Let your plant freak flag fly


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I started seriously collecting plants back in 2017 when I was working full time in my apartment. At the time I was working on my laser cutting business and I soon found myself fairly lonely at home all day. I had the company of my two dogs, Zeus (Weimaraner) and Pachino (Shih Tzu), but I was still looking for a relaxing hobby to help calm my mind and refocus me.

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Years before the start of Apartment Botanist, I always had an interest in plants, but I never understood them or the extent of their needs. I started first by making terrariums. At the time I was in college studying sculpture, and I was taking inspiration from nature. So, I use to gather up all types of succulents and cacti and put them in non-draining vessels and hoped for the best. Sometimes they would turn out ok. Other times I was dealing with a mealy bug infestation. Needless to say, I felt entirely out of my element. I started having less of a love relationship with my plants and more of a hate relationship. After the horrendous mealybug infestation, I actually stopped buying plants for almost over a year. I was so broken hearted over plants that didn't make it. I did collect pieces here and there, and they did slowly come back to life, alongside my confidence with plants.

“Do Not Resuscitate” 2013

“Do Not Resuscitate” 2013

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“Nature Kit 3013” 2013

“Nature Kit 3013” 2013

“Nature Kit” 2012

“Nature Kit” 2012

Fast forward to 2017. I was spending a lot of time in the apartment on the computer sitting and working. I remember having a random thought, "Maybe I should look up the scientific names of all the plants I have in the house?" So there I started "googling" away. Eventually, I did find and properly identified all the names of my cacti and succulents. It was a true experience of the "plant blinders" coming off, and I started understanding what plants I had and what type of care they really needed.

That's when it hit me. "Wouldn't it be crazy to collect rare plants and keep them alive in my NYC apartment?!"

Apartment Botanist on Instagram was finally born in February 2017. I began a more intentional plant journey of discovering rare and hard to find plants and starting teaching myself what they needed to live. It started a balancing act of their needs and my environment, a balancing act I'm still performing to this day.

The Apartment Botanist logo

The Apartment Botanist logo

I still have the majority of these plants. This one in particular has been with me the longest.    Mammillaria gracilis (pincushion cactus)

I still have the majority of these plants. This one in particular has been with me the longest.

Mammillaria gracilis (pincushion cactus)

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First plant post on @apartmentbotanist    String of bananas succulent in a vintage Haeger pot

First plant post on @apartmentbotanist

String of bananas succulent in a vintage Haeger pot

Just a few examples of my earlier collection and posts

Just a few examples of my earlier collection and posts

The coveted Pilea peperomioides. I actually scored this one for $10 during the time of the $50 pups. It came in the middle of a bad snow storm and is still alive today.

The coveted Pilea peperomioides. I actually scored this one for $10 during the time of the $50 pups. It came in the middle of a bad snow storm and is still alive today.

So much of the apartment has morphed into catering for the needs of my plants. Like my apartment, I've morphed too. When I first started, I remember being so shy, so afraid to ask or give advice. It took me a long time to understand that my opinion was unique and valuable. Caring for plants was giving me a sense of confidence I never knew I needed.

Now, here we are, present day. Apartment Botanist has grown leaps and bounds that, to be blunt, I would have never thought they would ever be brought to life. Yet, HERE. I. AM. Writing this blog, starting yet another new chapter in this plant journey. If anything has held true to this point, it's that I can't see what's coming next, but I'm excited about it. I hope it brings people and myself joy and a sense of pride to accomplish. I often think to myself, "what if I let the idea of starting a 'silly' plantstagram fester? And never let myself dive into my passion. What if I made the fear of being thought as, well, kind of weird or strange, keep me from doing something that brings me such relaxation and excitement." Well to that I say, whatever it is you want to do, go into it 100%, enjoy every second of it, and let that freak flag of yours fly!

_Alessia

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