The seven stages of grief you go through when your beloved houseplants rot and die.


My apartment is currently littered with dead bodies.

Brown withered husks that used to be soft and green now hang lifelessly down my bookcases or sit rotting on my window sills.

Some rational part of me knows I should drag their quickly deteriorating carcasses down to the bins and send them onto their next life, but instead, I choose to inflict a special kind of torture upon myself when each night I return from work to a home decorated with death. A serial killer of the flora variety.

Over the last year, just like every other millennial woman in possession of an Instagram account, I began filling my home with plants I didn’t know the names of. I spent many hours of my life selecting just the right pots to house my new offspring in, I organised road trips with friends in search of the very best greenery, and I even wrote a story boldly declaring “Crazy Plant Ladies are the new Crazy Cat Ladies and I’m one of them.”

And then, one by one, each of my plants began to wither and rot and die and I began to very ungraciously move through the seven stages of grief…

1. Shock

I was still very much in the honeymoon stage with my house plants when I noticed one of my ivys suddenly looked like it had a very bad fake tan. When I reached out my hand to feel how dry the leaves were the entire frond broke off between my fingers and I swear I heard it gasp in pain. In turn, I screamed so loudly that one of my neighbours knocked on my door to see if I was OK but I couldn’t open it due to the fact that I was in midst of HANDLING A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, OK.


2. Denial

“This is fine..everything is fine…” I whispered hoarsely to myself over and over again while sitting on the floor of my shower at 11pm, cradling a formerly green fern in my lap while shovelling expensive liquefied plant food into its muddied pot. “It’s just a little brown, it will go away, everything will be fine.”

It must just be the weather I told myself, do plants change colour with the weather? I’d better Google that.

I’m sure it’s fine…

3. Pain

Have you ever had a knife stabbed through your eye and then pulled out through your nose? Well, that’s how I felt one Saturday morning when I opened my bedroom door to find my living room covered with decaying brown leaves. Tears stung my eyes as I noticed my formerly flourishing Peace Lily now resembled ET and the soil has taken on a smell that hinted at failure and regret.

“Everything in life eventually dies” I replied to my friends when they asked if I wanted to meet for brunch.

"My beloved houseplants all began to turn brown and die." Image: Laura Brodnik's living room.

4. Anger

Ok, at this point can I just say that these b*stard plants are doing all of this on purpose? There is no other explanation because I have given them EVERYTHING.

I've lovingly watered them (perhaps a little bit too much...), fed them, carefully manoeuvred them in and out of sunlight and shared my hopes and dreams with them. I've rushed home to check on them and spent quite a bit of time figuring out their likes and dislikes. That's more than I've ever done for any of my blood relatives and THIS is how they chose to repay me? By turning brown out of pure spite?

How dare they?

5. Bargaining

Now I've taken to sidling up to my various decomposing greens and attempting to sweet talk them back to life. Would they like new pots? Better watering facilities? Different choices of music to keep them entertained throughout the day? Maybe all the Disney tunes are wearing a bit thin...

Or perhaps it is this very apartment that has driven them to embrace death? If being within these walls has somehow caused you to shed your leaves and turn the colour of one of Kylie Jenner's more daring lip kits then just say the word and this lease is broken! I reason with them.


Honestly guys, just say the word and we'll leave all this behind, we'll assume new identities and start new lives in a more plant-friendly climate.

6. Depression

I have taken to my bed and I am not receiving calls or visitors or new Netflix suggestions for the foreseeable future. "I held life in my hands and I let it die", I think to myself as I bury my head into my pillows and wait for darkness to take me.

I am also out a considerable amount of cash and my apartment looks much less stylish than it did before, I don't know which outcome hurts the most.


I accept that I will never know plant love again. Potentially, I should also look into other forms of home decoration.

For more stories like this, you can follow Mamamia Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik on Facebook.  

Psst... Are your plants in need of a little bit of TLC? Every week we’re answering all your pervy questions about plants with the help of the plant geniuses over at Leaf Supply. Have a question you want answered? Send an email to submissions@mamamia.com.au. We’ve got you covered. 

More from the Leaf Supply column: 

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