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What I Learned From Having Hundreds Of Houseplants

Accumulating houseplants is a fabulously addictive and ever-evolving hobby. They grow with you and respond tangibly to your love and care for them, making them extremely rewarding. This actualized process of growth is fascinating to observe, nevermind to orchestrate. For that reason, so many people become obsessed with expanding their green repertoire, and with good reason! I’m one of them.

My role as a houseplant parent is one I fell into (somewhat) accidentally. I have had hundreds of plants over the past couple of years. Yes, triple digits; some I have held onto, and others I have gifted to family or friends. Although I’ve had over 100 at a time in my very small apartments over the years, I’ve learned that my sweet spot is having about four to five dozen. Any more than that is cluttering for my space and also a hassle to keep track of. Having upwards of 50 or 60 plants may sound like a lot, but it’s actually a fairly easy point to get to, and can happen quickly! I don’t regret any of my green wonders, but there are a few points I wish someone would’ve told me, so here they are. 

The Plant Decides Where The Plant Goes 

Plants are living organisms, which means they have their own needs. While you may think a plant would look stellar next to your reading chair in your den, the lighting may not be optimal and there could be a vent right above it. It’s important to remember that plants’ placements are not solely aesthetic–you have to find a place that not only looks good but also works with the type of plant you’re nurturing and its optimal conditions. 

Watering Will Take Time 

People often forget that proper watering is a real task. Usually, watering all my plants takes upwards of an hour, maybe two. To water a plant properly, you should run the plant under tepid water until it drains from the bottom, and allow it to dry out in the sink. This should be done for each plant in accordance with their watering schedule. For large plants, you may need to put it in the shower for up to 15 minutes, and allow it to drain for multiple hours. 

Watering with a watering can is fine, but it won’t optimize growth for your plants because it’s not simulating a natural rainstorm. It will take time to find your watering cadence for each plant, but usually, it will need to be done each week and can mostly be done at the same time with a few small exceptions depending on the plants you have.

Some Plants Just Aren’t For You, And That’s Okay!

I cannot have alocasia. We simply do not vibe and I have no idea why. They thrive for about two weeks after I buy them and then decide they hate me. 

Just like we can’t please all people, we can’t please all plants. There will likely be one or two species that don’t work for your space or care level or your apartment’s humidity, and that doesn’t mean you don’t have a green thumb. It’s all about finding what works for you and makes you feel accomplished. 

Bugs (And Frogs) Are A Thing

If you accumulate plants, you will likely have bugs at some point in your horticultural journey. It’s good to have neem oil on hand in case this happens and again, just comes with the territory. Once, I had a frog living in one of my new plants until I discovered it. That’s an extreme example, but remember that these are pieces of nature that you’re bringing into your home. 

They Don’t Look Like The Pictures

Much like everything else in our world, photos are glamorized versions of reality. Your plants will have their stunning moments, but they will never be flawless. They will yellow, dry out, drop leaves. Remember that it’s a learning process and not to compare yourself to random pictures on the internet.

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