Interview with Cheyenne from @cheyheartsplants
Cheyenne is a dedicated plant lady hailing from Massachusetts, with a thriving plant collection. She grew up helping her mom in the garden, and learned a lot from years spent watching her mom's love for all things plant related!
Let's chat a little bit with Cheyenne and see how plant care is really a form of self-care, get the details on her indoor greenhouse project, and... wait for it... an avocado funeral.
*some answers have been altered for length & clarity*
When did you start getting into plants/gardening?
"I was really little when I first started helping my mom in the garden. She grew up on a farm and worked in garden centers/nurseries her entire life, so she is quite the plant guru. It wasn’t until I had moved out of the house and lived on my own that I started with indoor plants. I am from CA, but I have lived in Massachusetts since I was 18. I moved out here for college, and after my first winter away from CA/home, I realized that I really didn’t do well without any growing, green, or ALIVE things around me lol. I purchased my own house plants shortly after I had graduated and moved into my first apartment. It was a spider plant and a boston fern from Home Depot. I still have them!"
We love your idea of creating an indoor plant-room for the colder months - how has this project turned out?! Give us all the deets.
"This project is always a work in progress, but it is fully up and running! And it’s really working well! To be honest, it’s not that pretty looking. Definitely doesn’t have the same instagrammable aesthetic as some of the other plant rooms I see out there.
A friend through the plant instagram community told me that the room looks like it has “crazy botanist lady vibes”, and he is completely right. I LOVE IT, THOUGH!My plants are thriving. I think the 4 major things I needed to buy were a small [400 watt] space heater, grow lights (and the fixtures to hang them from the ceilings), an additional wire shelving unit, and a plastic window film/insulation kit."
We LOVE such an original take on an indoor greenhouse! So inspirational. Want some crazy botanist vibes in your tiny garden? Check out this propagation station.
Are there any hurdles you had to overcome as a new plant person or methods of plant care that you found particularly difficult at first? We all start somewhere!
"I think my biggest hurdle in my plant parent life is also the biggest hurdle I have to overcome in my regular life, which is not beating myself up when something goes wrong or when something doesn’t do well in my care. The truth is, there are so many things that can affect whether or not our plants do well. Sometimes you end up with a plant that maybe had been sitting around the greenhouse for too long, was infested with something, or just wasn’t right for your space. Don’t let these mess ups keep you away from trying again! If getting into plants is something you really want to do, don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help!"
What do you love the most about plants/gardening & how does your collection inspire you?
"The thing I love most about plants & gardening is how calming and grounding it is for me. People always ask me how I care for so many plants, because it is a big responsibility! But honestly, it rarely feels burdensome. I am drawn to care for them because I enjoy it, but also because it’s my main form of self-care. I have such a hard time doing actual self-care tasks because I am convinced I should be doing something else, I don’t have time, or I don’t deserve it. Plant care is sneaky in that it can keep you busy, but also leave you feeling so rejuvenated."
"The Ultimate Plant's Best Friend" bundle is the perfect combo of plant care & self care.
Did you ever have a major plant fail? What did you learn from it?
"Let me start by saying two words: avocado funeral. I have had SO many plant fails, but the one that sticks out the most is the time I somehow killed my avocado plant. As a native Californian, avocados are one of my huge staples. I have gotten crafty with avocado pits by using them to make fabric dye, but I have also tried to sprout many avocado plants. I had finally sprouted one and it lasted for about a year and a half! All of a sudden, it started having an incredibly dramatic decline.
Despite all of my efforts to save this plant, it just completely died. I was so sad about it that my roomie hosted a funeral for him. The funeral was a surprise, but she made it even better by dressing up in, like, a full Italian-grandma-in-mourning outfit, and then reading a poem at the service she held. To this day, I have no idea why the avocado plant decided to die, but what I learned from this experience is that even the sad losses or plant deaths can be made into funny memories."
Hobbies are about having fun, so it’s important that you’re always able to have fun, especially when things go wrong!
Do you have any plant care routines that your plants would (literally) die without? Share all the wisdom, my friend.
- "First of all, don’t be afraid of fertilizer. At first, I was so afraid I would burn or somehow kill my plants if I attempted to use fertilizer. Trust yourself and follow the directions on the bottle, bag, or in your google search.
- Adjust your plant care at each change of season. Plants in summer need different care then plants in winter. An important tip for winter time is to maintain some humidity. Winter is a dry time, and even though plants adjust to the season change, using a spray bottle to mist your plants, or placing a tray of water and pebbles under your pots, can really help.
- Lastly, to keep fungus gnats away (I hate fungus gnats with a burning passion), try bottom watering your plants! It’s worked really well for me."
- Bottom-watering: when you let your plant drink up all the watery goodness from a dish or saucer, instead of watering from the top down. All of our planters have drainage holes and all (but one!) come with dishes.
Cheyenne's Fiddle Leaf Fig, affectionately named"Fiddy Cent"
Any words of advice for anyone looking to get started with gardening in tiny spaces? We’re all in this together, after all.
"My advice is to stay curious about how to make your space work better for you and your plants! Rearranging things helps keep your space exciting, but it can also be strategic. In one of my most recent rearranging sessions, I decided to group plants based off of their watering schedule and watering needs. For example, I’ve grouped my cacti and succulents in one part of the apartment, and I have my more needy plants in another part of the apartment. It’s nice to be able to focus on one area at a time."
We love some good old fashioned curiosity. Nothing beats trying things out for yourself and learning along the way! (And gleaning alllll the tips from other tiny gardeners, of course ;)
Thanks for all the tiny gardening tips, Cheyenne!
For more interviews from this series, click here.
Happy gardening, everyone!