With few exceptions, our house has always been a place plants go to die. I’ve tried to buy varieties that thrive on neglect to improve the odds, but I usually forget about them until I spy one that looks especially droopy. And then I water them all at once. As it turns out, that’s not a good plan. You can’t care for plants in a one-size-fits-all fashion.

When we moved in December 2020, I wanted to enliven our new home with more greenery, especially since we had a sunroom for the first time. I visited nurseries and soon became obsessed with adding plants to every room. Of course, my lovely new plants needed cute planters too.

Soon, I realized that if I wanted them to retain their fresh-from-the-nursery look (and not waste the investment I’d made), I needed to learn how to care for each plant individually. A succulent that is native to the desert and an African violet that is native to the rain forest have different needs.

My oldest daughter recommended an app which I now use to catalog our plants and their locations within our home. After entering each room and its lighting conditions, it tells me which plants are suitable to grow where and how often to water them. The long, draping ivy in my sunroom needs to be watered multiple times a week, but the fiddle leaf fig in my kitchen needs it much less often. I never realized indoor plants have different watering requirements at different times of year. Although I wrote two books about essential oils, which are produced from plants, it seems I could write another book on all the things I didn’t know about growing them.

What had I done wrong? The rest of the plant looked so healthy!

After a talk with my daughter and a Google search, I learned another fascinating fact about plants: Sometimes they shed older leaves in order to direct their energy toward new growth. Sure enough, when I looked closer, I noticed fresh stalks sprouting up right in front of me. I thought my plant was dying, but it was actually redirecting its energy, prioritizing the new over the old.

Please join me today at (in)courage to learn how tending to my plants illustrated a Bible verse about pruning and renewal!

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