Welcome to another week of our series about all things plants and styling with some of our favorite influencers. This week we got the opportunity to chat with Christine Kelso, @workhardplanthard, whose Instagram handle says it all!
1. What is your very favorite plant currently in your home?
This is such a hard question, because I love them all so much! But I am so enamored with my alocasia zebrina right now. I first saw it on Instagram and I was drawn to the gorgeous patterns on the stems. I squealed out loud when I finally found it, later realizing it's a reticulata (has amazing leaf patters as well). It's also very tropical which I love.
2. Where is it and how have you styled it?
I just moved it yet again (I'm always moving my plants around!). It's right on our entryway credenza now. We got a new door with a window so it will get enough light there. It's in a big white pot and sits under a vintage map of Hawaii. I thought they pared well together and I love the white/green contrast.
3. How did your love affair with plants first begin?
I grew up in Hawaii so I was surrounded by tropical beauty. We had huge plumeria trees, a mango tree, and a macadamia nut tree in our yard. Lots of bromeliads and hibiscus, too. When I moved to California I was sad about what I felt was a lack of green. But over time I have come to appreciate and admire the beauty of desert plants so much. I adore succulents and cacti. But I also love that I can surround myself with tropical plants in my home that remind me of my amazing upbringing. Incidentally I wrote lots more about my plant journey on my blog intro, it's been a long amazing journey!
4. Where do most of your plants live? Bedroom? Bathroom? Everywhere?
Most of my plants are in the living room, family room and kitchen. Those rooms are on the west side of our home. There are large south and west-facing windows offering lots of good light. The kitchen also has a skylight. Our bedrooms are a bit darker so I don't keep as many plant friends there. Our bathrooms are fairly small so they don't have much room for plants, but we plan to do a small remodel swapping out large vanities for pedistal sinks, and my husband suggested I could put plants underneath. I'll probably put ferns there since they love humidity!
5. If you and your favorite plant had a song, what would it be?
Lean on Me by Bill Withers. I feel strongly that taking care of plants is therapeutic for the soul, so there's definitely a give and take - we lean on each other.
6. How do you pair the perfect pot with a plant?
Trial and error! This is so funny because I change pots and plants around all the time. I test them out for a couple of days and get a feel for the aesthetic it creates. Every once in a while I pair something and it just seems right. Like my Sedum multiceps ("mini joshua tree") with its gray and yellow planter. Or my variegated peperomia in its little yellow pot.
7. What are your favorite plant styling tricks?
I really like to work in sets of 3, unless it's a large statement plant that can stand on its own. Three plants of different sizes, in pots that complement each other. Or one plant, a book, and a prop. Or 2 plants and a book...you get the idea. I like to create little vignettes all over the house that I'm constantly changing. But there's usually symmetry and purpose. I also enjoy using classic toys as plant props, such as vintage cars or little wooden spinning tops. I have two elementary school aged kids, so it gives an element of fun to the plants.
8. How do you recommend new plant lovers start using plants in their home decor?
I think the most important thing is to consider the available light around the home. Find a good spot with bright, indirect light which most houseplants crave. Start with just one statement plant. If you're scared you don't have a "green thumb," pick something easy like a ZZ plant. A lot of people struggle with fiddle figs which are beautiful but can be very finicky. The ZZ has such beautiful deep green foliage and can handle so many light situations. It is also very hard to over- or under- water. Pothos are another good option. And of course the Pilea - which can stand on their own or be great accent plants. You don't have to use fancy pots - terra cotta is a great way to start and there are so many terra cotta shapes and sizes nowadays. Over time, you can create cozy spaces around the home such as a nice corner with a comfy chair, a little side table, and surround it with friends. Who wouldn't want to snuggle up there?
9. Have you made any friendships thru your plant collection?
I feel like I have a lot of virtual friends through Instagram - like plant pen pals. And I've met some in person which has been awesome. Most recently Maria from @bloomandgrowradio came to San Diego and we went on a mini plant tour together. I loved showing her around and being plant nerds together!
10. What plant are you dying to find right now for your collection?
I would love to add some anthuriums to my collection, including the "ace of spades" (crystallinum). The foliage is so gorgeous - once more that tropical vibe. I have a birthday coming up and I just might have mentioned something about that to my husband :).
Is there any question why Christine is one of our favorite people? Her house is basically our dream...
xx- The Piep Team