Plant Enthusiast Demetri Broxton Shares 7 Tips for Budding Plant Parents

This is a must-read if you’re a budding houseplant parent but don’t know where to start.

So you want to become a plant parent, but don’t know where to start? Demetri Broxton, Bay Area-based artist and plant parent to over 200 houseplants, shares these accessible tips for starting your own houseplant journey.

“Gaining a ‘green thumb’ is more about taking your time to get to understand the ideal conditions by which plants will thrive.”

START SIMPLE

All new houseplant parents should start off with the easiest care plants first. Some easy-care plants are Sansevieria (commonly called Mother-in-Law’s tongue or Snake Plant), Dracaena (Dragon Tree), ZZ plant, Heartleaf Philodendro or Pothos, and Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen). All of these plants can thrive in a wide variety of common indoor conditions and if you forget to water them for a week, they won’t die.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Research the care requirements for the plant you want and determine if you are willing or able to provide the plant with the conditions it needs to thrive. Prospective plant parents should decide how deep you want to get into this lifestyle and make decisions based upon your available level of time and energy investment. Some plants may need supplementary light through grow lights, high humidity, or specialized fertilizers in order to thrive. If you are unsure whether your plant is getting enough light, you can use a free app called Lux Light Meter to measure the light in your house and find your plant’s perfect lighting.

TAKE YOUR TIME

Amassing a jungle of indoor plants is usually done one or two plants at a time. The beautiful houseplant collections of famous plantsagramers (like Hilton Carter) can be deceiving. When you’re starting out there’s no need to buy fifteen to twenty plants all at once or spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on rare collector plants. For those new to houseplant care, it’s important to feel like you can successfully take care of a small number of plants before diving into the world of rare houseplants. Not every plant will thrive in everyone’s home or under everyone’s care.

LEARN THE BOTANICAL NAMES OF YOUR PLANTS.

This may seem like a nerdy endeavor at first, but the botanical names of plants are unique to each and every plant. No other plant in the world will share the same botanical name, but several completely different plants might share the same common name. The common names of plants might be vastly different from country to country or even within different regions of the same country. The naming system for plants is called binomial nomenclature, which uses two Latin names. The first name is the genus of the plant and the second part is the specific epithet (together they are known as the species). Knowing the genus of your plants will quickly help you better take care of your plants because you can look up the specific care needed for that exact family of plants.

FORGET WHAT YOU’VE HEARD ABOUT GREEN THUMBS.

There is no such thing as a magical green thumb that we’re either born with or will never obtain. Gaining a “green thumb” is more about taking your time to get to understand the ideal conditions by which plants will thrive. It’s about understanding that different species of plants often have vastly different care requirements. Once you understand these components of plant care, everyone can earn a green thumb.

Build your confidence

Once you get more confident in your abilities to care for plants, you’ll want to jump into more complicated plants like Variegated Monsteras, exotic Philodendrons, or any of the other plants that dominate plantstagram news feeds.

Grow a community

Once you get more confident in your abilities to care for plants, you’ll want to jump into more complicated plants like Variegated Monsteras, exotic Philodendrons, or any of the other plants that dominate plantstagram news feeds.

Here are even more pages to check out:  @thebloomjourney, @trans_plantings, @theplantgent, @blackgirlswithgardens, @plantfix_and_chill, @blackgirlgreenworld, @my.flyyplants, @theblackplantman, @brownskinplantmama, @curliplantbae, and @countrygentlemancooks.

Demetri Broxton lives in Oakland, CA and has been caring for indoor plants since childhood. He is now the owner of over two hundred houseplants. He chronicles his plant journey on his Instagram account, @the_botanical_blasian. To support his plant habit, Demetri works as the Senior Director of Education at Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, CA and is a practicing visual artist represented by Patricia Sweetow Gallery.

@earthincolor.co