Real Life Plant Parents: Michele C.
Michele recently rediscovered her love of plants and now has over fifty in her beautiful home in New York. We had a great time hearing from her about her growing (pun intended!) enthusiasm for greenery to add color and beauty to her home!
Reconnecting with plants
Michelle really began as a plant parent over twenty years ago, but she lost track of her love for houseplants over the busy years and started fresh over the past winter when she needed some color in the house or else she’d get cabin fever. She couldn’t stand the drab grey winter anymore, so she and her daughter set out to redecorate their home with more color.
It began this past long dreary New York winter. My daughter and I felt like we needed some color in the house and the trend we started seeing was adding simple green plants. Sort of a Scandinavian style, then we came across the Bohemian (Boho) style that started to open our eyes up to more and more color! The first plant run made me so giddy, I couldn't wait to show her my finds as I walked around the nursery that dreary day. I felt like Spring was on its way. I sent her so many pictures from the store of the loaded shopping cart that I thought she would think I went crazy. But she chimed right in and took some for her own plant shelf! I had plants scattered about all over the house that day, when my husband reminded me that over 25 years ago when we moved out of my house into an apartment together, that I needed to borrow a truck from my boss to move all of my plants. I forgot all about that! I guess these past 20 years of raising children, and pets I forgot my love of house plants. Then I started seeing them everywhere…and started buying more little ones every time that I went food shopping.
Our interview with Michele recovered some long lost memories of plant ownership through the years that she had forgotten about!
I completely forgot that I used to take care of my mother’s plants when I lived at home in my late teens and early twenties. I took them when I moved into my apartment, but over the years I guess some didn’t survive, and I didn’t miss them so they never got replaced. I’ve always had outdoor summer plants, but I completely forgot how much I love the life a houseplant gives a room, whether it’s big or small in any room that you enter.
Favorite plants and stories
We love getting to know the unique stories behind each plant parent’s collection. Michele has gone to some extreme lengths to add to her collection. Check out two great stories she shared with us:
I bought a fern from someone on Facebook Marketplace and drove 20 minutes to a stranger’s house for a 5 year old fern because I couldn’t find a fern in any stores where I was shopping. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying this way in the future!
And the Ponytail plant. One day a few years ago, I was especially cranky and moody and my husband brought home the plant, the bag of potting soil, and a pot. He knows me and what I needed even when I didn’t, he’s a keeper!
We also asked Michele if she had a favorite among her plant collection and she chose a great plant for air purification that keeps giving back!
The spider plant, it was so big and full of babies, we’ve been able to make so many more plants from it. It’s so easy to care for, and very easy to keep making little plants from it. Great air purification too.
Real plant parent talk
Since Michele has clearly shown her skills as a plant parent, we asked her for her advice to someone who is interested in becoming one too! Here’s her advice for aspiring plant parents:
Start with the basics, make sure if you have a heavy hand with watering to take it easy. When in doubt, add an ice cube to water it slowly. You’d be surprised how one plant can change any room, even the bathroom, kitchen counter, etc. Try it! Pinterest has so many suggestions and tips. They clean the air, they add a pop of color and they can be kept in one area and then moved into every single room when you get bored of the look.
But remember, every plant parent starts as a beginner! Even Michele has had an oops or two.
I overwatered by over loving my $1 Aloe plant that I found on clearance. I didn’t realize the top looked dry and the roots were getting rotted. I am super careful about watering now, and noticed that as the seasons change and there is less humidity with the AC on, that watering changes too. Always check your plants when re-watering. I like to water on Saturday mornings, so I shift from work to home mindset.
Even with a collection of 50+ plants, we knew Michele had to have a wish list going. We asked her what her dream plant is!
I have an artificial Fiddle Leaf Fig, and I love the look so much, I put it in a pot to trick myself into thinking its real. I bought one for my mother in law since she lives down South, I think it would be happier there. Maybe when I get to move South someday then I can get a live one too!
You can follow Michele and her daughter Emma on Instagram @chopinteriors. They highlight their interior design and decorating passion to help inspire others to decorate with plants (and super cute accessories).