Photo: H&M


Houseplants you can’t kill (and a plant called Victor Meldrew)

Photo: H&M

This week Lucy Dunn vows to be nicer to plants

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By Lucy Dunn on

Here is a picture of my plant. I’ve had this plant for 16 years and for 16 years it's looked like this: close to death. In plant years I reckon it must be at least 80 years old by now. It goes through varying stages of deadness – right now it’s actually going through a healthy phase, although you’d never know from the look of it. I water it, it hates me. I don't water it, it hates me too. It's as miserable as sin; the Victor Meldrew of plants, content to just be bloody-mindedly resistant to any love or attention, resolutely holding on to life – but always only just.

For years, I’ve owned just one plant. Actually scratch that, I’ve owned several but Victor is the only one that has survived to tell the tale. Most of these plants were cacti. Didn’t think you can kill cacti? Oh you can.

Over this time I’ve come to realise that, while there are lots of houseplants out there that are long-suffering, there comes a point in every plant’s life when it can take no more shit from its owner (aka me). Even the hardiest pot plant doesn’t like to be overwatered, not many like to be under watered either or put somewhere where it never gets any natural light.

I’ve learnt that I need to delegate responsibility to someone who will follow the care instructions – and note the use of the singular “someone”: my cacti died a soggy death not because *I* remembered to water them all that often, but because everyone in my family, aware of my track record with plants, each took on the job of watering them too.   

With this in mind I am considering taking the plunge and investing in a couple more. (Also, I think Victor might benefit from having a friend.) So I’ve done a roundup of the most patient plants you can buy below, and suggest you follow the gorgeous and achingly-hip Urban Jungle Bloggers on Instagram for inspiration.  Enjoy!


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Photo: H&M
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