Here’s something a bit different for today’s post in this ‘get to know… series’, which if you are a regular reader, you will know that I usually feature independent plant sellers. Instead, I wanted to share a website that has been set up my friends and I, otherwise known as ‘The Real Houseplants of Instagram’ – houseplantswap.com
To use an appropriately plant-y analogy here, the seeds for this website probably started to germinate when, one cold October evening last year, we set up a group chat on Instagram. This was actually a bit of an accident when Vic Flora was trying to enter us all into a giveaway, and because of an Instagram glitch, we somehow ended up in the direct messages trying to work out what had gone wrong! Seeing as we all liked plants we got chatting and it wasn’t long before the group plant chat morphed into a group page on Instagram where we wanted to share the reality behind keeping houseplants under the handle @therealhouseplantsof_ig . The collective is formed of 11 of us, based all over the UK, and it didn’t take very long until after sending each other photos of plants we love, plants we own and plants we want, we started to send each other cuttings through the post. My first ‘plant mail’ was from Zoe and it was some string of hearts strands and some tradescantia – I remember getting really excited when I received the envelope thinking ‘my friend has grown this plant and cared for it and now she’s shared a bit with me!’ Oh yes, and also, it was free (apart from the postage of course); I sent her a spider plant cutting in return.
Brad had come up with the idea for a platform that could enable people to connect and swap plants, particularly for people that aren’t involved in the Instagram community where organic swap conversations have the potential to occur. Brad worked some technical wizardry and created the website houseplantswap.com which would enable many other plant lovers (worldwide) to list and swap plants for free. The main aim of the resource was that it was easy to use by everyone and not for profit. For the small cost of posting your cutting or plant, you could receive something of your choosing in return. We thought it was an ideal way for users to start building up a little collection, and with propagation being the ‘trend du jour’, a few recycled jars with some cuttings propagating will set you up in no time at all.
Here’s a screenshot of the homepage:
I’m now going to share some photos that feature plants and cuttings that have been swapped on HOUSEPLANTSWAP to give you a flavour of the kind of thing you can find there. A handy feature of the site is that you can also list things you are looking for!
A pertinent example I have here is a swap I did with Naterlee after seeing how much she loved one of my succulents after I posted it on Instagram – a little senecio haworthii. We had a chat and decided we would trade succulents – in return she sent me a lovely aloe/howorthia hybrid and a echeveria setosa.
ABOVE: My HPS plant mail from Naterlee (beautifully wrapped up securely)
BELOW: Top left – the mother plant my setosa baby came from, Bottom left and right, progress photo on the senecio haworthii I sent her.
ABOVE: Progress photo of both my plants. Also in shot are other bits I have received as plant mail from my plant gang – tiny terracotta pots from D’arcy, the tradescantia and string of hearts cuttings from Zoe, and the aloe/haworthia hybrid from Naterlee. Peeking in the corner of the photo is the mother spider plant that I have sent plantlets from to Kimberley and Brad.
ABOVE: Brad’s swap progress of his tradescantia blushing bride (photo top right is the original photo as listed on HPS) – look at that lovely new growth!
ABOVE: Left – tradescantia cuttings sent from D’arcy to Vic Joy, Centre – saxifraga stolonifera from Vic Joy to Justyna, Right – tiny terracotta from D’arcy to Justyna.
ABOVE: Left – Swap progress by D’arcy – Pilea from Vic Joy, Satin Pothos from Fiona, Peperomia pixie from me. Both images on the right – peperomia progress showing domed container – there’s been incredible growth on this one!
Thanks everyone for letting me share your photos!
Hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about HOUSEPLANTSWAP. What are you waiting for? Go sign up HERE
Thanks for reading!