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Just Another Millennial with a Plant Problem

Hello from the Plant Vitamins blog! My name is Maggie, and I am so excited to be joining the team. I live in small-town rural Ontario, where I spend my days teaching and writing. I’m diving in today with a little bit about my plant parent journey thus far, and how I ended up here in the first place.

I’ll be completely honest: there is absolutely nothing unique about the way that I have amassed 20 houseplants over the past six months. Like everyone else, I’ve spent the last year navigating the pandemic. I found myself housebound, fortunate to have my health and a lot of free time on my hands. I scrolled my social media feeds and noticed that suddenly everyone was acquiring new skills; they could bake bread, meditate, or DIY a basement reno. In an effort to ease some anxieties and pass the time, I was looking for a hobby too. Specifically, I wanted something that was both aesthetically pleasing and mood-boosting, but also realistic and achievable. I’m here to tell you: plants were the answer.

Luckily, there have been so many ways to acquire houseplants during lockdown. My main sources have included nurseries that deliver across the country, and porch drop-offs from friends willing to share cuttings from their collections. I have everything from ficus to pothos, orchids to palms. I am totally in love with my budding collection (pun intended), and my wishlist of plants continues to grow.

The only problem is that pre-pandemic, I’d managed to kill every plant I’d ever owned. From hand-me-down cacti to gorgeous gifted succulents, nothing had survived under my watch. And yet, despite the fact that I’m a chronic over-waterer and have spent the last six months battling mildew and mealy bugs, I am totally committed to turning my thumb green. I get such joy out of the time I spend with these plants. Not only do I want to keep them alive, I want more of them.

Like anything I do, I am all in: full steam ahead, diving in head first, committed to being the best. But here’s the thing: I cannot, for the life of me, find the answers I need through a simple internet search. A yellowing leaf, a fuzzy spot, a brown and crispy edge….the search engines give me the vaguest answers:

“You’re giving it too much sun, or not enough.” 

“You’re overwatering, or maybe underwatering.”

At first it was totally frustrating to realize that I couldn’t scroll my way out of my plant problems. My generation has become accustomed to using our phones to settle disputes and become armchair experts, after all. But eventually I realized one of the beauties of acquiring a new plant: trial and error and the passage of time are the only ways to figure out what each unique plant requires to thrive. And isn’t that the truth about all new relationships? If a simple internet search could solve all of our curiosities, what would be the point? Stumbling our way through life...that’s when the good stuff happens.

Which is kind of what led me here. I was repotting my ficus elastica (incorrectly, I might add, but more on that another day), and I noticed that the label of the potting soil I was using said “Feeds plants for up to 3 months”. This gave me pause. I’d been under the impression that a houseplant needs water, sunshine and a little luck in order to thrive. What does it mean to “feed” a plant? And what was I supposed to do once my potting soil “expired”?

After some serious research into the products out there, I learned that fertilizers are less like food for plants, and more like vitamins. I also learned that there are different types of fertilizers, including chemical and organic. On top of that, some brands of fertilizers recommend wearing gloves and eye protection during the application, and keeping the product out of reach of pets and children. Since my plants occupy the same space as my family and I, this raised some serious red flags. My three-year-old is curious about everything around him, and my senior rescue dog is known to lick anything within 12 inches of his snout. 

This is what brought me to Plant Vitamins; I was searching for a Canadian-made, organic houseplant fertilizer. Something easy to apply, safe to use around my loved ones and hard to mess up. I’m so happy I found these products, and will be sure to tell you sometime about all the unique and wonderful ways I use them. And while we’re getting to know each other, I would love to know what brought you here, too! Are you new to houseplants? Are you a seasoned pro who can offer me your best tips and tricks? I’d love to hear from you, whether in the comments section below, or by leaving a comment on our latest Instagram post.

So now that I’ve found a brand that I can get behind, I’m thrilled to be here to share some of my successes and struggles as I learn what works and what doesn’t. I’ll be sure to keep it honest and to have some laughs along the way. After all, these plants bring me joy, but also humility. I am far from perfect, and am learning to be okay with trusting my intuition instead of an internet search, even if it means having a lot of patience and a yellow leaf or two.

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