Real Life Plant Parents: Michelle
For February, we’re sharing the story of Michelle H., another of our Real Life Plant Parents. Michelle’s love affair with plants started many years ago when she was just a toddler, and she’s been developing her relationship with plants ever since!
What Started It All
Michelle’s plant parent story begins with her grandmother teaching her all about plants. It seems the green thumb was genetic, because Michelle has been just as much a plant enthusiast as her grandma was.
My Grandma who passed a year ago at 98.5 years old (and was still tending to her 50 year old garden and houseplants) introduced me to the joy of all things green. I started gardening with her as a toddler. In college, I worked at Home Depot and would always request to work "outdoor garden" to work with the plants including houseplants and outdoor plants.
Her Indoor Jungle
Of course, we also asked Michelle how many plants she’s working with these days in her indoor and outdoor plant paradise.
Today I have A LOT. My plant count has grown and I now have 30 inside, plus six water propagation plants going. Outside I have lots and lots of trees, plants, and succulents in containers. I have a new gorgeous philodendron in an urn planter that I can take inside or out.
Also, I have a banana tree in a big pot that I dug out as a baby from the big banana trees my Grandpa had planted for my Grandma in the early ‘60s! It even produced little bananas many years ago when it was in a covered back patio.
A Growing Plant Family
Michelle and her family moved into a new home a year ago, and she’s been slowly growing her plant collection to make their home the perfect place for her green thumb. Even her kids are involved, and she hopes they’ll pick up the plant bug too.
We bought our first house last year and there's an awesome ledge that stretches along the living room that would be perfect for more plants!
My third son will turn 1 year old next month in February, and he’s always on my hip while I'm doing touch up watering, or walking through the house checking my plants moisture with my meter. I also put him in the bouncy or stroller and he faces me watching me pot plants or do plant maintenance and I push him in the stroller on watering day when I'm watering indoor and outdoor plants. My four year old likes to shovel potting soil and the six year old tries to help me water. They're still very young, but I'm hoping one or more of them will love plants the way I do.
My Grandmother used to let me help her garden and take care of her houseplants when I'd stay at her house most weekends, which instilled my deep love for plants and the peace they can bring. I have several plants that are at least ten years old (much older than my children)!
Every plant parent has a favorite (or three), but Michelle seems to love lots of her plants. We asked which ones were the most special, whether from their looks of their care or their history in her plant parent journey.
I love the beauty of the cream/gray/green variegated rubber tree leaves. Also, my lipstick black pagoda plant leaves and njoy leaves are amazing, but my big money tree and my umbrella tree are my favorites because they can get so full and tall. They are so easy to take care of. I love them all.
A Truly Unique Plant Story
As Michelle told us about her favorites, she remembered her true number one fave, with a really unique story of happenstance and love behind it.
I have a purple oxalis that I picked out of a crack in my grandpa's backyard sidewalk. It's over 10 years old and has always stayed in the same pot: a glazed clay one my other Grandma made in a class in her 30s. It’s my favorite plant now that I think about it! It's connected to both sides of my family (maternal Grandpa's sidewalk crack and paternal Grandma's homemade pot).
Encouragement and Advice for Plant Owners
We asked Michelle what she’d tell a new plant owner or share about her experience, and her advice was spot-on.
When you are taking care of a plant or being surprised by new growth, that is your total focus and it's so refreshing to step back from the hustle and bustle and just be happy and at peace in your "plant space."
My advice to someone who wants to own plants is, if you're brand new to it, try a pothos, sansevieria, or succulent to start. These plants are extremely easy to take care of, and it will set your plant loving journey off on a positive note! Once you take care of something so small and and see the new little growth and sprouts, it truly makes your heart sing! It is such a rewarding experience to have plants in your life.