Today we spoke to Sheila (@littleplanterfromtheblock) from The Bronx, NY about her collection of plants and being a part of a plant community.
WATER & LIGHT (W&L): HOW DID YOU GET INTO PLANTS?
Sheila (S): I bought one and then it kind of took off from there. One day I was at the plant section of a store and I started looking at the colors and patterns on the plants and I was mesmerized.
W&L: DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN YOU GOT YOUR FIRST PLANT AND WHAT PLANT IT WAS?
S: My first plant was a pothos about 6 years ago. I had it for a few years and when it died I didn’t pursue buying anymore plants until February 2017
W&L: WHERE DO YOU GET MOST OF YOUR PLANTS?
S: I currently buy most of my plants from online shops but I do love visiting brick and mortar plant shops as well.
W&L: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PLANT SHOPS TO VISIT?
S: The Sill and the local plant shops in Chinatown in Manhattan. My favorite online shops are Land Of Alice Studio on Etsy, Gabriella Plants on Etsy, Hirt's Gardens which has an Etsy shop and a website of their own, and Steves Leaves Inc.
W&L: HOW MANY PLANTS DO YOU HAVE IN YOUR COLLECTION?
S: I have 61 plants as of now with plants that I’m currently propagating included in this number.
W&L: WHAT ARE THE RAREST PLANTS THAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR COLLECTION?
S: My different species of philodendron such as my philodendron pink princess, philodendron squamiferum and philodendron hastatum. There are others such as my monstera siltepecana, which I love!
W&L: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PLANTS?
S: Philodendrons. All philodendrons. They are my favorite. I also love neon plants and sansevierias
W&L: WHAT DO YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT BEING A PLANT PERSON?
S: That I have gotten to become part of the wonderful and amazing plant community. I have formed friendships with so many people and I appreciate them all. Being integrated in this group of people has helped me deflect my depression in so many ways. It has helped me tremendously.
W&L: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU HAVE WITH PLANTS?
S: I definitely have to say plant bugs. They are the worst and they really test my patience. I will also say it’s a challenge to stop buying plants once you become addicted. I also have a very small apartment and it’s very challenging placing every plant where they will be the happiest.
W&L: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR PLANT SPECIALTY?
S: I guess I would have to say tropical plants. I am growing tropical plants indoors. I have to try my best to keep the environment of my apartment in such a way that they are comfortable. I have humidifiers running all day. One in my bedroom and one in my living room, since I have plants in both of those rooms. Most of these plants thrive on higher than normal humidity. I have quite a few aroids. They put out aerial roots which grow on the stems or petioles. These can be propagated by taking a cutting from the mother plant, where aerial roots are present. You can then grow a new plant by putting the cutting into water or soil in order for it to grow roots through which it will later be fed water and nutrients through soil or whichever your preferred growing medium is.
W&L: WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 3 PLANT CARE TIPS?
1. Inspect your plants inside and out, especially when you are about to bring a new plant home, you’ll want to check for plant bugs and plant disease signs.
2. Think about the environment you can provide for the plants you want. If you cannot mimic the environment that they need to survive and thrive then I would suggest holding off.
3. My last tip, but a super important one is: don’t be disappointed if you lose a plant or if you lose 8 plants. We all learn as we go, no one was born knowing all they need to know.