Dead, dead, definitely dead

Rosemary, dead

It’s official: I have killed my rosemary plant by under-watering it. (Whatever that straggly thing off to the right is, it ain't rosemary.) 

I feel like a pregnant woman who knows the facts of life but who finds herself asking, “How did this happen?” In both cases the answer is pretty straight-forward; there really aren’t that many routes to the particular result; yet the question remains.

(I should know better than to talk to my sons about—well, anything, if I want a straight response, but I don’t. When I tried out the analogy above on #1 son this morning, he said, “You mean you think you got pregnant because you didn’t water your plants?” To which the only possible come-back was, “You mean—that wasn’t it?”)

As I was saying, there aren’t all that many ways to kill a plant by under-watering it—you just don’t give it enough water—yet I foresee a week (at least) of sleepless nights, tormenting myself with versions of the question above.

Of course, it’s not really “How did this happen?” but, “How did I let this happen?” Why didn’t I notice the plant was dry? When I did water, why didn’t I water it more? It’s not as if the thing was tucked away in a locked closet; it’s right there in the living room. I spend a lot of my time parked within five feet of it, so why didn’t I notice? Because I wasn’t looking, of course. Oh, the shame.

Actually, I’m more irritated than anything else, but don’t tell the guilt-mongers.

I cut the thing way back and collected the (dry) leaves, which I rinsed, re-dried, and stored. Just in case this plant turns out to be closely related to Lazarus, I haven't chucked it yet. In a week or so, when the last three little leaves lose their faint green tint, it’ll be over.

This is nemesis. A year ago someone wrote a post about how to get rosemary through the winter (it needs to be cool), and all sorts of people commented, saying, “So that’s why mine always dies!” Me, I said, “So that’s why my rosemary is fine over the winter—my house is so cold!” And this year, what does my rosemary do? It up and dies.

Me and my big mouth.

13 Responses to Dead, dead, definitely dead

  1. You are in good company…well maybe not good but company anyway.

  2. Welcome, Layanee. I think you’ve got me–or at least my company–pegged. And of course, you know a person by the company she keeps–unfortunately.
    –Kate

  3. Aw poor plant. I don’t remember the last time I watered mine but it is still alive. Perhaps the dog has been taking care of it for me.

  4. Underwatering has always been my problem with houseplants. For some reason, if a plant is indoors, it is as if it doesn’t exist at all in my mind.
    I’m always amazed at those books and magazines that caution against overwatering houseplants. To whom are they speaking?

  5. Yep, mine is looking completely dessicated, too. I just forgot about it after putting it in the basement to over-winter (near a window). I have watered it a few times since in hopes that it will rise again, but suspect it is all too little, too late.

  6. iasa— That’s my problem: I don’t have a dog. I might mention that I thought mine was alive too, until it wasn’t.
    Susan— Indeed.
    Amanda— It seems that Layanee was absolutely right. Plenty of company. Except mine wasn’t in the basement; it was on the windowsill in the living room, the same place where it happily spent the past two winters.
    Grrr.
    –Kate

  7. There is a reason my only house plant is an aloe. You can “underwater” it for months and it will still live. (Is not watering it at all the same as underwatering?)

  8. Aloes. I had those back in California; maybe I should consider getting one or two again. As for the linguistic question, Daphne, I’m not sure about the answer, but the question is good for a laugh.
    –Kate

  9. My rosemary can stay outside year round, thankfully. “Thankfully” because I am an utter failure at indoor plants! I just pronounced my lemon tree dead today, after a short 3 months inside for the winter. C’est la vie!

  10. Like you, Ginger, I tend to kill almost anything I bring inside or try to raise here. Which makes this year’s tomato plants the more surprising. (But then, I still have time–!)
    I’ve cut back to the most hardy, forgiving few indoor plants, though it would be more accurate to say that the rest died on me and I let attrition do its thing.
    –Kate

  11. I’ve started putting things like when I last watered houseplants on the calendar in the kitchen. It’s the only way I can remember to do it. Ditto when things need feeding …

  12. Wow, Jane. That is a level of organization which I can admire, but to which I dare not aspire. It does seem like a fairly simple, low-key way of keeping track, though. Maybe I should try it…
    –Kate

  13. I have been on and off again in my indoor hobbies

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