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Readers Respond: Tales of the Toughest Plants

Responses: 49

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Peace lily and streptocarpus

I cant drow a peace lily--one minute they look good and the next all droopy.either they are too dry or too wet.Some streptocarpus grow well and some just droop and die.I try so hard to look after my plants and they just dont appreciate the care I give them.Devils ivy grows well anywhere--is it what is called golden pathos??
—jennywrenwally

really want to keep mom's plant alive!

my mom's asparagus fern sheds worse than my 2 cats & it is always brown in the middle...she's gone, i've got to keep the plant going well! help me! MOM LOVED HER HOUSE PLANTS!
—kathykay57

Pothos - the world domination plant

We had a plant that we used to call the "world domination plant" that survived being ignored for months at a time, transported in a Uhaul van, gnawed on by cats, digged in by kids, and even one time left in the car at below-freezing temperatures. Despite this the thing grew these amazingly long vines that would wind around the pot several times and get entangled with one another, and we had to trim it regularly so it wouldn't take over the room, thus we started joking that it was intent on world domination. After killing nearly all plants we got our hands on, we managed to keep that thing for 8 years and only got rid of it when we moved overseas. Now I know the plant to have been a golden pothos, and when it was time to supply the new house with houseplants, that was the only kind I bought. They are all thriving. Even though I've probably only watered them about 8 times in the last year.
—Guest kd

Lucky Bamboo

Since I am a notorious plant killer, my friends and family have bought me Lucky Bamboo's which have lasted the longest of all my plants. A good note though, never feed a Lucky Bamboo bottled or filtered water. The carbon will kill them.
—Extrudergirl

prickly pears and nofolk island pines

We were new to Wyoming, moving here from southern Utah in 1977. We brought "Grandpa Cactus" with us in a pot. He's a prickly pear. He's still with us. Little did we know that the place we now own is over run with them. He stays in the house though. The norfolk island pine is another lingerer. When we bought this house it was left in the living room. It has been neglected (we left the house vacant for about 6 months) and cut down. We use it for our Christmas tree every year.
—Beamsmom

My toughest plant

My plant is Creeping Myrtel it just grows and grows. It is a tough plant to kill. It even stands up to snow.
—maxxkatt

Purple Passion Plant

I took a cutting from a purple passion, put it in a hanging basket indoors, rooted more cuttings and added them, and it grew all the way to our 18-foot ceiling. Then when I moved, the movers packed it then buried the box. When I found it, it hadn't been watered for 5 months but was alive. It was coming back on a windowsill when my cats knocked the pot over and I didn't see it right away. Now it's gone and I haven't found another cutting. Sad! I've found you can kill almost any plant by letting a cat eat it too much or uproot it. Now I need small, non-toxic houseplants that (a) take low light, and (b) cats don't like to eat - and a purple passion cutting!
—Guest Echo0

toughest plant

I love my purple queen (Setcreasea pallida). It made it through the cold weather and then it is coping well with the hot dry weather as well. I just can't kill this plant! Plus I love the way it look sin the yard.
—Guest heather perry

Easy plants

I've always been a lazy plant Mom but love them so I have Pathos & Philodendrons all over my house. They're very forgiving. I did a cutting & transplanted one that's potted where there's very very little light-it is growing! I love all the greenery. I have to watch myself for overwatering but they are very forgiving, I start losing leaves & back off with the water & they thrive again.
—makeworldgoaway

paul

what a lot of rubbish I have killed most of these more than once .If you want to meet a toughie try Acanthus mollis
—Guest DrPaulBear_1999

Cacti & Succulents

All cactus are succulents, but not vice versa. Succulents range from wet to arid habitats, so not all have to be kept on a water-scarce diet. Here in AZ, the common Aloe Vera grows well with regular water and stays green and juicy. If they don't get much water during the summer, they turn brown and skinny, but generally survive. My mother always says that the only way to kill a cactus is to overwater it. Maybe that's why they do so well with my haphazard gardening skills. This time of year, we harvest new growth cactus pads and eat them like a vegetable, either raw in salads or cooked. These are pads with little to no spines. Indian Fig is one of the easily edible varities; these are pad cactus that grow to over 8 feet. They grow like weeds in the summer and are devastated by sustained freezing temperatures.
—Guest AZDoug

My Tough Plants

Pathos, diffenbachia, mother-in-laws tongue, moses in the bulrushes, spider plant, corn plant, elephant ear. I had all of these survive 3 months in a dark, very cool bedroom this winter when I had to live at my mom's house while I was doing a super-remodel at my house. My kids had put them back in a far corner of a bedroom, where I couldn't get to them. I figured I'd have to ask for tons of new plants for Mother's Day because they were pretty sad looking when I moved back in right before Easter, but I put them out on an enclosed sunny porch, watered well, hit 'em with Miracle Grow, and they have come back very well. Still need some TLC, but hopefully fresh air & sunshine will help them make a full recovery.
—Guest LuAnne

PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS

SETTLING AUSTRALIA 1788 THESE CAME AND ENDED UP SENDING MANY FARMERS BROKE THEY WERE SO HARDY . I''VE HAD 1/2 OF 1 INDOORS 100% SHOPPED IN 1/2 (CUTTUNG) AND GIVEN NOT 1 BIT OF WATER ,IN BONE DRY SAND BUT STILL GREW TO 3 FEET TALL WHEN I DITGED IT 3 OR 4 YEARS LASTER ----MOITURE FROM HUMIDITY TO GROW IT . NO ROOTS AT FIRST .BECAME VERY DANGEROUS WEED TILL 1930'S .FINE GROWING SOME OF THESE TODAY .SOME HARDIEST PLANTS
—Guest JIMMY PIKE

African Violets

Many people can't grow them. They die on them quite easily. Overwatering and no diffused sun light does it. I hardly water my african violets and give it diffused light. Grows slowly but I have been the envy of all. Can't understand.
—Guest louise

Plant killer

I've killed spider plants, jade, cactus and others. Mostly due to forgetting about giving them water. Yes the cactus did hold out for quite sometime. But the ivy plant, made me mad by the time I realized. Was having wonderful luck in training it. Will be attempting again soon. My Grandmother could grow just about anything, and called me the black thumb of the family.
—Guest Amanda

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Tales of the Toughest Plants

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