It’s hard to believe that I’ve been obsessed with houseplants for less than two years.
I’ve always liked plants, though I was wary of flowers because they attract flying buzzing stinging things. I have great memories of playing in my parents’ and grandparents’ gardens with my sister, and of bringing in plants to school, donated by one of my nans, to decorate my classroom. I remember my form room in secondary school boasted a spider plant for a while – I’m not sure what happened to it, whether it died or stayed put when I moved on. I also have fond memories of pulling the leaves off my mum’s money plant and hiding them…sorry, mum!
For one of my late-teen birthdays, someone gave me an orchid, which I loved, but forgot to water. When I went to university, my mum gave me a spathiphyllum, a peace lily, which I also loved. I can tell because for all these years I’ve remembered its proper name. But I also forgot to water the spathiphyllum, and so it followed the orchid to an early grave.
My bedroom at my parents’ house had too much other stuff in it for there to be space for plants, so it wasn’t until I moved in with my partner that I could even think about them. Houseplants are quite trendy right now but when I first got the keys, they were the last thing on my mind. It wasn’t until we were settled enough to start trying to broaden our recipe horizons that I bought my first plant.
It was a basil plant that I fondly remember as Basil the First – it died this winter, as did all the cuttings I grew from it – and I bought it so I could make my own pesto. It made more sense to buy a whole plant rather than a bag of leaves, because it didn’t cost that much more and I could use it several times. So I bought Baz, and when I got home I went online and found out everything I could about caring for a basil plant. This included going on Instagram and looking at the #basil hashtag, which led me to discover the wonderful world of internet houseplant obsessives.
Thus the rabbit hole opened, and here we are. Now I have twenty-one houseplants, and counting.
I’ve had many mini-dramas – the death of Baz the First and all their babies, all my attempts to root money plant leaves, the trials of chilli plants – but one problem I’ve had since the start is finding nice pots.
When I first got Baz I had a rummage in my parents’ garage, but I only found a slightly-cracked saucer and a pot that my spider plant now lives in. One of my colleagues, a similarly obsessed houseplant fan, suggested charity shops – which had me slapping my forehead. DUH. Of course, charity shops were the answer, they’re always the answer!
The pots you’ve seen in this post were collected over several trips to different shops but they all have one thing in common – they were under £3. As I live in a rented flat, I didn’t want to pick a bold colour sheme for my plant pots, in case I move and they don’t match the next place, so they’re all white, with the exception of this one, which I couldn’t resist, even though it’s lilac! I just can’t stay away from purple!
Do you buy plant pots, or any other homeware, in charity shops? They’re also fab for mugs and vases, if you’re not a houseplant fan.