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A Profile of 22 Houseplant Hoarders: Their Amazing Stories

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I’ve taken the opportunity to interview 22 houseplant hoarders. The term “hoarder” often has a negative connotation. Some prefer the word “collector” instead, yet others confidently own it and proudly proclaim themselves a plant hoarder.

These incredible individuals all have fascinating stories, and live all over the world. From the United States, to Canada, and even Africa, the passion for plants knows no bounds.

How many houseplants does one need to qualify as a hoarder? It is all relative and a very personal definition. The houseplant hoarders that I’ve interviewed for this post care for anywhere from 20 plants, to over 1,000 houseplants. You read that correctly. One thousand houseplants!

Without further ado, here are the incredible stories of 22 houseplant collectors…I mean…hoarders. This is one long post, and it may be easier to read on your tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.

HOUSEPLANT-HOARDERS

Houseplant Hoarders Table of Contents

  1. Emily Gall
  2. Amy McDonald
  3. Johanna Dominguez
  4. Jessica Coffman
  5. Kyra Hall
  6. Nigel Simmons
  7. Dustin
  8. Cara Bruce
  9. Bekah Chittenden & Josh Godley
  10. Lindsey Sawicki
  11. Sam Friedman
  12. Liz
  13. Chadi B
  14. Emily Kloss
  15. Annie Krumpoch
  16. Alexandra Gordon
  17. Morgan Dennis
  18. Nic
  19. Hannah Granneman
  20. Sowmya Johnson
  21. Sierra
  22. Jenny Grimes

1. Emily Gall

Instagram: @egall_art_n_death

Lives in: Bloomington, Indiana

emily-gall-houseplant-hoarder

What do you do for a living? Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I work as a funeral director. Caring for plants is a hobby, but I did have some past work in landscaping.

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?  

I do! I have 104 plants, and I thought I had less before counting!

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?

I’ve always had a green thumb and had been gardening since childhood as my mother is an avid gardener. I really got in collecting houseplants about 2015 when I was living in a duplex and wanted to garden, but had no property to garden.

I thought houseplants would fill that void. Though I started accumulating houseplants in 2015, the first time I ever owned and cared for a houseplant was in 2002. I was nine years old and my parents let me pick out a grafted cactus from Lowe’s to care for.

Over the years, the grafted part of the cactus died and the other cactus it was grafted onto exploded in growth! Almost 20 years later and I still have it!!!!!

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

Orchids (especially miniature orchids), cyclamen, monstera, and begonias!

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?  

I’ll still keep growing them, but I have the worst time with cacti. Other than the one I have from 2002, my others tend to get rot or dry up at some point and die.

Unlike many plants with leaves, cacti just seem to suddenly get bad and die and it’s too late for me to rescue them.

I also have trouble figuring out Alocasias. Mine always seem to either die or go dormant and it’s just so hard to read them!

Bonsai are also really tricky. They’re so fussy, that if I neglect them the least bit, they’re unhappy!

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why?

It’s hard to say as I have most of what I want. I’m always on the lookout for unusual looking orchids and a variegated monstera.

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

Even when it’s frustrating, I still find houseplants relaxing. I also appreciate how much experimenting and trial and error plants allow. When I’m stuck on growing a plant, I’ll look up some advice online and attempt different solutions.

I love how I can track my progress with certain plants over time and see how my experiments pay off (or fail, haha).

As much as I love orchids, I actually killed off the first one I ever owned because I just assumed it loved a ton of water and ended up drowning it.

Some years later, I decided to try again at it and actually look into caring for it. Now I have over ten orchids and they’re one of my easiest plants to care for!

As of now, propagating and terrariums have been my latest foray. It’s been a blast to see how different plants react to various soils, lighting, and solutions.

My job is very high-stress, and plants are a welcome break from it.

emily-gall-houseplant-hoarder


What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

Finding enough lighting for them during the winter! Where my house is situated gets terrible natural lighting and it’s been a challenge to find consistent, long lasting lighting.

Watering them during the winter can be frustrating as it’s so time consuming and I’m more likely to put off watering them as I’m often crunched for time.

Also, the gnats that come inside during the winter via my plants are a pain.

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.

I live in between growing zones 5 and 6. During the summer it’s wonderful because I place just about every house plant I own outside on my front porch. They love the humidity and warmth. It gets just the right amount of light and shade, and I can water all of them and not care that I’m getting water everywhere (unlike the interior of my home).

Winter is much more difficult because ALL my plants come in (with the exception of my bonsai). Me, my boyfriend, and his son live in a small rental home so bringing them all in and finding places for them is challenging.

My boyfriend feels crowded by the plants at times. Out of the three years we’ve lived in our home, this year I’ve really perfected my winter plant set up and it feels not nearly as crowded as it did in the past.

My houseplants look kind of rough during the winter as most of them are unhappy being inside. Oddly enough though, my orchids seem to do better during the winter! Haha.

emily-gall-houseplant-hoarder


What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

When I first started, I had a huge fear of missing out when it came to plants. I spent much money on plants without taking the time to research or learn their care and just bought up whatever I saw.

With the exception of a few plants, I’ve seen most of what I own again at some point for sale. I really needed to learn to take things slow and investigate what plants are right for me.

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

I have a few. I have a false rose of Jericho that I periodically soak in water. In my area, you don’t see staghorn ferns very often, so when I first saw one, I definitely nabbed it.

My miniature orchids stand out (I didn’t even know they could be that small). The three miniature orchids I have are Constantia cristinae, Phymatidium tillandsioides, and Leptotes unicolor.

I’m eagerly waiting for them to bloom! I also have a Jamaican ghost orchid (cousin to the Florida variety) that is quite striking due to it’s lack of leaves.

My latest unusual plant is a Stephania erecta. It’s so cute!

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it?

As mentioned before, it is my cactus from 2002. It’s been incredibly hardy and dependable. I’ve had it since I was nine years old and it’s still going strong at 19 years!

Please feel free to comment on anything else that you’d like to share that I did not ask about.

Houseplants have been such a wonderful hobby to get into! I have met so many kind, wonderful, and fascinating people through this hobby. The best part is when I have gotten my closest friends into collecting houseplants and we nerd out over our collections and exchange plants and propagations.

I have many plants that started from a propagation a friend gave me and it’s a pleasant reminder of that friend every time I glance at the plant.


2. Amy McDonald

Instagram: @fabulous_sushi

Lives in: Louisiana, USA

amy-mcdonald-houseplant-hoarder

What do you do for a living? Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I am an artist, but not the kind that makes money. I’m the other kind. Angsty. Being a crazy horticulture lady is just a hobby for me. 

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?

I’m not sure exactly how many plants I have at this point – well into the hundreds. I am pretty much a total houseplant hoarder.

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

I have been collecting houseplants since 2018 (yes, that is how quickly this got out of control). My first plant was an African Violet. I learned to propagate it and then it was ON like Donkey Kong.

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

My FAVORITE houseplants are monsteras, or maybe orchids. Both. They are both my favorites.

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?

I haven’t met a plant yet whose needs I cannot meet. Sometimes it takes me a few tries to learn to care for a kind of plant, but I usually figure it out eventually (to all the orchids I’ve lost before…).

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

At the top of my houseplant wish list is literally ANY plant with pink leaves but ESPECIALLY a variegated monstera. That would be AMAZING!

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

I love growing plants because it has taught me that if I want something in life to flourish and bloom, I have to meet its needs. That goes for myself too. Plants are a microcosm for the universe.

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

The thing I find most frustrating about growing plants is pests! I release 1500 ladybugs every few weeks into my studio and into the hydroponics area in the Florida room to control the pests.

It’s a difficult issue because a lot of my plants are also growing out of the top of aquariums and I can’t use traditional pesticides because it would hurt my fish. Yes. I’m serious. There are probably around 3000 lady bugs in that photo with me.

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well. 

I currently live in the south and a very humid climate so definitely pests are an issue and, AND!!! One time I even had ants dig into all of my plants and settle in. In my actual house. It was really a bummer and took ages to sort out.

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

If I could go back to 2018 Amy and give her plant advice I’d tell her to just accept that grow lights are going to be necessary.  I tried so hard to make unsuitable lighting conditions work. 

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

The most unusual plant that I grow is probably pitcher plants. I have quite a few of those in my orchidariums and think they are just the weirdest!!

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it?

The oldest plant I have isn’t very old. I only started collecting houseplants in 2018. It’s an orchid. I was going though a challenging spot in my life and I bought myself a grocery store orchid and decided I’d throw myself into orchid growing.

A few hundred orchids later I felt much better, so it worked! 10/10 highly recommend!

Please feel free to comment on anything else that you’d like to share that I did not ask about.  

Thank you so so so sooo much for including me in this!!! It was fun!!! I will have you know I obsessed over this photo because I wanted it to be as authentic as possible. So I left my studio messy and I really feel that my cat Gary biting my arm really pulls the vibe together.


3. Johanna C. Dominguez

Instagram: @johannawildandfree (personal account) and @putaplant.onit (business)

Lives in: Buffalo, NY

johanna-dominguez-put-a-plant-on-it

What do you do for a living? Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or
is it just a hobby?

Originally it was just a hobby! I have always enjoyed nature and the outdoors and been an avid
outdoor gardener. My outdoor garden is on 2 annual garden tours, one of which is the largest
garden tour in the country.

I slowly started integrating houseplants into my life and ultimately ended up loving so much I started a business, Put a Plant On It, a store that centers around education, houseplants, supporting local artisans, and offering a variety of services.

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?  

Honestly I try not to count! I think it is safer not to know. I did count how many different hoyas I have (excluding multiples of some) and I had 127 different kinds of hoya.

But I also really enjoy aroids, particularly Philodendron and Monstera. My guess is that I probably have close to 400, if not more, excluding propagations which I tend to not count.

I like to think since houseplants are also my livelihood it excludes me from being a hoarder, but others probably definitely consider me a hoarder!

johanna-dominguez-put-a-plant-on-it

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

I have personally been collecting houseplants since 2016. I grew up in a very nomadic lifestyle where I had to move countries every 3-5 years. Keeping anything in this environment is tough, and we certainly could not keep houseplants when we moved.

One of the places we lived was El Salvador and our garden there was a tropical paradise. We had bromeliads growing on trees, a birdsnest anthurium the size of a small car, and all sorts of botanical treasures.

We also lived in Kenya. No matter where we lived I was almost always outside playing in nature.

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

I really enjoy all houseplants. One of the benefits of owning a shop is getting exposed and having to care for all of them. There’s some I had previously written off completely as “boring” or not something I’d ever keep, but being around them every day you learn to like them all.

Each have their place. I have a huge variety of plants at my house, but my favorite are probably philodendron, monstera, anthurium, and hoya.

johanna-dominguez-put-a-plant-on-it

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why? 

I tend to avoid ferns, calathea, and carnivorous plants. Due to my busy lifestyle, I don’t have time for super needy plants. Or plants that require lots of watering.

All my plants are either kept in conditions that do not require constant attention or plants that can go at least a week without water. Even with ~400 plants I do not feel that my plants “run my life” or that I am held down by them in any way. And I want to keep it that way.

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

Honestly I feel like I have most of the plants at the top of my wish list. I still have a wish list of plant’s I’d like, but none are BURNING for me to have. I do already own some of the most sought after plants and was fortunate enough to trade for others.

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

I love that they make me feel confident about something. Throughout my life I have never really felt good at anything or confident about anything. The great thing about plants is the feedback you receive from them.

They also have taught me a lot about resilience and creativity. Plants can come back from a lot of things and it teaches me that we can come back from things too.

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

I think what I find most frustrating about them is when something goes wrong and I can’t figure it out. I have cared for hundreds of thousands of plants over the last two years with having the shop and overall consider myself pretty good at troubleshooting plants and being able to figure them out.

Once in awhile something stumps me. I feel like I did everything right and yet still have 1 declining plant and can’t figure out why. It often makes me feel like a failure and throwing the towel in completely.

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well. 

I live in Buffalo, NY where it is less than ideal for growing houseplants for most of the year. Not all of mine go outside for the summer, but most of the aroids do and they love it. I feel like I have made it work for me growing them indoors as well.

One thing that frustrates me the most about the houseplant craze is that people tend to try to fit houseplants into their spaces without considering their needs.

While they are not a dog or a cat, they are living things with specific needs. I have almost always considered the plants’ needs before mine and I alter my space to fit my plants rather than trying to get my plants to fit in a space.

Most are under lights and in controlled environments – either tents or in a special room. I do have some outside of these environments but I am not forcing any to live in conditions they shouldn’t be in.

johanna-dominguez-put-a-plant-on-it

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when
you first started to grow houseplants?

I would say to STOP REPOTTING PLANTS. I never was a serial repotter like some people, but there are some plants I potted up either too soon or in not ideal pots or soil mixes.

In our shop we help diagnose issues with plants and we encourage people to send us pictures or bring plants so we can help them troubleshoot.

The #1 problem I see is always frequent and unnecessary repotting. With 400 plants 90% of those are in pots 4.5” or less.

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

Oh gosh I don’t know. I have so many wonderful plants! I have some extremely rare plants, but for me the most “unusual” plant doesn’t necessarily mean rare.

It means a plant that is weird or different and just all around neat. And to me so many plants fit this bill that it is tough to chose just one. They are all unusual in their own way.

johanna-dominguez-put-a-plant-on-it

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it?

The plant I have had the longest is a Hoya carnosa krimson princess. I feel in love with hoya when I visited a botanical garden and hunted everywhere for them for the longest time. This was back in 2016.

I initially got it to fit a space and absolutely did not consider the plant’s needs at all and I am surprised I didn’t kill it.

But it’s doing fabulously and I love having it. Some of the plants that are oldest though are some hoya I rescued form an abandoned greenhouse. A friend sometimes volunteers to help this nursery and they had a greenhouse full of hoya that they left to die.

My friend kept trying to get me to come down and take these hoya and finally I took him up on his offer. They came from an old collector in Hawaii that sold off their collection. The nursery bought them up but never really cultivated them as they specialized in another plant.

By the time I arrived most of the plants were dead beyond repair, but we filled the trunk of the car with whatever we thought we could save.

I have 6 of these big old mother plants I have managed to bring back, as well as several cuttings. I find these super special considering their journey and feel very honored to be able to help them come back and to thrive.


4. Jessica Coffman

Instagram: @Life_as_J

Lives in: Etna, Ohio

jessica-coffman-houseplant-hoarder

What do you do for a living? Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I am a wife, mother, writer, teacher…plant enthusiast

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?  

100% a plant hoarder. 205 indoor plants total. 54 in my office, 31 in the kitchen, 39 in the living room, 9 on the landing to the master bedroom, 6 on the staircase to the uppermost story, 14 in the master bed/bath, 15 in the loft, 4 in my daughters room, 1 in a sons room, 2 in the guest room, 8 in the basement, and 22 in the classroom.

Yes…I think it is safe to say that I am a hoarder. lol

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

I grew up in central Georgia with a mother who lived in her garden and greenhouse. She ran a garden that fed the needy in our small rural community. For as long as I can remember, we would work the garden all season and then can/dry/preserve and then distribute food.

She kept at least four church emergency food banks FULL with her harvest each year. During the winter months we would prepare for the spring planting and spend time in the greenhouse tending all the plants and vegetables that she grew year round.

Growing up in the great depression shaped her. She remembered the years of starvation in the mountains of North Carolina. She also remembered foraging for wild food to eat when there was no crop and no money.

She made sure that I knew each and every safe plant to eat in the woods beyond the fence of her perfectly kept garden.

She made sure to instill in each of her children that you could provide for you and yours as long as you understood how to make living things thrive.

As I have grown and my children have become less demanding of my undivided attention, I have found peace and comfort in the growing things that remind me so much of my mother and all the years we spent together in the red clay fields of Georgia.

My first houseplant was a cutting from her pothos plants after she passed. I have maintained at least one pothos at all times since then.

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

Currently I am in love with my strings of things and hoyas.

My favorite strings of heart plants simply erupted this summer, allowing me to train them around the window on the landing and living room windows.

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why? 

Ugh…Prayer plants. When we lived in Tampa they thrived no matter what abuse they took. Here in Ohio, I have not had the best of luck with them.

I am at the point of life I no longer want to struggle to have things thrive. Give me the plants that are as happy to be in my home as I am to have them here.  

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

Honestly, I think I have taken the year of 2021 to hunt down most of my wish list plants.

The only one I still do not have is the variegated Monstera. It remains my white whale.

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

Aside from the amazing connection to my mother, God rest her soul, my indoor jungle gives me joy and hope through the winter months. I have always suffered from SAD, but any time we live too far north it gets much worse. Seattle, WA and Columbus, OH have both tested my strength of will.

Back in Seattle I was able to cope by exploring parts of their vastly different climate zones within the state. Though it was drippy there, it was rarely under 45 degrees, and with the right gear, I could always get out to be in nature.

When we moved from Tampa, FL to Ohio on New Years Day of 2020 I was so ill prepared for the transition back to a place that had seasons beyond hot and less hot. After a long talk with my medical team, I decided to invest in my happiness to salvage my health and my mental state.

When the world outside of my window is dreary and cold, indoors my home is warm and full of life. It has become my haven of living things through the pandemic and the changing seasons.

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

Shelf space.

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

Over the years and continuous moves from climate to climate (thank you Navy), I have found most challenges can be easily overcome with a little research.

In Florida I had no need of grow lights, but learned to make use of pebble baths to maintain humidity.

Here in Ohio I have learned to supplement sunlight in the months when the darkness stretches too long. Setting all the grow lights on timers through each level of the house allows me to enjoy the beauty even in the darkest of basement theaters!

If you find yourself with a struggling plant, you can usually find a way to make it happy with the proper equipment. Thankfully, my husband knows the drastic improvement to my mindset the indoor jungle has, so he fully supports my green and growing habit.

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

Though it may be small when you purchase the plant, it will not stay so. Plan for how much space they will need when you are negotiating the ever so valuable shelf space.

Also, consider just how much pruning and cuttings go into maintaining your jungle of joy! These Wandering Dudes would take over and reclaim the entire home if I did not trim and share the joy with friends and plant admirers who come to visit.

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

I would think the Pings [Pinguiculas] are the most unusual. My two youngest sons get so much entertainment from watching them catch their prey on their beautiful leaves, and their lovely pale purple blooms add so much joy to my heart during the dark months of winter.

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it?

Unfortunately, or perhaps quite fortunate for others, I have not carried my plants from home to home. When the time comes for us to be called from one state and climate to another, I simply gift all my glorious plant babies to others that have expressed joy with them.

As I am making my goodbyes, it brings me happiness and fulfillment to leave each of the people who have made that place memorable, a gift to remember the wonderful times and the memories we have made there together. This also gives me something to look forward to when we arrive in a new location.

Without fail, about two months after arriving in a new place you go through a mourning period for the friends and social circle of the last place. Restocking the indoor garden gets me out of that expected funk much faster and eases the transition into a new home.

Please feel free to comment on anything else that you’d like to share that I did not ask about.  

Maintaining my indoor jungle benefits more than my mental state. It has helped me teach my children about the planet, the growth cycles the seasons bring on, and has allowed me to bring joy to others no matter where we are currently putting down roots.

There is nothing that compares to a gift someone has grown with their own hands and lovingly shared that life with you. I cannot tell you how many people in how many states I have given plants to over the years. Some write with questions or share pictures of just how big the plants have gotten all these years later!

I pray that long after I am gone, my children will feel as much peace looking at their own plants as I have felt the peace and love of my mother as I have enjoyed my own gardens of love through the years.

Plants are so much more than something growing out of a pot of dirt. They are memories. They are sunshine in a dark place. They are gifts of kindness meant to be shared.


5. Kyra Hall

Instagram: @khallxo (personal) and @_undertheferns (plants)

Lives in: Cleveland Heights, Ohio

kyra-hall-houseplant-hoarder

What do you do for a living? Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a
hobby?

I am a senior marketing specialist for Medical Mutual. Unfortunately there’s been no overlap
in insurance and plants for me (yet!).

House plant collection & care, and house plant propagation have become a passionate hobby for me, but I hope to continue to learn and become more involved beyond that. This year I joined the Greater Cleveland Orchid Society after I acquired a number of rare orchids from a friend!

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder? 

Roughly 200 and counting. OK let me explain…
 
When I’m asked this question peoples’ eyeballs pop out of their heads at my response. Yes, 200 plants is A LOT in theory, but I think people picture the inside of my house looks like a messy jungle.
 
I certainly have a problem I will be the first to admit it, but I don’t consider myself a hoarder – I consider myself a houseplant collector with A TON of plants! 🙂

There are plants in every room of my house and everywhere you turn, but I firmly believe that I keep it tasteful and also manageable for me. I also love the concept of houseplants tied to home décor. There are so many great ways to incorporate plants around your house in fun ways, as long as the location works for your plants!
 
Another reason why I have so many plants is because I am obsessed with propagation. So, one plant I buy may eventually turn into a few more and it can become a crazy cycle! I love to experiment with propagation and see what method(s) work best for each type of plant.

I also love sharing cuttings and my propagated plants with family and friends. I mean how cool is it that part of your plant moves on to live and thrive in other homes?!

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for? 

I began building my houseplant collection back in 2018-2019, so you could still call me a newbie. When my boyfriend and I moved into our first house together, and I finally had space for plants, I bought a handful of succulents and some tropicals.

Once a number of these plants died, I was so disappointed and I wanted to give up and blame my apparent non-green thumb.

I mean, I killed succulents, orchids, spider plants, palms and many more poor souls. Though I was frustrated and bummed, it led me to start really digging into plant care to understand each plant’s unique needs.

I didn’t give up and gave it another shot. Some of these plants back from 2018 are still alive and thriving today and I am so proud!
 
During the first few weeks of the COVID lockdown we were very fortunate to buy our first house. I was thrilled that I was going to have more space for plants, and a south-facing house for optimal light. But the part I was more excited for was our covered front porch.
 
Since COVID was a difficult and isolating time, and I was lucky enough to work from home, I really jumped into my houseplant hobby (I know I am not alone in this!).

It was so therapeutic and quite frankly distracting to put my energy into learning more about houseplants. It greatly helped my mental health and anxiety as well.
 
The more I learned, the more my houseplant wish list grew. I became really fascinated with cacti because they require, in my opinion, such easy care and they’re so sturdy and resilient. I researched so many different types of cacti, and every time I visited a plant store or nursery I was likely leaving with a new one that caught my eye.

Once I was comfortable taking care of my little cacti I started upgrading to cacti that were much bigger! I will never forget my first Mexican fence post cactus that was probably 2-3 feet tall–a great conversational piece and truly beautiful.
 
I kept my cacti and houseplant collection outside in the summer on our covered porch and that became my little oasis. The plants were pretty happy too. However, that meant that I had to buy new plants for inside the house to make up for all that empty space! And just like that, I became the crazy plant lady.
 
This fall my boyfriend built a beautiful greenhouse/potting shed in our backyard, and I am so excited to begin using it!

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

Philodendron, Euphorbia, Orchidaceae and Hoya are my favorite genera. My favorites from each are:

o Philodendron micans
o Euphorbia ammak
o Dendrobium Chocolate Chip
o Hoya Carnosa Compacta ‘Hindu Rope’

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?  

I wouldn’t say refuse…but I think I will steer clear of ferns for the foreseeable future (except for big boston ferns that I hang on my porch in the summer).

I absolutely love them but they are so dramatic and require extremely frequent watering. I’ve killed too many.

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

Surprisingly I don’t really have a wish list right now. I’d like to acquire more rare philodendron and hoya, but I don’t have any specifically in mind.

Oh! Wait. I remembered that I would love a black maranta which are really hard to find and a fine dime. The only place I’ve seen one in person is in the New York Botanical Garden.

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

I love the reward. Nothing is better than putting time, patience, energy and love into something and getting your desired outcome. And at the end of the day, plants make me happy.

I also think it’s really great and healthy to have a hobby you care for – especially for your mental health!
 
I also like to think that having a green thumb runs in my blood. I call my mom ‘the queen of houseplants’, and I really believe it. Her house is full of beautiful houseplants that thrive beyond belief.

I often share plants and cuttings with her, and it’s so fun to see them explode with growth. It’s her magic green touch I swear. I love that her and I can talk and bond over plants.

She’s been a part of the Greater Cleveland Orchid Society for quite some time and she has a pretty amazing collection of orchids.

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

PESTS. I will leave it at that.

Also, watering 200+ houseplants regularly isn’t my favorite–but I wouldn’t call it frustrating, just tedious. And I did it to myself!

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

Mimicking natural conditions to help your plants thrive. In Ohio, winter means dry air from heating our homes. I’ve found a lot of plants, especially tropicals, really struggle inside during the winter. I can relate. I don’t love the cold or the dry air either!

But when you think about where these plants are native to (warm and humid climates, usually rainforests) it’s understandable why they struggle. So, I do my best to mimic these conditions though this can be challenging.

I supplement humidity with humidifiers all winter, use grow lights, and I’ve even bought a plastic indoor greenhouse for all of my prayer plants and calathea who seem to struggle the most. It can be hard to control, but I’m doing my best.

On the flip side, Cleveland summers are usually pretty humid and hot so the plants that I keep outside all summer love life!

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

It’s a constant learning process. What works for some people in caring for plants may not work for you. In addition, there’s not always a “right” answer. There are so many contributing factors to successfully caring for plants.

For example, I always get the question “how often should I water this type of plant?”. I know people are looking for a straight answer, but it depends on SO many different things, like the amount of light the plant is getting, what material pot it’s in, the type of soil, etc.

A lot of this care is trial and error and you have to adjust as you go to learn what works for you and your plants.
 
I also wish I knew more about repotting. I made a lot of mistakes early on regarding potting too many sizes up, using the wrong type of pot or soil. I’m still learning.

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

Euphorbia ammak that’s now over 6 feet tall. If you’re not familiar with Euphorbia, they are very similar to, and often mistaken for, cacti. The biggest difference is that Euphorbia have a white sap or latex inside of them that’s toxic.

I believe Euphorbia ammak are pretty rare (at least to come across in Ohio), and they’re native to Saudi Arabia and Yemen. When I found one locally I dropped everything I was doing to go pick it up before someone else did.

Please feel free to comment on anything else that you’d like to share that I did not ask about. 

I really like to encourage and challenge beginners to read, read, read about plants. When I started getting into houseplants, I pretty much taught myself everything I know by researching, looking at blogs, reading posts from others in plant groups on Facebook and so on.

We have access at our fingertips to SO much information and we should make the most of it.


6. Nigel Simmons

Instagram: @channel_omar

Lives in: Mankato, Minnesota

nigel-simmons-houseplant-hoarder

What do you do for a living?  Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

My job currently is working for a private college in Minnesota as an Admissions Counselor. My motto or handle for why I started growing plants is “No Faux” meaning no fake plants, but more importantly, less fake everything.

My goal is to have a plant business, but in the creation of greenhouse event spaces; so for now I trade and sell cuttings to feed the addiction. 

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?

Right now I have around 50 plants, most being larger cuttings of plants I brought from Georgia and the few I have acquired before the brutal winter. I think I swing from thinking I am and not throughout my life. Living in the North Atlanta area with my family I had room to store more plants and it didn’t seem like a big problem.

The day I drove in my Scion tC with two cases of clothes, my camera and half my plant collection was when I came to the conclusion that I may be one.

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

I have been growing houseplants for about 4 years, with quarantine happening I began to hone in growing them more seriously and have had more success.  I have always had a liking for horticulture and went to school for Biology and Communication Studies in Berea, OH.

I never took any horticulture classes and took a more medical emphasis, but when I moved back home I gravitated to growing plants. My family has been in the culinary business for my whole life and the one thing I dedicated to helping with was the landscaping of our coffeehouse.

I started growing coleus and a couple alocasia uprights and keeping them alive over winter, it felt so fulfilling. Social media also played a role in seeing people succeed and how they grow and style the same plant in different ways.

The Prince of Orange all started my obsession though. I had started using my own soil mixture and it took off. The color palette of that plant became the aroid junkie I am.

nigel-simmons-houseplant-hoarder

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

The Philodendron Prince of Orange is my favorite houseplant. I envy seeing giant mature ones in botanical gardens. The color is to die for. I would also like to add that creating a hederaceum prince of orange hybrid, I think hands down that would be the best plant to stick on a moss pole; but that’s just me. 

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?  

The plant that I refuse to grow is the Calathea “White Fusion”. I have tried to tackle this plant for a long time and no matter what it has given me a horrible time, I actually enjoy the maidenhair fern more than that behemoth of a headache. 

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

On the top of my list this year is the philodendron “Week’s Red”; I had seen it at Steve’s Leaves auctions and that was that. I want it to be an in ground plant for when I buy a house to accent the background and whatever other one I decide to plant. 

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

I love that everyone can grow them and you can meet so many people through the community. It helped me in life to connect with people I would never speak to.

I even acted on Cobra Kai and met my best plant friend. The concept of growing houseplants breaks down barriers that open up discussion for so many things within people. That’s what I love.

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

What I find most frustrating about growing houseplants is waiting for growth. I know that it’s petty to say, but being impatient, I tend to buy more fast growing plants or increase buying more during the winter.

Besides waiting on growth, fungus gnats take a high second. My girlfriend, guests, and even my family members are quick to get on me for having flies in the house.

nigel-simmons-houseplant-hoarder

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

In southern Minnesota, the hardest part I think I worry about is sunlight. I got messed up with housing in my apartment complex because of a short staffing issue and closing of the section I applied for. I received a basement unit with minimal windows and with the sun going down at 4:30 PM.

I have compensated by buying an actual greenhouse in my second room with LED lights. I am in the first phase with purchasing the pvc pipes, slowly purchasing the ventilation and cover material. Who knew the prices added up so quickly.

Back home my problem was moving plants into their right lighting area and keeping them there. I didn’t have many problems with heat or humidity. My own OCD self was moving them daily, reorganizing.

What I found to help with that is to take time lapse or photos daily in order to document.

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

The most unusual plant that I own in my garden is a rhizomatous begonia that has red fur on the leaves. I picked it up from a small nursery and it was categorized as “assort.”

Cane begonias might be my favorite plant species, but I do appreciate the other subspecies. 

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it? 

The oldest plant that I own at 3.5 years is a golden pothos. I started my golden pothos from a cutting from my grandma in FL and have had so many near death experiences with it.

It now lives in my parent’s coffeehouse where it climbs the window and wall.


7. Dustin

Instagram: @here_butnot

Lives in: Canada, eh! Calgary, Alberta – which is just North of Montana 

What do you do for a living? Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I’m a Senior Product Designer in software; plants and the blog are my *very casual* hobby. 

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?  

I don’t know. I was around 200+ pots last time I counted, but when I started breeding and growing orchids from seed in 2018, the numbers kind of went out the door. A single “community pot” of seedlings can have 20-50 plants, and I have about 30 of those pots, plus flasks which have 50+ seedlings per flask. 

Am I a hoarder…that’s an interesting question. I used to be really concerned about this and looked up the difference between collecting and hoarding. The general gist was that a collector organizes, indexes, and knows each item in their collection; hoarding loses track of this and the accumulation causes the person anxiety.

I know all of my plants by their species name, I check each one weekly when I water, and I generally look forward to my weekend watering routine and feel it’s more like meditation.

That said, it has caused me anxiety…and at times I’ve felt it’s too much simply because of the amount of time it takes.

But then…I also used to spend 6-10 hours at the gym every week, so it’s been about shuffling my priorities for what brings me joy.  I don’t think I’m a hoarder…but I’m sure most people’s eyes would bug out if they didn’t know me and they came into our home. Haha. 

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

Long time – over 10 years for sure. My first real success with plants started back in 2009 when I started growing nepenthes in a pop-up greenhouse.

Those did really well and that got me into orchids…but then one day the greenhouse seam ripped while I was away on vacation and I came home to a bunch of dead (very expensive and rare) plants. The orchids did alright and that’s when I started exploring different ways of growing them as houseplants. 

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

Mmmm tough question. In general I like having “one of each type” of the plants that interest me. But then I had to have a couple of each type and now I’m breeding the orchids…so I have hundreds of each type. The groups that broadly appeal to me though:


1. Orchids that do well in my dryer conditions (Phalaenopsis, Paphiopedilum, Phragmipedium, and Jewel Orchids)
2. Big Aroids or unique foliage with patterns or holes (Love the Monstera genus, and then I have the odd Philodendron and Anthurium)
3. Tropical Fruiting Trees – stuff that you’d never find in your average Canadian home (a chocolate tree, miracle berry, soursop, citrus, star cherry trees, and jabuticaba)

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?  

Oh for sure. I don’t do miniature orchids that require cool temps and really high humidity; I once had a terrarium and everything was cooking along nicely until the pump jammed up and the system crashed.

I decided it was time to stick to plants that can weather my natural conditions to some degree because killing groups of plants is…just awful.

I also don’t go for calatheas – my tap water is alkaline and the cooler-looking varieties just sulk with the mineral buildup.

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

Nothing. This year I was really fortunate to get all of my unicorn plants: Monstera Burle Marx Flame, Monstera deliciosa var. Sierrana, Monstera obliqua ‘Amazonas’ and another variant—told you I like Monsteras—and a Philodendron spiritus-sancti.

Very expensive plants with insanely neat looking leaves. I don’t need anymore plants now. From here on out, my goal is to line breed my orchids and grow my aroids up large so I can experiment with home tissue culture.

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

So…what I like about plants is that the time and effort you invest in a plant is visible. Pets aren’t really like that…you can love a cat and if it’s just a jerk…people will think you’re a bad owner.

With plants though, if you perfect care and adhere to good culture for years, the plant shows it. It’s the best reward and it’s why I generally avoid cutting my plants.

Of course…this is now reaching the limits of my space as some of these plants are just getting too big and I’ll have to figure out how to deal with that… was thinking of getting a bigger house. Lol. 

It’s helped me channel my energy. I have ADHD and plants are an area that I have hyper-focus. I love reading about, learning, and experimenting with plants and then the next level has been sharing that with others via social media and the blog. I’m sure you can relate!

I also consider it meditative to some degree…connecting with nature in a way that I really could not when it’s -30C outside, is uplifting. 

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

Oh boy…in the past I have found the access to information frustrating. A lot of traditional online content was geared toward growers in tropical places and so generic rules were made to help other growers like “don’t over water”, “must have high humidity” and “don’t soak” – breaking all of those rules is where I found my success.

But it took a lot of gear grinding, following things that don’t work, and ultimately really thinking about how these plants grow in nature…where it rains…for days on end…and where dry seasons in some areas can drop the humidity below 50%.

I’m sure you feel the same because it’s the niche you fill with your blog too.

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

Humidity. It’s dry here and that’s a blessing and a curse. 

It’s been -28C all week which means when that cold air moves inside it expands and if the outside humidity is 50% and then indoors it expands to 2x it’s space, then it’s 25% humidity inside. And that low humidity happens a lot where I am.

My humidity during the day averages 20-30% on the worst days and goes up to about 60% on the best days. 

Humidifiers are an option, but they tend to conk out early with our alkaline water, and I just find them a hassle to have because I end up having to fill them up daily when the humidity is 20%. So I’ve fully opted not to have them. 

The nice thing about low humidity: I live in one of the sunniest cities in Canada – low humidity means no clouds; and I’ve found the plants can deal with the dryness as long as I don’t let their roots go bone dry.

I thought my chocolate tree for example would do very poorly and get crispy leaves…but the only leaves that are crispy are the original ones from when I got it – it turns out “the crisp” in that species isn’t related to humidity but instead is related to soil pH and nutrients.

Anyways, I’m sure higher humidity would make some of these plants even easier to grow, but I’ve figured out my hacks to make it work and I like that my plants are a part of my home, rather than sequestered in greenhouses or cabinets (but that’s not a judgment on others who like that). 

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

Hrm…That not all people giving advice are really experts? Sounds harsh perhaps, but when it comes to plant care we all want to be helpful and give advice. That doesn’t mean the advice is always accurate or good; so it’s important to learn from people who are very successful at what they do, in order to cut through the struggle and thrashing yourself.

Without that, it can become very easy to get discouraged because of the lack of your own success…  Towards the end of my “becoming a good grower Journey”, I stopped asking general questions in an open forum and instead asked people who clearly “got it” with this or that plant. And then the rest was just taking a leap of faith and testing things for myself. 

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

Hrm… Probably my Miracle Berry plants (Synsepalum dulcificum)—its a West-African shrub that produces fruit, that when eaten briefly change your perception of taste.

Sour food like lemons, limes, vinegar, wine, pickles, mustard, etc etc, taste extremely sweet for about a 30-minute window after you eat the berry.

My plants fruit a couple of times per year and it grows at a south window. While most people would pass it by if they saw it at the garden center, it’s pretty unique.

The only challenge is that it needs very acidic conditions (4.5pH), so that took a bit of learning for me to grasp what I was doing…but that became helpful with my other plants in the end.   

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it? 

Mmmm I have a very old succulent/cactus bowl – about 9-10 years old or so and I’ve never repotted the plants in it (and most have died off since I first set it up). It’s so old that the terracotta pot itself is actually starting to fall apart.

It looks quite shaggy too b/c this Silver Quill (Ledebouria socialis) I had put in there has made dozens and dozens of new bulbs. There is a heap of them and some fall out of the pot in the winter when I neglect it.

I haven’t repotted it because I can’t bring myself to throw out all the bulbs that I inevitably won’t be able to find space for in a new pot. I had created it as a display piece and it looked beautiful for the first few years until I had stopped watering it so routinely.

It’s not that cute now. 

Please feel free to comment on anything else that you’d like to share that I did not ask about. 

I look forward to reading your post on this. Only other thing I would add…if someone is struggling with plants and tends to be an over-waterer…my general suggestion is to embrace that.

Change up your potting mix so it’s more porous – don’t be afraid to add 50% perlite so that it’s super well draining and then go to town with your watering.

A lot of our houseplants come from tropical jungles where it rains daily for many months of the year. They don’t die because of airflow to the roots, not because of the amount of water.

Plants need water – that’s the fundamental difference of a rainforest vs. any other planted habitat. 


8. Cara Bruce

Instagram: @cara_b_28

Lives in: Cleveland, OH

What do you do for a living?  Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I am an account director at a marketing company. Unfortunately there is nothing plant-related about my job, however, I have managed to squeeze 3 houseplants in front of my office window: a snake plant, Pilea peperomioides, and a Dracaena. I am trying to figure out how I can get more in there! 

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder? 

I currently care for 27 houseplants. I would happily have more but space does not allow it. I do consider myself a houseplant hoarder because I have so many plants in a small space.

My dream is to one day have a sunroom with skylights or at least a giant wall of windows. I could easily see myself taking care of more plants than I currently have and I would love to have some very large plants some day.

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

I started collecting houseplants in March of 2020, like so many others. The pandemic lockdown was in full effect, I was 100% remote, and the weather in Cleveland was relentlessly cold and dreary.

I began thinking that a few houseplants might cheer things up so I started browsing Etsy.

I had no idea what to buy since I had very little (successful) experience with houseplants previously. I stumbled upon some prayer plants and loved the idea of a plant that visibly moved throughout the day and “did” something.

Of course, these plants come with warnings that they may cause you endless grief and heartache because of their finicky nature but I decided to throw caution to the wind and purchased both a green and a red Maranta prayer plant.

I also bought a Pilea peperomioides because I thought it was adorable and quirky. They arrived within a week and all of a sudden I was a plant mom! 

At the time I had a poor understanding of what “bright, indirect light” meant and I placed my prayer plants way across the room from a south facing window. I also made the mistake of repotting them right away in glazed ceramic pots.

Needless to say, after a few weeks, they were putting out a very unhappy vibe. I did some reading and realized that they were deprived of light and probably overwatered. I relocated them to a table a couple of feet from a window and kept my fingers crossed.

The green maranta perked up and started praying each night. The red Maranta lost one leaf at a time until there were only a few left. I eventually repotted both of them in unglazed terracotta pots.

The green Maranta did well over the summer of 2020 but the red Maranta continued to limp along. Winter of 2021 was touch and go for both plants – lots of brown tips and lost leaves.

In February of 2021 I thought I would lose the green maranta altogether. So many leaves were dying despite my best efforts (and distilled water only!). I removed the dead and dying leaves and waited. Unbelievably, around April of 2021 I started seeing new, bright green shoots at the base of the plant.

By June it was like a brand new Maranta! It grew all new leaves, some nearly as big as my hand, and a developed beautiful wide canopy. It’s now one of my most prized houseplants and I know that even if things get ugly this winter it has the ability to bounce back. 

Sadly, things have not improved for the red Maranta. It is a shadow of its former self and I cannot figure out why it does so poorly. I’ve even contemplated just throwing it away!

It does put out new leaves during the growing season but they are small; it seems like for every new leaf gained another one dies. If it makes it through this winter I will try repotting with different soil.

The Pilea peperomioides has been incredibly easy to care for. The mother plant has 4 stalks that are each at least 2 feet tall and it puts out babies constantly. Many of my friends, neighbors, and coworkers now have their own pilea, thanks to this beautiful plant. 

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

I must be a glutton for punishment because my favorite plants are some of the most challenging to care for: Maranta, Alocasia, and Calathea. I seem to do best with the plants that “need” me the most. I tend to get complacent with my peperomias, purely because they are so easy to care for.

I am constantly checking on my more difficult plants, therefore I am very in tune with their health. They have also required me to do a lot of research to keep them happy so I know a lot about them (and with houseplants, as with most things, knowledge is power!). 

I love the beautiful magenta undersides of my Maranta, the striking variegation of the Stromanthe Triostar, the glowing cucumber-green stems of the Alocasia Black Velvet, and the beautiful glossy faces of the Alocasia Amazonica ‘Polly’ plant.

I’m delighted each night when my Maranta and Calathea assume the “prayer” position. One of my greatest joys is waking in the morning to find a perfectly clear, round droplet of water perched upon the pointy top of a new leaf that has yet to unfurl. 

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?  

In the summer of 2020 I had a lot of succulents that became infested with mealybugs. I tried my best to get rid of them but they spread through my entire succulent population and I tearfully had to throw them all away before they spread to my other plants.

I believe the infestation was due to a rescue succulent I brought home from a big box store. Since then I have been reluctant to introduce more succulents. Also, with limited space I find that I prefer plants that grow taller and bushier so that it doesn’t just look like a table full of pots.

I do still have a tiny jade plant and a purple Echeveria that I propagated before the original plants were infested and I love them. 

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

There are a few plants that I covet and hope to have some day: Pink Princess Philodendron, Bird of Paradise, and Polka Dot Begonia. The foliage on these plants is so beautiful. I love the height of the Bird of Paradise plant and the flowers are amazing.

The Polka Dot Begonias are so interesting – they look like something out of Alice in Wonderland or a Dr. Suess book. I’ve held off on getting these plants because I just don’t have the space right now.

I would also love to have a very large variety of Alocasia some day. I always get wistful when I see them in my local plant shops. 

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

I love basically everything about growing houseplants. I’ve learned throughout this pandemic that, for me, plant care is self care. The process of bringing a plant home, finding the right spot for it, along with the ritual of feeding, watering, pruning, etc. is meditative and relaxing.

There’s something about caring for houseplants that makes me feel more present and in tune with nature. It is so gratifying to see plants thriving in my care, unfurling new leaves, blooming unexpectedly (I’m looking at you, green Maranta), and growing bigger each season.

I also love that I have learned so much over these last few years. Plants used to feel like a mystery to me and something I had no business attempting to care for.

Now, thanks to research, trial and error, and resources like Ohio Tropics, I feel confident in my abilities to keep just about any type of houseplant.

I also love discovering fellow houseplant lovers in unexpected places – coworkers or casual acquaintances suddenly become people you can swap plant stories with, learn from, and get to know better. 

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

In a word, WINTER. Living in northeast Ohio during the winter season brings so many challenges to growing houseplants.

Light and humidity are in short supply and the watering needs change so much that it can become frustrating.

When it comes to the Marantas and Alocasia, I am always wondering if they are getting too much water or not enough. Brown tipped leaves haunt me!

The upside is seeing them emerge from their winter dormancy around March. It’s always a joyous moment when I start to see new shoots or leaves starting to grow again. It’s just slightly traumatic getting them to that point!

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

My plants always seem happy during the humid Ohio summers. I don’t love it but they seem to! I also think that living so far north means the sun is a little gentler so I can get away with putting plants that are sensitive to direct sunlight in west and south facing windows (our house is shaded by a huge tree, so that probably helps, too).

The biggest challenge? Again, WINTER! I’ve only grown plants in Cleveland and I envy my friends who live in warmer climates and can grow plants easily all year round.

Though sometimes I wonder, does it get boring to always have such happy plants? Probably not, but that’s how I console myself. 

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

I wish I had a better grasp on what “bright, indirect light” means. I used to think that as long as a room had a window you could successfully grow a plant there. I also believed in a watering “schedule” which I now know does not exist! Ohio Tropics taught me that.

People have given me plants over the years and they never lasted long. It wasn’t until I truly became invested in their well-being and willing to put in the time and effort to learn about their individual needs that I became a good plant parent.

Sometimes I feel guilty thinking about the plant graveyard of my past but I guess I just wasn’t ready to have houseplants. 

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

I think most of my houseplants are fairly common but one that I don’t see very often is a Panda Philodendron. I got it about a year and a half ago and almost wasn’t sure that’s what it was (that’s how the plant store labeled it but there seems to be some controversy online about Panda vs. Horsehead).

I am now certain that it’s a Panda, not a Horsehead, since it has matured. It is a beautiful vining plant that has at least tripled in size.

I love the pale, glossy green of the new leaves that are still crimped from being tightly wound prior to opening. Like most Philodendron it is very low maintenance and seems to keep growing no matter what. It gives my space a real jungle vibe and I love it!

I also have a Moon Valley Pilea that I adore. I’m not sure how uncommon it is but I’ve only seen them in a plant shop one time (and I snatched it up!). I love the textured leaves and how their edges are such a bright green while the inner part of the leaves is darker. I also love its wispy little flowers.

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it? 

My oldest houseplants are the Green and Red Marantas and the Pilea Peperomioides.

Please feel free to comment on anything else that you’d like to share that I did not ask about.  

I’d just like to say thank you for all the great houseplant advice, both on your blog and Instagram. It has helped me get to a really good place in caring for my houseplants. I read a lot about plant care and there’s so much bad information out there.

I know that when I’m getting advice from you that it is the real deal. I’ve told many of my fellow houseplant lovers about you! I’m excited for your book to be released and I’m happy for you that you’ve been able to turn your passion into a full time endeavor. Cheers!


9. Bekah Chittenden & Josh Godley

Instagram: @mrsbekah_be_thuggin and @joshface88

Lives in: Bellevue, KY. We moved here from Louisiana about three years ago.

What do you do for a living?  Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

Currently I am back in school full time for Social Work and am the Office Manager at Green Living by Design. Josh is the Operations Manager for the landscape division at the same company.

Green Living by Design offers the Greater Cincinnati area with sustainable practices and products in three divisions: Home, Outdoor and coming soon will be the Market where we’ll sell local produce and goods, native plants and indoor plant varieties.

I am very excited to see this come to fruition in 2022. Josh went to school for Horticulture and his passion for plants has definitely inspired me both personally and professionally. The big dream for us would be to one day have a nursery of our own! 

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?

Currently we have about 65 indoor house plants, with a handful of them being over 6ft tall. We also have a variety of about 50 different plants in our greenhouse, more palms, succulents, giant aloes and more cactus varieties. We are currently renting a small place so it is filled to the brim!

In the future we hope to bring the majority of the green house plants in for the winter. I never considered it hoarding, but – I guess it is! We love plants and love the challenge of taking on friends’ and family’s sickly babies and making them happy again.

In the last year or so we have taken on quite a few of these. We also love propagating. It is always fun to pass on plants to loved ones and/or trade varieties with people! Most people don’t come over without leaving with a little happy! So call it what it is, I guess we are plant hoarders!

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

We’ve been collecting house plants together for about 8 years. Josh has been collecting much longer, beginning in college at LSU for Horticulture graduating in 2012. Josh and a classmate once ran a small business, Southern Oasis, where they sold tropical plants to locals in Baton Rouge, LA.

They would drive a cargo truck to Homestead, FL just south of Miami. It has more plant nurseries than restaurants and gas stations combined. They would fill their trailer with as many tropical palms, fruit trees, and birds of paradise as possible. However, they specialized in bromeliads and vanda orchids.  We have quite a few babies from this little operation to this day!

I have always loved plants, and my mother and grandmother always had them in their homes. It brings that comforting feeling for me.

I originally played with outdoor landscapes more than indoor plants before finding my love for the tried and true pothos! Once I gained my confidence with my first pothos I never looked back!

Alot of our collection stems from Josh’s original collection, but we have added quite a bit in the last 8 years. We mainly had them all outdoors on our patio in Louisiana, and only a few inside until we moved North.

Josh’s dad is also a horticulturist with a love for plants. He’s gifted us quite a few throughout the years, some he’s grown for twenty plus years!

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

Josh’s favorite houseplants are philodendrons. He loves the variety in the genus regarding their leaf shapes and colors! For myself, I often annoy Josh because I don’t know the technical names and each week a new one is my favorite… Currently my favorite houseplants are various palm species.

I also have an ongoing love/hate relationship with my fiddle leaf figs. Josh loves to bring home plants for me randomly from nurseries throughout the year, which sometimes stresses me out!

I like to research plants before buying to be sure I can accommodate their needs in our home.

Josh loves plants that have a tendency to get massive.. And our tiny little house can’t really handle anything else massive at this point. 

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?  

The true heartbreaker will forever be calatheas. We haven’t given up as of yet, though. Another struggle we have had is with our fiddle leaf figs. They were both once outside in Baton Rouge, LA and were well over 6ft tall.

Since moving to the Greater Cincinnati area and having them indoors all year long we have had some issues with keeping them happy. It can be frustrating, as the plants are essential to the flow of our home.

Sometimes where I believe they should be placed aesthetically… isn’t necessarily the exact spot they will thrive.

So that has been a learning curve, and we have had a good amount of damage to both of our big Fiddles, but they are on the up and up now!

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

We have a few houseplants at the top of our wishlist. It changes often! Currently our wishlist consists of a variety of Alocasias and begonias, as well as a Fabian Araila.

We love the various textures, shapes and colors of these plants! We don’t necessarily go for super rare plants all the time unless it’s something we just can’t pass up!

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

Growing house plants has brought us both so much joy, comfort and connection. It is something we do together and it’s been really fun learning and growing from one another with each new plant, season, home change, etc.

Personally it has helped me with my confidence and allowed me to care for myself and my home in ways I had not thought of before. Josh agrees with the confidence but also stated that it has helped provide structure and stability within his life and routines.

The systems we have created through this hobby in our home have definitely had rippling effects for the care and attention we provide to people and the spaces outside of our home.

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

There are so many things about growing houseplants that can be frustrating. Personally, for me it can be the time and energy. There is always such great reward with growing houseplants.

However, at times you can put so much energy and do it all by “the book” and it still is just not enough! It can be discouraging, especially when you’ve had great success in the past.

So pretty much it can be frustrating to fail and not understand why! Josh thinks the most frustrating thing about indoor plants is pests. We had a pretty awful scale breakout and it was a real struggle to get through!

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

The most helpful thing with growing houseplants in the midwest is definitely humidifiers. In Louisiana we had maybe one or two in the house and rarely used them.

Since moving here we have definitely stepped it up! There is a humidifier in each room that plants are in besides the kitchen and bathroom. It’s been great for our health as well!

Another challenging thing is the cold air from windows etc. While we combat the cold with the heat- the heat then makes the house dry and then the humidifiers compensate for that – it’s a never ending cycle!

Growing plants in Louisiana’s subtropical climate was easy with respect to watering/humidity and plenty of sunlight. I remember just placing plants outside when it was raining. Great for knocking indoor pests and dust off.

The balance you had to find in such a humid climate was managing the pests and/or soil borne diseases.  I feel like each climate, and each season teaches us more and more.

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

Yellow or brown leaves are not the end of the world! While it can be upsetting- it’s not always impending doom!

Yellow or brown leaves just mean you need to address the situation, soil, water light etc. and sometimes it’s just old foliage!

While we all love our plants to look “perfect”, it is a living thing – while you may strive for perfection sometimes your plant is growing in a different direction. (Or you’re just killing it …)

Also, with saying it’s a living thing all of your plants are different, so I wish I would have known that a precise, strict watering schedule does not meet the needs of all of your plants!

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

The most unusual and or most unique plant we have in our home is our variegated fishtail palm. We’ve grown it for 15 years. I have seen a lot of our plants in other collections, but I don’t often see the variegated fishtail palm.

It’s truly beautiful. I had hoped to plant it in the ground one day – but it is beautiful inside and it does extremely well in our indoor climate. 

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it?  

The oldest house plant we have is a Yucca Tree- it was at least twenty years old when Josh’s father gifted it to him in 2009. Josh’s dad has a greenhouse filled with tropical plants and trees – some over fifty years old!

It’s always exciting to see the growth and the history of his collection. We hope to eventually have a bigger greenhouse where we can plant in the ground and have a little oasis!

One of our figs was also in Josh’s first collection and although it has seen some damage in the last two years it is 7-8ft and full!

Please feel free to comment on anything else that you’d like to share that I did not ask about.  

We mentioned our absolute favorite aspect of growing houseplants is the confidence we’ve gained from caring for so many different species. Another rewarding aspect of houseplants comes from routine care and observation.

Appreciating every time we see a new leaf emerging, or getting that special orchid to rebloom. We enjoy being a part of these plants’ life cycle through all four seasons of the year.

Another exciting part of growing houseplants is propagation, often gifting these newly rooted plant babies to friends and loved ones.

Josh’s favorite class throughout his horticulture degree was propagation. There are so many different methods and they are all easy to do. It teaches you patience but also becomes like your own little scientific research trials.

After a while, you get to see what works best but also those new roots emerging make you feel like you’ve accomplished something.


10. Lindsey Sawicki

Instagram: @happy.planthouse

Lives in: Pennsylvania

What do you do for a living? Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I teach reading, writing, and communication courses at a local college and university. Although my career does not overlap with horticulture or plants, I see plant care as more than just a hobby.

I hate to use the word “lifestyle” – it feels cliche and emptier than I mean, but it’s the most fitting word for what I want to describe. 

I absolutely love plants – the most ordinary green leaves, the wild, messy tangles in the woods, the teeny tiny terrarium finds, FERNS (we’re still getting to know each other but I’m hooked!), lily pads, dogwood trees, moss, plants of all kinds. I look for them and notice them everywhere.

I’m always tuned in and paying attention to plants, especially at home where I’m responsible for A LOT of plants with A LOT of different needs. They take serious time, resources, and attention, but they also provide comfort, connection, and knowledge. And so much beauty!  

Anyway, it’s the nature of this constant, highly impactful give and take, cause and effect type of relationship that makes it feel more like a lifestyle than a hobby for me. 

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?  

I have between 175-200 houseplants. I guess I consider myself a houseplant hoarder because I have so many. I keep bringing home more, and I have a hard time giving any up.

I bought a few plants as Christmas gifts and I had to keep them completely separate from my own collection. Mentally reminding myself: these are not yours to keep. You have to give them up soon. 

I do see myself as a plant hoarder, but I think “hoarder” has a negative connotation that doesn’t necessarily align with how I see myself as a plant parent. To me, “hoarder” implies a strong degree of mindlessness or even ignorance of the items collected.

I’m pretty mindful about the plants I take home, and once they join my collection, I nurture them lovingly and I admire them regularly. I monitor, observe, prune, water, rotate, fertilize, and wipe down leaves on my plants. 

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

I’ve been collecting houseplants for about 12 years. It started with a bonsai tree from my significant other. The early stages of our relationship were long distance and one of the first gifts he gave me was this little bonsai tree that I kept in my bedroom window at my sorority house.

I lived with 17 other girls and our party house was not the type of environment you’d think any plant could survive, but it did, and taking care of it brought me immense confidence and joy.

I’ve moved seven times since I lived in that house, and my bonsai has transitioned with me through all of those moves except one – I left it in my mother’s care when I moved cross-country for graduate school in 2012. She returned it when I graduated and moved back to PA in 2014. It’s been in my care ever since. 

I’ve always thought of bonsais as fragile, delicate plants, but mine has has never really wavered much. I’ve given it basically the same care up until a few years ago. My partner and I bought our first home and I thought our bonsai was outgrowing it’s space.

Since I transplanted it, I’ve had to adapt my watering routine (new potting medium) and we started experimenting with shaping it by pruning it back. We successfully propagated two of the cuttings and both are settled nicely – one is growing wildly!

We propagated a pretty large branch just recently, and I love how it looks peering out from a dainty glass vessel that hangs beside the big window in our living room.

This plant is a symbol of my relationship with my partner. It has witnessed us in all of our stages together. It has occupied our space, brought life and light, captured our energies, felt my hands dust each leaf, one by one, year after year, and it’s grown and it just keeps growing. It’s part of our story together.

It’s still a mystery to me in that I don’t really know what kind of plant it is or what it needs (aside from the original sticky white label that read bonsai all those years ago). I didn’t do any research. I just blindly followed my instincts and stuck with it because it worked and it made me happy.

Now, I think I just like maintaining the mystery of this one plant – it sets it apart from the others.

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

Ferns, monsteras, philodendrons. Last year I was all about the snake plants.

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?  

Palms! Somehow they fall into my lap every now and again and they always die – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but always resulting in death. I’ve said I was done with them a few times, but took them in anyway, and after killing the last one (two or three years ago), I declared myself officially done.

I really love ponytail palms and have friends that grow them beautifully, but we just don’t get along.

I also don’t do well with succulents, but I love them! My significant other takes care of all of our succulents and snake plants.

I tend to overwater them or I’d knock a bunch of healthy leaves off trying to remove the dead ones from the soil. They’re just not my type, but my partner is great with them.

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

Monstera Thai Constellation— Monsteras are so fun to grow. I love how they add that jungle vibe, and the leaf patterns on the Thai Constellation are so unique and gorgeous.

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

I love being surrounded by greenery and nature, and since my climate is ice cold nearly half the year, my houseplants help me feel connected to nature year-round.

Winters feel more manageable and less long and bleak when I’m surrounded by my houseplants. I also feel most “myself” in the presence of my plants— like they reflect back at me.

I love all the little victories in plant care: successful transplanting, problem solving, propagating, relocating, adapting routines, etc. It feels good to get it right and help another living thing thrive. 

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

Pests, or when a plant is slowly dying and I feel guilty about prematurely throwing in the towel, so I keep trying to revive it and it just keeps looking at me all sad and ugly.

I really struggle with giving up, but I hate hate hate that stage when I’m trying to troubleshoot the problem, and I’m failing, but I won’t just let it go.

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

Winters are long. The heat is dry, doors are drafty, some windows have heaters beneath them— winters require creative problem solving and additional support: grow lights, grouping/relocating plants, humidifiers, space heaters, etc. 

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

Don’t fuss so much! Most plants really don’t need (or want) such frequent interactions. Chill out and let them do their thing.

Don’t buy wet potting mix, regardless of how desperately you need potting mix.

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

Philodendron spiritus sancti! A close friend of mine was able to grow it from seed and he surprised me with one for Christmas.

It’s still a tiny baby plant. I’m so grateful to be able to care for it (and a little nervous that I might fail and accidentally kill it).

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it?

My partner’s Nanny’s pothos plant. She was probably the most influential person is his life. When she passed, she gave the plant to his mother, and we’ve collected countless pieces from it over the years.

At one point, we couldn’t remember which ones came from her plant or other places, so when we moved into our new home, we took more trimmings from Nanny’s plant and established them in a pot in our living room. Pothos are prolific, but I love them nonetheless. I think everyone should have at least one pothos.


11. Sam Friedman

Instagram: @pastpalms

Lives in: Richmond, Virginia.

What do you do for a living?  Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I work in the music industry as a composer & producer for TV/advertisements, a music production teacher, and a content producer for various musical outlets. During the pandemic, I lost a great deal of my music work, and ended up taking on a part-time role at the most wonderful plant shop in Brooklyn called Tula Plants & Design.

Their selection of cacti and succulents is unparalleled. I worked there for almost a year and learned more about plants than I could ever imagine. I still work for them down in Virginia answering their customer care e-mails, where I get to diagnose people’s plant woes and help them heal their green babes.

My personal music is very inspired by plants. I like to call it “music to water your plants to.” It’s a blend of ambient, downtempo, and electronic music with an emphasis on found nature samples that help to recreate the natural environment of many of my favorite tropical plants. 

I make music under the moniker Past Palms.

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?  

In my new home, I currently have 65, but in New York, it was closer to 100. You could call me a hoarder, but I like to think of myself as a collector. I’ve noticed that if I’m talking to someone who doesn’t collect houseplants and I say I have 65, they think I am insane.

But if I’m talking to another plant person, they just think that’s normal, or maybe even a small amount. It depends on who you ask really!

Plus, many of my plants are quite large, which I think changes the feeling of how many plants are around you. 

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

I grew up with my mom collecting succulents and other houseplants. She also grew roses outside. There was always something green nearby, but I don’t think I ever fully appreciated it until my girlfriend and I moved in together in our previous apartment where I became enamored with house plants.

The apartment had tons of windows and natural light, but it was also in an incredibly barren and industrial part of Brooklyn. The windows looked out to trucking factories, giant trash bins, and a gas station. It was pretty bleak, and there were no trees anywhere.

My immediate impulse was to fill every window with a plant to help make the space feel more welcoming and natural. I had no strategy for buying plants: I just bought the prettiest and most affordable ones I could find, usually at grocery stores like Whole Foods or my local market.

Several of those plants died before I realized I needed to do more research about caring for the plants and be more selective about where I buy them from.

Then I began to make music inspired by my plants, and that really solidified my passion. They were the inspiration for my art, and the cycle of getting new plants, caring for them, writing music about them, and so forth began. It’s very therapeutic for me to be around greenery and have it inspire me to create.

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

I love palms more than any other plant. Their majestic nature and tropical look lifts a room like no other. But they are difficult to keep happy indoors. My favorite is the Kentia palm, but I also love Licuala palms.

I can’t lie and act like they’re always the easiest, but no plant stops me in my tracks the way a big beautiful palm does.

I also have a huge crush on aroids. Obviously the Monstera deliciosa is a favorite, but philodendrons and anthuriums currently have my heart in a knot. They’re just so easy to care for and quite rewarding. Plus, all the unique varieties offer something for everyone. 

Lastly, I fell in love with the cacti & succulents at Tula Pants & Design. Euphorbia are such interesting succulents that take on so many different shapes and colors. My favorite is the Euphorbia Lactea ‘White Ghost.’

I’m also obsessed with my Myrtillocactus Geometrizans ‘Fukurokuryuzinboku’ AKA Boob Cactus. Learning how to pronounce and spell the cultivar name was a real proud moment for me (I promise I didn’t use Google to spell that, haha).

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?  

I honestly see no value in keeping plants that are just going to deteriorate in my home. For me, I don’t bother with calathea, ferns, or most alocasia. They’re going to get spider mites. They’re going to get brown tips.

They’re going to be needy. If I have to create a special cabinet for you with special lights and airflow and humidity, then it’s too much. You shouldn’t be living in my apartment.

I admire people who go the extra mile for their plants, but if I end up having to do too much work, I lose the joy.

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

This is hard to say because it’s always evolving, but I think I would die if I could get my hands on a big Philodendron elegans. They are like the perfect blend between a mature monstera and a palm frond.

Plus, Philodendron and I get along great; they are so easy to care for. 

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

I truly just love the way they lift up the energy of a space. I’m a huge homebody and introvert, so making sure my home feels warm, lush, and inspiring is paramount. I really can’t relax if a space feels bare, dry, or dull. Plants just add this incredible energy to a room and transform it.

It helps you feel connected to the part of us that comes from nature. We can ignore it as much as we want by living in cities and working incessantly with technology, but it’s always there, and having them around in the home keeps that relationship healthy. 

They also inspire my music and help me to create new projects. I’m currently working on an EP of ambient music to exist as a soundtrack for watering your plants. 

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

The most irritating thing is when you have a perfectly happy and healthy plant that just starts to struggle and you can’t figure out why. I have a palm that is getting so many brown spots on its leaves and I just don’t get it!

I give it incredibly good light, I keep the humidifier running 24/7, and I clean it with neem oil in the shower each time I water.

I’m starting to think it must just be the tap water or something because I do everything right and it was thriving, but now it’s just crisping up everywhere. That feeling of knowing you’re going above and beyond for a plant that was previously thriving that is now fussing is just so defeating sometimes.

But I have to remember that these plants will never do as well in our homes as they do in their natural habitats. We can do our best to recreate the conditions for them to thrive, but they will never truly be as happy with us, and sometimes that means they’re going to suffer despite our best efforts to keep them alive.

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

When I was living in Brooklyn, the winters were really rough. My apartment predominately faced east, so the light all but evaporated during the winter months, and my old windows were incredibly drafty. Add to that the radiator heat, and it was a recipe for serious stress on my tropicals.

Very few of them flat out died, but they all struggled quite a bit. Now that I’m in Virginia, the winters are more mild, and our current apartment has central air so the evil radiator heat isn’t as threatening.

I’m hoping this spring I’ll be able to bring several of my plants outside and keep them there until the late fall. The summer humidity in Richmond is basically like the tropics so I have a feeling they will love it.

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

Don’t buy a plant just because you like how it looks! Make sure it will thrive in your space and your care. Also, no plant is okay with low light. It’s a myth.

The truth is that some plants will die very slowly in low light, which gives the appearance of being okay with it, but they’re really just starving in slow motion.

Give all of your plants bright light or be okay with replacing them within a year or two. Lastly, if your plant gets a pest, don’t freak out. Just treat it as best you can and be okay with throwing it away.

Plants are not immortal, and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up so much if they get sick or infested. It happens to everyone.

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

One plant I have that I love and isn’t super common is my Amydrium zippelianum. It has only grown one leaf in the six months I’ve had it, but its finger-like leaves are so unique and beautiful.

There is a giant one growing in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden that gives me hope that it might one day be that big. It’ll get a bigger pot and a pole to climb in the spring, and hopefully that’ll help get it moving.

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it? 

I have a very small and cute snake plant that my girlfriend gifted me years ago for Valentine’s Day before we moved in together and my plant obsession took off.

I was determined to keep it alive, but I had truly no idea what to do for it. I ended up leaving it in ultra low light for nearly four years, so it has hardly grown, but it’s still kicking! I don’t have the heart to give up on it because of its sentimental value. 


12. Liz

Instagram: @lizv

Lives in: Brooklyn, NY

What do you do for a living? Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I work for a farming organization in East Africa but I’m not an agriculture expert. Growing houseplants in Brooklyn in a small apartment is quite different than growing food to feed your family! But I love plants, so I enjoy that growing things is part of both my professional and personal life.

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?

I have 65 at current count, and I prefer to think of it as collecting! At this point, I only add something if it’s new or special, and usually give something away in one of my neighborhood plant swap groups to make room.

The caveat is if I go to the New York garden district, which is a magical street of wholesale plant shops and one of my favorite places. Then all bets are off – I’m guaranteed to come home with something new.

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for? 

I’ve always had houseplants, but Covid really kicked things up to a new level. I moved unexpectedly, my apartment was bare, and filling it with plants made it feel like home.

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

I love cane begonias. My first high-maintenance plant was a begonia maculata, which I call Diva because she fussed at me until I figured out what she wanted (more light and a humidifier).

When she bloomed, I felt like I’d unlocked a new plant level. That’s what really started me down the path last winter of learning how to care for my houseplants properly (and what sent me to your blog).

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?

Maidenhair ferns. It always starts off so well, and then I look away for a hot second and they crisp on me. When you see them in the botanical gardens, they’re always in the tropical hothouses, cozying up to a stream. My apartment is just too dry in winter. I’ve given up.

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

I don’t have a wish list, but I’ve seen some beautiful begonias around with deep pink leaves. Next time I see one in the garden district…

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

They’re a constant source of peace and joy. I love waking up in the morning with my coffee and plants. There’s always something new – a new leaf, a new bloom – to start the day off well.

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

In Brooklyn, I can really only grow apartment-sized plants; there’s only so much space by the window. One day I’ll have a proper garden. This summer, I want to grow a butterfly garden on my roof.

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.

My friends think I’m a plant whisperer, but my apartment just gets great light. That said, the light fluctuates wildly throughout the year, so the plants move around with it. It’s a constant balancing act between the windows and the radiators.

But I like the seasonal cycles; the rest in winter doubles the delight in spring. I also enjoy the winter blooms: my Christmas cactus went to town this year, and my first paperwhites opened this morning. They smell amazing.

When I lived in Nairobi, the equatorial light was constant all year round, and the orchids and hoyas bloomed and bloomed and bloomed. In New York, I’ve just coaxed my orchids into their first reblooms, which delights me. I’m still negotiating with the hoyas; maybe I’ll get lucky next spring!

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

People stress about watering, but having good light is 90% of the battle. It was a revelation when I downloaded a free Light Meter app and saw just how quickly the light drops off with every foot away from the window.

In winter, I simply don’t have the room to give all my plants a window seat, so I have a $30 light bar that keeps them happy.

I also bought a $4 moisture and temperature meter, which showed me how much the radiators sucked moisture from the air, dropping it from about 70% humidity to 20% overnight.

Now I run a humidifier all winter (one you recommended), and it battles the radiators to a draw at about 50% humidity, which keeps Diva happy. As a bonus, I also enjoy the extra light and moisture in winter!

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

I’m not sure exactly what the tree is (can anyone ID it?) but it definitely longs for more space. It was a little thing 10 years ago, and I didn’t really think through how big it would get! But I enjoy sitting under it because it feels like I’m in a forest.

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it?

My money tree (pachira aquatica) was a housewarming gift from my early days in New York. It was maybe six inches high in 2005, probably from a bodega. Now it’s also near the ceiling. It’s probably scheming with my other tree on how to make a break for more space; I see them searching on Zillow when they think I’m not looking.

Many of my plants are gifts or cuttings. There are active plant swap groups in my neighborhood, which is both a lovely way to share cuttings and meet my neighbors.

Please feel free to comment on anything else that you’d like to share that I did not ask about.

Thanks for all the great content you share – your blog has really sound advice, and my houseplants thank you!


13. Chadi B

Instagram: @chadiboudar

Lives in: Cairo, Egypt

What do you do for a living?  Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I split my time between my profession as creative director and copywriter; and decorating and managing properties. 

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?

There’s a popular (and admittedly superstitious proverb) that counting things diminishes their blessings.

The term ‘hoarder’ carries a negative connotation, as does addict, which I sometimes feel that I am. I rather consider myself a plant parent.  

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

I’ve always kept a Pothos, a few herb plants and succulents here and there. But three and a half years ago, I went through a very rough patch that even the succulents didn’t make it.

After that experience, I embarked upon a healing journey and found that visiting the garden center and repotting those tiny plants when I got home was somehow therapeutic.

So I kept buying new plants and shopping for ceramic pots. I’d end up having a pot too many, so I’d buy more plants and end up shopping for more pots in a never ending loop. 

I occasionally revisit the journal I kept at the time. There is one line that I particularly remember:

“When I surround myself with plants, I surround myself with life. When I care for them, I give life back to life. And I know I’m healing.” 

At that time, I referred to my continuously growing green population as ‘decorating with plants’. I even named my place the ‘planteau”.

The decorating process continued when I moved to a larger apartment and started bringing home much larger plants to fill almost every space and conceal the view out the window. I now proudly refer to my place as the Jungle. 

Until this very day, I shuffle plants around the apartment, repot, relocate, propagate and continue to adopt new plant babies.

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

Monsteras literally take over the place and give me many babies to propagate in vases and then replant. They also make the place look very tropical. Dracaenas and arecas are perfect for filling spaces with their lush leaves and evoke the jungle look and feel.

I have filled almost every other little pot of succulents that didn’t survive in this climate with Sansevieria. I just love how they look like Romani dancers or tall green flames in front of my faux fireplace.   

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?  

There was a time when I loved fiddle leaf figs and fought so hard for them to love me back. But it just wasn’t meant to be! I still have one that grows the tiniest, weakest leaves at the very top of its long, bare stalk and then sheds them and grows new ones back.

Repotting, feeding, changing rooms, windows, you name it, didn’t fix the situation. I feel like we’re both happy to still have one another but with realistic expectations. In other words, we have none!

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

I really want to get a money tree. They’d been rare to find and when I did eventually find one, I realized that there was no room for it in my current place. Some day I’ll welcome that baby home, I know it. 

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

I recently made over my bedroom and dressing room. They were so bland and boring and looked like they didn’t belong in my space. I added lots of color and gave both rooms a tropical feel with plants and DIY ‘chandeliers’ with trailing hoya plants and colourful butterflies of various sizes attached to the chain from which the pot hangs.

I now meditate in the dressing room because it looks like a living room with a closet. And nothing beats the feeling of opening my eyes in the morning to the sight of plants above my head, in front of me and on either side of my bed. What a way to start one’s day!

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

Having to water at different schedules could be a little frustrating especially if you’ve got to run out early or if you’re just not in the mood to keep going back and forth to fill the watering can twenty three and a half times every time. 

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

One of my closest friends has become an expert on plants over the years. Every time he comes over and he makes the rounds and inspects my plant babies, I always seek his advice as to what would work and where. There were times that I bought plants that were imported from different climates.

Those didn’t survive and I had no idea at the time. I didn’t know what needed the sun and what would be scorched if left outside. I used to think that mealy bugs were tiny cotton-like flowers that some plants grew. When I moved to my current apartment, some plants didn’t survive the move because they moved from sun to shade or vice versa. Oh well! You live, you learn! 

I now think before bringing in a new baby – do I have the space for it and the right place? I also do my research through an app to know if it would do well where I want it.

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

I have absolutely no regrets! Life is a journey and we keep learning. Now I know to do my homework first.

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

I have a succulent that looks like the claws of Wolverine, which I call, ehem, Wolverine. There was a time when I had a Echinopsis lageniformis (penis cactus). But that was a very, very long time ago.

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it?  

The oldest plant I had is none other than a Pothos, which as we all know is the hardest to kill. When I was going through that rough time years ago, I had a Pothos in the bathroom. I had neglected each and every plant I had at the time. The cacti, dracaena, basil and mint plants all turned brown and dried out. Not the Pothos though.

I believe it was the steam from the showers that kept it hydrated. I took that Pothos when I moved into a new apartment back then. I have since bought a gazillion more Pothos plants that I don’t know which is the one that accompanied me through thick and thin. But that’s just as well. I love them all the same.


14. Emily Kloss

Instagram: @effing_fiddleleaffig

Lives in: Cleveland, Ohio

What do you do for a living? Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I am a yoga teacher and health coach. Plants are just a full time hobby for me.

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?  

I have over 100 plants. That number fluctuates regularly because I am constantly propagating and giving people my babies!

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

I got my first plant in 2000 when I was in college at Ohio State. I was given a really big peace lily. I learned quickly how to tell if she was thirsty (drama queen, of course). I would take her to the shower and give her a good soak.

She flowered and did well all winter. She died as soon as the sun got strong in the spring. What I know now is that she would have been happier in the corner and not a bright sunny window. RIP.

That summer I got a Jade from Aldi and I really fell in love – I still have that Jade. It’s huge and so many of my friends have plants grown from its cuttings. It has been my pride and joy for over 20 years.

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

It changes over time. Right now I have two that I am most interested in. Ficus (all kinds). Right now I am focused on lyrata and benghalensis. I am also super into Hoyas – I have a carnosa (krimson queen) and carnosa compacta.

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?  

I really dislike orchids. People give them as gifts a lot because they are so pretty, but it’s so rare that I get them to reflower and so they are, in my opinion, a really boring plant.

I also struggle with Ficus, which is why I am so into them right now. 

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

I would like a Variegated Hoya Kerrii – They seem to be hard to come by as a whole plant. I always see the single leaf in dirt, but I want the beautiful vining plant. I don’t believe hoyas will grow without a node, so it seems strange to me that the leaf cuttings are sold the way they are. Maybe I am wrong though.

I would also like a Ficus benjamina – My mom had a beautiful tree that got completely infested with scale and she had to pitch it. I took some cuttings to clean up and rehab, but none survived – her tree was beautiful and I would love one of my own.

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

They are a puzzle. It’s so interesting to experiment and see what they like and dislike, to be able to solve a problem they are having. I feel so rewarded when they take off and grow and are healthy. I love being able to create more plants from the ones I have grown and share them with people I love.

They have helped me because I find that working with my plants is a great way for me to find a state of flow. Where I am able to focus on them alone and drop off all the other thoughts and feelings that are in my head. I find a meditative state spending time with them.

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

I don’t often feel frustrated about them because I enjoy the challenge and learning process so much.

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

I am not sure there is much that is helpful about the growing climate in Cleveland. Summers are great and it’s fun to take plants outside and really watch them take off but I feel there are more challenges to growing because 1/2 the year the plants are either dormant or need to be supplemented in light and or humidity.

The climate definitely adds to the challenging puzzle that I really enjoy!

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

I wish I didn’t buy so many succulents. They are pretty, but in Cleveland they get leggy all winter and then they need to be trimmed and propagated and repotted… which is a ton of fun, but they multiply quickly and hog up a lot of window space. I’ve thinned the herd over time, but I would still like to have less succulents.

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

I have a topiary Senecio kilimanjaro – I’ve let it grow wild and it’s turning into a tree. It needs to be trimmed so that it can get a little stronger, but it’s so cool looking, I hate to trim it even though I know I should. I’ll do it this spring, I promise!

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it?

My original jade plant from Aldi back in summer 2001. It’s an old plant at this point… it’s been through a lot with me. We have lived in 11 different homes. It hit the floor twice. The first time I was devastated thinking it would die.

Little did I know it would create so much more character, the second time it hit the floor I gathered up the broken pieces, rooted them and gifted them to friends – which was the beginning of my interest in propagation.

It had a BAD case of scale, and over the course of a year I picked off scale bugs daily and treated it with neem until I stopped finding the bugs – I am still pretty obsessive about checking it (and all my plants) regularly for pests.


15. Annie Krumpoch

Instagram: @akrumpoch

Lives in: Boston, MA

annie-krumpoch-houseplant-hoarder

What do you do for a living? Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I currently work in digital marketing. Plants are my passion on the side! I love growing plants and vegetables, gardening, visiting botanical gardens and arboretums, and generally spending time outdoors!

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?  

I currently have 57 houseplants! I do plan on giving a few away as they are taking over our 1,100 sq foot house. I enjoy giving away plants to good homes, though of course I have my favorites that I will never part with!

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

When I was young, my dad bought me a little plastic seed germinator kit. Together we grew nasturtiums and marigolds which we transplanted into our garden in the spring.

I remember being amazed by watching the tiny seedlings transform I still have the same excitement when growing veggies from seed. It’s so amazing to watch the tiny seedlings explode with growth each year.

Then, when I was a teenager, I asked if I could keep my dad’s Haworthia plant in my bedroom. I was so happy when he agreed! That began my own houseplant journey. I had plants all through college and slowly started building my collection from there.

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

I love the classic no-fuss houseplants like monsteras and birds of paradise. I’ve also grown to love and appreciate the massive amount of diversity in orchids.

The plants I’m most attached to are ‘rescue’ plants that I was able to save. I have been given or found many sad plants which I’ve enjoyed reviving.

There is something so rewarding about seeing a struggling plant put out new, happy growth. I have saved at least 15 plants (orchids, BoP, philodendrons, pothos, and more) which are now thriving today! 

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?  

I have become less and less enthused about cacti and succulents. They absolutely explode with growth here in the summer, but they seem to suffer every year when I have to bring them inside for the winter (even with grow lights!).

I am also gravitating towards owning fewer, bigger plants rather than a bunch of tiny pots. I tend to err on the side of underwatering so dozens of small pots are not a great match for me. Luckily, I have friends and family who are happy to have some new plants.

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

I’ve always been amazed by the look of Calathea musaica. I find the mosaic pattern so amazing!

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

Houseplants have always brought me so much joy. I love ‘getting to know’ new plants and experiencing their transformations.

Seeing new growth, bigger leaves, and beautiful blooms is so rewarding after putting in hours of care. There’s something so special about knowing plants are happy in your care. They always amaze me with what they are capable of!

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

I have had some frustrating plants that I can’t seem to make happy no matter how much I alter my care (looking at you, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma).

I think part of the challenge about new plants is figuring out what care routine works best in your space. However, if a plant is ever really frustrating me, I have no qualms about adding it to the compost.

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

The winters in Boston are tough for my plants. The days are so short and sunlight is very weak. That being said, it is nice to have a season of rest for both me and the plants.

My plant maintenance work nearly triples in the summer. I also admire the resiliency of my plants as they hunker down for the long Boston winter!

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

When I first started growing houseplants, I didn’t realize the importance of potting your plants in the correct sized pot. I remember being confused when a few plants struggled after I put them in pots WAY too big!

Now I know that having too much wet soil around your plants is a problem, and I stick with pots 1-2 inches bigger than the previous pot they were in.

I also wish I knew the trick of feeling the houseplant soil to check if it needs more water! Raffaele, I have you to thank for that.

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

I have a very small mango plant that I grew from a mango pit. It is about a foot tall with only 11 leaves. I don’t think it will ever grow a mango, but we enjoy watching it grow.

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it?

A 20+ year old philodendron plant landed in my care after a family friend passed away. The once massive plant came to me as a small stub (before photo attached) after my partner’s parents accidentally left it out in a cold snap.

I was determined to revive the plant to honor Maury’s memory. I had no knowledge of what type of plant it was, but I figured I could generate some growth using a humidity dome.

I put the plant in a container on top of some sphagnum moss with plastic wrap over the top. I sprayed the moss regularly and made sure to get some air circulation to avoid mold. Five months later, the plant had a root system and started putting out small leaves!

After it grew a few leaves, I separated the new plant from the stub and put it in soil. Today, the plant is happy and healthy!  I still don’t know the exact type of philodendron, but I’m very excited to watch it grow and mature.


16. Alexandra Gordon

Instagram: @alexandradillgordon

Lives in: Austin, TX

What do you do for a living? Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I work in the e-learning industry. Plants are just a hobby. I am in the process of rehabilitating some neglected office plants so my plant obsession does creep into my professional life!

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?

I have at most 67 plants in my house, when everything comes in off the patio when it gets cold. Usually it’s more like 50. I don’t consider myself a hoarder but my husband does 🙂

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

I’ve always had plants, but I started getting interested in collecting about ten years ago. It began with my mom’s plant named Spike that she got in college. Growing up, I really loved Spike and thought it was so cool that she kept it around for so long.

She would put trays of water around it in the winter (for humidity) and talk to it and I just have really warm memories of helping her care for it. Spike is a dracenea and is still around, by the way!

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

Orchids are my favorite houseplants, but I have a soft spot for peace lilies as well. I love seeing blooms indoors.

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?  

Freaking fiddle leaf figs hate me and I hate them back. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong but they always drop leaves and end up an ugly stick in the corner of the room.

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why?

My top wishlist plant is a variegated Hoya compacta.

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

I love how rewarding houseplants are, especially my mature specimens. There’s nothing like a huge specimen plant and it’s a point of pride for me to have that giant monstera looking all glorious in my home. Plants help me focus and maintain routines-I struggle with both of these things in general and keeping plants is great practice.

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

I get frustrated with watering honestly. I’m a terrible under waterer! I have so many plants that it sometimes feels like an onerous chore.

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

Sun is both the most helpful and most challenging aspect of my current climate (zone 8). I can grow just about anything indoors because I get so much sun, but I also struggle with leaf burn and heat stress because the sun is so strong. It is hugely different than growing plants in the north where I am originally from.

Up there, my biggest issue was keeping things humid and bright enough in the winter. When I moved to the south I struggled with this adjustment! I have to water way more frequently and put sheer drapes up in the summer to protect my plants from the sun. Definitely wasn’t a problem in Cleveland.

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

I wish I knew the importance of light when I first started with houseplants. I used to put plants where they looked good in the house, often a dark corner, and it took some time to accept that you have to design a room around your plants, not the other way around. In that vein, I also wish I got into grow light displays sooner! So much fun.

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

My most unusual indoor plant is a venus flytrap. I have it under grow lights and it catches plenty of bugs that make their way inside.

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it?

My oldest houseplant is a peace lily I got from Ikea like 15 years ago. I honestly don’t know how it’s still alive. It has been neglected and moved around a zillion times! Now it’s specimen size and even produces fragrant blooms and I really cherish it.

Please feel free to comment on anything else that you’d like to share that I did not ask about. 

I would love to see the houseplant community embrace orchids more. Phals are ideal indoor plants and not nearly as difficult to grow as people think! There are also some oncidiums and other exotics that thrive indoors. I personally think they should be more popular.


17. Morgan Dennis

Instagram: @morganicallygrown (business) and @morgandennis_

Lives in: Goldsboro, North Carolina

What do you do for a living? Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I own and operate a very small plant shop called Morganically Grown, full time! I grow and sell a variety of plants through my website, and at local farmers markets and vendor shows. I also maintain a lot of the plants I sell that are used for decoration at restaurants, offices and local shops.

I love giving my community high quality plants to purchase, and I even more so enjoy teaching them how to grow their plants. Plants definitely started out as a hobby, but now they are the best career I could ever ask for! 

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?

I currently have about 250 houseplants that are my personal plants and are not for sale. I have approximately a dozen orchids, 30-40 snake plants (starfish, whitney, fernwood), 10-15 potted monsteras (deliciosa, adansonii, thai constellation), 25-30 philodendrons, a dozen or so rhaphidophora (decursiva, tetrasperma), about 30 cacti, probably a hundred different pothos, and then some other random guys! 

In addition to my personal collection, my shop inventory includes about 150-200 plants on average. However, they grow in my greenhouse! 

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

I have been collecting houseplants since 2014! (Wow, seems like a long time when I actually think about it!) I had gotten a few aloe and some snake plants when I rented my first house in North Carolina, but it truly started when I was gifted some cuttings and some large plants by a dear friend.

Some of her older plants were becoming too much for her to care for. She had been growing them for over 30 years! This wonderful woman introduced me to propagation, organic growing, and how to successfully care for your plants in the easiest ways possible.

Although I have killed probably hundreds of plants in between then and now, I actually still have two of my very first plants! I worked at a restaurant across the street from a roadside nursery and I stopped in one day and bought two aloe variations and a spider plant.

I’m not sure where one of the aloe plants ended up, but I still have the other aloe and the spider plant. They both grow multitudes of babies every year for me! 

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

I don’t want to sound basic, but my favorite genus is definitely philodendron. There are just so many different species of them, and they all have extremely satisfying foliage.

Most philodendron tell you when they need watered, which is so helpful while you are learning to grow. A few of my favorites are xanadu, hastatum and micans.  

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?  

I hate growing Albuca spiralis! It’s leaves are so finicky, and its foliage loses its beauty when it’s about to bloom which is very disappointing to me!

When their tips dry, it’s quite ugly, and they don’t leave much room for error. Not my kind of plant!

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

Hmmmm, that’s a tough one. I try not to feed into the hypes of “rare and expensive” in the plant industry, but I do have a variegated monstera which was on my wish list for many years.

I think the next large purchase will be a mature Philodendron giganteum ‘blizzard’. They are simple, but their foliage is beautiful! 

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

Growing houseplants, for me, is extremely therapeutic. I struggled during my childhood to find something I was genuinely good at, something I could feel proud of. When I started to learn and understand plants, I finally realized they gave me that sense of being good at something.

My knowledge, passion and love for plants has helped my confidence, my sanity, and my patience! 

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

Never having enough space. It doesn’t matter how much space I have, I will literally fill it all! If I had 1 greenhouse or 50, I don’t think I would let an inch of space go without trying to utilize it! 

Also I think online pricing for rare plants is very frustrating. A lot of places overprice, and they really don’t even know why! Everyone deserves an amazing collection, and if the price is high the quality should always be higher! 

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

I think our summers in North Carolina are so humid and intense, that when winter comes it shocks a lot of the plants. If you don’t help them adjust properly, you’ll have a lot of casualties!

However, I think our humidity can be extremely helpful. In our summer months, plants will grow anywhere and everywhere!! 

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

I wish I would have known that most houseplants I was purchasing were seriously over-fertilized! So a lot of the plants I killed were not because of what I did, but because of where they came from. I would repot them and then they would struggle, because they were not getting a high volume of fertilizer.

Now I’m much more strict about where I purchase plants and I am more gentle when it comes to adjusting their soil mixes. 

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

I think the most unusual plant I have right now is a giant cactus cluster that measures over 2 feet wide and has over 85 cactus attached to it.

This cactus was gifted to me 6 years ago, grows anywhere, and is constantly growing a new cactus ball. It is so fascinating to watch grow & it blooms absolutely beautiful flowers. It is the show stopper every time guests are over!! 

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it?

The oldest plant I have is a cactus that someone gifted to me! They brought it in their suit case from Costa Rica on their honey moon over 20 years ago (I don’t think that is legal!) and grew it for years.

Finally one day they chopped it up into many pieces and gave me some to propagate. Now the pieces I have are 5 feet tall and grow year round! 


18. Nic (she/her/hers)

Instagram: @_nic.at.night

Lives in: Chicago, IL

What do you do for a living? Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I’m in HR with a primary focus in DEI (diversty, equity, and inclusion) initiatives. I am just a plant mami lifestyle – always growing and learning how to keep nature thriving.

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?  

I currently have 20 plants and monthly floral arrangements. I consider myself a budding hoarder (pun intended).

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

I’ve been collecting plants for about 5 years. I’m a Taurus so naturally I’m connected to the earth and its beautiful plants but I had a hard time keeping them alive up until the last three years.

I grew up with a step grandmother from Poland who had a magical garden in the summer and would come to our home and do the same for our front and backyard. It was my fondest memory to see the wild flowers she grew from bulbs.

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.) 

Monstera deliciosa and variegata are my favorite plants but I’ve yet to live in a place where I can get one to survive. Some pick a home for the amenities and appliances but I pick a home for my plants and pets.

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?  

Succulents and orchids! They have such an attitude problem and I can’t compete with drama queens. I tap out.

I have never kept one alive more than a few months and I’ve yet to build the patience to try again and break bread with them.

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

Monstera deliciosa & variegata since I’ve not lived in a space with enough light. I looked forward to one day having a home that allows me to have multiple monstera growing.

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

Growing plants creates better air quality, natural beauty and decoration, and most importantly learning and patience. It has provided a weekly reminder for myself to enjoy the little things.

I walk into my home and each one of my plants has its own personality and beauty that I get to admire.

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

The gnats. One of my first learning experiences is making sure your new plants are quarantined from others for a week or two as to not infest your other plants. The second frustrating thing is learning to care for a new plant and making it work for your space.

They require reconfiguration until you see them thrive in the right spot. I thought getting a plant was easier than having children and sometimes I feel like having plants is more work because they never get to the point where they can take care of themselves, ha ha.

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

Being in Chicago can be difficult for plant parents indoors and outdoors. We have four seasons in a day and city living limits the window availability. It’s always safest to have low light plants and having tools like grow lights and nurseries to help care for our plants helps me.

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

Less is more! it’s better to underwater than overwater and to pay attention to your daily moisture levels which contributes to how much water you may need or not need.

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

N/A, but I have a faux grass wall which is the only fake plant I will allow in my home.

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it?

I’m actually not sure but I do name my plants. I have the golden girls, Sophia, Dorothy, Rose and Blanche. Some do not have names but get random names.

Please feel free to comment on anything else that you’d like to share that I did not ask about.  

One of my favorite stories about how I got one of my plants is from a friend I’ve known since high school who propagated a spider plant for me in 2020 and It grew so wild that I made another plant from it. Plants are the gift that keeps on giving.


19. Hannah Granneman

Instagram: @hgranneman

Lives in: Ashland, OH

I live in Ashland Ohio, i grew up in a very small town about twenty minutes from ashland and after attending Ashland University with my now husband we decided to make Ashland our home. We are high school sweethearts I was 16 and Cody was 15. I picked him up for our first date because he couldn’t drive yet. We have been together 20 years, 12 married and 8 dating. I love that he has always been supportive of my houseplant obsession.

What do you do for a living? Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I have a business degree and a hospitality management degree that served me very well after college.  I explored my love for cooking and baking, and worked in many different jobs before I became a mom.

Once I had my son who is now 8 I was blessed to be able to stay home with him. I am a serial hobbyist I am always wanting to learn and try new things. I love to do woodworking and building furniture. I enjoy sewing. I love to garden.

I was never a good classroom learner but if I can get my hands on something and practice, it’s almost like a challenge and I have to master it. I would say the last three years since my son Dempsey has been in school full time, I have grown to embrace all things houseplants. I grew up around plants and gardening.

My grandmother grew up on an apple orchard and always had a huge garden. I lived next door to them growing up so I watched her can and preserve food and bake and cook with food she grew. I credit my love for baking and cooking to her. My dad is really the one who inspired my love for house plants.

He loves to tell the story of how he took a college course on houseplants because all the pretty girls were taking it. That’s when he received a small Hoya cutting from his college roommate’s mother. My dad is about to turn 68 so that makes this plant almost 50 years old. I recently propagated this Hoya to have in my own collection. 

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?  

My collection of houseplants is somewhere around 60 plants. This number varies because I love to propagate and give away plants. So sometimes the number is lower or higher depending on the week. I really have grown to love sharing the wealth and knowledge I have learned about houseplants.

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for? 

I have had houseplants since my husband and I bought our first home in 2009. It was nowhere what it has become in the last five years. My early collection was hindered by my small house and lack of good light.  

Living in Ohio winters can be very dreary and grey and I’m someone who suffers from seasonal affective disorder.

I can literally feel my mood dip down with cold grey days when the sun doesn’t shine. I feel a great kinship with plants who thrive in the sunshine. I think plants have been so good for me. They bring me happiness when the winters feel long.

I love to watch them grow and change. When we moved to our current home it was a real dream come true because I have ton and tons of great east, south and west light. This has really allowed me to just go crazy and that’s just what I’ve done.

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

It’s tough for me to even think about picking a favorite plant. I have a beautiful thriving fiddle leaf fig tree that is stunning. It even pushed out 4 massive leaves last week in the dead of winter.

I also have a string of bananas that hangs by my bathtub and just instantly makes me smile. I have a Brasil at my kitchen sink that I’m obsessed with. My recent love has been in hoyas and exploring and learning about all them.

I tend to let sad or struggling things get me down so I don’t tend to get super attached to plants. If one is struggling and the solution isn’t something I can easily fix, I tend to cut my loss. I try to look at the glass half full and say now I will get something fun and new.

I do however try to propagate a struggling plant or cut it back. I had a tineke I got from Walmart and it proceeded to lose all its leaves so i just chopped it right down gave it fresh new soil and it pushed out four new growth points and is doing great.

I have a love hate relationship with string of pearls. I love the look but I’ve also killed a couple, but I don’t let it discourage me. I’ll buy another and try again.

My string of …. collection has gotten quite big it includes dolphins, bananas, turtles, pearls (regular and variegated) and hearts. I have two Scindapsus: an exotica and a silvery ann and they are such beauties.

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

I’m not quite to the stage of investing in expensive, rare plants. I still feel I’m too early in the learning stage to risk it. although someday a monstera albo would be amazing.

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

I really enjoy starting with smaller size plants and watching them grow. I find if I want the plant to get bigger or fuller, I can propagate and add it back to the mother plant. In the last year I have really expanded by reading all I can about plants…things they like and don’t like.

I started mixing my own soil and testing different things like worm castings and charcoal. Instagram is such a wealth of knowledge. There are so many great accounts that share their knowledge.

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

Pests are another thing that I’m newly experiencing. In the past, I never really had any pest issues. I think now that I have so many plants and they come from so many different places, it was inevitable. I look at it as a way to learn and try different things and even connect with people on Instagram with what worked for them.

I tend to focus on the beauty and decorating. I want my home to look its best so finding unique ways to hang and feature plants is something I really enjoy. I’m always on the look out for raised planters, funky pots, or macrame hangers.

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

Ohio is obviously not the easiest climate to have houseplants with short dreary days in the winter. Sometimes my plants suffer but I look at it as a beautiful metaphor for life. We all don’t have perfect days everyday. We all have difficulties and set backs and different seasons we go through.

Please feel free to comment on anything else that you’d like to share that I did not ask about.  

I just love the beauty and joy that plants bring to my life and home. I like to nurture and tend to them as they grow and change. I love to explore new places that sell houseplants and see what interesting things they have to offer. I feel like the sky is the limit. I so look forward to what lies ahead on my houseplant adventure. 


20. Sowmya Johnson

Instagram: @northernplantroom

Lives in: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

sowmya-johnson

What do you do for a living? Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I am a Horticulturalist and a Montessori Teacher.  Right now I am a volunteer fitness instructor at our local YMCA.

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?  

Over 1000 – I don’t like the word hoarder, but I love plants and have always had them ever since I can remember.

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

35 years. I was 11 and a friend of mine did a trade with me. I got her juniper bonsai and I traded some crystals. The juniper was actually dead but was still green so it was hard to tell. I just followed her instructions of misting it once a day and watering it once a week but it never grew!

I tried many more in the same pot after that and soon had a few along with some cacti and Phalaenopsis orchids.

The first plants I cared for would be 3 cacti I bought in a planter from the grocery store. One was named Rosie. One was an Opuntia and left hundreds of prickles in my hand!

sowmya-johnson

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

Orchids and aroids – I adore fragrant plants as well as dark, velvety foliage.

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?  

I get along with most plants but have had to rehome many due to space issues. 35 years ago my room was filled with many larger plants including spider plants, ferns, a dieffenbachia and a tangelo tree.  I prefer smaller plants now.

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

Paphiopedilum hangianum is at the top of my list because I am eager to smell it!

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

I love the peace it brings me and the sense of accomplishment. 

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

Running out of watering time and finding dry plants.  It is so sad!

sowmya-johnson

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

I love the cool windows in the house which help so many of my orchids bloom, especially Paphiopedilums in the Parvisepalum group!

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

I wish I had known that plant trends come and go and what is “rare” today will be common tomorrow.  

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

Probably my Cephalotus follicularis or my Heliamphora.  Pitcher plants!

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it?

I have a Cymbidium Golden Elf ‘Sundust’ and an Adenium obesum that are both over 25 years old.  I bought them while I was working in Sheridan Nurseries Etobicoke location (which no longer exists).


21. Sierra

Instagram: @PlvntHead

Lives in: Denver, Colorado

What do you do for a living? Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I am currently a Data Specialist but it is my new “big girl” job. I just left retail after 6 years as a manager for Pacsun and Bath & Body Works. Sadly neither of those have to do with plants but I don’t mind at all because it just makes my plant hobby a little bit more special to me.

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder?  

I have somewhere between 150-160. I have a little cousin who counts how many I have every birthday and his last count was 154 plants back in November, but I have brought home some more plants since then!

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

I started getting serious about collecting houseplants about 4 years ago. Ever since I was in high school I would have a plant every now and then but they always died because I didn’t know much about them at the time.

My first plant was either a marimo moss ball or cactus, but I don’t remember exactly. The houseplant I have had the longest is an aloe that I have had for about 5 years now.

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

I have plants of all sorts but I love trailing plants. I think they are just the most beautiful decoration you could add to a home. The first trailing plant I fell in love with was a Monstera adansonii.

I thought it was the most unique thing ever when I first saw it. I also love marimo moss balls deeply. I love scindapsus, monsteras, pothos, philos. Not trailing but I also love sansevierias, cacti, and zz plants as well. I love just about a little of everything.

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?  

I don’t really care for spider plants. They always get crispy leaves in my house and I will not put a humidifier in my home because I have curly hair and it makes it frizzy. Silly I know, but I just won’t do it.

I have one curly spider plant that is doing really well but I also have two that just won’t die, hahaha.

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why? 

A monstera albo or thai constellation. I think the variegation is beautiful and I love regular monsteras already, so why not just get one that’s variegated? I love variegated things, so I would also like to get variegated zz plants, Philodendron heart leaf, starfish sansevieria.

Not variegated ones would be leafless orchid, Alocasia zebrina, Stephania erecta, and Philodendron brandi. There are probably a few other ones that aren’t coming to mind as well. The wish list is never ending.

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

The thing I love the most about growing houseplants is that they make me feel happy, calm, and free. They are special because we are able to bring a little piece of nature into our homes and it makes me feel more connected to the earth. I feel more alive because of them.

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

Yellowing leaves when it seems like it’s for no reason, hahaha. Also mealy bugs, my worst enemy. I have had them three times now and they are my biggest downfall in growing houseplants.

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

Well because I live in Colorado, it is super dry here and we have lots of minerals in our water due to the mountains. Therefore I use distilled water on my thinner leafed plants to prevent them from browning.

With that being said, it’s time consuming to go to the store to refill my gallon jugs every two weeks.

So if you are in Colorado, I promise you, going to the store to refill your water jugs is worth it in exchange for not having brown leaves.

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

The type of soil matters. I didn’t realize that which is why my first few cacti died, I would just go outside and get dirt from my backyard that had zero aeration.

Also no plants are low light plants, they just die slower than others if they don’t get proper light.

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

I don’t think it’s that unusual but maybe just more uncommon, but I have a variegated money tree I just got.

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it?

As mentioned before, my aloe is the oldest plant I have grown myself. I was in a ceramics class in high school and made a pot, and an aloe is what I decided to put in it!

Something a little bit more heartwarming is that I took over the care of a 20+ year old Philodendron brazil. I was on facebook marketplace and I saw that it was listed for sale for cheap, and I thought it was mislabeled and was another philodendron. When I got there I realized that it was indeed a regular Philodendron brazil.

A grandson had listed it for sale for his grandmother who was moving. When I went inside to get it (huge safety hazard, don’t do this!) I went into shock when I met his grandmother. She resembled my grandmother who passed away.

She told me that she has had it for over 20 years and was really sad she had to sell her plants because she had to move to Florida due to her declining health. When she told me that, it broke my heart.

She didn’t want to sell her plants, but she had to. At that moment I realized that I will never be able to let her plant out of my possession and was going to take over loving it like she did. I already had a giant philo brazil at home and didn’t have much space for it, but I made it work.

I will always cherish the time I spent talking to her because it felt like I was her granddaughter. She talked to me so lovingly. As soon as I got back to my car, I sobbed.

I got myself back together and drove home and when I told my mom what happened, it made her cry too. I cried for like two hours, hahaha.

I ended up naming the plant Francia, after the lady I bought it from. I think about her often.

Please feel free to comment on anything else that you’d like to share that I did not ask about.

If I have any plant advice to give, is to do what makes you happy. Get plants that make you happy. Don’t let the competitiveness of the plant world get to you. It takes the fun away. Whatever you do, do it for you! Post things that make you happy and what you like, not what you think others will like.

The plant world is more enjoyable when you put your personal interests first. It is okay if you don’t have the most expensive plants. It’s okay if you can’t keep a certain Instagram aesthetic going. It is okay if you don’t know what you are doing quite yet. Everyone starts somewhere.

Just be kind to yourself and others. This includes forgiving yourself when you kill a plant or neglect them. Sometimes life gets hard and that is okay. Whatever you do, just make sure YOU are happy.

Once again, thank you for everything and for being my favorite plant blog.


22. Jenny Grimes

Instagram: @disco__garden

Lives in: Madison, Wisconsin

jenny-grimes-houseplant-hoarder

What do you do for a living? Do you do anything related with plants or horticulture, or is it just a hobby?

I am an Environmental Engineer in the transportation field. I have a BS in environmental engineering and a BS in landscape reclamation with minors in geology & environmental sciences.

I have been working in the transportation industry for 20 years as an environmental coordinator to ensure that our projects meet environmental compliance, have current permits, and develop wetland mitigation properties.

I review environmental documentation and permit applications for construction projects, as well as provide oversight for wetland restoration, native prairie plantings, and tree & shrub replacement.

I have spent the past 3 summers working at an organic farm for my CSA share by planting/harvesting vegetables, packing CSA boxes, pick-ups or farm deliveries, pulling weeds, etc.

I have assisted the village parks superintendent when they have volunteer workdays to do tree clearing at woodland sites in the wintertime. Unfortunately, group volunteer days have not been happening as much lately due to coronavirus precautions.

Indoor and outdoor plants are my hobby and part of my home. They bring so much beauty inside and give me something to care for.

How many houseplants do you have, and do you consider yourself a houseplant hoarder? 

400+

I am an organized houseplant hoarder.

jenny-grimes-houseplant-hoarder

How long have you been collecting houseplants?  When and how did it all begin? Do you remember the first houseplant that you cared for?  

I received my first houseplant when I was in the hospital after having my adenoids removed at 7.

In college, I started randomly buying houseplants at the grocery store. My dad visited one afternoon and helped me plant a garden in our backyard so I could harvest veggies for myself and my roommates.

In 2014, I rented a house with my now fiancé, and had a few plants in each room that were doing all right as long as they lived right in front of the windows. However, we had huge trees obstructing most of our windows at the place and I was only a casual plant shopper (grocery store, garden centers mostly for outdoor plants and a random cheap houseplant).

I would say they lived but did not thrive. I repotted them and checked the roots each spring but used bagged mix and slow release fertilizer only.

In 2017 when we were house shopping, I was particularly looking for a living room with south facing windows, large windows, lots of light, etc. because i wanted an indoor jungle.

I started my “discogarden” after buying a new house with an entire room with south-facing windows and hanging up a disco ball in the dining room.

In December 2020, I converted our spare bedroom with old furniture storage and miscellaneous junk piles into the “skyboogiejungleroom” plant room of my dreams with a bed surrounded by plants and started a plant IG account to share & learn from others. 

What are your favorite houseplants?  (Type of plant, genus, species, etc.)

  • Philodendrons
  • Monstera
  • Alocasia
  • Hoya
  • Epipremnum
  • Tradescantia

Do you have any plants that you just can’t get along with and refuse to grow anymore?  Why?  

I have struggled with string of dolphins, string of beads, etc. but can grow string of fishhooks, string of pearls, string of hearts, and string of spades – I may not have a good relationship with one plant, but there are others that I can care for just fine.

Trial and error…I give a plant 2 chances if I really love it, or I want to learn what happened the first time. 

What houseplant is at the top of your wish list?  Why?

Philodendron Carmel Marble because it is a unicorn plant and has amazing coloration.

I currently have a Philodendron Ring of Fire (previous top wish list plant) that I am trying to root.

My wish list changes periodically depending on my interests, or whether I am finding a plant for a certain spot in my house.

jenny-grimes-houseplant-hoarder

What do you love most about growing houseplants?  How has it helped you in your life?

I prefer to start with a small/baby plant and learn how it grows. I have always been this way…I do not find buying large plants rewarding.

I find joy in getting the conditions just right and celebrating each new leaf. My goal is creating a living, growing jungle indoors with mostly basic, commonly found plants.

I struggle with moving plants around but having so many plants means that it becomes a constant shuffle. I am a perfectionist, a busy-body, and always need something to take care of.

I have overcome being a serial over-potter and persistently clogged drainage holes.

What do you find most frustrating about growing houseplants?

When they just don’t make it. Or when they get a pest. I have learned how to deal with both much better as I have collected more plants.

What do you find helpful, and also challenging, about growing houseplants in your current climate?  If you’ve grown houseplants in more than one type of climate, feel free to comment on that as well.  

Winter in Wisconsin!!! The “feels like” temperature was -10F this week … that means the furnace is running (plants love the warmth) and/or the fireplace (I love the warmth) but it can be very dry for tropical plants!

Since I have so many and they are grouped together, my home has decent humidity and I add a few strategically placed humidifiers.

However, I get full sun across the entire room in winter, so I can grow plants 10-12’ across from the windows without supplementing their light.

Summer in Wisconsin!!! It can get up over 100F and the air conditioner is running. But we have excellent outside humidity for days when it is bearable to have the windows open.

jenny-grimes-houseplant-hoarder

What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started to grow houseplants?

How much light they really need (they all need it) and how to water properly.

I learned this from Ohio Tropics blog posts, along with using Dyna-Gro fertilizer, and saw happier plants and more growth….and then I started growing and collecting more plants.

What is the most unusual plant that you grow in your home?

I grow common plants so I’m not sure that any of them are unusual…collectively it’s unusual to have a desert section and a tropical jungle in the same house. I group my plants based on the conditions I can provide and where they seem the happiest. 

In 2018, I bought my first and only Monstera deliciosa plant. It was not my first plant, but it was the one that intrigued me, that I researched, and that I bought as a 10” floor pot with beautiful leaves. This plant is now the mama monstera to 10 plant babies.

I have 3 full size plants in my living room from her. My mother has the oldest fenestrated baby (her only indoor plant), and I gave away 6 rooted fenestrated babies to local followers when I got to 1000 followers on Instagram.

What is the oldest houseplant that you have?  What is the story behind it?

I have been working on a Dieffenbachia seguine that was given to me by my sister-in-law. It is the original 50-year-old mother plant and each of the 4 women in her family have a piece of the plant growing in their homes.

The plant has been moved to multiple people’s homes over its lifetime, has caused my nephew’s tongue to go white and lose his voice for an hour or two (be careful with dumbcane!!), put in a basement and forgotten for 1+ year, grew about 6 feet tall with only top leaves on each stem, cut and propagated in 2019 into 2 pots.

It is living its current life in the bright, indirect light of the disco garden and slowly managed to be a smaller bushier plant for the past 4 years through multiple stem cutting stumps.

I repotted and propagated it again back into one pot. I also have a soil propagation with new growth and 2 water propagations with roots ready to be planted. The plant is sure to live on and be passed along to other family.


That’s all folks! It was sure fun to get to know all 22 of these remarkable houseplant hoarders or “collectors” as some like to be called! Are you a houseplant hoarder? How many plants do you own? Comment below. I’d love to hear!

Zuqueen

Thursday 20th of January 2022

Out of 22 collectors, not one looks like me.

Raffaele

Thursday 20th of January 2022

I hear you, and I truly understand. But I opened up this interview to all 166,000 of my Instagram followers. I received 22 responses, and I included everyone that responded back. I did not exclude one single person. I would have included anyone that responded back with answers to my questions, regardless of who they were.