Plant care basics

The big 100

In the past couple of days, I acquired a ZZ Raven and a Peperomia Rosso, which took the total number of different varities I own to 104 (with 166 different individual plants).

It seems like a good time to pause and reflect on our plant journey.

Mindful plant parenthood

I don’t consider myself particularly consumeristic, and don’t really buy many other products with great regularity – clothes, makeup, or even that many books any more.

However over the last 6 months, I’ve probably bought, swapped or otherwise acquired plants or cuttings on almost a weekly basis.

When on Facebook groups, or Instagram, it can be easy to get caught up in the cycle of always wanting and spending money on new plants.

I, like many others, even update the total number of plants we own in my Instagram bio. It can become an expensive and compulsive habit, much like other forms of consumerism.

Plus, you can end up buying plants that are unsuitable for conditions in your home, or which you just don’t get on with, which is a waste of time, money (and in my plant mum head, really awful for the poor plants!)

So every time I get excited about the latest fad plant doing the rounds, I try to a moment to really look at and considering two things:

1 – Do *I* actually like the plant?

When I stop and look at some of the plants that are insanely popular at the moment, I realise they’re actually not that attractive or interesting to me personally. Here’s looking at you Philodendron Pink Princess! 👀

2- Do I want the stress of looking after it?

When plants are so desperately in demand, they’re expensive, and often difficult to look after. Do I want the pressure of keeping alive something that’s particularly prone to dying, and a huge financial and emotional investment?

Once I’ve stopped and thought about these, I realise that personally many of these are not for me. And yet some ‘boring’ or ‘common’ plants are actually my favourites and most rewarding to care for – give me a beautiful and easy-to-care-for peperomia over a stressy variegated monstera any day!

One of my many peperomias – easily the family from which I have the most varieties

Striking a balance

With 100 different types of plants (but well over 160+ individual plant pots, when you count duplicates), in our terraced home, I feel I’m approaching the point where plant care could start becoming a burden.

It might be the outbreaks of spider mite and thrips that seem to have gone under the radar, because I’ve now got so many to care for.

Or that occasional niggling feeling that I’m ‘behind’ with plant care. A very large collection can make a home feel a little cluttered (especially if when trying to relax in your space, you look around and see list of plant maintenance).

And I think that’s a sign that it’s time to ease off getting hold of new plants, and start spending energy on and enjoying what I already have.

Tradescantia – simple but lovely

Plants that bring joy

To paraphrase Marie Kondo, I want to keep and focus on the plants that bring me the most joy, and flourish in my care. And pass on those that can have a new life with a new plant owner who can give them the attention they deserve.

So over the next few months, I’m going to start downsizing the collection, probably selling extras via FB Marketplace.

It feels weird, since I seem to be going the opposite direction to most people in the plant community. But I think it’s the right thing for me, which is what counts.

Keep an eye out on Instagram for updates

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