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Plant Whisperers: Vanessa, Mom To 2 Humans And 51 Plants

Updated: Sep 3, 2019

Plant Whisperers is our blog section where, each month, we interview true Pilea lovers and plant enthusiasts all around the world!


Vanessa, from Toronto, is the lovely lady behind the Instagram account @fernavenue.

Let's discover her life as a mom, plant lover and Pilea parent!



1. How did your love for plants begin? 

It's been a slow-growing love, which has gone wild only in the past couple of years when I moved into a house with bigger windows.


Everything started when I visited some family friends in Boston during the winter, and they had a lemon tree with actual lemons growing on it — it blew my mind that you could grow citrus indoors that far north. I returned home and got my own lemon tree, and it quickly died, but I was determined to figure out a way to bring more trees and plants inside. That is when my learning about plants began! 





2. What is your favorite plant?

This is impossible to answer! I think my favorite one at the moment is Plumosa fern, but that will probably change tomorrow. I also love a good Norfolk Island pine.



3. What's your experience with Pilea Peperomioides?

I'm still pretty new to the club! I have had my Pilea for just under a year now. It was sold to me as two stems planted very close together in a tiny nursery pot; I recently separated and re-potted them, and they're doing OK, but I think they miss being together!


I've staked the first and am rotating it to see if I can get it to grow straight, while I'm letting the other one get curvy and more organic in its shape. I've put one on my dining room window sill, while the other one is in our sunroom. 


Pilea is such a unique plant! I noticed that it tolerates under-watering much more than I assumed.


What I love about Pilea is that it seems always to be making babies, so you can keep digging them out and experimenting with different growing conditions or just give them to friends.



4. Right, Pilea is a true baby-maker! You have babies too. How's living in a home with kids and plants together?

My four-year-old son is a total pro with plants — he went to a Montessori daycare where "caring for plants" is a key component of the curriculum, so he appreciates them, has his favorites, and he even checks if any of them have stopped growing!


My one-year-old, on the other hand, is a bit more problematic; he tries to pull pots off the window sill, and sometimes he grabs soil and throws it. Just the other day, I came across a stuffed monkey lying on the floor, covered in dirt; it looked like our son had been trying to bury it! 



6. What kind of Plant Whisperer are you? Do you ever talk to your plants or give them names?

I think I'm more like a stern headmaster with my plants, constantly patrolling around them, inspecting them, furrowing my brow and "tsking" when they aren't performing well.


I don't give them names because I feel like their scientific names are enough. I have a pretty tough love approach, I guess!



7. Do you share your love for plants with somebody?

I mostly keep my obsession into the realm of Instagram, but friends and family occasionally ask me for plant-related advice. I still haven't gone deep into the local plant-trading community, but I'm sure that's the next step!



7. What plant is on your wish list right now?

I have too many! At the top of my list: String of Hearts, Begonia Maculata, and Teardrop Peperomia! I also want a Monstera Deliciosa Variegata: the white foliage is extremely beautiful, but I'd probably end up feeling bad for its inability to photosynthesize properly! 



Thank you, Vanessa!

We enjoyed talking to you and discovering your dedication to your green friends.

Follow Vanessa on Instagram @fernavenue: you will find a well-curated feed full of lovely plants!

Let’s keep spreading the love and the fun!



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