Maria, how did you get into plants?
For my first five years living in NYC, I was a plant killer. I’d bring plants home from my local bodegas, have no idea what their names were or how to care for them… and then kill them. After about twenty dead plants made it to my “plant graveyard” I decided it was time for me to stick to cut flowers.
Then I fell in love and moved in with my boyfriend to a tiny five hundred square-foot apartment with an even tinier Juliet balcony- BUT we had amazing, southern facing windows and unobstructed sunlight (a rarity in NYC). In our “nesting” mode, I found myself wanting to try plants again, because the idea of bringing life to our home felt really special. We started with an herb garden on our small balcony, which surprisingly thrived thanks to the help of my Mom and lots of Google searches. Once the herb garden started thriving, it empowered me to try and take another shot at indoor plants. I brought home three jade plants for my windowsills, and once I saw them doing well, I felt empowered to bring several more home. Then, all of a sudden, we had ten plants. Then twenty. Then thirty. As I like to say we went from literally “zero to sixty,” both literally and figuratively, in three months.
I found myself completely drawn to the new tranquility and ability to “unplug” when I had my morning coffee surrounded my plants. I’d walk past my phone, (which I normally grabbed and opened Instagram right away,) and would just sit quietly on my balcony with my herbs: observing their growth, enjoying their scents, and finding peace. Amidst the hustle and bustle of NYC, these peaceful moments observing Mother Nature doing her thing, reminded me that life has seasons. Things are always growing and with the right amount of water and love, beautiful things can happen.
Plants stopped being merely interior design pieces for me. They had become an important part of my lifestyle, and mindfulness practice.
I couldn’t believe that I had lived in NYC for so long thinking I was a plant killer, when all I needed were some great resources to learn the skill of caring for plants. The Sill was a huge resource for me when I first started. I followed their Instagram, read their blogs, and attended their Houseplant 101 classes in their original Chinatown storefront. Finding all these great resources on houseplant care even led to the inspiration for my podcast, Bloom and Grow Radio! In my show I get to interview plant experts on various aspects of houseplant care, while getting to grow from a novice to Plant Person along the way.
I hope anyone out there interested in learning to care for plants takes the plunge and tries it, you won’t be disappointed! It can be such an amazing way for us city dwellers to find nature, peace and mindfulness while entering into an inviting community of like-minded Plant People. #KeepBlooming and #KeepGrowing!
— Maria Failla, Founder & Host of Bloom and Grow Radio
P.S. Follow Maria's plant parenthood journey on her Instagram.