Resigning oneself to the BLACK THUMB

Palm Tree 4

LeeLee (short for Kali, Multi-colored Destroyer of Worlds), who passed away in 2016, loved sitting underneath this palm. In fact, any of the the palms I had around–if they were indoors–became her favorite places to sit.

I’m not great with plants, and I never have been—even when I was sixteen years old and bought a Royal Palm (back in the 1980s, they didn’t sell them all over the place in the Northeast like they do now, so this was a very exciting thing), studied how to take care of it, and was super attentive, it still died.

Back in the summer of 2014, I was out shopping with my friend Michele for painting supplies–we were doing some touch-up work on a couple of things in my house. I spied these adorable little Sago Palms for ten bucks–and absolutely had to have them. I bought four.

So in love was I with those, I went out and bought a much larger Royal Palm and a Snake Plant.

Three years later, it’s only the snake plant that’s still alive – and it’s a beast! I’ve had to repot it three times, and it’s survived. I was heartbroken when the palm trees died, and my initial plan was simply to replace them when they did.

Palm Tree 6

This is, again, a shot of the Snake Plant that Won’t Die. It’s really out of control. Can we trim the leaves? I guess I should Google that.

Then I considered my track record as well as the annual cost. At four Sago Palms, that was $40 per year. The Royal Palm was $20. So that was $60 a year, excluding pots when they grew larger, soil, and other incidentals.

Anyone who knows me understands I’m a huge fan of Pier 1 Imports, and over the years I had been impressed with the quality of most of their faux plants; it was always the high price point (we’re talking between $150 and $200) that stopped me. When I thought about how much money I’d save over a certain number of years–a $150 Royal Palm would pretty much pay for itself in three summers, and any thing beyond that is gravy. It would be much more economical to go faux, and the only care involved would be dusting. In addition, I could move them between indoor and outdoor at any time.


I’m really happy with my new Pier 1 plants, and I do plan on purchasing more eventually. Maybe having a black thumb isn’t so bad after all!

About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies; her traditionally published books include a short story collection, THE SHADOWS BEHIND. She was the recipient of three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She serves as co-host of the DARK DISCUSSIONS podcast, as founding editor of the dark literary journal 34 ORCHARD, and is a member of the New England Horror Writers. Follow her adventures at

Posted on August 1, 2017, in Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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