Botany Plants Lately?

It’s been over a year since quarantine started. During this time, many of us have picked up new hobbies, adopted new habits, and maybe learned new tricks. While I did try picking up a few new hobbies, the only thing that stuck with me throughout quarantine is tending to my small collection of houseplants.

Yes—I joined the plant parent club, just like many others did in quarantine. However, I am not here to speak about why you should or should not start a plant collection. I am also not here to boast about all the potential personal, emotional, or even mental benefits that come with taking care of plants (although they do give me a peace of mind sometimes). As a beginner plant parent, I will be sharing my candid thoughts on what I think about each of my 9 plants, which you may or may not find useful if you do have interest in starting your own plant collection!

I will be organizing these reviews by the order in which I have acquired the plants. My rating scale is out of 10 joy points! 0 means that I personally find no joy in tending to this plant and that I do not recommend this plant as a beginner plant. 10 would mean that it brings me so much joy to the point where I wish everyone could have one!

Peperomia Obtusifolia Variegata

10/10 joy points

This was one of my first houseplants and I had bought it spontaneously one October afternoon while shopping. It has brought me nothing but joy. Peperomias are rubber plants, and they are like succulents, so they are super easy to take care of! It thrives in sunshine, and does not require frequent watering. My baby peperomia has not stopped putting out new growth ever since I got it, and looks amazing to this day. Just look at the patterns and the variegation!! They also make great gifts and look amazing when placed anywhere.  

Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Futura Robusta’ (Snake Plant)

8.79/10 joy points

The snake plant is another one that is very simple to take care of. It also prefers to be underwatered rather than overwatered, because it is very prone to root rot. Mine has gone through some leaf damage and had its run with a (harmless) fungus due to a bit of overwatering, but it remains very resilient! I recently had to repot it because it’s also pushing out a lot of new growth, and the roots are outgrowing the pot! So excited for it to grow even more during this Spring season. This plant brightens up my room so much.

Hoya Kerrii (Sweetheart Plant)

8/10 joy points

I did not lower the points of this plant because it is hard to take care of, because it is a succulent and it doesn’t require much. I took off a few points because this little succulent guy is so hard to read! I cannot tell if I am giving it adequate care in terms of the right amount of sunlight and water. However, it is always a joy to look at and would be an amazing addition to any room (with a window).

Golden Pothos (Devil’s Ivy)

7.8/10 joy points

This little plant is really special because my mom propagated it from water. For a while, it was living in a jar of water and it was thriving! However, ever since I transplanted it to soil, the growth has slowed severely. It also recently lost a leaf. It is still a young baby, and younger Pothos take a while to mature, so lots of patience and love will be required. I would definitely recommend a Pothos for anyone who is into trailing plants and would like to start their own plant journey. Mine is still young, so it has not grown to its full potential yet. Since it’s spring time, I should be fertilizing it soon, so hopefully we will see more growth soon!

(Juvenile) Monstera Deliciosa

10/10 joy points

Monsteras are super popular houseplants, and it totally makes sense why you can see it in everyone’s collection. They are so fast growing and very easy to take care of! We got this one as a small baby from Trader Joe’s. It only had three shorter leaves, but it has pushed out multiple new leaves and there is another one on its way! The only problem I had with it was fungus gnats (those annoying little flies), but those went away with a bit of neem oil spray. Cannot wait to have its first fenestration (leaf split). 

Calathea Ornata (Pinstripe Calathea)

6/10 joy points

This plant is a beauty. However, I should have listened to warnings from the plant community, because Calatheas are notoriously picky and sensitive to their care! Ever since I brought this one home, its condition has been declining. I have been trying to figure out what it wants, but the leaves continue to shrivel up on me. I have a humidifier on because Calatheas like humidity, and I keep it in the shade. I will be trying different things, and will continue to adjust to make sure that it feels at home. I just recently bought distilled water for this plant to see if it’s my water quality that is making it upset. Would not recommend it for beginner plant parents!

Ficus Tineke

9/10 joy points

This plant is so beautiful! She is a princess. Ficus is a pure rubber plant, which means that their leaves are definitely more hardy but the sap in the plant is toxic to pets! This Ficus is definitely one of my favorites in the collection despite its slow growth and adjustment to my environment because it is so hardy and the colors are so unique! During this adjustment period, it has dropped a baby leaf, and another one is starting to shrivel up, but this is normal for Ficus plants. It has been really happy sitting by my windowsill on a pebble water tray for increased humidity.

Tillandsia (air plant)

8/10 joy points

This has to be one of my most neglected plant children. The care for air plants is usually pretty simple. It just requires one thorough soak/water bath per week, and maybe some misting throughout the week. This plant takes up everything it needs from the air and the water baths, so you really just have to make sure that it is getting enough water. I personally feel like I should give my air plant some more love though because it just sits on my shelf (haha).

Peperomia Watermelon

8/10 joy points

I am very excited about my newest addition and happy to have another Peperomia in the collection! I have been eyeing the Peperomia Watermelon since I first started my plant journey, and I finally was able to get one locally. This one has been freshly propagated, so it is still only in a 2 inch nursery pot. I am in the process of repotting this baby since I believe it has had enough time adjusting to the new environment. This baby already has two smaller baby leaves that are coming out in this tiny nursery pot, so I cannot wait for this one to thrive in a larger pot this season! Also really recommend new plant parents to get this one, as Peperomias are generally easy to take care of!

That’s all for my 9 household plants! I only really started this journey in October, but I have learned a lot in these past 5 months. One of the most important things that I have learned is the importance of patience and trusting the process. Just like us, these plants take time to grow and to be nurtured. I also learned that not every leaf has to be flawless for the plant to be healthy and thriving, just like how my Calathea is right now. All of this is a learning process that takes time. When looking back at it, I am really proud of my journey. Not only do my plants brighten up my space, but they have also helped me to slow down and take a pause from everything that has been happening in my personal life. All in all, it is safe to say that this has been an un-be-leaf-ably rewarding experience.

Kylie Wong is from San Lorenzo, CA, and is a third-year student studying Environmental Analysis at Pomona College. In terms of sustainability, she is interested in green technology, climate resiliency, urban planning and transportation, and environmental justice.