Why I Hate Houseplants

Green is overrated and other tales from the crypt.

Lane Cummingsby Lane Cummings

Why I Hate Houseplants

I hate houseplants. I don’t find them an earthy touch of the great outdoors for domestic interiors. I am aware they produce oxygen. I am aware that they’re green and leafy. I just don’t like them and I resent people who have them in their homes. When I go to the home of someone who has houseplants, I feel like there’s something wrong with me for not having houseplants. While these issues of insecurity are something I can always discuss with a shrink, I’d rather just hate on the people who foster and nurture the potted plants.

I’ve analyzed my feelings of hostility and tried to sort out and make sense of my reasons. Here’s one.
Houseplants are usually funny looking. I mean that. Houseplants which are hardy enough to survive inside of your gross apartment, are usually the bottom feeders of plant life. Most houseplants I’ve seen have leaves shooting out from all directions and parts that are thick and waxy. While you could argue this is the owners fault, resulting from a failure to trim the plants properly, I’d rather just blame the plants for being ugly. Houseplants often grow at odd angles creating an asymmetrical overall appearance which I think adds a touch of chaos to one’s home.

Also, I find that around 60 percent (I know it’s obvious, but for those who are slow on the uptake, I made that number up), of people who own houseplants always keep them in those cheap and icky plastic pots the store sells them in. To me this is comparable to displaying an egg carton in your living room. Furthermore, I hate the look of terracotta pots, so even when plant owners do make the effort to switch out their plastic pots, they transport the plants into something nauseatingly generic looking. I hate terracotta anything because it reminds me of Arizona. Essentially, it reminds me of the desert, cacti and the sleepiness of our humdrum Southwestern states, but I’ll keep it simple by saying that terracotta reminds me of Arizona. An ex-friend of mine lives in Arizona, and when I see terracotta it reminds me of people who can’t take responsibility for their feelings without lashing out in an inappropriately defensive way.

Another reason I hate houseplants is that they’re akin to an abusive boyfriend. They’re needy. They take. And if you make one mistake, they die on you. Except for the really robust ones, which are akin to a really unattractive male, who will stick by you no matter how much you ignore and diminish him. For the most part, houseplants demand that you dote on them, ideally with homemade fertilizers of coffee and eggshells, keep them on a regimented watering schedule of distilled liquid and… what? What do you get in return? In return, the plants thank you by not dying.  With a dog you at least get greeted by the front door when you return home in the evening. But a houseplant rewards your hard, consistent work by allowing you to admire its leafy leaves.

And for some people, it’s an awesome deal. Some people truly do rejoice in being able to sustain, silent life, barely moving life and the blob of green that it rewards their home with. But whenever anyone gives me a houseplant as a “gift” I return the favor by giving them a melted wax candle and consider it a fair trade.