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The Green Thumb Myth


A lot of folks tell me that they don’t have green thumbs–that they love the idea of having plants in their homes but that they kill every plant in their path. I think that’s a cop out. I used to say the same thing about my athleticism: “I’m not athletic” I’d say. But that’s because I never worked out. Of course I wasn’t athletic. So today, if you think you have a brown thumb, I’m gonna burst your bubble. Just like everything in life, taking care of plants means two essential things–getting to know your plants, and loving them. Would a dog survive in your home if you never fed it, or OVERfed it, or never gave him love? When you bring a plant into your home–google it. Do your homework. Learn what kind of light and how much water it needs. If he looks sad, move him into another window. Get to know your plants, listen to your plants and love your plants. You’ll see–they’ll love you right back! What do you think? Is the green thumb/brown thumb thing a myth?

Alternative Text Justina Blakeney

Designer, artist, stylist & mama. Founder and CCO at The Jungalow. Crazy for color, pattern and plants!

23 responses to “The Green Thumb Myth”

  1. Harmony says:

    I have never thought about it this way before (or a lot of things for that matter!). Certainly puts you in charge of the outcome doesn’t it?

  2. Trotula says:

    Totally agree. One thing I’ve also noticed is that people get plants because they want the aesthetic, but they don’t actually want PLANTS – plants aren’t wall hangings or chairs, they’re living things, not just decor. I love that about them; I think of all of my plants as individuals that I build relationships with, and so I enjoy taking care of my plants. It’s like if you only got a dog because you thought it was cute, but didn’t actually want to feed it, or take it for walks, or train it…how would you expect that dog to turn out?

  3. Kait says:

    Yes! You’re absolutely right. Knowledge is power – researching plant species and knowing how to choose a healthy plant at the store is a huge part of “Green Thumb” success.

    If you’re not home often to water plants, or if your home is a bit dark, you can still grow healthy plants if you do a bit of googling and choose wisely for the conditions. For those who have labelled themselves a “Black Thumb”, don’t despair, you can do it! :-) May all our homes be leafy jungalows. <3

  4. Zandra Zuraw says:

    Hey, I love the new photo of you at the top! (And I couldn’t agree with you more about the green thumb).

  5. Stephy says:

    I completely agree!!! I call all my plants my friends. :)

  6. Judith says:

    Oh yeah! That’s exactly how I approach my urban jungle! Thanks Justina!

  7. LOVE this. at first i thought it was a cover of a book…:) but dang it sure could be!

  8. Igor says:

    You speak from my soul! I love you for this post, Justina! Need to share it on our Urban Jungle Bloggers Facebook site:-)

  9. Serena says:

    Simply amazing!!! This is exactly my ideas! :-)

  10. Oh I SO agree! I swore I had a proper black thumb but I loved the look of plants in a space and decided I would conquer it this time. All it takes is a little research and a little love – I’ve certainly overcome my fear of owning plants and god, is it worth it. xxx

  11. Interesting idea and I totally agree. I think you have to find the kind of plants that make you happy and want yo try and keep alive. Maybe it’s not vegetables, maybe it’s cactus or succulents. Maybe it’s not either of those but you really like herbs so you’ll work yo keep them alive. You know what I mean?

  12. That’s what i always tell my students when I teach a gardening course :-) The most important thing is to be interested in plants – observe how they respond, think about what they need. And over time, of course, you’ll become a better gardener!

  13. Traci says:

    YES! I have always thought this, but only silently in my own head, when people complain of not having a green thumb. :]

  14. sarah says:

    My mom always said, “I treat my plants like I treat you kids – a little bit of neglect and alotta love goes a long way.”
    She always had a house full of beautiful plants and her technique seemed to work out well. I used to dread the ‘moving’ day where we’d haul them all in or out for the winter/summer, now I wish I had that many plants on my windowsills and crowding the floor.

  15. Justina, exactly. That’s what I’ve been saying for years: The Color Of Your Thumb Has Nothing To Do With It!

  16. […] We will not kill another house plant. We will not kill another house plant. […]

  17. mistakesweremade says:

    Hmmmm. About a decade ago, I moved from Ontario to Texas. Since then I haven’t killed a SINGLE indoor plant (I have lost a few outdoor plants to frost), even though I haven’t changed the way I care for them. It turns out that everything thrives in an environment with sufficient light! I love being able to keep any plant I want, and I have slowly filled my home with living green companions. But I don’t consider myself particularly talented with plants, just lucky in sunlight. ;-)

  18. Laura says:

    i love your pins !! I also love purple and posted my purple hallway with pearl due to you !!!

  19. Stephanie Grace says:

    Totally agree!!!

    Most of the people only want the blooms magically..
    They forget how to love them.. :)

  20. Cindy says:

    I recently started actually taking care of plants at home and I’m happy to say, they survived! They do respond to my efforts and just like with my cat, whenever I go away, I make sure they’re looked after.
    There is one beautiful plant I have been tending to and it’s not mine, my old roommate left it behind, I got word from her that she might stop by to pick it up… :(

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