I always thought I had a green thumb. In the past, my houseplants have always done very well. but over the past couple of years, I've been seeing plant after plant fall ill and die.

It started about 3 years ago when I inherited a bunch of plants from my colleague who was moving overseas. It was great. I even got a nice oleander tree. Which promptly died. I've since lost most of the plants I inherited, including a mother-in-law's tongue, which are supposed to be as hardy as they come. And a Bromeliad she gave me is about to kick the bucket now. I'm also worried about my jade plant. It's getting kind of woody and I'm not sure what to do about it.

It's not been all bad. I have some sort of little palm-type plant that seems to be very happy in the bedroom window, and my Christmas cactus is now lush after a few years of non-growth.

We did face a major loss while we were away in Asia, though – a big palm tree that had been doing rather nicely, plus a beautiful plant that Margotinto had given us as a thank you gift. But those deaths can't be pinned on me. They just got over-watered – and maybe didn't like the cooler house temp. We almost lost our big peace lily too, but I've cut it way back and what's left seem s to be doing okay. It should come back in a few years.

So it looks like we're gonna need to invest in some new plants soon, but I don't really want to spend the money before I figure out what's gone wrong. I initially thoght that maybe we had inherited some plant diseases when we inherited the last batch of plants, but now I'm suspecting it's something much easier to explain. Since the trouble started about 3 years ago, when we moved into our house, it seems logical that the problem is simply that there's not enough light. Yeah, there's a big window on either end of the house, but the middle of the house doesn't get any direct light – and who wants to have to keep all their plants in one place?! Unfortuanely, even the skylight doesn't let in enough to keep a big floor plant alive.

So I'm thinking our next step will be to find plants that do well in low-light. That, and I need to make sure to fertilize on a regular basis. The Christmas Cactus really only took off after I started adding just a little liquid fertilizer to the weekly water. Trouble is, I'm not sure where to go to buy plants. I could go to Loblaws of Home Depot, but I figure those plants aren't cared for very well and you really have no way of knowing how long they've been in the store either. Maybe we'll just wait until the spring when we fill our annual flower beds and then ask the nursery if they can recommend any houseplants.

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