The problem with the current plant craze

Always propagating

Much like the rest of the world, plants and houseplants are a trend here in The Philippines, too. It is nice, people are getting excited about plants and there is more green in this world. I give plenty of plants away every day and it gives me joy. But there is a problem.

I noticed that this plant craze is met with some traditional sellers eager to cash in on the demand by supplying poor quality plants to buyers or acquiring plants without any idea how to care for them before passing them on to their poor customers. Happened to three people I know, all in the same week, who bought half-dead plants from three different sellers online.

These sellers treat the plants like any commodity and since they are alive – shocking, I know – they suffer greatly from the ill treatment. Meanwhile, most people buying them are beginners and they have no clue what to look for in plants or houseplants or what to ask the seller. They pay, get the gasping plant, and hope for the best.

Rehabilitating sad pepperomias: the watermelon is watered to death and the rosso is a fresh cutting.

It is really crazy. Never mind that the prices are unreal, that is just basic supply and demand for you. But the fact that some sellers pass on diseased plants, fresh cuttings peddled as established plants, and one or two dry leaves in a pot, is beyond me.

It is so simple to do plants right. In fact, it is more fun and rewarding this way. The current situation is just making me angry.

Certainly, anyone can sell plants. I am not tagging it as anything exclusive to gardeners or nurseries. But any decent seller must show integrity. If a plant is just any other product, then offer a high quality product that is worth the price tag.

Rehabilitating this overwatered selloum.

If a beginner receives a fresh cutting stuck in a pot, chances are, it will rot and die. The person might be discouraged and stay away from plants, thinking this is clearly not for him or her.

But what could have been if the customer received an established and healthy plant with the best odds for survival? Maybe it is the beginning of a life-long love affair. Terrible sellers steal this opportunity.

So my advice is this: if you are interested in greening your house, garden, or balcony, buy from gardens or nurseries that have been around before this plant craze. Do not fall for the new sellers who have zero education or respect for plants as living creatures. Or those sellers who lack integrity or just basic customer service. I mean, they obviously see the poor state of their product, why on Earth will they pass it on to the buyer?

Pepperomias we propagated. At least I think they are some kind of pepperomia?

Also, ask how old is the plant that you are getting. Do not just rely on its looks or height. Some cuttings can be massive but they are just that – babies. You want to get an established plant, at least several months old.

Inspect the plants when you receive them. I know it can be overwhelming when you pick them up, you are excited, but be meticulous: look for markings on the leaves and stems, any insects, and more important, check the roots.

Ideally, the roots have been so established that you can just lift the entire plant from the pot to check them. If it has three flimsy roots, or worse, no roots at all, do not buy it!

The right way to do plants is more fun.

And have some standards. Get a full plant – something lush and healthy. I see so many sellers posting a single sad strand of pothos or chain of hearts in a pot and charging an arm for it. Some literally sell two leaves in a pot or fresh cuttings without any roots at all. Why?

So do not just spend your money like that. No matter how much you make. Be careful and mindful of your purchase. Know more about your sellers and plants.

Plants are lovely home additions. Given the right plant, it will bring you joy, relieve your stress, and boost your well-being. At the very least, it will make your space look nice and vibrant.

I cannot imagine our tiny house without houseplants and the garden. It is very important to me and I want others to feel the happiness it gives me, too. These irresponsible sellers hinder that. It must stop.

32 thoughts on “The problem with the current plant craze

  1. As someone who loves plants but struggles to keep them alive, I’ve come to understand the importance of buying from someone who is actually knowledgeable about plants and their upkeep. It is well worth it to take the time to find someone whom you can trust and who will guide you well.

    Enjoyed reading your post. πŸ™‚

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    1. Hi Shirsha! Thank you for visiting us. Yes, you are right – we are not only buying a plant but along with that is the expertise of the grower. This cannot be underestimated. Plants are alive and not plain commodities. I wish you have a better time with your plants, too. What do you currently have?

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  2. Great tips!! I didn’t realize this bad practice has been happening recently. Too bad. I have been noticing the trend too but i don’t really want to join in without being fully committed to it. Like you said, these are living things and they deserve TLC. Succulents have been a frustration but hopefully i’ll be ready to try and adopt other plants too. i’ll keep your words in mind when i do πŸ’š

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    1. It is crazy, especially when it comes to cost. I feel bad about it. We pretty much have around 100 houseplants and never bought a single one because plant people share their plants with us and we propagate. I noticed this with plant people – they love giving away plants. Of course, not everyone has access to this and I can only wish there are fair sellers out there or more nurseries opening up. I respect you for being aware of your priorities and hope you get a nice beginner-friendly plant when the time comes! Do you mean you like to keep succulents but they do not survive?

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      1. Yes. The one i kept alive the longest grew too tall for its pot, and i had no idea how to fix it. Looking back, i should have researched more. But after that one i haven’t tried again. A friend suggested pothos? It’s supposed to be easy to take care of.

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  3. Thank you for sharing these pieces of advice. Now, I know what these “plantito” and “plantitas” are all about.

    I’ll share this with a friend who’s into this. So far, based on what you said here, I think he is doing it right. To date, he’s even grown a lot within the span of the quarantine period. πŸ™‚

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    1. Happy it helped. Are you into plants, too? I respect your friend for doing it right. If he was my neighbor, I would give him more plants. It is fun, and cheaper, this way!

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      1. Yup! Too bad, because of work and law school, I can’t seem to go back to my old love for plants. My mom introduced me to them and to dogs. As early as 3 years old, I’ve been caring for our family dogs and her orchids all at the same time. I think doing these during my childhood years had made me cheerful as I grew older. πŸ™‚

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        1. That sounds lovely, thank you for sharing a little about your childhood. What if you get a plant that requires minimal care and tolerates some neglect? Just so you can have some green. Helps with the stress, as you know.

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  4. Thank you for sharing all these tips to look out for! We have recently brought home a monstera and devil’s ivy, both doing well thankfully! But we’d love to add more to our collection in future, and it’s nice to know what we should be keeping an eye out for πŸ™‚

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  5. Are you from the Philippines?? I am from the Philippines too! You just visited my and left a note on my blog so I checked you out.

    Now on topic: I love house plants, but they die under my care 😦 that is so frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello. We are a German-Filipino couple and we have a tiny house in The Ph. Yes, your picture from The Netherlands is so cute. Oh, did you try again with houseplants? I wish we were neighbors and I will give you an easy-care plant.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I had no idea there was a plant craze going on in The Philippines! That’s too bad some unscrupulous sellers are taking advantage of people. You’ve offered some excellent advice to consider before heading out to the nursery or greenhouse.

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    1. I think it is the current global trend in interior design. Well, this is if Instagram is correct. Haha. It is indeed a terrible state. Plant lovers like me really feel bad about it. It is cheating well-meaning beginners.

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    1. Thank you. Some of the pictured ones are not doing extremely well. They have been given to me to resurrect. Sellers sold them to my friends and they are not very healthy to start. I am trying to rescue them.

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  7. A great post, I agree completely with the fact that plants are not like any other product. Customers need instructions for care, as there are not two plants that are the same. I feel that understanding the signals plants give has helped me keep them alive while they adapt and help them thrive. I love spending time in my garden as there is nothing more peaceful than that.

    Lindifique

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    1. I agree, good points that you made. There is so much joy and calm that comes from being surrounded by, and taking care of, plants. But it does not happen automatically and we have to make some effort for our plants, too. It is easier of course if we start with healthy plants but some sellers just make that impossible and I feel bad. What plants do you have?

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  8. My husband always buys me orchids and they alway die… Not sure if it’s my faultt or the store? I blame the store because the last one he got me came on valentines day and I did nothing different, but it’s still alive!

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    1. Well done on keeping it alive! And to your husband too for sticking with the orchid gift giving. Do you like orchids? I suppose it helps to research orchid care, especially if your plants have died before. I do not know much about orchids unfortunately.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah he knows I love them so we’ve tried everything … funny enough the one that’s still alive has been the most neglected… maybe it was me πŸ™ˆ

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