This week we talked to Kristiana (@JunglePNW) from Portland, OR about her plant passion.
WATER & LIGHT (W&L): DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN YOU GOT YOUR FIRST PLANT AND WHAT PLANT IT WAS?
Kristiana (K): I started with a handful of houseplants several years ago but the most memorable was a woody-stemmed angel wing Begonia. I cut it a million times, it made it through all conditions and a move to Portland. The other was an Easter cactus I inherited from my mother - still in the collection!
W&L: WHERE DO YOU GET MOST OF YOUR PLANTS?
K: I get them from friends and plant shows! Online is also another big source - NSE Tropicals, Brian's Botanicals, Pepper's Greenhouses, and Ebay.
W&L: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PLANT SHOPS TO VISIT?
K: Portland Nursery, Cultivate Propagate (in Seattle), Marbott's and Pistils Nursery.
W&L: HOW MANY PLANTS DO YOU HAVE IN YOUR COLLECTION?
K: Counting individual pots including propagation jars and other vessels, perhaps 700-800. I don't often endure the chore of counting them all individually because they are everywhere!
W&L: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE RAREST PLANTS THAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR COLLECTION?
K: I have no idea! In terms of availability in cultivation, Epipremnum giganteum is pretty unusual. The variegated Monstera deliciosa I have is not the common albo variegata, but a 4-way color splash. The Philodendron gloriosum x mccolley is one of the most uncultivated, from a private grower and breeder in FL. I have acquired some really special plants over the last couple of years, so it's hard to decide.
W&L: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PLANTS?
K: It's no surprise that Philodendron gloriosum is my favorite plant, but some runners up are Philodendron squamicaule, Philodendron luxurians 'Choco', Anthurium forgetii, Anthurium radicans x dressleri, and vareigated Piper nigrum. A. arisaemoides, M. siltepecana, P. verrucosum... I have too many favorites!
W&L: WHAT DO YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT BEING A PLANT PERSON?
K: I like meeting other aroid fanatics, making friends with people all over the world and geeking out with them about our favorite plants. Being a plant person is a way of life, and at this point, I don't know any other way to be. It brings me peace and comfort and a never-ending drive to learn more and be better.
W&L: WHAT ARE SOME CHALLENGES THAT YOU HAVE HAD WITH PLANTS?
K: I have unearthed viruses, bacterial infections, pests... A lot of my knowledge is acquired reactively, so I learned how to handle certain things as they came to me. Lighting, soil mixes and pest control were the biggest challenges caring for plants indoors in the Pacific Northwest.
W&L: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR PLANT SPECIALITY?
K: Spotting bugs! I see them on anything. Yesterday I walked outside and noticed our fruiting Juniper bonsai had a few scale on it. It's a gift and a curse. As far as plants themselves go, I grow primarily Aroids.
W&L: WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 3 PLANT CARE TIPS?
1) Always amend your potting mixes with good drainage.
2) LIGHT is almost always the answer. Buy LED Daylight bulbs and put them everywhere in your house.
3) Do research to find out how plants grow in the wild to better understand how they will need to be cared for in your home.