It’s a thing. Well, actually it’s a living organism, but – it’s a thing. Those of us rather active on Instagram will surely have noticed the growing number of plant pictures in the news feed. Neither sunny beach photos, nor selfies with the cute doggo from next door – plants. Whether it’s leafy green pot inhabitants or the long famous succulents often mistaken for cacti, plants are just everywhere. Literally. An enormous variety of plant-related hashtags has been trending for months now and one thing is certain: #monsteramonday and #philodendronfriday will sooner or later also appear under one of your followers’ Insta pics. But what is it that makes so many women go wild and transform their living room into a replication of the jungle?
Christine is one of the many fresh plant-moms worldwide that has fallen under the spell of baby plants and their (much) bigger siblings.
“After my two cats died within a very short period of time, I felt kind of lost. My parents never really wanted to have pets and the ones we had were both stray cats, so I was left with this feeling that I wanted to care for something. A friend of mine told me about baby plants that you can buy online, so I ordered five from the Netherlands”, says the 26-year-old.
It didn’t take Christine very long to get obsessed with her new protégés and the young student went from having a handful of mini-pots to being the mom of almost 30 plants – sizes and needs varying. Within six months, Christine’s room and bathroom turned into a paradise for leafy roommates. One of her favourite things to do: create new life and watch nature take its course.
“I love the moment a new leaf starts to unfurl, when you know you’ve done everything right. It gives you a certain sense of satisfaction.”
To propagate most of the now popular houseplants, you only have to do three pretty easy steps. One – separate a so-called ‘cutting’, aka. potential new plant baby, from the main plant by cutting it off underneath a leaf node. Two – put the tiny fella into a glass of water. Three – wait for it to grow roots. Patience is key, because growing a new plant can take up to several months. The reward is a small version of something that will sooner or later fill your home with happiness and that can be shared with others.
“It’s a give and take, many people like to exchange cuttings. There’s even a Luxembourgish Facebook group for that called ‘Planzen Swap Swap Swap Lëtzebuerg’”, says Christine.
And in case you happen to have received a leafy present for Christmas but have no idea what sort of plant you’re hosting here – no worries, with the ‘PictureThis – Plant Identifier’ pretty much any greens can be photographed and tagged.
Christine’s collection is growing by the day and having plants gives her this special feeling of calmness:
“I think they are really soothing. Other people like to cook to chill down when they get home after work. I have put many of my plants on my windowsill so that when I sit at the table in front of it while reading a book, I no longer feel like I am in my room but someplace cozy and magical.”
A magic than can be multiplied, as the 26-year-old shows in many of her Insta stories. Next to the alphabetically sorted list of plants she already has, Christine keeps a to-buy-list for roomies she still wants to get:
“I once saw a String of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii) at a gardeners and I absolutely fell in love with it. Also, I would really like to buy a Pilea Moon Valley (Mollis) one day, but you have to order those online and I no longer tend to do this that much.”
The question of where to get all these green beauties is one that needs some clarification. Over the years, the growing number of houseplant holders has evidently lead to the emergence of a large international plant market. But beware: not every pretty plantlet is what they pretend to be. Patty has been a #crazyplantlady for almost two years now and knows exactly what to look out for when buying new babies:
“You can find a variety of different plants in regular hardware stores but here you have to watch out for flies or other pests. I would recommend shopping at florists or specialized garden centers such as Dehner in Trier, or buying on European websites such as The Botanical Room. Never buy seeds on Amazon – you’ll probably receive a bag full of pebbles. And when you’re looking for so-called variegated plants, meaning those that have multicoloured leaves, make sure to see the exact stem you’ll order. In Monsteras for example, the white parts are actually a natural defect and if the shoot no longer has any white in it, the variegation is reversed and your plant will turn out a normal green colour. Then you’ll have payed a higher price but for a regular plant.”
Where most people’s love for exotic plants started at is Ikea. Patty too went shopping one day and found herself back home with a small pot inhabitant.
“My mom used to hoard plants, but always the ones with pretty flowers. I like the green stuff and since I know that blossoms consume a lot of energy and can hinder the growth of your plant, I have no problems cutting off the flower to preserve the leaves”, says the 24-year-old.
One of her favourite babes – and also one of her first fosterlings – is a Devil’s Ivy, aka. Epipremnum aureum. But the evergreen creeper is by far not the only plant Patty has:
“I counted them – I own exactly 82 plants. Most of them I’ve grown myself but when I’m out shopping I just can’t help it. Anything that looks fancy or jungle-like, I need to have.”
Her biggest pride are four big Monsteras, one measuring over one and a half meters. But Patty’s absolute favourite is the Begonia Maculata, nicknamed ‘Polka dot’ or ‘Forel’ Begonia:
“The leaves have both white dots and a reddish bottom side that sparkle, it’s just so pretty.”
It’s plain to see: plants are highly addictive, and not just for green-thumbed people. On Instagram, there’s tons of plant-moms devoting all of their time and social media presence to the well-being of their plants. So if you’re looking for some way to fight plant lice, the best method to get your babies growing or just general information about something you’ve seen: Marienova’s account is one good place to look.
“She has over 108.000 followers and regularly posts tips about how to keep your plants healthy”, says Patty.
The student herself likes the method of learning-by-doing and spends a lot of her free time taking care of her babies:
“I regularly do a ‘repotting-party’ and once a month I shower my plants. The one thing that is a little tricky is leaving for holidays, since someone has to look after your home-jungle.”
And still, once someone has stepped into the world of house plants, there is just no turning back. So if you too wish to be part of the #plantsclub – grab your nearest pot, dig up some dirt and get yourself tons of pretty little fellas to create your own personal leaf-clan! Because let’s face it: it may seem kinda weird at first, but having a room full of plants is just damn cool and green has always been a colour that fits us all so so well.
Monstera deliciosa aka. ‘Swiss Cheese Plant’
- Easy to care for – you know it’s time to feed your plant when the leaves turn yellowish
- Fast growth – the leaves can become giant
- Tons of information online – literally everyone seems to have one
Epipremnum pinnatum aka. Marble Planet
- Can be held as a climber or as a hanging plant – perfect for many locations
- Exists in different colour-combinations – you can choose the plant that fits your interior
Related to the easy-peasy ivy – it’s an evergreen
Spathiphyllum aka. Sensation
- No need to water often – the leaves will show you when they need a sprinkle
- Can be ignored – perfect plant for those always on the run
- No need for direct sunlight – ideal if your windowsills are already fully occupied
Sanseviera aka. Snake Plant
- Die-hard plant – can be kept indoors, on your balcony or outdoors
- Cleans the air in your room – perfect for people with allergies
- Highly pest-resistant – no need to immediately invest in expensive chemicals