Houseplants, or how I survive The Grey (and geek out at the same time)

We are 8 days from the Winter Solstice, or the shortest day of the year. That means on December 21st, Seattle will have a grand total of 8 hours, 25 minutes, and 27 seconds of “daytime.” Every morning, as I stare out the window drinking my cup of coffee, I am confronted with a moody greyness that’s hard to shake off. I know it’s probably too early in the season to start complaining about The Grey, but I can’t help myself. It’s dark out there!

This year, I’ve developed a new morning ritual to remind me of sunnier days. I sit with my houseplants.

I know, I’m a plant lady.

Calatheas can be finicky, but are quite pretty
[Image description: A leaf from a Calathea makoyana, also known as a Peacock Plant. The leaf is “round, pale, glossy green leaves. The upper surfaces of the leaves are marked with dark green blotches along the veins, and the lower surfaces colored deep purple, with leaf shafts that are very thin” (Wikipedia).]

Origin story

My journey with houseplants started a long time ago; I grew up in a house filled with plants. There was a big Norfolk Island Pine in the living room’s bay window, and I would play under its branches daily. As I grew older, I was tasked with watering the plants weekly. I remember walking through the house, watering specimens like an African Violet, a Spider Plant (hanging from a macrame plant holder, of course), and a Croton that my mother brought home from work one day. Watering the houseplants was the first time I was tasked to take care of a living thing, other than myself.

While I haven’t always lived with houseplants, last winter awakened the plant lady inside of me. I got tired of looking outside and seeing the natural world laying dormant before me. I needed something to remind me that even in the greyness of a Seattle winter, life kept going. I stopped into my local nursery on a whim, and bought an Angel Vine. The next week, I went back a bought a Sword Fern. I found myself visiting the nursery about once a month to pick up a new houseplant or two. Currently, I have 15 different types of houseplants. That doesn’t count all of my propagated offshoots from my Pilea peperomioides.

My Angel Vine is still growing, despite the lack of sun. [Image description: a close up of the vines of a Muehlenbeckia complexa, or Angel Vine. “Leaves are small and round with smooth margins. Branches are a reddish brown color and grow much like a vine due to its tangled growth habit” (Wikipedia).]

Things that houseplants bring out in me

The Chef: I was able to garnish some dishes with home grown parsley, cilantro, and mint. I wanted to also brew tea and make chimichurri, but unfortunately I killed the herbs through neglect. I’ll be trying again next year.

The Crafter: These past few months have been filled with macrame! I recently finished a small macrame plant hanger with small crystals hanging from the top. 

The Designer: I can easily change the look of a room with a new houseplant arrangement. I always try to keep a few together, to increase the ambient humidity around the plants.

The Scientist: I track when I water the plants, and experiment with a plant’s position relative to my living room window. I write down a hypothesis, and log my findings. Then there’s the science of propagating, or creating more plants from the original plant. And of course, there’s also identifying the random mushrooms and bugs that pop up in the soil. 

The Writer: I’m so inspired by my houseplants that I decided to write about it for GeekGirlCon!

Don’t get me wrong — my houseplants are suffering from the lack of light and humidity. The Sword Fern has yellow leaves, and the Ti Plant is browning at the tips from the dry heat pumping through my living space. As I sit among my houseplants though, I can’t help but smile. They might be growing slowly, but they are still growing.

I gathered all of my houseplants for a plant shelfie. Not pictured: my sad Sword Fern.
[Image description: Various plants of different sizes and specimens are arranged on one bookcase.]

If you’d like to get your own houseplant, I highly encourage you to visit your local plant shop or nursery. I’ve found them to be knowledgeable about which plants will grow well for our particular light conditions.

Do you have any favorite houseplants? Share them with me on Twitter!

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Kalyna Durbak
“Rock On!”

Kalyna Durbak

Kalyna is a copywriter at GeekGirlCon, and a professional Jill-of-all-trades.

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