Plant Journal – Plant collection and anxiety

I haven’t written here in a while. I felt like an imposter in a community with collectors who know so much more than me and have been collecting plant for so much longer. I have used the time to think about why I collect plants and evaluate my collection and my relationship with it. This will be some rambling about what I am thinking about at the moment.

I am someone who gets into a hobby an accumulates things quite quickly and for a decent amount of time. My latest things were knitting and sewing. I have a decent stash of fabrics and yarn and I do still knit but I haven’t sewn in a couple of years, but I think about it a lot. So being in a point in my life where I am not spending money or much time on my other hobbies I invested into my plants and their care with an ikea cabinet, humidifiers substrates, pretty pots, lights, etc.

Plants post Covid

The looming ending of lockdown in the UK is giving me some anxiety. Will I still want so many plants? Many collectors have predicted this might happen as people start to go out more again and also away on holiday. Having neglected my plants a bit recently I am sure that most will be ok for a week and some even 10 days or so especially as many are getting more and more established (I LOVE big plants). I am not so concerned about not wanting plants anymore as I filled my house with plants when we first moved in late 2018. And before that we always had plants in the flat but it was a very dark flat so I would buy a plant and watch it die and then get another.

So for myself I am OK with having a collection to look after post Covid. But it might change a bit.

Being a newish collector

My first real insight into the rare plant collecting came from instagram. I loved the variegated monstera a lot and saved up and searched for a decent sized plant and bought one early 2019. I have chopped it a couple of times now and am enjoying learning about rooting cuttings and the differences of how they grow depending on if they are a top or stem cutting. By doing things I have learned a lot. I also really enjoyed having a big plant to look after and can’t wait for this summer to see it grow even more. It has been nearly 2 years now that I have been collecting plants and to be honest I have stopped counting.

The main thing I have struggled with is my changing taste. It went from collecting monstera, to some philodendrons to hoya and now anthurium. However I have learned it is OK to just own or collect the plant you actually like and not buy it and think you can get your money back in no time. There is a vague dream of working with plants but more in terms of providing good service rather than making a quick buck. However I can’t afford to make that gamble at the moment and likely will not in the future unless something drastically changes with my day job.

Being a newish collector in the plant community can be really scary. Most people are super supportive and friendly but there is some shaming around things like misting vs not misting, water propagation vs moss or perlite. I struggle with these as they are all experiments for me and if it makes you happy to mist some plants then who cares. The main thing that made me stop was the marks it was leaving on my plants (probably because I had some fertiliser bits left in the bottle) and I heard someone say that if one plant has a disease or pest you are helping it spread to other potentially by spraying them. But before that I loved to mist my plants.

I’d like there to be more actual real information through people doing experiments. But then I could do that too and I don’t share it. I tend to not share as much due to worrying about saying something wrong or something that might instigate someone. These are my own personal problems though.

Dealing with a rapidly growing collection

The beginning of this year has been a real struggle. It is over a year that I have seen my parents and they are a plane journey away which doesn’t help. I still haven’t been vaccinated and neither have they. So dealing with my ever growing collection was sometimes a struggle. I found my favourite plant almost dead and then couldn’t sleep all night worrying if the watering helped (it did).

I feel guilty if I see that something needs doing, like a moss pole or repot and I don’t do it. Then I worry about a pricey plant surviving in my house for the first 2 weeks. I have learned that less fussing is more really especially considering the plants I mostly ignore are doing the best. Ha!

But with the expansion of my collection I am not considering selling some plants. Like sell the whole thing and not keep a cutting. Have you done this? Did it feel better after that? I am finding it hard to sell the plants though which brings me to my next bit of anxiety inducing plant stuff.

Selling plants online

I have dabbled with selling plants online and so far it seemed that all but one plant made it to their new owners and have been growing as far as I know. This one experience with a leaf snapping off made me really unhappy and I loathe sending anything that is not a tiny cutting now. So how can I seriously reduce my collection without cutting it up? It really sucks. I’d hate to send a plant and it not arrive well. I know right now is the worst time to send plants anyway as we are having a cold spell. I might just see if I can do an outdoors event in the summer and sell plants in person. I find it so much nicer to be able to show someone a plant and let them take it away.

Have you sold plants online? Are you ok doing so? Do you worry about the plant making it?

Where do I stand? Well I have 6 more plants joining my collection this month that I have paid for already, and then I will give it a few months to see how I am doing especially with the weather improving, and me spending more time in the garden and with those plants. During that time I will evaluate which plants still bring me joy and which I might want to let go of. And see if that helps my anxiety.

Do you have anxiety around your plant collection, plant care or community?

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