I’ve been thinking about the maxim, “right plant, right place.” It’s taken me a surprisingly long time to figure out what plants will thrive in my home office — I’ve tried all kinds of plants in there, and have had them die, one after another after another.
The problem is generally watering — there are long stretches when I’m mostly working in the writing shed or the basement, and not using the home office, so I might go weeks without opening the door, and I just forget to water entirely. Most plants don’t survive that.
But on the other hand, the light in there is bright (lots of big windows), and we have a heater going in there in the winter (because all the windows make that room cold), and so it’s actually generally slightly warmer in there than the rest of the house. Which means that succulents thrive. I can forget to water them for a few weeks, and most of them do just fine, chugging along. I might not see a lot of growth, but they’re not withering on the vine, as it were.
Another example of “right plant, right place,” is this poor dracaena. It was doing just fine on our first floor, getting watered regularly and appropriately (they don’t like to be waterlogged), getting enough light for winter maintenance.
But then we had a temperature drop, and while all the other first floor houseplants were fine next to their windows (I try not to have them actually *touching* the cold windows), the dracaena dramatically wilted overnight. It is a princess, and cannot abide that much cold, apparently.
So I got Kevin to lug it upstairs for me (thanks, sweetie), and I’m trying it in my office now. I’m not sure if that’ll be its home long-term — it might be too warm for it, and I might forget to water it enough there. But I’m thinking it might be a good place for it to convalesce and recover from the cold? And then I can move it back out into one of the other rooms, further from the window, perhaps, where it’s more likely to get regular watering.
I tend to be sort of Darwinian about my plants generally — if they curl up and die, then they just weren’t meant for my somewhat haphazard level of care. I’m never going to be cosseting my plants to the level of some gardeners — between the ADHD and my generally hectic life, I just don’t have the attention or the patience.
But sometimes, all it requires is a little care in the initial placement for a plant to thrive. As for how all of this applies to the individual, I think we can generalize to humans too — if you aren’t thriving at the moment, maybe there’s something wrong with your conditions (not with you!), and shifting position a little to something better suited might make all the difference between withering, just barely getting by, and thriving.
Try something different. Small changes can yield big results. Iterate.