Soul Snack: Death of a Plant

I do not know what to do. This plant…


Is either dead or on it's way there. I'm having a hard time letting go. I'll share a personal story on how this plant came into our house.

First, I do NOT have a green thumb whatsoever. I really can't keep weeds alive. But, this plant is something I have been trying really hard to nurture over the past 4 years.

My father passed away almost 4 years ago (4 years on February 10). I received this plant on Valentine's Day (yes, we buried my dad on Valentine's Day) and it has gone through several changes. First, when I got the plant, it was a large planter. Actually, I'm pretty sure my in-laws sent it to the viewing. I kept it because it was from them and it was truly a beautiful plant. I thought I could keep the planter alive because they are less maintenance, or so I thought.

Well, if memory serves me right, I think I kept the entire planter alive for at least 2 years. That's a record for me! But, when the other “stuff” started to shrivel up and die, I suppose from my lack of watering or nurturing, I decided I needed to do something to keep this part of the plant alive.

So, I re-potted this plant into the pot it's in now. I put new soil, lots of water and tried to give it a new home and life in this pot. But, I failed and am still failing because it's almost gone.

I don't know what to do with this plant at this point. But, the more I think about the plant, the more I can relate this to what my spiritual walk looked like ,and yes, what sometimes still slips back in today. I was hanging out with all the other plants (people), trying to soak up the water (talk or gossip). But, eventually the water dried up (it got boring ) and those other plants died (those friends were gone). So, it was just me. Me and God. Was I going to nurture our walk and feed it with His word daily? Or, was I going to let life get in the way and let this relationship slowly fade away and die?

As I continue to write this, I fear the plant may be gone. It's hard because it is a special plant that reminds me of parts of my father. Obviously, I have so many pictures and memories to do that. But, more importantly, it reminds me that the time I received the plant is when my Earthly Father went to be with our Heavenly Father. Both of them want me to come sit at Jesus' feet daily and be attentive to Him, just for a little bit. Because, I can't afford to wither away like the plant. I have a lot of work to do on myself which involves spiritual growth and I need His Word to replenish my soul each and every day.

Can you see the similarities with the plant's death and a spiritual path? No matter what, death leads to heaven for believers. There is some blessed assurance in that!

And, if you have suggestions on how I can revive this plant, please share them (your advice is always better than google). I really want to try and keep it alive!

by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on January 16, 2009


  • Tracy - January 16, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

    I have a plant like yours. Mine stays outside and it is beautiful! I cover the plant in freezing weather and clip the dead leaves at the start of spring. I water the plant about once per week. It doesn’t require much more than that. Hope this helps.

  • Coupon Mommie - January 16, 2009 @ 5:51 pm

    Is it possible that it has outgrown this pot and is root-bound? My grandmother had several plants that she hadn’t “fluffed the roots” ,as she calls it, in a few years. When we tipped the plant out the roots were growing in cirles and we transplated to a larger pot and I played surgeon on the roots to untangle them and give them a new home in a larger pot.
    Sometimes they need some of the old potting soil shook off the roots and new added back into the pot.
    I wish you the best green thumb luck!

  • Janet - January 16, 2009 @ 5:58 pm

    It appears that you have some kind of palm plant. They are not very easy to grow in this area except for in the summer. I needs good light and probably not a lot of water since it is not in a climate that is drying it out. If your house is dry,try misting it. Over watering is often the death of many a plant in the winter. I’d say you’ve done a great job of keeping it alive for 4 years.

  • Lori - January 16, 2009 @ 6:13 pm

    try to play some music for it and talk to it. Or is that just an old tale?

  • Anonymous - January 16, 2009 @ 6:13 pm

    Hey Andrea, I have 2 similiar to yours. One is thriving since it’s with my Mom in AL (since we’re in this apt)the other is dying here in the apt. I think they need lots of light. I usually put some fertilizer treatment in the soil which I haven’t tried yet. I also cut off any dead spots so the live parts get what they need. Good luck with your plant (and mine) Keep us posted!

  • Danielle Miller - January 16, 2009 @ 6:27 pm

    Is it getting enough sunlight? It’s a tropical plant and needs lots of sun. In response to a previous post, talking to a plant isn’t what helps it. I have researched that in the past. It’s the fact that talking to it is directly releasing carbon dioxide onto it. So if you feel like doing that, blowing on it would probably be more effective. I lost a miniature tree that I positively loved this past year too. I had been too busy to take care of it. It was an orange tree that grew tiny little miniature oranges. They weren’t edible, but they were so freaking cute. I had kept it alive and prospering for ten years. :-(

  • Miriam - January 16, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

    Take some really up-close pictures of the plant, some pictures of the dead/dying leaves, and contact your county extension agent’s office (you should be able to find their online). See if you can email them the pictures (or take them in) and have them tell you what kind of plant it is and it’s “likes and dislikes” as far as lighting, watering, soil type, etc. That way you’ll know exactly what to do or try!

  • mom_of2boys - January 16, 2009 @ 6:32 pm

    I don’t have the first clue. I’ve killed off a lot of plants in my time. I used to have a co-worker that would always bring them back to life. My only suggestions would be Miracle Grow and/or replanting it. Hopefully, there’s a reader out there that can help revive the plant.

  • Anonymous - January 16, 2009 @ 7:45 pm

    I totally understand how you feel. When I met and married my husband had a beautiful planter from his son’s funeral (he passed away at 10 months) and, like yours, thinks slowly died off .. but it had some of those plam-type trees in it, different from yours that started to die off too .. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t keep it alive, I felt awful about it! Didn’t help that our cats kept eating the leaves either.

    I think it was probably pot bound too … he kept it in the nice arrangement basket that it came in 5 years prior .. I would re-pot it again .. and I think miracle grow has some potting soil out now for indoor plants .. try that. My mom also got me one of those water globes for Christmas that I am currently using in a peace plant from my mother-in-laws funeral that I am not having success with .. it is helping, might wanna try one of those too. I need to re-pot it too

    Obviously I’m not a pro but I say re-pot, water less and give it more sun. If you run to Meijer for your supplies, maybe stop in that Nursery right there in front by I-75 with a picture and see what they say!


  • Anonymous - January 16, 2009 @ 7:46 pm

    yuck … i should have proof-read that better .. sorry!


  • Tara - January 16, 2009 @ 8:26 pm

    Try talking to a florist…they obviously can keep them alive, maybe they have some ideas. My mom has the same kind of plant (from planters given when my dad passed away 2 years ago). Hers do stay in direct light all the time and so far are doing well.

  • Tara - January 16, 2009 @ 8:30 pm

    Oh..and in case you must let it go..try trimming some of the healthy parts off now, putting between wax paper to flatten and dry and then using as a background in a picture frame or something. I have a 10×10 frame that I bought a mat for, had a 5×5 opening cut in one corner for a picture and then used dried flowers/plants as the background. So I have a picture of my dad and part of a plant… kinda sounds cheesy when i write it down, but its really kind of cool looking.

  • shevigirl - January 16, 2009 @ 8:48 pm

    I can’t help at all! I have a Easter Lily that I neglect all the time and it just keeps blooming and growing. I honestly don’t do anything to it, not even cut off the dead parts (my MIL usually does it when she visits because it annoys her). Speaking of, I need to go and water it…I don’t think I’ve done that in a couple of weeks!!!

  • Andrea - January 16, 2009 @ 10:09 pm

    I don’t know how you can save it, but I do know how you feel, in fact I am dealing with the same thing. I got a plant from my son’s funeral 12 years ago (SIDS) and it recently has been looking very bad and I have that same feeling deep in my heart of not wanting to lose it. My mother had it for a very long time and I may tell her she needs to take it again for a while for some TLC. Hopefully our plants will make it.


  • Andrea @ Mommy - January 16, 2009 @ 10:43 pm

    Ladies – thank you so much for your suggestions! I plan on getting some stuff to re-pot it next week! I’ll also make sure it gets adequate sun b/c right now, it’s not in the best place for that. I’m not giving up :-)

    @Andrea, Tara, Chanin – so sorry for the losses your families have experienced! {Hugs}

  • [email protected] - January 17, 2009 @ 2:15 am

    I am not good at keeping plants growing and alive but my husband can get anything to grow. I think alot of it is just him growning up on a farm but everyone always brings him plants that are dying. He has kept a cactus alive for 14 years now(IN OHIO). It’s taller than I am and Im 5’7″. He has also kept plants from my grandfather and brothers funeral which means so much to me. Anyways, when he gets a plant that is dying, he usually starts with replanting it in new soil and clipping off any dead part. Sometimes if the plant is to far gone he will clip a good leaf and start a new plant altogether. He uses miracle grow when he plants it. From that point on he waters all his plants about every other day. If he uses water out of the faucet he lets it sit out for at least a day to reduce the chlorine in it. We have a milkjug that he keeps full of water and he places it in front of a window so it will get alot of sunlight. Once a week, he waters all the plants with water out of the fish aquarium. I don’t know exactly what the trick to that is but it seems to help the plants tremendously. I don’t know if you have a aquarium or not but if you do you might want to try it.

  • Carrie - January 17, 2009 @ 11:59 am

    I used to have a plant just like yours. I got it from my Grandma’s funeral. It had many plants in them. I was going to keep it alive and carry on the tradition of my Grandma’s green thumb. Well, it got to a point where only two plants were surviving. So, I replanted those two.

    I did keep them alive for a long time. When the plants finally passed like my Grandma I was sad, but I found I was in a good place to let them go.

    After four years are you in a place where you can let go. Maybe the plant held on this long because you needed it to? If you aren’t ready to let go, I would repot the plant as others have suggested. Sometimes just having new soil and ‘fluffed’ roots helps.

    Tells us how it goes.


  • the soup - January 17, 2009 @ 9:37 pm

    I’ve saved many a dying plant by watering them with my leftover luke-warm coffee. Don’t know why – but it works. Good luck!

  • Tracy - January 18, 2009 @ 1:52 am

    I’m not sure if this will help, but back when I was in college a friend told me that plants like consistency. She watered her plants every Monday and Thursday. I watered mine every Monday, but then I had kids and the plants died. I would like to get more plants again.

  • Anonymous - January 18, 2009 @ 7:23 pm


    I work in a greenhouse and from what you have said, here is my two cents worth (which some has already been said by others).
    1. It does need sun or bright light.
    2. I think you are giving it too much water. I would only water when the dirt feels dry about 1 inch down. When inside, plants do not need alot of water.
    3. Go ahead cut off all the dead leaves, etc and re-pot it. I would not use potting soil, I think it is too heavy, try and a soiless potting mix. You may have to go to a garden center to get it. I am not sure if box stores like walmart and lowes would carry it. It may dry our quicker but it should work better.
    Make sure the new pot is bigger than the one it is in now.

    I hope all of this helps!
    Good luck

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