my twentynine roommates

when i was living in Seattle, i kept trying to grow plants. specifically, i was trying to grow trees. but over four years, i learned that you need something called “sunlight” to grow stuff. how trees manage to grow on their own up there, i have no idea. literally.

now that i live in San Diego and the weather is a little bit different, i wanted to try the whole “plant” thing again. it started off with some seeds (and a few avocado sprouts that i had to leave up north), but very quickly grew into wanting some established growth.

but if you’re like me, it’s hard enough to keep myself alive, much less something else that’s living. and finding time to buy plants was literally out of the question. but then i heard about this website called Amazon that would literally ship plants to my door. no, these aren’t the giant, lush plants you see in movies. they’re small and new to this world and will hopefully outgrow their planters soon. i see a lot of myself in them- fighting hard to grow, full of potential, and so alive. they need some sun and fresh air and water and it’s a good reminder that i need those things too. anyway, i ended up getting some plants for my new aparmtent. twenty-nine of them, actually.

a lot of people have been asking about my plants. okay, like one person (thanks Brenna). but maybe if you wanna start adding some more life to your space, here’s some info for you:

first off, NASA recommends some houseplants and that’s cool. the Times doesn’t know if plants actually do any good, but it sounds like they’re at least okay. on a personal note, i love having some plants around even though that they drink a lot and i’m terrified of killing them (just like people, am i right). it’s a personal choice to grow house plants, but here are some of my favorite new roommates:

Fiddleleaf Fig Tree — 4"


the fiddleleaf is the one that got it all started. i read a blog post about how you can buy plants online and then it gave some tips on how to take care of it. idecided to try it because- why not. i have a big empty apartment in San Diego and no one can tell me no. spoiler alert: i love them.

Swiss Cheese Plant — 4"


my actual roommate Jonathan requested this plant. i never heard about them but they’re actually these really amazing climbers that push water out of their leaves at night. also they’re called Swiss Cheese Plants but they don’t actually make swiss cheese. win/win.

Heart Leaf Philodendron — 4"


honestly, i got this one because the coffee shop across the street has them climbing on the wall. and i wanted a climbing vine that looked nice. they’re apparently low maintenance which explains why i haven’t killed this one yet.
(but here’s a 6" plant that looks nice too)

Orange Bird of Paradise


my mom always had these growing up -turns out you can grow these pretty much anywhere, but i was excited about growing one of these on my own, in a fitting climate.

Peace Lily


apparently these are incredible for air quality. they also add some nice height and the flowers are nice too, i guess. i’m not really a flower guy. as an aside, the flowers don’t really smell. either that, or the one i got is actually plastic (just kidding it’s real because i’ve killed some of the leaves)

Staghorn Fern


i first saw these in a plant shop in downtown seattle- i didn’t know that they were so easy to actually get. note: they come in a normal pot, and after they’re established you can mount them on a piece of wood.

Spider Plant

again, i saw this growing up- my sister had one. for like, ten years. i actually don’t love it- but it’s great for indoor air quality and is impossible to kill until you knock them over and break all the leaves. which i’ve done. a lot. sorry, spidey. and i’m sorry i keep stepping on your weird stem thing that propagates your little seedling things.

lastly, i did try to grow some trees from seed. redwoods, actually. i also tried spruce and aspen but they’re literally impossible to grow. redwoods have been easier to start- although my germination rate is lower than i expected. the best packs of seeds i’ve found are dawn redwood and giant redwood. you need to soak the seeds in hot water for a day and then stick the seeds in soil. dust the surface with cinnamon to prevent mold from eating at the seeds.

that’s all i have. any tips, tricks, or other plants i need to get? let me know. seriously. i think i’m addicted and wouldn’t mind getting a few more plants.

engineer + creative + sustainability thinker. trying to reduce the noise in my life. future dog owner.

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