Q&A: Teaching the Science of Plant Care with @plantmepaul
Paul (@plantmepaul) is a plant aficionado, consultant, and Chemistry teacher living in Manhattan, NYC. Paul is an expert in making space for plants in his tiny apartment, and he helps others to find room for the right plants for their environments, too. Read on for Paul's insight into 'plantifying' his home, school, and clients' homes, and see how he got his start as a 'plant daddy'!
Many thanks to our interviewer, Elise!
So I’ve been into plants for a few years now, but it became more serious within the last 2-3 years. My first post grad school plant was a Neon Pothos that I never took out of its nursery pot and it thrived. I loved how it would tell me when it was thirsty. I’ve since repotted and propagated it.
When it comes to my job, I’ve been lucky that my school’s PTA has been generous enough to give me money to ‘plantify’ my school lobby and wellness center. In addition, I’ve let my passion for plants bleed into my classroom. I try to instill the same excitement into my students about plants like I try to do with chemistry. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to teach a plant science elective!
Well, I knew once I was moving to Hell’s Kitchen my space was going to be a bit tight and so the only choice I had if I wanted more plants was to use wall space. I thought the white Wally Eco against the brick facade gave a nice contrast that would go well with my aesthetic. I also didn’t see many pictures of Wally Eco planters on brick, so I wanted to take the path less traveled, for lack of a better expression.
So I try and help people (friends, colleagues, strangers I see at a plant store, haha) with creating a space in their home with the appropriate plants. I didn’t know consulting was a thing in NYC till I read an article in the NY Post featuring Nick (@farmernicknyc) and Maryah (@Greene.Piece) doing just that! They were really the catalyst for me to engage more with people on a personal level to talk about and assist people on how to care and live with plants. I guess it’s worked because my friends refer to me as the ‘plant daddy’.
Probably my biggest frustration I face is SPACE! It’s an expensive commodity in the city, and it limits how many plants I can actually take care of grow. However, it does allow one to be CREATIVE in designing a space to accommodate as many plants as one can, which can be fun. Lighting can be an issue too. Fortunately I have two large east-facing windows so I get good light.
Outside of a tiny apartment, NYC has some amazing botanical gardens, parks, and plant shops that help you forget you're in an urban city! It also can provide a nice backdrop for photos!
My favorite plant right now is my ZZ Raven. I’ve been on the hunt for it for a while and I finally found it at @chelseagardencenter in a 6 in. pot. I’ve named him Edgar Allen Poe and I can’t wait to watch him grow!
Thanks to Paul for sharing his story and his methods with us! See his work on social media: