Favorite Houseplant Debate – Houseplants Are Like Children

By Nikki Tilley | January 8, 2021
by Nikki Tilley
January 8, 2021

Houseplants are a lot like people, especially kids. Yes, this might be a controversial statement, but it’s my opinion and here’s why.

One of our writers mentioned that picking a favorite houseplant was like picking a favorite child and you simply can’t do it (or shouldn’t anyway). This is absolutely true. Parents love their children equally, or at least they’re supposed to, although I’ve known a few that do seem to favor one child more than another. The same can be said of our houseplants. I have many but love them all the same. That being said, like children, each of our houseplants has certain traits which makes them a little more “special” to us. We still love them equally, but in different ways.

Plant Traits and Kids: Fittonia and the Rubber Tree Plant

Take my kids, for example. Both are different as night and day; yet, I love them just the same, although my daughter might argue that I favor her younger brother. Not true, of course. He’s just a different plant with different needs. And she’s just, well, my little drama child. In fact, I compare Leslie to my fittonia nerve plants.

She has always been my neediest child, requiring just a little more care. Somewhat contradictive, she likes to be in the limelight but not the center of attention. Nerve plants need light but preferably indirect. She’s happiest in the background but definitely enjoys being seen – standing out like the attractive fittonia foliage, though she won’t admit to it. Like me, she’s an introvert at heart, filled with creativity and imagination. When unable to fulfill this need, she becomes lifeless, withering into a slump, much as fittonia plants do when in need of a drink. Provide the sustenance it craves and this plant bounces right back, more vibrant and vigorous than ever. That’s my Leslie!

Her brother Austin, on the other hand, is quite opposite. He’s never been shy and never known a stranger, which as a parent can be scary – he once nearly took off with some random person just because they liked him and jokingly asked if he wanted to go home with them. “Okay,” he replied and followed behind until I snatched him up and explained that we do not go anywhere with people we don’t know. 

Austin is much like my rubber tree plant. He’s sappy on the inside (something he gets from me), yet strong and easy going (for the most part). The only requirement he’s ever really needed, as with the rubber plant, is maintaining a certain level of balance. Rubber plants need light and water, but not too much of either. Finding the correct balance between the two makes for a healthier, happier plant”¦ that and pruning. My son is humorous, outgoing, and dependable, yet he can be temperamental. Finding a suitable balance helps keep him grounded.

Rubber trees can grow big. Pruning helps keep these plants more manageable, and they’re quite resilient to the process. Not that my son is unruly, but because of my past history with domestic violence, I didn’t want this repeating itself another generation. It fell to me to “prune” him into the best man possible. I’m pleased to say that Austin has grown into a wonderful, respectful, hardworking young man that adores his wife (and child) and would never raise his hand to her or any female. He even opens doors for us.

Houseplants are like children. Each child has specific traits and characteristics that make them the individuals we love. Each indoor plant in your collection, or even in the garden, shares these same qualities. Which houseplant is your child like?

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