Plants can transform a home into a warm, inviting, natural space.
But plants are also a fascinating world of endless possibilities to learn and try something new.
For those of us who truly love and adore plants and plant collecting, it can be both awesome and awful to figure out how to balance the right number of plants for our home and ourselves.
After all, there are hundreds of thousands of plants to try. Seriously!
Ever felt torn between how to continue to add new plants and plant adventures while still somehow maintaining that warm and beautiful plant-filled home? I definitely do!
I always seem to be walking the line between an aesthetically pleasing urban jungle and a cluttered home with too many plants.
The difference can be very subtle and subjective. What I find beautiful may be your nightmare and vice versa.
I vacillate back and forth between collecting more plants and thoughtfully decorating because the reality is that I magically want both.
There is this massive, wondrous, amazing world of plants and I want to know, grow, and learn about them. But this inevitably results in the accumulation of too many pots and plants that outgrow the spaces for which they have available.
So once again, I find myself sorting through plants, trying to determine what to sell, gift, or cut back because a cluttered home due to plants is not what I want either.
I felt so inspired when Summer Rayne Oakes did a home tour of Joanna Pascal’s gorgeous place in Philly. Joanna described how she wanted to add more and more plants in the beginning but realized at some point that she wanted to change this:
“I wanted it to feel like every plant was a plant that I loved.” Joanna Pascal.
And her home felt that way. She owns many plants, but each of them is displayed in such a way that they feel special.
Growing houseplants is an art, and Joanna reminded me of that. How we care for our plants shapes them uniquely to our space, unlike any other.
The set of conditions the plant receives in your space will never be replicated elsewhere.
There will never be another you growing another plant that is exactly that plant in exactly that space with that light at the time that it is growing. And so, you and your plant will be growing together; the unique shape and form your plant develops to fill that area is unlike any other.
All of these factors create this living sculpture, perpetually adapting to the inner world of your home. And this sculpture deserves its pedestal and the space to breathe life into the room around it.
How we choose to display these living art pieces is a statement of art as well.
When there are so many plants, the beauty of only one becomes lost in the many. The curve of a stem as it frames a window, or the splashing on a leaf as it sparkles in the sun, goes unnoticed much of the time.
Even scarier, pests and problems can also hide in the many much more easily than in more minimal setups. I know this from personal experience. Yikes!
But there is beauty in the many, too. If there weren’t, we couldn’t find beauty in botanical gardens, green walls, and other tropical plant displays where many plants are closely placed together.
Carefully curated displays of many plants can be just as mesmerizing as those single specimens, though admittedly a different experience.
A single specimen awes you with its particular features of grandeur. The display of many transports you to another world.
It allows you to experience a slice of the tropics without ever stepping outside of a home. It is magical.
But when your love of decorating and creating an experience through plants is as large as your love of growing and knowing all kinds of plants, it is difficult to figure out the balance between the two. At least it is for me!
Here are a few of the reasons I love growing plants – Tell me yours in the comments!
- I enjoy the process of growing the plants, knowing the plants, and learning about their history.
- I like to learn about the plants closely and distantly related to the plants that I grow and then try to grow those as well.
- I like learning about the experts who grow the plants and their stories.
- I enjoy not just collecting specific plants, but also plants from specific growers and nurseries and lineages.
- I enjoy rehabbing plants
- I enjoying trying again and again with plants I’ve failed to grow
- I love to propagate
- I like to try nontraditional houseplants and very challenging plants
It would be easier if I only wanted to grow a few pretty plants, but my love for plants runs so much deeper than that.
So until something changes, I think I will always be expanding and contracting my collection as time and space and decorating tastes allow.
What about you? How do you balance your love for collecting and growing houseplants and maintaining your home? Tell me in the comments below. 🙂