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.
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.
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:
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!