First came the home-cooked meals and baked goods. Now, the stay-sane-at-home movement has found its newest preoccupation: growing plants.
People have been turning their homes into green sanctuaries. Our feeds have been flooded with photos of proud plant parents and their leafy babies. They call themselves “plantitos” and “plantitas,” a portmanteau of plant and tito (uncle) or tita (auntie).
Some choose cacti in pretty tiny pots, others like indoor plants with giant leaves. There are others who prefer edible plants like herbs and vegetables. The reasons they choose to grow plants vary.
There are varying degrees of being a plantita, too. Some have pots in the corner while others have an indoor jungle. Here they share tips for the budding plantito or plantita in you.
Gretchen Fullido, TV anchor
I got into indoor gardening when I moved into my new place in 2017. I was also going through a lot at that time and taking care of plants was very therapeutic for me. Having greens inside the house changed the vibe of my home. It helped me with my mental health and gave me a sense of calmness. Back then, seeing new leaves grow gave me a sense of fulfillment and happiness.
I soon started propagating my plants. Now my home is literally an indoor jungle. Every angle and corner of my home is filled with plants. I even had to take out things and furniture because I wanted more plants to occupy my space. It also helped me let go of unnecessary things at home. Taking care of plants really shifted my outlook in life and gave a whole new meaning to it. I also met so many new friends and kind souls from the planting community.
I have so many plants. I collect monsteras, all varieties, but my favorites are deliciosas, borsigianas and adansoniis. I also have a huge yucca, a giant cactus, giant alocasias, giant pothos, rubber trees, fiddle leaf figs, philodendrons, anthuriums, begonias and more. I do short video tutorials for care and treatment, DIY stuff and ideas and I share my experience with my plants on social media.
My tip is to do your research first before buying a plant. Check if you are willing to exert time and effort on your plants because they are alive and they all need TLC. Start with low-maintenance plants, then work your way up. Don’t just get a plant because it’s in and trendy. Follow your heart and build a connection with your plants. I really believe that when you’re looking for a plant, your heart will skip a beat when you find it.
Abby Asistio, singer-songwriter, host and alopecia awareness advocate
I started really getting into plants during the lockdown. Went through a not-so-good season last May and what started as an initial distraction has now turned into a constant source of joy, peace, happiness and relaxation.
The first plants I took care of were a bunch of ZZ plants, which I also learned to propagate. I now have a growing collection of pothos, calatheas, sansevierias and caladiums. Some of my favorites: sensation plant, areca palm, peace lilies and wandering Jew.
One of my biggest lessons when it comes to growing plants is to not be too hard on myself when some of them don’t make it. I know it’s hard to accept and let go when they die after you’ve given them much love, care and attention. It’s OK to feel sad over them, but that doesn’t define your identity as a plant parent. Instead of dwelling on the heartache, focus your energy on the ones that are still alive, and celebrate new growth when they happen.
Carol Rosales, ESL teacher and trading business partner
My unit is beside the swimming pool and the sun’s rays get inside. So usually, the temperature is always humid. My only way to at least make the place a bit cooler is to grow plants inside. Eventually, it became a hobby. I started long before the fad of plantitas during pandemic.
I am fond of the sansevieria family. Whale fin, snake plant, worm type. They are great for my interiors, and my children usually benefit from the protection they give against radiation from gadgets and PC at home. I have one alocasia at the very corner.Plants are wonderful for the interiors, too.
Patience and effort are key. They are like pets. They need to be nurtured regularly. They give happiness but they also cause heartbreak when they become gloomy.
Micha Billones, lawyer
Like most people trying to survive being locked down in their homes during a pandemic, I, too, looked for a new hobby to immerse myself into. My heart ultimately led me to greener pastures. I became a plantita!
It started out with collecting indoor plants until I decided I was ready to get my hands dirty and grow myself some herbs. I have indoor plants, succulents, a few outdoor plants and my oh so favorite babies: herbs!
Don’t buy plants on impulse. Do your research to know whether a specific plant suits well with your living conditions. Learn how to care for it. For new plant parents, start caring for the basic ones (snake plant, ZZ plant, etc.) before progressing to relatively challenging ones like calatheas.
Bei Hubines-Demasiado, Bal’s Garden landscape artist
Planting was a form of punishment from our father. He would make us plant on weekends to prevent us from seeing our friends. Through the years, we learned to love what we do. We developed a green thumb, too. Now, we are landscape designers. Plants have feelings, too, so when they feel the love and care that you give, they will surely grow lovely and healthy as you want them to be.
Gina Villahermosa, teacher
When we moved into our forever home, I wanted to landscape our front yard. But I knew we couldn’t afford to pay a landscape artist. When the pandemic started, I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands that allowed me to work on the landscape of our house myself. It’s a wonderful way that helped me cope with stress and fear.
I started with vegetables that we grow on the side of our house, and my son helps me water them. Then I went to cacti and succulents. I propagate and grow them. It eventually became a business. For beginners, choose a common plant like rose cabbage, Black Prince and haworthia. They’re inexpensive and you won’t feel bad if they die on you. INQ