House Planted — how the pandemic sparked a house plant boom

House Planted — how the pandemic sparked a house plant boom

Working from home also means more time to care for house plants. Three plant enthusiasts talk about their collections — and the joys that come with a horticultural hobby

Name: Jordann Brown
Day job: Interior photographer at Jordann Brown Imaging
Plant count: 56

What do plants mean to you? Plants have been a great hobby and pastime for me, especially with being at home so much lately. There’s always something to do that’s plant-related — repotting, watering, or frantically googling plant questions on how to save a specific plant (oops!). From a design perspective, I love how they complement the mid-century/ boho vibe in my home.

Photo by Jordann Brown

Do you play favourites? Oh, totally! I love plants that are easy to care for, need almost nothing from me, and still end
up thriving. I also have a few rarer plants that I spent more money on than I wish to admit. Those plants get the VIP do-not- forget-to-water-EVER treatment. My first plant purchase was a fiddle-leaf fig, so I also have a soft spot for that fella.

How would you describe your plant style? Most of my plants are easy to care for, with interesting foliage.

What makes a plant special? To me, it’s not just a plant’s beauty that makes it special. The memories attached to when I acquired a plant are also important. Some plants I received from lovely people at plant swaps, some I purchased on a plant shopping day with my mom or a friend. A plant shopping day is the best kind of day in my opinion!

Name: Melanie Nim
Day job: Co-owner of The Crazy Plant Chicks
Plant count: 96

How did The Crazy Plant Chicks meet, and how did the business launch? The five of us met through mutual friends nearly 20 years ago. One of my sisters and two of her sisters- in-law are part of the business, so we consider this business to be family-owned and operated. When the pandemic started, we all started to work from home and wanted to liven up our spaces. Interior design and home decor have always been a big passion for all of us. We started to think about small things we could do to liven up our homes, and plants became our new obsession. One day, one of us joked that we’re a bunch of crazy plant chicks — that’s how we came up with the name for our business.

Photos courtesy Melanie Nim

How do plants affect your mood? I feel a sense of calm when I look at my plants. Each plant has its own unique beauty, and it’s a joy to observe its different shapes, textures, and colours. And, of course, caring for plants is meditative. It’s a daily practice of completely disconnecting, being fully present, and observing cues. A plant will let you know if it is happy and healthy or thirsty or needs a bit more love.

Do any of your plants get special treatment? New or more rare plants require extra care and attention. I recently built a greenhouse cabinet in my home to recreate an environment similar to the tropical conditions some of my plants are used to and to ensure the rare ones receive optimal humidity and light.

What makes a plant special? A plant’s transformative power is what makes it so special. Along with its environmental benefits like improving air quality, it can liven up and brighten up any space. On a personal level, when I buy a new plant, I love thinking about where it would thrive, grow, and stand out the most, and which pot would best complement its beauty.

Name: Nikki Fournier
Day jobs: Jeweller at Bullets and Bones Jewelry / Veterinary hospital support staff
Plant count: 102

What do plants mean to you? I’m fairly new to plant collecting. I began the pandemic with zero, and now I’m here… In the beginning it was a way to keep busy. I had a very small balcony garden. I unsuc

Photos courtesy Nikki Fournier

cessfully grew peppers, strawberries, and a handful of herbs. I enjoyed the peaceful time moving the plants outside each morning, watering them, caring for them, and taking in their beauty. I realized how much this small routine meant to me in a time of complete chaos, and didn’t want that to change when the weather did. I also noticed the positive effect this new routine had on my anxiety — and so houseplants became my new obsession. Plants have already had a heavy influence on my jewellery design.

How do plants affect your mood? I don’t know how to describe it other than pure joy! The act of caring for plants lowers stress and teaches patience — something anyone who knows me will tell you I lack.

Can plants be considered an addiction? I consider it a very healthy addiction!

How would you describe your plant style? Urban Jungle? The more the merrier? I’ve crammed 100-plus plants and a mini greenhouse into a 200-square-foot studio apartment and I’m not about to stop.

Where do your find your plants? I’ve been lucky enough to attend distanced outdoor plant trades and benefit from a wonderful plant-y Facebook group called “Ottawa Plant Swap.” I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed shopping in person. Some of my favourite stores are Amy’s Little Plant Shop, John St Shop, Plant & Curio, and Flower to the People.