My House Plants

PotAt the store, my wife likes to randomly snatch things off shelves.

Sometimes this has a purpose, other times not.

“Do we really need a plastic plant?” I asked as she flipped one into the cart.

“It is only a dollar,” she said, as if that were explanation enough.

“Why don’t you buy a real one?” I asked.

“Because I don’t like to water them,” she said.

“So you buy fakes?”

“That’s about it,” she said.

“I like the real ones,” I told her.

“Enough to water them?”


“Well then….”

The thing is, I hate plastic plants. I hate “plastic” anything.  I don’t so much dislike the material as I resent it posing as something else. In my humble opinion, a thing should be what it is rather than pretend to be what it is not.

So much of our modern world is like that. We have plastic plants, electric fireplaces and fake stone exteriors. Why can’t things be what they are?

What worries me is that we have become conditioned to it. We accept fake things, knowing they are fake.

Our cars have naugahyde seats and ersatz wood paneling. Our restaurants serve artificial creamer and imitation crab meat. Heck, even the food we eat isn’t necessarily food. Ice cream is routinely thickened with Bentonite, which I hate to tell you — is clay.

We are so used to fake stuff, we aren’t even aware when we are eating dirt.

So as soon as we got home, I made a stand. I headed directly for the sink to fill a jug with water and like a busy bee, I visited every plant in the house.  I was determined to maintain the last vestiges of nature in our household.

When I was done, I was pleased. So too was my wife. The proof was in her smile.

“Greg…” she said.


Holding high a pot, streaming droplets onto the floor, she asked, “If you don’t like fake plants, why do you water them?”

Author: Almost Iowa

42 thoughts on “My House Plants”

  1. When we had dogs, I used to blame them for my plants early demise. Now we just don’t have any indoor plants and the outside ones don’t look very healthy either. I’m blaming my neighbor’s dog.

  2. I don’t like fake plants either, although I have sometimes been fooled.

    That aside, this was an excellent article. There’s lots of “fake” in this world. Hopefully we are smart enough to determine the difference b/n fake and real, lies and truth.

  3. Fake plants don’t get bugs! Gnats. Ugh. If they are great faux items, and look like the real deal then I’m good. Like some of those “silk” plants. It’s the things like “plastic food baskets” for showing our condo that are so obviously fake. I HATE them, and my Realtor comes in smiling carrying a big basket of faux fruit so obviously plastic. Ugh. I let her put it out, but secretly despised it in my mind. Called it names even.

    1. When we first viewed our house, the living room table held a big plastic salmon on a plate. Apparently, whoever staged the place for the realtor thought it was a good idea. They were right, when I saw the fish, I said, “I’ll take the place… if the fish comes with it.”

  4. I bought a plastic (acrylic) pitcher to water my lovely real house plants that thrive in our light filled house. Right now the orchids are blooming and it is thrilling to look at them. They are actually low maintenance plants. Glad you are back!

  5. Good point! And as you say (and demonstrate) we have become so accustomed to fake things that we don’t even know the difference anymore. That can’t be a good thing.

  6. I wouldn’t decorate my home with plastic plants, but I do have to murmur a bit of a defense for them. When you see a wonderful Hispanic cemetery, tidied up with white rock borders, freshly painted graves, and colorful, plastic plants, it’s really quite nice. And when I took my mother’s remains to Iowa for burial next to my dad, I shopped around and found some lovely artificial geraniums to leave at the grave. If I were there, I’d plant and tend peonies, but it’s a long way from Texas, just to water the flowers.

    Sometimes, even when the object is plastic, the feelings and the intent are real. But I’ll still take my tumbleweed, seed pods, and bluestem over plastic for home decorating.

  7. When youngest son was about to move into his first non-college apartment, we went shopping together and he bought towels, bedding, plates, pans, desk, chair, bed, sofa, bright square rug, and two plastic plants. He said he wanted his home to look lived in, but he knew he’d kill any real plants so… in kindness to nature… plastic ruled.

    1. I had a friend whose daughter wanted a puppy, so he gave her a philodendron. “If you can keep it alive until Christmas,” he told her, “I will get you a dog.” They never got a pet.

  8. I am one of those people who have a black thumb. Plants see me coming they immediately go ahead and die. I have been known to kill a forest. How do you think we got the Mojave. Moi. I did it. I am not proud.

    1. The term veg-o-matic would apply to our cats too, but I don’t have a similar label for Scooter, our dog. The closest thing that comes to mind is the machine that junkyards use to grind up cars.

  9. I’ve watered plastic plants and treated green ones like they are all succulents. BTW, re: Suze comment: plants love coffee. Spreading your used coffee grounds outside is great because worms like them too.

  10. I have a “mother-in-law tongue”…otherwise known as a snake plant…I have been attempting to kill the thing for literally ten years. I over water, under water, let dry out, stick on top of a heater, leave in a dark closet………..I even fed it coffee and soda pop……..I will happily send it to you.

    1. I would happily accept the offer of a snake plant but I am unsure how it would fit into the toxic nature of our household decor. You may have heard of how one thing clashes with another? Here, they do more than that.

  11. I used to have several real plants. I got good at drowning them. Somewhere along the way I learned to be more judicious about how much and where to put the water. My record for survival is better.

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