Plant Progress Over Perfection

Plant Progress Over Perfection

How to shift your mindset to focus on plant and personal growth

Jackie Maahs

November 1, 2021

6 min read

The Realization

Does anyone else feel all the pressure to be a perfect plant parent? My personal plant care journey has been filled with self-doubt and stress around my ability to care for plants, and unfortunately, at times that makes plant care just flat out stressful. After dealing with this emotional roller coaster ride for a number of years, I decided I needed to make a change. I needed to shift my focus from plant perfection in my plant care routine, to plant progress. 

Plant Perfection vs. Plant Progress

Buying a new plant is an exhilarating experience - your new plant friend is green and lush and will look perfect in the new planter you just got!! But, when you get it home, after a couple weeks of care you begin to notice some yellowing leaves, and what is that brown spot, and is it normal for mushrooms to grow in the pot?! Suddenly you spiral into feelings of stress and worry that leave you feeling like a failure. This reaction is what I call a “plant perfection” mindset. This is when plants only bring you joy when they are in perfect condition, and when things start to go wrong, stress and worry are the first reactions. 

Alternatively, you could see the yellowing leaves, brown spots, and mushrooms, and think, “huh, that’s odd, I wonder what that’s all about.” And rather than let stress be the first reaction, let curiosity and problem solving take the driver’s seat. This reaction is what happens when you have a “plant progress” mindset. With this mindset, setbacks are seen as opportunities for growth and learning rather than an indication of failure. Even a plant dying can be a learning opportunity.

Developing a Plant Progress Mindset

I would guess that this concept of plant progress is not most people’s natural reaction to plant issues. It is surely not mine. My first instinct is definitely stress and worry, which usually leads to procrastination and ultimately guilt. I often have to stop myself from falling into the trap of plant care perfection and actively remind myself that the goal is learning. So, how do I do that? Here are some tips that I have learned to help me shift my mindset:

  1. I try to be honest about my plant struggles. I find that others are often dealing with the same issues, so talking about them can help you realize you are learning alongside everyone else. 
  2. This one may seem like a silly tip, but something that helps me is refraining from naming my plants. I know that a lot of people name their plants, and I think it’s a super fun practice. I have just found that if I name my plants it makes me too attached to them and leads to more stress if something goes wrong.
  3. I actively remind myself that plant issues and plant death are a normal part of the plant care process and that it doesn’t mean I am not a good plant parent. Every time an issue pops up, I gauge how I am thinking and make a change if needed. As I mentioned earlier, plant progress is not my natural mindset, so I need to actively remind myself of this. 
  4. I don’t follow social media accounts that make me feel like a plant parent failure. I prefer accounts that are helpful and show both progress and setbacks. If my account stresses you out more than helps you, I give you permission to unfollow me. But hopefully, over the years you have come to know that The Plant Supply is all about learning and that I love getting to figure out plants right alongside you!

Next Steps

Now that you have had a chance to think about your plant parenting mindset, I hope you find that orienting your plant journey toward growth and learning makes the experience more relaxing, fun, and educational! If you ever have a plant struggle and need to share it with someone, feel free to reach out - I am happy to offer support and do some troubleshooting if that’s helpful. I never promise to know all the answers, but I do promise to learn and grow right alongside you!  

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Jackie Maahs

Jackie is the Co - Founder of The Plant Supply. She really loves plants.