The Q&A Archives: plants in the bathroom

Question: I purchased (at HOME DEPOT)and planted a beautiful green shrublike(?) fern in a big beautiful glass vase with a wide bottom and it died within two months. Each 'fern' began to turn brown and prickly and then the next one and so on. Although i would only water it once every three weeks, the dirt was always wet. The plant has been dead now for about a month and the dirt is still moist. Maybe I should alternate soil with pebbles? Will that help? I would like some pictures and/or instructions on how to best do this and hopefully not 'kill' anymore and waste my money.

Answer: I can't tell from your description whether the plant was indoor or outdoor, whether it needed sun or shade, warm or cool temperatures. I also don't know whether the vase was decorative or functional. If the vase had a solid bottom with no drainage holes, that might be why the plant died. If you use a decorative vase with no drainage holes, the plant should be planted in a regular nursery pot with drainage holes and then set into the vase and removed each time you water it so the excess water can drain out. Plant roots that sit in soggy soil will suffocate because too much water will exclude air and roots need oxygen as well as moisture. Alternating pebbles and potting soil really won't solve the problem of too much water. To avoid this situation in the future, find out the plant's name and growing requirements for sun or shade, then make sure it is planted in a pot with adequate drainage holes in the bottom. You can always set the pot into a decorative container, as long as you remember to remove it for watering so the excess water can drain. Hope this information helps you avoid the problem in the future!

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