This week we spoke to a plant rescuer Sarah (@theplantrescuer) from St Albans, UK. She rescues plants and brings them back to life with an amazing success rate of 90%!
Water & Light (W&L): How did you get into plants?
Sarah (S): I got into rescuing plants when I visited my local DIY store. They were selling Orchids that had finished flowering for £1. They said if they don't sell them they bin them! I was horrified that a healthy living plant would just be binned when it had finished flowering, so I bought 5! I kept going back week after week and rescuing more. I now have over 20 and they keep on flowering.
W&L: Do you remember when you got your first plant and what plant was it?
S: One of my first plant buys was a Calathea which was very sad looking. I felt so sorry for it sat in the bargain bin, that I brought it home. It perked up almost immediately with some simple TLC. Rescuing abused, neglected and sad plants became an obsession from here on. I love seeing them flourish again.
W&L: Where do you get most of your plants?
S: Most of my plants come from local Garden Centre's and DIY Stores, but sometimes I find them at car boot sales and second hand shops.
W&L: What are your favorite plant shops to visit?
S: My favourite plants shops are those that have unique and interesting plants, something a bit out of the ordinary. I'm obsessed by weird plants.
W&L: How many plants do you have in your collection?
I daren't count how many plants I have in my collection but I estimate around 120.
W&L: What are the rarest plants that you have in your collection?
S: My rarest plant is probably my Crassula Pyramidalis. I adore it so much I've just started to try and propagate some of the babies. I'm hoping I'll have a family of them soon.
W&L: What are some of your favorite plants?
S: My favourite plants are probably Cacti. I've recently rescued the most incredible Rat Tail Cactus from a Vintage Emporium. I've had lots of people asking if they can have a strand! I believe they are also quite rare.
W&L: What do you like the most about being a plant person?
S: I love my collection of rescued waifs and strays, it's extremely rewarding to bring a plant home, which would have almost certainly died or been thrown away, and watch it slowly recover. When a plant blooms again I feel it's saying 'thank you’
W&L: What are some of the challenges that you have with plants?
S: The biggest challenge with owning house plants here in the UK is winter! Trying to get the plants to stay alive when there is very little light and the air is dry from heating isn't easy. I guess another thing all plant people struggle with is pests! Regular inspection of every plant is key!
W&L: What would you say is your plant specialty?
S: It goes without saying that my speciality is bringing plants back to health. 90% of my rescues make full recoveries!
W&L: What are your top 3 plant care tips?
S: My top 3 plant care tips are:
- Research the origins of your house plant, find out where it would live in the wild and take tips from this. For example if it originated in the desert, don't over water it, if it comes from the Rainforest, make it feel at home by regularly misting it. I call this going back to its roots. Keep this in mind with all your plants and you can't go far wrong.
- Don't kill your plant with kindness. Make regular checks of the soil, if it feels damp, you are overwatering. This is the number one killer of house plants! On the flip side, if the soil has become like dust give it a drink! Keep checking on the soil and assessing your watering habits.
- Neem Oil is your best friend when it comes to killing and fending off unwanted house plant guests. Keep some in your cupboards at all times. Make regular checks on the health of your plants leaves and soil to make sure there are no pests or diseases. If you see anything out of the ordinary, look it up and identify the pest. Hopefully it won't be a fan of Neem Oil!
Check out Sarah's Instagram for more picture of her collection of rescued plants.