Confession: I'm Sorry But These Popular Plants Are Annoying—and I Love Plants

The dumb cane is a gnat magnet, and that Alocasia Polly is just... ugh

regretful plants

 The Spruce / Taylor Fuller

I admit it. I don’t like some of my plants. In fact, I loathe some of them. The reason behind these feelings of resentment? Well, I just wish I never got some of them. 

Let’s be clear here. My feelings of regret are not because of the number of plants I have—my indoor jungle is one of my favorite things.

The regret stems from the fact that I’ve acquired a few of them just because. Because the price was “too good to pass up!” Because I got caught up in an Instagram trend. Because having one more on that shelf would balance it out— can’t be having an even number of plants on a shelf! And because a friend was in desperate need of someone rescuing her neglected plants. 

The Good and the Bad of Being a Plant Parent

I’m a firm believer in sharing your failures as well as your successes. I think it would be a mistake to only show photos of healthy plants or not address why a leaf is turning yellow, a plant is leaning in the wrong way, roots are rotting, or stems are getting mushy. It just happens, which is why I want to share my four plant regrets with you. 

  • 01 of 04

    Alocasia Polly

    alocasia polly

    The Spruce / Taylor Fuller

    First up: my Alocasia Polly. I purchased this on a whim at an IKEA. Mind you, I was more than 200 miles away from my home in London, visiting my boyfriend's family. I promised myself I wouldn’t buy any plants but as soon as we hit that section, I couldn’t stop myself. I went right for the Alocasia section and picked up a big Polly for only $10. How on earth could I be expected to put that plant back and walk away?

    I thought this plant would be easy to care for since my other Alocasia, a Zebrina, is a breeze. I was so wrong. I’ve had this plant for about two months now and every single new leaf that grows ends up getting yellow and the stem gets mushy. Usually this indicates root rot and I should check the roots, but I’m scared. Instead I’ve been watering it sparingly and for some reason part of the plant looks like it’s going to fall out of the pot. I should have walked away.

  • 02 of 04

    Dumb Cane

    dying dumb cane plant

     The Spruce / Taylor Fuller

    Next up is my “dumb” Dumb Cane. I got this plant because I needed a third plant on a shelf in my bathroom.

    I was told that it would be an easy plant to care for and in the beginning it was. Then, I repotted it because it was growing really nicely. After that it all went downhill. I spend more time dealing with annoying fungus gnats and pulling out yellow leaves than I do actually taking care of the plant. I refuse to toss it until there is no new growth. All I know is that I won’t be purchasing a plant that needs to have constantly moist soil anymore. I don’t want more gnats flying around my house!

  • 03 of 04

    Peperomia Caperata (radiator plant)

    dying radiator plant

     The Spruce / Taylor Fuller

    This plant came to me in a surprise bundle box that I ordered online. It was at the very beginning of my plant journey. I have slowly had to repot this plant into smaller pots because bit by bit it has died off. I can’t seem to figure out how to properly care for it and it’s moved around my living room multiple times.

    Small leaves drop all of the time and when I go to water it, the soil is never dry. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to properly care for this plant, but I just can’t. I leave it and hope for the best.

  • 04 of 04

    Corn Plant (Fragrant Dracaena)

    dying corn plant

     The Spruce / Taylor Fuller

    And then there’s the plant that I rescued for a friend. She messaged me on Instagram asking me to pick up her small plant collection from her old flat since she wasn’t going to be coming back to the UK anymore because of COVID-19. It was a ten-minute walk away, so I happily obliged.

    While most of the plants she gave me only needed a repot, there was a Corn Plant that looked so so sad. Corn Plants are usually really easy to care for plants. In fact, a lot of first time plant owners will get them because you can pretty much neglect them and they’ll still put out new growth. So not the case with this one. This plant had been neglected for what seemed like years. I repotted it, put it in some fresh soil and hoped for the best. But the best never came. I think it might be time to toss this one. There isn’t really any new growth and the stem is starting to turn orange, which can’t be a good sign!

    We Can't Love Them All

    It’s okay to have a few plant regrets. You can’t love them all (especially if your collection is nearing 70 plants). I will always say to not buy any plants that you know you won’t be able to care for properly, but it just happens. Sometimes you find yourself mindlessly scrolling on social media, and that one trendy plant keeps popping up and you make an impulse buy. Or maybe the plant will be gifted to you (I was recently given some English Ivy, and I’m hoping that the third time's a charm, because Ivy never survives with me and I would never purchase it for myself). Whatever the case, try to enjoy the process, at least you’ll learn a few things along your journey.