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@kejt_plantlover      238 posts 14,7k followers

Can you tell us a bit about yourself. Where you’re from, how old you are (not necessary), a description of how you live, your job, hobby’s, etc. Or anything else you feel comfortable sharing.

My name is Kasia (eng. Kate), I come from Poland and currently live in Krakow. I am 31 years old and I am a sociologist. My work focuses on the study and analysis of consumer behavior and motivation. Watching people and what they do and, most of all, why they do it, is really fascinating. Also, I love to cook, my friends laugh that I basically live in the kitchen. For some time I even hosted a culinary program on TV, which unfortunately no longer exists, and later I also managed the largest Facebook culinary community in the country, for which I created video recipes with my team. Well, clearly I can’t complain about being bored and sitting still. There always has to be something going on in my life! I try to live by the idea of minimalism, focusing on quality rather than quantity. Nature is very important to me and it’s the contact with it, also in the form of houseplants, that allows me to catch my breath in the crazy everyday reality.

When did you start with having and taking care of PLNTS and why?

I started getting interested in plants almost 5 years ago, but the first were herbs that I grew and used in my kitchen. Haha I said I cook a lot! Later, when I found out that I had a ‘good hand’ with them, I thought maybe it was time to try something more ‘advanced’. The truth is that plants have been with me all my life, however unconsciously. I grew up in a house where there was always a place for them.  I still remember my grandmother’s huge palm trees and ficus trees and the ivy climbing up the wall and ceiling of my second grandmother’s living room. My mother had a floor-to-ceiling flower stand that was always full of pots. I must confess, however, that I paid absolutely no attention to them at the time.  I never thought I’d go crazy over houseplants myself someday!

“The truth is that plants have been with me all my life, however unconsciously. I grew up in a house where there was always a place for them.”

In these strange times, have you tried any new plant activities or learned any fun new plant tricks?

I’ve definitely started to devote more time to my plants because, with my switch to working remotely, I have the opportunity to do so! I started pruning and propagating my collection, and then ‘infecting’ (although these days that’s not the best word) my friends with my passion for plants. I won’t lie if I say that at least 15 people were drawn into this world!  During the pandemic I also started experimenting with simple DIY fertilizers, including my favorite – homemade banana peel fertilizer. Even the most stubborn plants wake up to life after a dose of it and pop out new leaves. The recipe is simple: just pour boiling water over a few banana peels and leave them in a closed jar/container in a dark, warm place for a few days, making sure to shake them a few times each day. The fertilizer is ready to use, just strain the peels and add the liquid to the water you water your plants with. It’s been a real hit with my followers!

You never forget your first love, and most plant parents never forget the first plant they adopt into their family. What was yours? Can you remember your first PLNT, is it still alive?

Of course I remember! The first was a Dracaena, bought at a nearby grocery store during the usual shopping. It cost next to nothing, so I thought I would have a go and try not to kill it. Fortunately, it turned out to be almost maintenance free and it worked – 5 years later it is still alive, well and taking up more and more space. I have a lot of fondness for her. Right after that I went crazy about succulents but…. I didn’t do too well with them. I regularly overplanted them until I finally decided to give almost the entire collection into better hands.  I was also very excited about my first rare plant which was philodendron pink princess. It is also alive, it even gave birth to a few seedlings.

“During the pandemic I also started experimenting with simple DIY fertilizers, including my favorite – homemade banana peel fertilizer.”

If you could go back in time, what would you tell yourself about plant parenthood when you adopted your first plant?

Stop watering them! Haha as an inexperienced green mom, I notoriously overwatered all my plants. My lack of knowledge was fatal to many of them (so sorry!). I would also tell myself ‘slow down, calm down, buy more sensibly’. In the beginning, in a wave of new passion, I bought a lot of plants, often ones I didn’t know how to take care of. Plus gadgets, accessories, tons of unnecessary stuff. I was very susceptible to marketing tricks. Fortunately, as time passed and I gained experience, I learned not to buy plants that I don’t get along with.

What is your favourite variety of plants and why have you chosen it?

I unconditionally love the Araceae: Philodendron, Monstera, Rhaphidophora, Pothos are my favourite. They are very forgiving and resistant to changing amount of light – and in winter in Poland it gets dark already at 4 pm! I remember that when I started to be interested in plants I was surprised how many species of Philodendrons there are. I keep discovering some new ones that I had no idea about! I also like Begonias, I have a weakness for the dotted ones. And the undisputed queen of my jungle is Monstera deliciosa big form, which takes half of my living room.

Are there any influencers in the plant world you go to for inspiration?

I am totally in love with Craig Miller-Randle, or rather his home jungle. His collection is stunning and the size of the rare specimens is mind blowing. Shelley Caruana‘s posts always make me smile and I enjoy looking into her. And mariahgrows often inspires me, I really enjoy her videos. Igor and Judith from UrbanJungle are great too, I have both their books. Instagram is so full of inspiration that I have to dose myself with it, otherwise I would either go bankrupt or have to constantly change my apartment for a bigger one. I already decided to do that once, just because of the plants!

What plants are still on your wish lists for 2021?

On my wish list for this year are Rhaphidophora decursiva and Philodendron gloriosum. I’m always looking for plants that I instantly fall in love with, which is why it takes so long haha. It’s not about just getting them, but about finding the perfect one. This year I’ve already managed to get Philodendron elegans and Philodendron mayoi, which were also on my list for 2021. I remember times when there used to be basically no month without me going plant-shopping. Now I take a calmer approach to my purchases, they are much more thoughtful and selective, and therefore less frequent.

How did you manage to let your PLNTS survive in the heat of the summer? Any tips?

Hot weather can be problematic, especially considering how much the climate in Poland has changed over the past few years. The main rescue for my plants is an air humidifier. It really works wonders! In the summer I regularly give my plants a home spa, taking them to do the shower. I wash the leaves, but also rinse the soil in the pot. Fortunately, Philodendrons have an excellent tolerance for heat and do not require very moist soil, so I do not have to worry about them too much.

“…the undisputed queen of my jungle is Monstera deliciosa big form, which takes half of my living room.”

You are something of a plant expert by this point. Do you have any tips for new/expecting plant parents?

Above all, observe your plants. There is no golden advice, no universal truths on how to care for plants. Every climate is different, weather and housing conditions vary. Plants communicate with us, showing us immediately when something is wrong. It is enough to learn to read these signals. My grandmother was a master at this. She grew her plants in an extraordinary way, and she did not use any special cultivation techniques, species-specific soil mixtures, humidifiers or expensive fertilizers. She simply watched her plants every day, talked to them and let them grow in peace. I have the same philosophy! Of course, when in doubt, it is always better not to water than to overwater. And something I really strongly believe in: less is more. Plants need room to grow and their owners need time to care for them. Plant fashions have caused more and more people to buy dozens of plants. And the more of them there are, the less time we have for them and the less space they have to grow. It is not the number of pots in the collection that should be most important! And one more thing: don’t worry when things don’t go your way. It builds your experience. And most plants have one job anyway – to grow. So at worst, cut it down to zero and let it grow again. It really ALWAYS works!

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