How Not To Kill Houseplants

I may be good at color and design, but I am not very good when it comes to caring for houseplants. My thumb is not green, not even a tinge.

I gave up on having houseplants in my home a few years after Ed and I were married, since they always died a few weeks after I would buy them.  I missed having living things around and for many years I had fake greenery around the house. This was OK for awhile, but they got dusty and began to look dated after awhile so out they went, which left me with no interior plant life.

One year ago this week, Better Homes and Gardens came to my house for a photoshoot for their Christmas Ideas magazine. For the shoot, I bought 3 lemon cypress bushes to use as props for some of the room shots.  If you are not familiar with lemon cypress they grow in a pyramidal shape, have a light green color, and smell like Lemon Pledge when you rub your fingers over the branches.


When the photoshoot was over, I moved the plants to my kitchen counter right next to the sink.

I wrote about them in this post.  I figured they had much better odds of survival if they were right by the sink and a sunny window.  (Ed gave me the French Bistro kitchen mat for Christmas. It is from Ballard Designs

Well, I am happy to report…

…one year later, my placement worked….the plants are thriving!  I have never ever had plants survive this long inside. Outside plants – yes, but not houseplants.

Delta-Touch-2-O-Faucet-in-shiny chrome

I know the main reason they are thriving is because they are right by the sink. The Delta Touch2 0 faucet that we installed this past Fall makes the task very easy.  It has a pull down nozzle that changes with a touch of a button from a regular stream to a rain stream nozzle that is perfect for gently watering plants. I water them every other day so the soil is always moist.


The faucet also comes in handy since you can turn it on with only a touch of a hand, wrist, elbow, or any body part :-)  It is pretty innovative… like right out of Jane Jetson’s kitchen.  When making something by hand or DIY’ing means making a mess and you you have paint all over your hands or just kneaded dough and your hands are caked, there is no need to touch the faucet handle. Instead you just tap your elbow anywhere on the spout or handle and it turns on the flow of water. Just tap again to turn off.

The other reason the plants have thrived is because they are right by a sunny window.  The sun shines in all morning into the early afternoon. Water + Daily Sunshine = Happy Houseplants.


When I realized they were going to make it, I read up on how to care for them for the long run.  Plant food was recommended as well as periodic trimming. I pump a few squirts of plant food on each plant once a month.  Every few weeks, I use a pair of scissors to trim stray branches so they keep their pyramidal shape. Before Christmas, I added some fresh soil to each pot.  


I love their green color. I consider it a neutral…it goes with every color you place near them.

I usually like to move decorative items around my house from room to room so nothing every looks too static, but the lemon cypress will be staying right where they are since caring for them has been so effortless thanks to the faucet and sunny window.

No reason to change a good thing.  I hope that I can do another “happy thriving houseplants” update post this time next year. Keeping my fingers crossed.  XO

House plant care for the forgetful

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  1. This looks beautiful…:)Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. I heard that water shouldn’t be sprinkled on the leaves but your cypress is just beside the sink and it looks splendid, is there any secret ?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Melisa – I have gotten the leaves wet and have not seen any problems arise from it. I use a cup to water them, but many times, they go right in the sink and under the faucet spray. I water them every other day to keep the soil moist and give them a few squirts of Miracle Grow plant food every month. That is it. I think they have thrived because of the sunny window and consistent watering.

  3. Love the colour of the cypress plant as well.
    Great tips on the fertilizer.
    Love the punch of colour in the window too with the fresh cut flowers.
    I just noticed that I have the same sink. Nice and deep.

  4. HI Diane, I can grown anything in the garden but indoors? forget it. I think I get so busy I forget the poor things. I have one of these in a pot by my front door but it doesnt look anywhere near as healthy as these so congratulations, another step forward – maybe gardening will bring you some inspiration to share with us all :)

  5. I think you are ready for an Orchid plant.
    My friend bought the faucet when she installed her new kitchen.
    She told me about it as I was also having a kitchen made,( I only had a butler kitchen before)
    I think I was so overwhelmed with so many decisions to make with our extension that I did not take the time to thoroughly think how genius this faucet was.
    Too be sure my next faucet will be the Delta Touch2 O.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Marsha – I think the orchid would be out of my league :-) I love the faucet especially when I am painting. You do get used to it, and now without thinking, I tap the other faucets in my house thinking they are Touch2 O too. :-)

  6. Stephanie@ Casa Watkins says:

    LOL!! Diane I love this post. My husband makes fun of me and says I have a black thumb. Every plant I have tried to tend for has died. I just bought two small ferns ahd I plan to show a lot of love and attention to. I moved them from the plant murder area that is next to my kitchen sink to my very sunny fireplace mantle. For some reason all my plants die next to the sink. The window gets sun, but my sunroom blocks most of it. FINGERS CROSSED that they don’t die. Thanks for the information about the plant food.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Stephanie – I would have never know about the plant food until I read about how to care for the plants. I have been using it for about 6 months. Miracle Grow is great for my backyard soil and seems to be so for indoor use too. :-)

  7. Patty Lucas says:

    Boy are you talking about me when you say you are not good with plants. Since I retired I have been doing much, much better and I actually grew a plant from an avocado. I love these cypress trees and will have to look for one. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Such a great idea to put them right by the sink, I think I’ll take this idea to the bathroom as well, for a little more life and color in there too!

  9. Linda Weeks says:

    ha ha – I would still be worried about my plants, even with the right faucet! They have certainly worked out well for you, maybe they know how much you really like them!

  10. How lovely and refreshing is your little area!! I remember reading about that photo shoot when it happened, has it REALLY been a year??!! How time flies… Now I NEED some of those lemon cypress trees in my life. Do you recall where you got them? That faucet looks marvelous!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Francy – I bought the lemon cypress at a local nursery called the Rhoads Garden. It is on Rt 202 in North Wales, Pa

  11. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    I really would love to have this faucet or one like it. I am wondering though….. about my kitty kat brats….. fearing they would turn the water on and then run away to leave the water running for who knows how long. I brought some Juniper clippings in for my mantle and the kitty kats had to play with thouse……. oh well.

    I noticed your wonderful, new mat right away……. Ed sure has great taste. Well, he married you, so that is a no brainer on perfect taste. Your kitchen looks perfect as usual.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sheryll – You are so cute. I will show Ed your comment. :-) Nice thing about the faucet, if it does go on or you forget to tap it off, it will go off in 4 mins all by itself. They factored human forgetfulness and jumping kitties into the function. You would not have to worry about it being on for a long time.

      1. Sheryll & Critters. says:

        Oh that is great to know, about the faucet turning itself off after 4 minutes for us with kitty kats that just LOVE to hippity hop to the window sill in the kitchen.