meet the team

Alice and Johnny!

Alice and Johnny!

Alice

Plants in your collection: Approximately 200.

Gateway plant: A single Lithops bought with pocket money from a stall at the Great Yorkshire Show.

Favourite: Generally speaking this changes daily! However, my favourite house plant from my own collection has to be "Johnny" the rubber plant who I have lived with since 1993!

Most wanted: Scindapsus Njoy or Staghorn Fern are currently top of the list. 

Nemesis: The beautiful Calathea plant genus. They just don't seem happy in our jungle home.

Top tip: Mix your own pesticide using neem oil and washing up liquid in a mister bottle of water. This works well treating many common houseplant pests. 

 
Carlos and a  Physalis peruviana,  grown from seed!

Carlos and a Physalis peruviana, grown from seed!

Carlos

Plants in your collection: Approximately 200.

Gateway plant: Growing my own Avocado plant from a stone (seed).

Favourite: Currently I love Senecio rowleyanus because of the slit shaped windows in the spheres that maximise photosynthesis.

Most wanted: A large Euphorbia eritrea.

Nemesis: The giant Monstera deliciosa taking over our lounge. I do love it but it's difficult to navigate around it!!

Top tip: Avoid plants that are in pots without drainage holes. 

 
Emma and a HUGE  Ficus elastica  in Thailand

Emma and a HUGE Ficus elastica in Thailand

Emma

Plants in your collection: Between 90 - 100 at the moment. I have a few just lodging here whilst my parents are on their extended stay in Thailand.

Gateway plant: Cacti! My mum always had cacti in the house until a large Opuntia (aurantiaca?) attacked her whilst she was vacuuming. She stormed to the kitchen, grabbed a knife, stormed back to the cactus and beheaded it….. I came home from school to a murder scene (decapitated plant and knife on the floor!) It was a singular stem, but as Mum essentially pollarded the cactus and confused it’s apex, it grew four more! In 2007 I went to Saguaro National Park in Arizona, US and it was completely mind-blowing. Bats + cacti = heaven.

Favourite: From the shop…. Aspidistra elatior “Milky Way”. It’s so easy going. It lives in the bedroom, about four metres away from a north-facing window and it still developed four new leaves last year. Hopefully we will get them back in the shop in 2019! I’ve had a Dracaena marginata for almost 15 years. It’s over 5 ft tall now but was much smaller when I bought it. It’s a very common house plant but for good reason; they’re very robust!

Most wanted: I’d love a Hoya kerrii in it’s natural, trailing form. A variegated one would be nice too. They were two-a-penny in Thailand!

Nemesis: Pilea peperomioides. They always drop their bottom leaves very quickly on me but I quite like them looking like mini trees!

Top tip: Steer clear of pots without drainage. You have to be really clever and vigilant with your watering and it’s just not worth the worry. Indoor gardening should be a stress reliever so eliminate the worry of drowning your plants by keeping them in their plastic pots rather than plant directly into a decorative planter (unless of course it too has drainage holes!) If all plants were adapted to grow in situations with no drainage, we’d only find vegetation in waterbodies in the natural world!

 
Strelitzia NIColai……

Strelitzia NIColai……

Nic

Plants in your collection: There are currently 103 plants in my house (I think!)

Gateway plant: I bought a Ficus benjamina from Ikea as a teenager and promptly murdered it. Slowly regained some courage with cacti until I moved to uni and bought a Dracaena at Freshers Fair! That survived for a long while and I've since worked my way up to slightly more interesting plants.

Favourite: Picking a favourite feels a bit wrong, like picking a favourite child, but I'm a huge fan of the Calathea genus. They've got such lovely leaves, they don't need much light, and they don't show off when they flower but it's still really special.

Most wanted: Nothing in particular, but I'm always on the lookout for things that look particularly alien, or like they belong in a Victorian greenhouse next to poisonous and medicinal plants.

Nemesis: Also Ficus benjamina... It might* be because I keep buying them from Ikea but I just can't keep them alive :(

Top tip: Going to botanical gardens and seeing the plants we keep in our homes in a more natural setting. Not everyone can get to the kinds of tropical places most of our house plants come from but it's much easier to visit botanical gardens. Learning what kind of environment your plants are found in out in nature not only helps you understand what they need to be kept happy but is also super interesting! 

*Quite possibly…..

 
Sam and his massive  Monstera deliciosa  (and  Nephrolepis exaltata ).

Sam and his massive Monstera deliciosa (and Nephrolepis exaltata).

Sam

Plants in your collection: There are too many in my house. So many that sometimes I think I’m outside where peeing is permitted….

Gateway plant: In all honesty, I spend any disposable income on cheesy sticks but I was very excited when a 7 foot variegated Monstera deliciosa turned up at my home. I like to sleep under it sometimes and pretend I’m an intrepid explorer in deepest Mexico having a rest.

Favourite: I like to nibble on fresh growth of Holcus sp. grass when I have a poorly tummy.

Most wanted: Illicium floridanum - apparently it smells like a wet dog.

Nemesis: The large Echinocactus grusonii in the front window. My poor nose!

Top tip: Tillandsia (air plants) are non-toxic to dogs and I have been known to nibble on them when the humans leave them scattered around on the floor….

Last updated: March 2019 (we all probably have more plants now!)