Weekend Projects

This 1-Minute Healthy Plant Habit is Good For Your Human Soul, Too

published Dec 18, 2020
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Credit: Carina Romano

Apartment Therapy Weekend Projects is a guided program designed to help you get the happy, healthy home you’ve always wanted, one weekend at a time. Sign up now for email updates so you never miss a lesson.

One simple thing that has brought many smiles to my face over the past few weeks is a new Facebook group I joined called Tallahassee Plant People.

It feels nice to be connected to people with whom I have two things in common: living in Tallahassee and being a plant person. But it’s also helpful to find out about what plant treasures both the local nurseries and the Walmart down the street have in stock and to be able to discuss our native plants and weather and troubleshoot plant problems with people whose plants share the same humidity and hard water conditions.

Beyond that, I love having a forum to share little verdant victories with like-minded people. It’s a space where I can post a picture of my Thanksgiving cactus ripe with with baby buds. And get a bunch of digital squeals in return.

It seems that now more than ever, newly minted, borderline, and long-standing plant people are finding joy and solace in tending to their plant collection. But even if you’re just trying to keep a plant or two alive, this weekend’s project will have you enjoying your plant parent work.

This Weekend: Trim the brown parts off your plants.

Trimming brown, dead leaves off your plants is a good habit and an important part of keeping your house plants clean. But the benefits don’t stop there: Getting rid of what’s unsightly on your plants will also remind you to shed the dead things that detract from the beauty of the whole. I’m not sure there has ever been a more metaphorical weekend project.

I’ve appreciated the admonitions on a flew of the Plantstagram accounts I follow to not view a dead leaf or two as a failure, but rather as a sign that the plant just doesn’t need that leaf anymore. (This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t investigate whether the plant is trying to tell you it needs a different light or watering or soil situation.) Underneath each of your plants with a few brown leaves is a flawless life waiting to be rid of what no longer serves it.

Freeing the unfettered essence of a thing by cutting away the excess, revealing the beauty that’s hiding inside, is a theme I for one could stand to be reminded of again and again. Snipping away at your plants to do this for them (and you!) brings the idea right before your eyes and the instant gratification might motivate you, gently, you to fulfill the concept in other areas of your life.

When trimming your plants, make sure that your scissors or clippers (I love these) are clean. It’s also best to clean them between plants so you don’t transfer any diseases or pests between plants. A cotton swab soaked in alcohol swiped along both sides of each blade does the trick well.

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You can catch up with weekend projects right here. Share your progress with us and others by posting updates and photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #atweekendproject.

Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we’ve sent you, or tackle another project you’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also completely okay to skip a weekend if you’re busy or not feeling the assignment.