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.
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.
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?
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!
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.