Plant Whisperers: a chat with Lauren Rae
Updated: Sep 3, 2019
Welcome to Plant Whisperers, our blog section where, each month, we interview true Pilea lovers and plant enthusiasts all around the world!
This month we met Lauren Rae, an enthusiast cat girl who discovered the houseplants world just recently. She owns the Instagram account @loraegrows, and she will start her own blog soon at loraegrows.com!
Last but not least, she owns a cute Pilea family, and she has been growing one of our Pileas during the past two months.
She told us about her fresh enthusiast for plants, and through her words, we learnt about a lovely story of shared passions and friendship!
Hello, Lauren! How did you become a houseplants lover?
Gina, one of my best friends, got myself and my friend Nick (@niiickarus) some terrariums for the last Christmas holidays. From that moment, we really ran with it.
Those little succulents became like gateway plants for my new indoor garden. Now Nick and I are getting Gina into more and more plants, and it’s been fantastic having a new hobby to enjoy together!
I have also spent a lot of time exploring some national and county local parks, so it’s been a lot of fun adventuring to all the different local nurseries and plant shops I have never noticed before. I have started with two air plants and two succulents, and now I have well over thirty different houseplants!
Wow! That's impressive in such a short time. Among all your plants, do you have a favorite one?
Do people get distressed when you ask this question? It’s a tough one! It feels a bit rude just to pick one of my plants — one of them will know and die on me!
Anyway, my Alocasia Polly is newer and something I have been searching for: I am loving it a lot right now.
We know you have a little Pilea family. What is your experience with it? Is there any tip you would like to share?
My new Pilea has been around for about two months now. It had two large babies when I bought it, so I clipped those guys off and swapped them with my friend Nick (which is particularly cute, to us at least; our cats also share the same Mama!).
The most important care tip I have learned is that Pilea is more “drought tolerant” than other plants because of their thick, succulent-like leaves.
It's true: Pilea doesn't need that much water! Where did you place your Pileas?
I still haven't had a chance to find a permanent place in my house for my Pileas, because I’m actually in the process of moving from Akron to Columbus (Ohio). I can't wait to find a high-light location in my new place so that it can thrive and get those fun, big leaves.
I did place my little Pilea family in the dining room, but now they will probably end up in the bedroom or the living room because that is where my new house has the best windows.
Yes — I checked the direction of my windows before moving, I am that person — no shame.
A lot of people have both pets and plants. How is the life of a cat lady who is also a houseplant lover?
It is interesting! My boyfriend told me we wouldn't have been able to have lots of plants with the cats. But here I am!
Honestly, it's all about strategy.
I don't keep much on the floor, and I fill the shelves with plants, so my cats can't jump there and play. I'm also starting to hang as many plants as possible: in this way, I'm also giving myself more decorating options! The most important thing is to keep anything toxic up off the ground.
My cats, Merry and Pippin, look to be interested only in specific foliage. Some plants seem to be boring to them, but others, like my poor Money Tree, are bearing the brunt of some kitty love. I have started growing some cat grass as a deterrent, and I am also looking into some Ponytail Palms to put on the floor.
You told us you share the love for plants with your friends, and that is lovely! Have you ever connected with new people thanks to plants?
I have found a great community of houseplant people on Instagram, which is entirely unexpected. I used to post a lot of hiking pictures, but after getting into houseplants, I have started posting more and more of my own plants and in turn following other people’s houseplants.
People have even been reaching out to me and wishing me luck about my move and sharing their own experiences with mental health because I’ve been sharing that on Instagram as well.
Given the current political and social climate, it has been really inspiring to see the genuine kindness of all the people in the online houseplant community.
I suppose I have never used social media as a networking tool before! The atmosphere has been so encouraging that I am in the process of starting a blog (loraegrows.com) about my experience with plants and mental health.
It sounds like a fascinating topic to read about; we can't wait to follow your blog. Do you have any plant on your wish list right now?
Oh man, yes! A Watermelon Peperomia: it's terribly hard to come by!
I also need one of those enormous Boston Ferns that consume an entire corner of a room. Lastly, I really want a Yucca Palm: my cats won’t reach the foliage but can stretch up the trunk and slide their little toes across the texture!
I could keep listing plants for hours, honestly, but I’m not sure how many more I can squeeze in before my boyfriend starts to notice! Jokes aside, he has been so supportive of this hobby and has taken particular interest in my Pilea because of its fun shape!
Thank you, Lauren!
We enjoyed a lot meeting Lauren. We find her excitement so genuine, and her story about plants and friendship is truly heartwarming! We are glad she had the chance of connecting with so many new people thanks to the great Instagram houseplant community.
Let’s keep spreading the love and the fun!