Exact name of this begonia coming soon

For years I’ve posted about my indoor gardening scene and endured the derision/indifference of my fellow Ranters about my love for houseplants and bulb forcing. Remember Amy’s Top Ten Reasons I Hate Houseplants? It’s still a great rant, so, even though I disagree with it, I encourage all to click back and enjoy.

Here is just one part of my friend Johanna’s houseplant set-up. Photo Johanna Dominguez

Well times have changed—in a big way. Thanks to millennial fervor for houseplant collecting, I find myself at the low-to-moderate end of the houseplant spectrum. I have friends who are accumulating indoor plants at the same rate I would be buying garden perennials and annuals in May and June. That’s a lot. We’re talking rooms with wall-to-wall plants and frenzied searches for rare hoyas and Zamioculcas zamiifolia (whatever those are). We’re talking building indoor potting stations and covering every possible surface with plants and buying enough grow lights to arouse the suspicions of local law enforcement agencies.

Here’s Johanna’s office space, which has been planted up. Photo Johanna Dominguez

We’re talking regular houseplant swap meets and a huge Etsy houseplant sector. I am not a part of this scene and never will be. I probably will buy more plants, but I don’t like the hassle of grow lights, especially in our common living spaces, where they don’t fit into our lighting aesthetic.  And all the watering! The bug checks! The diseases! The wilting and dying for no apparent reason!

No. However. Dipping a toe can’t hurt, and now it’s been made easier as two specialty houseplant venues have opened in our area. One is an adorable little shop, the Plant Shack, located in a nearby state park (shown above). Another in the city proper, Daddy’s Plants, defines itself as “an indoor plant shop that cares about the health, aesthetic and design elements of adding plants to a home.” It may not sound like a big deal, but these kind of shops have not been common in our modest metro area before this.

So, a bit of a slippery slope. I bought two unusual begonias (one shown at top) at the Plant Shack and then plumped for a pricey monstera for my office (above). I have a feeling there will be just a few more. And then it’s bulb forcing time. I’ll double down on that just to impress all my new indoor plant loving friends. Have you upped your houseplant game recently?