How to Kill Your House Plants: the definitive guide

Do the opposite and your house plants will thrive, giving you years of enjoyment!

In this short mini-series on the benefits of house plants, Jez Rose offers the definitive guide to how to most successfully kill your house plants…


– the quickest and easiest way to kill most house plants is just to simply forget that they are living things that, like us, require food and water. Buy one, leave it in a pot and then just try your absolute hardest to completely forget about it. Walk away and never think of it again. It will dry out, starve and die. Then simply throw away while bemoaning that you manage to kill every plant you own. Some plants like Croton are especially keen on dry periods, but at some point even they will die if you never water them.


– if you prefer a more, “Killing Eve” hands-on approach, try flooding it with water. For maximum effect use a pot with no drainage holes so that entire plant and soil sits in soggy soil. Regularly top up with water at even the slightest suggest of the soil drying out. Watch the leaves yellow and the stems rot then simply pull the entire rotten plant from the soil and pour the water-logged soil down the sink, cursing the blocked drain – or simply pour onto a flower bed. Some plants like Spider Plants are especially resilient and will tolerate being treated a bit rough but at some point it will die if flooded.


– position your delicate, indoor house plant directly on a window cill in full sun, allowing the glass to magnify the suns rays and slowly dry, crisp and scorch the leaves. In turn this will prevent the plant from breathing and photosynthesising resulting in its slow death. It’s slightly more dramatic than the watering death methods because you’ll see the slow decline of your plant as it burns to death.


– just like us humans, some house plants are sun-worshippers and need plenty of light, and others – but not many – tolerate being tucked away in the dark corner like a least-favourite child. One sure way to kill your house plants is to starve the of light – perhaps a locked wardrobe, that useless bit of space underneath the stairs, or a dark corner in your room. Watch as the plant very slowly wilts, drops its leaves and thins out to just a few bare stems. Wait until you’re so annoyed at looking at its pathetic display before throwing it away.


– some plants have long leaves, or in the case of orchids, long roots. Cutting these off and damaging the living plant is a sure-fire way of increasing stress on the plant and damaging it. Cutting away dead or damaged leaves very close to the base of the leaf is the correct way to keep a healthy plant, but we’re focused on killing them so feel free to hack away wherever you want.


– leave your plants to gather as much dust, dirt and grime as possible. If you’re having any building works, or sanding then place your plants as close as possible to the building work so as to coat the leaves in as much of that grime as possible. Plants use their leaves to absorb moisture, light, and to breathe, so resisting any temptation to dust, or gently wipe the leaves with a damp cloth regularly should be avoided at all costs.

Run out of house plants to kill? Head over to for an exciting new range of limited edition house plants and pots to help bring the benefits of nature on health, wellbeing and behaviour indoors as winter sets in.

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Or you could leave your lovely HOUSE plant out over the winter, It might enjoy the snow and frost….or it might not!

Mark Fisher

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