In January, I mentioned wanting to make an effort with my living space which, if you recall, looked like this:
I’ve been making slow steps here and there (and hitting you over the head with it), and as of several days ago, looked more like this:
So, marginally neater. Most surfaces are still covered with paper clutter (my specialty), but I’m not stressed. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, right?
In clearing and tidying one space at a time, I’m reminded of another (tiny) issue: it looks a bit devoid of personality. Of course, it’s evident someone lives here. But who?
To perk up my apartment, I’m finally starting to invest in some indoor plants.
Apparently I’m not alone in this. The New York Times recently published this article about how millennials are filling their homes and workspaces with plants.
Until recently, I’ve only really owned a leggy dracaena plant (in the top photo) that I bought my second year of university. (I briefly had a baby aloe plant, but the lack of all-day sunlight – and no window sills – resulted in its unfortunate demise.)
The plant used to reside at my mom’s house. She had the space, the right type of light, and she’s got a super-green thumb. Then I moved, and she told me it was time to claim my friend.
Travel’s been the main reason for not having more plants. I didn’t want to wander off somewhere for two or three weeks and leave them to die from a basic lack of attention.
But since I can’t afford to go very far and my leafy companion looks bit lonely, I figured I’d try again.
I’d fully intended to start slowly – doing lots of research to make sure I got plants that were hardy, relatively low-maintenance, etc.
But one evening, my friend Renee offered me one of her spider plant babies — already a solid size with decent roots — and I happily accepted.
After I’d gotten it home and placed it in a jar of water, I briefly panicked. I had soil, but no small planters with drainage.
Enter YouTube. This enterprising green-thumbed spider plant owner was super-helpful and informative, and by the next night, voilà:
I call my plant Val (for the cheesy Valentine Day-themed tumbler I bought from Dollarama to keep her in).
She seems to be doing well – she’s sprouted two leaves. So far, I’m doing something right.
Of course, this has now sparked a bit of an obsession.
Three weeks after bringing home my spider plant, I went browsing with a friend at Home Depot to get some ideas for other types of plants …
And against my better judgement, walked out with a lemon button fern.
Now, some people say ferns are easy to care for; others say they’re among the fussiest houseplants around.
I’m doing my homework and trying my best, but let me put it this way: I don’t think I’m winning the fight to keep my fronded friend – dubbed “Vern the Fern” – alive. Vern currently doesn’t resemble the photo you see here.
Amid all of this, I’d been on the lookout for a plant that I thought was cute, but turns out to be one of the plants to own, according to Instagram and plant lovers: the pilea peperomioides, a.k.a. the Chinese money plant, missionary plant, pancake plant, etc.
When I started researching pileas, online information suggested that one’s best bet was to get a baby plant from another pilea owner, as trying to buy one can apparently cost you $30.
Thirty. Dollars. It’s like the Cabbage Patch Kid of plants.
However, one of the Facebook groups I’d joined had been (and still is) on pilea watch. The first time someone posted a sighting of baby pileas at Canadian Tire – for a fraction of the standard price – word got out and they were gone in almost no time.
The second time there was a sighting, I marched myself to the store the following afternoon and got one of the last three plants.
For now, I’m the proud owner of a baby pilea. About two weeks after bringing it home, bugs started emerging, so – thanks to some Facebook advice – I dumped out the soil, washed the plant and roots as well as I could, and re-potted it.
This is what it currently looks like. I’m watching it closely to make sure (a) it’s bug-free and (b) it lives. Keep your fingers crossed.
I’m currently on a break from plant collecting to make sure I can handle caring for my leafy new charges.
It’ll be a while before I successfully create my own private Wakanda – and I’m not aiming to own hundreds of plants – but I think I’m on my way to making my abode a little more homey.