A houseplant is supposed to be simple, a little bit of nature brought inside. Some people get attached to their plants, because they are living things that one takes care of. But when a plant dies, it’s a sad occasion that may induce mourning. Is that normal? Yes, and common, too. While it’s not as devastating as losing a pet or a family member, the death of a plant can produce a profound sense of loss that may be confusing.
“When it comes to a plant dying, the mourning usually is more about self-criticism over one’s ability to do things right,” says Marina Resa, a psychotherapist based in Los Angeles who specializes in pet bereavement, among other things. “There’s an assumption that caring for a plant should be easy, so the shame can run deep, particularly when a plant dies that is said to be ‘impossible to kill,’ such a cactus or succulent.”
When a plant you’ve owned for a long time dies, the mourning process might be even more difficult, Resa added. That plant has “seen” things, after all. It’s lived life alongside you, providing beauty and comfort in times of stress. And now, instead of furthering your connection to the natural world — a blessing that doesn’t come easy in the digital age — you’ve dried it out.
As a longtime gardener, I no longer mourn the death of one plant, but I fondly recall the rubber tree I kept going for 30 years, and regret the flowers that won’t flourish under my care. Read more about what’s involved in our relationships with houseplants at Mashable.
(Image credit: Vicky Leta/Mashable)