The first step for anyone looking into a new hobby is to research. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources available online. For baby plant parents looking for advice, joining any of the many local plant care Facebook groups is a good place to start.
Isabel Escolar, who’s been raising succulents for almost five years now, explains that finding and raising your first plant is like choosing your starter Pokemon—you have a lot of things to consider beyond their cuteness.
Figure out what type of plant will suit your home and capabilities. Things to consider include whether it will be an indoor or outdoor plant, the amount of sunlight or rain it needs and gets in its area, how much time you can devote to taking care of your plant, and how tolerant you are with bugs, among others.
Finding your plant
After finding out what type of plant is best suited for your lifestyle, finding a reliable seller is the next step.
Albert Bofill, who started an outdoor garden this quarantine, shares that it is best to buy from a local plant nursery. It’s usually safer because these places can guide buyers and give them a headstart on do’s and don’ts in raising plants.
He emphasizes that while it’s exciting to “collect ’em all,” it’s necessary to show restraint because a potential plant parent needs to feel out his or her capabilities first to keep a plant alive.
Before the pandemic, Lizzy Lao used to buy her plants from Farmer’s Market Cubao and QC Circle, which may not be an option for many right now. For those who want to buy plants from online sellers, Lao advises buyers to ask for multiple photos from different angles to make sure that the seller is trustworthy.
Living with your plant
After getting your plant settled in their new home, it’s time to learn how to live with it. A common misconception is that succulents are low-maintenance. Escolar explains that low maintenance is subjective and it really depends on the person’s willingness to learn and adapt.
She advises people who are just starting out to go with indoor home plants like pothos or philo plants. A lot of plants are high-maintenance and require very specific care, and it takes time to learn the distinct personalities—yes, personalities—of your new plant baby.
“It’s also nice to think that every plant has their own temperament and personalities. Like if you cut the branches of a plant too much, nagtatampo sila and they stop growing or blooming, or they fight back and grow twice as fast,” she says.
Escolar explains that it takes time to get to know your plants. All the struggles and difficulties are worth it when you see them bloom under your care.