Sarah, how did you get into plants?
About three years ago a friend of mine gave me a pothos plant because she “could never remember to water it” which I found so interesting because the plant was seemingly healthy and beautiful so I thought ‘why not’ and took it from her. This was around the same time that I was going through a pretty serious bout of anxiety and depression, which sometimes made it hard for me to even leave my house. After receiving my pothos plant, I felt a little excited that I had something to think about and care for. Those first few weeks of steady, patient attention to my plant allowed me to feel more in control, more connected to nature, and more myself. I began frequenting local greenhouses and I realized that every time I went, it felt like some type of therapy. I would be stressed, anxious, sad, etc. and use some free time to go look at plants to make myself feel better.
I didn’t necessarily buy a new plant every time, sometimes I just looked around and met fellow plant-lovers, asked the greenhouse employees questions about plant care, and other times I just stood in the middle of the isles and basked in the glory of everything around me. Even to this day, after working through a lot of the things that I was struggling with at the time of receiving my first plant, I find myself occasionally heading to the greenhouse for a pick-me-up. As my plants increased in number, so did my interest. I began learning more about growing conditions and species, propagation techniques, and I even started a plant bucket list. In a way, plants have given me a new reason to wake up in the morning. They are completely reliant on conditions and care to live and thrive. They need me and I never have to question that. Not to mention, when they thrive I feel better - just feeling their energy and knowing I’m a part of that. Plants made me feel needed in a way I’ve never felt before and that’s okay with me. I now have a house filled with over 300 beautiful, healthy plants, a backyard greenhouse, and a much healthier mental state - that I mostly have plants to thank for!
Tell us about your Instagram feed:
My Instagram (@sarah.slu) is such a conglomeration of everything - plants, photos of my home, client photos, my hedgehog, and the occasional selfie. I go back and forth with splitting them into multiple accounts, but I run 3 separate accounts for work so I don’t think I could mentally keep them all updated without going insane so I’ll stick to leaving my grid as the pile of quality misfit photos!
What is your favorite plant?
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma ('mini monstera plant') is my favorite plant because it is flat out adorable and I get truly excited when I see new growth. I have so many “progress” photos of my mini monstera in my phone’s camera roll that I would probably look completely insane to the average non-plant person!
Any plant care tips you can share?
I usually make a lap around my house (the plants are everywhere) once every 2 days to briefly check on all my plants and make sure they’re looking happy and aren’t tilting. I like to tell people to touch the leaves of each plant because you’ll really be able to tell just by touch if the plant is in need of more water or light or in some type of distress.
What's your weekly care routine?
I water my houseplants once a week on Wednesdays. Because I have over 300 of them it can take up to 2-3 hours if I’m by myself. I always play “Plantasia” by Mort Garson over the speakers because I love the idea that my plants know when watering time is coming and it’s like a little party each week!
Must follow Instagram account:
@elsielarson for sure. She has a very similar vibe and aesthetic to me and I love staying up to date with her interior design projects + her recent adoptions!
P.S. Follow Sarah's plant parenthood journey on her Instagram and check out her gorgeous photography on her website.
Words By The Sill
Empowering all people to be plant people—a collection of articles from The Sill’s team of Plant Experts across a variety of plant care topics to inspire confidence in the next generation of plant parents. Welcome to Plant Parenthood™.