For the second instalment of my new series on HPH – PLANT STORIES, I’m really proud to share with you some stories from a collective that I am part of – ‘THE REAL HOUSE PLANTS OF INSTAGRAM’. This post acts as a bit of an introduction to our group, so that you can get to know us a little. There are ten of us, all based in the UK. The timing seemed pretty apt, seeing as there’s just over 1000 of you following our page (thank you!) …our IG handle is therealhouseplantsof_ig and to see our page click here
If you want to be featured on our page then use the hashtag #therealhouseplantsofinstagram
After sharing my 30 year old Aspidistra story with you all, I got such a good response, I thought it would be interesting to turn things around and ask YOU about some of your plant stories. For this first round of stories, I wanted to focus on the oldest plants in your collections – that have maybe been in your family for a long time (like my aspidistra), or perhaps the first plant you bought, that sparked an unrelenting enthusiasm for house plants in general. Caring for and nurturing a plant over a number of years offers a counterpoint to the lightning-fast pace of todays society. As a durational experience, it encourages those engaged in this process to appreciate the little moments of every day activity, rather than always being caught up in the maelstrom that is modern culture.
Just a little heads up – this post has lots of lovely pictures and is quite long, I wanted it to be an enjoyable piece of weekend reading… So go and make yourself a coffee and put your feet up!
🌿 Meet… @flora_and_fauna_101 /
🌱 What’s the oldest plant in your collection Vic?
My monstera is my oldest houseplant, I’ve had it for over three years, since it was a tiny sprog… the little’uns grow up so fast! I was more of a gardener before I got into house plants, I still like my garden, but house plants rule.
🌱 Favourite house plant?
My alocasia zebrina’s are my favourite plants. I rescued four from a plant shop, they were all dried out and brown, so they had to be chopped right back to stumps. I gave two away to friends and kept two. We are currently expecting another set of twins on both plants! Without a doubt, it’s been my most rewarding plant experience, therefore it is hard for them not to be my favourite. I ‘insta-stalk’ mega massive ones,and imagine that one day my girls with be that big and beautiful! But for now, I’m just so happy they ended up with a happy ending.
🌿 Meet… @plant_joy /
🌱 What’s the story of your oldest plant?
Meet Alice (the aspidistra – photograph above!) Alice is 75 years old, and if only she could speak, she would have many a story to tell. She certainly lives up to her ‘cast iron’ reputation after surviving a bombing in the second world war… and has thrived ever since in a strict diet of love, admiration, and a tiny pinch of neglect; as this is what we were instructed when we took on her care.
🌱 What are your favourites Victoria?
These have got to be two of my favourites (photographs above and below) – my fishbone/ ric rac / zig zag cactus (selenicereus anthonyanus – above) was so hard to photograph, being so long it kept wobbling… my arm was killing me trying to hold it up high enough to get it all in! I’m not sure why it’s produced such a long lead and fore ages it was the only one, until it put up babies quite recently. The cutting was sent to me last year and the grower had written the name of the plant and the date on it in permanent pen… I quite like that it’s still there (…it’s not visible in this photo in case you are looking)!
My other favourite has got to be this succulent… I’m not sure what sub species it is, but I just love that it has done it’s own thing!
* (editors note – if anyone does know what this is… please do let us know over on our IG page! I have an echeveria perle von nurnberg that has done this, and I love that it’s just escaped the pot altogether… just like people, plants can certainly be unique characters!) *
🌿 Meet… @kingstreetjungle /
🌱 Can you share with us your oldest plant story?
My partner and I bought this aloe aristata for our first place together, it was a room in a house share, but it was our own space. We picked it up in IKEA seven years ago at the end of October, and it’s been in every house with us since. It’s been neglected probably for months at a time, but it’s been with us for four house moves, and the arrival of our daughter. It’s given us countless pups, some I’ve never seen again, and some I see on a regular basis, like the ones pictured [below] which belong to my mother-in-law. For me, it started a fascination with house plants and today my plant count stands at over 50.
🌱 Favourite house plant from your collection Kimberley?
My peperomia caperata ‘pink lady’ is definitely a favourite in my collection. I had been a big fan of peperomia before I came across this subspecies, it was the pink that sold me on it though. The juvenile leaves come through very pink and change to a mossy green/grey as they age. Peperomia are easy to care for – water when the top layer is dry and provide them some bright indirect light and they’ll give you joy for many years!
🌿 Meet… @thejadeplant_
🌱 What’s your plant story Jade?
My oldest and first plant was a crassula ovata – Jade plant. It was my mum’s before mine and has actually been split into four separate trees in its lifetime. My mum would give sections of this tree to the people she held close and now it is my plant to share. Unfortunately, my mum passed away not too long ago, but each tree contains her ashes, allowing her to live on in plant form! I am also pretty positive I am named Jade after this plant! These are my two plants… the other is in Thailand!
🌱 Have you got a plant favourite?
I do! My pitcher plant is my favourite because it’s so vibrant… i love the way it hangs around my plants, keeping them free from nasty flies!
* (editors note – Nepenthes are a carnivorous plant, they enjoy low humidity and a bright sunny windowsill, just like Jade’s in the photograph below. I don’t own any of this type of plant yet, but saw one at my local plant stall a few weeks ago… I think I might see if it’s still there!) *
🌿 Meet… @planting_pretty /
🌱 What are your oldest plants D’arcy?
Here’s a photograph (below) of my oldest plants… I got them heading into my third year of university. They are potted up in three lovely home made pots that my mum actually made!
🌱 Do you have a favourite in your collection?
My string of pearls (above) is my favourite plant, which my boyfriend bought for me on our first trip away together with his family. I love that the leaves are like tiny hearts… and it hasn’t stopped growing since I got it!
🌿 Meet… @zoeshouseofhouseplants /
🌱 The oldest plant in your ‘house of house plants’?
My peperomia obtusifolia (American baby rubber plant) is my oldest house plant… I remember picking it out from @perrywoodhouseplants, when I just started working in the house plant department, it must have been nearly 5 years ago!
🌱 Can you show us your plant favourites Zoe?
It’s hard to choose! But I’ve picked my four favourites (above), mainly because of care and rate of growth, but also the combinations of pot cover/plant combos! If I had to pick one, I *might* say the bird’s nest fern (far right), because I love the shape and scale of it!
🌿 Meet… @v60fan /
🌱 What’s the oldest plant in your collection Brad?
This crassula muscosa, or ‘watch chain’ plant is one of my oldest plants in England (I moved here a few years ago) – I got it a few years ago in a pre-planted succulent arrangement. It’s grown little by little over time, I first repotted this due to excess moisture and them decided to propagate. I must admit, I didn’t really know if cutting and replanting immediately would work but looking at the most recent picture (below), I can confirm it’s thriving! The other photograph (above) shows it immediately after cutting alongside the mother plant, which is also still doing quite well! The strangest part was how the curing formed some quite wild air roots quite high up the plant, but I suppose this was simply it’s survival strategy!
🌿 Meet… @ficus_fi /
🌱 Can you show us your oldest plant?
Well my oldest plant is this areca palm (below), we bought this when we loved into our new house in July 2015, and it’s part of the family. The cats all chew on it, hence its tatty leaves, but it’s withstood a lot from all of us… and it’s still putting out new leaves every spring! I often forget to water it, or pay it any care and attention, but I know there would be a huge void without it!
🌱 Do you have any house plant favourites Fiona?
How could I possibly choose a favourite when I have so many?! So, instead, I’m going to twist the question and narrow it down into my two favourite families of plants. One has got to be my rubber trees – the four wonderful Ficus Elastica that I cherish (my IG name is Ficus_Fi after all!) Also, I love the various Tradescantia I grow in water and soil, just look at the colours! (photograph second below)
🌿 Meet… @ihavenogarden /
🌱 Do you have any house plant favourites Fiona?
It’s hard to pick one! But I would say that my favourite ‘type’ are calathea’s, maranta’s, that sort of thing. I love plants that have a lot of movement in them! Also, my favourite green is the bright lime of the new unfurling leaf (below).
🌱 What about your oldest plant?
My Avocado is my oldest plant, I only moved here a year ago, and have had it since then, I’m very proud of it. I took the photograph (below) on the ‘cado’s first birthday… just admire the beautiful vein structure. I think I got hooked in house plant by experimenting with home grown avocados!
🌿 Meet… @_houseplanthouse /
So, if you are a regular reader, you’ll know a bit about me and my house plants already, but I’ll answer the questions like everyone else!
🌱 What’s the oldest plant in your collection?
My Aspidistra (above) is my oldest plant, and has been in my family for 30 years. I recently split the plant into three as it was completely choked in it’s pot, that it must have been in for around 10 years!
I have a whole post about it HERE:
🌱 Do you have a favourite house plant?
As the others have alluded to above – this is a hard question! I would say that my Aspidistra was a very strong contender for this because they aren’t so readily available anymore, and this one has such a strong sentimental connection for me. My other favourite would have to be my monstera deliciosa though, because it brings such a bold statement to my living room… and I enjoy looking at it every single day. I have a really small television and my swiss cheese plant has started encroaching on the view of the screen… but I’d sooner get rid of my television than move this!
The next post I’d like to write about our group ‘THE REAL HOUSE PLANTS OF INSTAGRAM’ concerns the plants we are currently coveting – our house plant wish list!
Thanks for reading, and to my planty friends for sharing their old / favourites with me!
🌿 Laura ~ HPH