictions in place. Was it even open? Would I have to wait in line? What if I changed my mind about the plant I wanted? I didn’t know anything about plants to begin with, and having to balance feeling like an idiot in front of a nursery employee and also feeling like I was putting said employee’s health at risk just by being there was too much to deal with. I just stayed home.

On the other hand, I was making semi-regular trips to CVS, half to feel ~*alive*~ by participating in the economy (because capitalism!) and also as an excuse to get out of the house.

(In all seriousness, because I do feel the need to justify this: one of my quarantine projects was cleaning the bathroom, which was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because the bathroom was finally getting cleaned, and a curse, because our cleaning supplies were running low despite never getting used and half of the things in our medicine cabinet were expired, and we needed to replace everything!)

All that to say, I saw aloe plants on sale as part of the post-Easter clean-out, and decided to snag one! I wondered if the CVS employees were judging me, either for buying a plant in the middle of a global pandemic or for being the type of person that would buy a live plant from CVS. Hello, I’m both!

Aloe has seen his ups and downs. I originally kept him in our kitchen window, which gets virtually no direct sunlight, and he quickly started to droop. It took about three weeks of simply frowning at it and wondering if I bought a defective one before looking it up and realizing that the light might be a problem.

I’ve since moved Aloe to my bedroom, which gets the best direct sunlight in the entire apartment. In the absence of an actual, suitable place to put him, I leaned him on the narrow window ledges against the glass window panes. This served double duty of helping straighten out his droopy leaves and ensuring that he got the direct sunlight that he so desperately craved. He was good as new in a few weeks! I did drop him once while trying to close the window. He, thankfully, survived the fall, save for some soil loss and weird curves and depressions on his leaves. He now lives permanently on a side table that I bought specifically for him, so we would never have to risk his life again while closing the window.

(I’m really going to write about these plants as if they were my own children, huh?)


Nikko is a crispy wave Japanese fern. (I love the sound of the phrase “crispy wave.” Doesn’t it sound like the new big thing in electronic music?)

His name comes from the Japanese town of Nikko, where we spent a few nights while we were on vacation. (Everything goes back to our Japan trip! I went to Japan once, are you sick of hearing about it yet? Am I insufferable yet???)

Nikko can tolerate low light a hell of a lot better than Aloe ever could, so he lives in the kitchen window where Aloe formerly slowly slumped away. He requires a little more watering than the others – I’ve been giving him a drink every week, as opposed to every two weeks for the others – but he’s so little that it’s barely a 30 second chore.

Nikko also introduced an entire swarm of fruit flies into our place! Bad Nikko! We were able to get rid of most of them using the classic inverted water bottle trap, but it did bum me out when I realized that I’d been tricked by my otherwise low-maintenance baby.


Sleepy is our ZZ plant, currently living in the large pot previously occupied by our hilariously over-watered and therefore very soggy and now-composted snake plant.

Save for one overly-waterlogged branch that fell off a few days ago, Sleepy has been pretty healthy. He lives in the corner of a relatively bright room, not receiving any direct sunlight but thriving nonetheless.

My current life goal, in lieu of literally anything else happening at the moment, is to get Sleepy to grow at least another foot or two taller. I will not let the mushy death of my unnamed snake plant to be in vain!

Rope-a-Dope (the FIJKA), SMYCKA, Dino, and The Patch

These are my fake plants, who I did not think to name until I realized they needed names for this post! Oops!

Rope-a-Dope is currently hanging from a hook, slightly to the side of a closet that holds, from bottom to top, our shoes, winter accessories, and board games. I braided together my first macramé plant hanger for her to hang from, and I think the whole thing looks pretty attractive. Look at me, with my new quarantine hobbies! I’m becoming one of those! She’s named after one of Bryan’s favorite cocktails, previously served at a nearby bar named Saloon.

My fake bouquet, who is a SMYCKA that I haven’t found the right name for yet, is a bouquet that I’ve shoved into a rarely-used vase on top of my bedroom dresser. She looked especially fake because the bottom of the glass vase was empty, but I invested in some pretty rocks for her base, so now she looks only slightly fake! (This is my life now! Buying rocks! Adulthood!)

Dino is a fake succulent that is also hanging from a hook in my living room. Her name comes from her heavy stone-or-ceramic-or-some-other-heavy-rock base. I was a bit nervous about hanging her up because she’s so heavy, but the macramé hanger is staying put! Which is great, because it took me several hours to tie together, so it better stay together!

Finally, The Patch is made up of two squares of fake grass that I’ve hung up – first in the kitchen (pictured above), and now in the living room, because she kept falling off of the fridge! I had seen walls of fake grass in various interior design blogs and YouTube apartment tours and wanted something similar in my own space.

The two “patches” were $2 each (on sale!) at Michael’s, and were the only two patches left. So I settled for them – a little less than a full wall, but still very cute, in my opinion!

I just realized that I used male pronouns for my real plants and female pronouns for my fake plants! What does this say about me???

3 thoughts on “Isolation Tool Kit: My Plant Children

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