Plant Parenting

March 14, 2022 | Reagan

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Who doesn't love a green, leafy houseplant? I recently took my love of houseplants to the next level by tattooing a sentimental Heart-Leaf Philodendron on my forearm. My husband's grade one teacher gave each of her students a single leaf cutting of their classroom plant and he (with my help) has kept it alive and thriving for 30 years!

Houseplant
Houseplant Tattoo, photo by author

New to Plant Parenthood?

According to research studies, having plants around you at work, school, home or in hospital settings has been shown to reduce anxiety and increase concentration and productivity. For folks looking to embark on plant parenthood, aka having a houseplant that you love and adore, I've curated this list for getting started including resources for folks whose thumbs are more black than green.

Plant Parenting

Plant Parenting by Leslie F. Halleck

"In this beginner-friendly introduction to plant propagation, Halleck details the basic tools necessary, demystifies seed starting and saving, and shares easy-to-follow instructions for the most practical techniques for cutting, layering, dividing, and more."

How to raise a plant and make it love you back

How to Raise a Plant and Make it Love You Back by Morgan Doane

"Indoor-plant experts and Instagrammers Erin Harding and Morgan Doane bring the subject to life alongside their beautiful photographs of happy plants in the home."

How to not kill your houseplant

How to Not Kill Your Houseplant by Veronica Peerless

"Does just looking at plants cause them to wither and die? Peerless offers advice on keeping houseplants alive, even if you're horticulturally challenged."

 

A Work of Art

We recently renovated our house and in true minimalist logic, we decided to forgo artwork and only hang houseplants on our walls. I have a large array of different types of hanging plants but my favourite "living art" is the Pothos plants trailing down the walls of our main floor. Against the backdrop of white walls and black hardware, the mixture of different leaf colours adds a great pop of colour. 

House design
House plants as art, photo by author

Feeling inspired to decorate your home with plants? The titles below are dedicated to interior design and stylish ways to incorporate plants into your home's decorating scheme.

Decorating with Plants

Decorating With Plants by Baylor Chapman

The complete guide to 'greening' your space, with ideas and inspiration for adding plants to every room in your home, plus a directory of versatile, easy-to-care-for specimens."

Plant Style

Plant Style by Alana Langan

"This book is a guide on how to turn your home into a jungle-like retreat with styling tips from design experts."

 

Avid Plant Folks

For folks with a bit of experience, and similar to my journey parenting a child, plant parenthood can get more complex as your plants age. Beyond just repotting or turning the pot away from the sun, sometimes houseplants need some TLC to truly thrive. My Monstera plant was well established and doing fine but when I finally trellised the overgrown mess she became healthy enough for the leaves to start splitting!

Monstera
Split leaves on Monstera, photo by author

If you're feeling stuck about a plant that isn't thriving, there are now apps where you can take a photo of your plant and have an action plan designed for your plant's specific needs based on visual markers like yellow or brown discoloration, dropping leaves, etc.

For us established plant parents, I've highlighted a few obscure and wonderful books that I think you'll enjoy:

The Hidden Histories of House Plants

The Hidden Histories of House Plants by Maddie Bailey

"This book isn't just a dry exploration of historical cultivation; the narrative explores the plants' places in social history, art, politics, fashion and culture, showcasing the most fascinating elements of each plant's story."

Plants are my favourite people

Plants Are My Favourite People by Alessia Resta

"Whether you are an aspiring plant parent or already care for a junglelike brood, plant-stagram influencer Alessia Resta (aka Apartment Botanist) has distilled everything you need to know to start and grow your collection in this plant-care bible."

My houseplant changed my life

My Houseplant Changed My Life by David Domoney

"Drawing on groundbreaking scientific research, this book reveals the 50 most life-enhancing houseplants and shows how they can actively purify the air and improve your mental well-being through their colour, scent, habit, and nurturing needs."

 

Plant Gifts

Lastly, I'll just mention that cuttings of beloved houseplants make for thoughtful gifts, be it housewarmings or birthdays. We did a cutting of my husband's prized plant for my son's first birthday and it has grown roots and a personality as large as our toddler. I prefer to gift my plant cuttings in water as opposed to a pot and soil since they are simultaneously harder to kill and it gives the new plant parent freedom to pick the pot style that speaks to them.

Root Nurture Grow

Root Nurture Grow by Caro Langton

"The stylish handbook shows you how to make the most of your favourite houseplants through simple, beginner-friendly propagation techniques."

 


Please comment below and tell me some of your favourite houseplant varieties!

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