In the early days of the pandemic, when friends were experimenting with sourdough starters or taking up crocheting, I began collecting houseplants. I’ve always had a handful scattered around, but thanks to all the free time, I noticed just how much space I had to fill with new plants.
The beginnings of a plant collection
It started when a friend gifted me with 10 cactus and succulent starters and a crash course on how to care for them. Of course, I panicked, overwatered, and almost killed them before I finally learned to just leave them alone to do their arid thing. I still worry I’m dehydrating them, overwater, and they get all weird, but I’m getting better. My hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus rigidissimus) has produced three little cactus babies of its own under my care, so I must be doing a decent job.
In the last few years, I’ve added dozens more, including a golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum) cutting I just happened to find on the floor at an Airbnb. It’s become a fun game to see how long it takes my husband to notice a new plant in the house.
Free plants are the best plants!
And can we talk about propagating for a minute? How wonderful is it that with a cutting, some water or soil, and a bit of patience, you can grow as many new plants as you can fit in your sunroom? And living room. I’ve run out of surfaces, and the many hanging pots throughout the house are giving off a real jungle vibe.
Houseplant tips & ideas
In true In the Weeds fashion, here are some houseplant tips and ideas from me, your mediocre houseplant enthusiast:
1. Get creative where you put your plants. My kids’ bathroom has great light for plants, PLUS they all take 45-minute steam showers (to my husband’s horror) which creates a perfect level of humidity. I embraced it, painted the bathroom a gorgeous olive green, filled it with hanging plants, and now we basically have a greenhouse.
2. Plants are incredibly resilient. If you think you’ve killed it off, just give it a minute. My cat knocked over my favorite kalanchoe and broke its pot. Over the course of a month, all its leaves turned brown and fell off. I was devastated and thought it was a goner. But that little beauty recovered from her trauma and came back fuller than before after spending the summer outside.
3. Plants love vacations! Do your plants a solid and let them live their best life by spending the summer outside on the patio or porch. They seem to appreciate the fresh air.
4. Have a plant trading party! If you have too many plants or you want something new, get your plant-loving friends together, bring a few plants you’ve been propagating at home, and trade for what you don’t already have.
Happy houseplanting, friends!
Jamie attributes at least 75% of her love of flowers, houseplants, and all things gardening to the story Frog and Toad: The Garden by Arnold Lobel, which her mother read to her no less than one million times: “Now seeds, start growing!”