Plant Whisperers: Angela Eickholdt
Plant Whisperers is our blog section where, each month, we interview Pilea lovers and plant enthusiasts all over the world!
This month we met Angela from @plantoramic, a plant lover from Detroit who found purpose and happiness in plant care!
How did your love story with plants begin?
When I was a kid, my mom used to spend most of her free time outside gardening.
As a result, I also spent a lot of my time outside helping her with the garden. She would let my brother and I pick out our own plants, and we would help take care of them.
As I got older, I became more interested in houseplants. When my mom would go to the store to buy plants for her yard, I would go with her to admire them.
When I got my own place, I really started collecting plants. It all began with one English Ivy. It made me so happy taking care of it and watching it grow that I decided to start filling my house with plants.
Would you say that plants have changed your life?
Yes! Plants definitely have changed my life. I truly think I would not be where I am right now without them.
When I first started collecting plants, I was at a weird point in my life. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my future; I didn't really have any hobbies, I just felt lost.
I remember the day that my friend and I decided to go out and buy some plants for my new place. From there, I wanted to learn about all the different types of plants. Plant shopping started to become a fun adventure for me. I would go to all of the local greenhouses and nurseries.
Soon after, I decided to start my Instagram page. Writing about my plants, taking photos of them, and engaging with the plant community made me into so much happier of a person. It gave me a purpose, and along the way I picked up some new hobbies while doing it.
Now, having houseplants gives me something to look forward to every day. Every new leaf, every bloom, every sprout makes me so happy.
The first thing I do when I get up in the morning is to walk around my house, open all the windows to let the sunlight in.
Plant care has become a regular part of my daily routine. And living in Michigan, the winters can get pretty dreary and depressing. Being surrounded by all of these beautiful tropical plants makes it so much easier to get through the winters.
How can you manage to have 60+ plants?
It doesn't feel like work to me. I personally enjoy taking care of all my 62 plants (plus a handful of plants that I have been propagating or growing from seeds that are still babies).
Every morning I walk around my house and look at all of them. Then I usually water them if they need it. 10-15 minutes of plant care a day goes a very long way.
Here's the best tip I have: underwatering is always better than overwatering. And once you get to know your plants, you'll notice that most of them have their own way of telling you they need to be watered.
What's your experience with Pilea Peperomioides?
I got my first Pilea last summer. It was one of those plants that I had wanted for a very long time. The only problem was that I could not figure out how to make it happy.
My original plant died due to overwatering and being in too large of a pot. Thankfully I was able to save one of the babies it had.
And now that baby has turned into a rather large plant that keeps making babies of its own. At this point, I have eight additional Pileas from my original plant. And now that I understand how to take care of them, they are one of my favorite plants.
If you want to keep your Pilea happy, treat it like a succulent. Don't water it regularly, only water it when its leaves become soft and it appears droopy. When it gets to this point, I fill a medium-sized bowl with water, and I set the pot in the bowl so it can soak up water from the drainage hole. I leave the pot in the water for 30+ minutes, or until the top layer of soil is moist.
In my experience, this plant does not enjoy moist soil. I use a succulent/cactus blend. You can always just use regular soil too and throw some perlite in for added drainage.
And as for sunlight, my Pilea enjoys medium indirect light. I have to spin the pot every few days; I noticed that this plant has a tendency to grow towards the sunlight.
I would also highly recommend putting Pilea in a terracotta pot with drainage holes. The terracotta will soak up any excess moisture in the soil, so the roots don't stay too moist!
How's living in a home with pets and plants?
I believe my cats enjoy being surrounded by plants.
They still occasionally try to chew on them, but at this point, I have moved my toxic plants so the cats can't reach them.
A lot of my plants are on shelves or in macrame plant hangers.
I have found that if I provide my cats with cat grass, they will leave my plants alone!
Do you ever talk to your plants?
Yes, I do! When I am caring for my plants, I like to tell them how pretty they are.
Any plants on your wish list right now?
Cissus Discolor, Philodendron Micans, and a Pink Princess Philodendron.
However, I'm not in a hurry. I don't like to order plants online; I like to stumble upon them. It makes it way more exciting for me when I get to add a wishlist plant to my collection!
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Angela!
Remember to follow her Instagram profile, @plantoramic.
Let's keep spreading the love and the fun!