There’s probably never a moment that I say, “Oh, no I don’t need any more plants.”
Between buying new plants, new pots, soil, pest control, humidifiers, and splurging on that rare must-have plant, plant parenting is an investment in time and money. One way to expand your plant collection without spending money? Plant swapping. All over the world people are swapping cuttings, and even rooted plants!
We talked to several plant influencers about why they swap plants and the benefits beyond getting a new one. Here are the five reasons plant swapping is a great way to expand your collection.
It's a Way of Managing Costs
Rolynce Vitor, one of the founding members of the Facebook group Plant Swap London, said he was inspired to start the group “earlier on as a novice plant collector [when] I noticed that my spending increased every month as my indoor jungle grew… I quickly realised that there is a new wave of plant collecting globally, and I am not the only plant lover in London who is experiencing the predicament in managing cost for this green passion. Then plant swapping progressed beyond only an idea," he said.
"I am a romantic and feel a sense of sentiment in receiving a plant or cutting from another person. I like being able to tell a story about the plant, not only to describe it and its care. I want to be able to give a background story of its previous owner and potentially a build connection with them.”
Plants Are Meant to Be Shared
Vionna Wai has sourced many plants via swapping. “Out of 100+ plants, I would say 30% of my collection is from plant swaps," she said. “I believe plants are meant to be shared… I love trading or giving away pups that I have in my collection," she added. Her favorite plant swap was receiving a pot of Variegated String of Hearts in exchange for some Hoyas from her collection.
"I love plant swaps because it’s a great way to expand our collections and make a deeper connection with one another at the same time," she said.
The Satisfaction of Creating a Plant From a Cutting
For some, nurturing a tiny plant into a thriving flourishing one is just a really good feeling. Shelley from @Shelleys.indoor.jungle agrees. “There's something so satisfying knowing you created a plant from a cutting someone gave you," she said. "And there's also that sense of pride and sentimentality—not only did you get a new plant, you didn't let down the person who gave it to you, and that plant reminds you of them."
She received a coleus cutting from @crazyplantlad. "It had a few roots as he had water propagated it before giving it to me in July. After I took the December photo, I had to repot her because she grew so much and got rootbound!”
You Can Help Turnaround a 'Heartbreaking' Situation
Lucy from @leafygyal said that she first started swapping plants during a plant-buying ban back in July 2020. “I saw it as a way around my rule.” But then her first plant swap experience was... unusual. “This lady hadn’t been able to get to her home in London for 3 months... When she finally did return, all her collection had died but a few cacti! She had come home to a brown, crispy wasteland which was heartbreaking!
"She asked if anyone in the (Facebook) group would be willing to give some cuttings away so I gave her a rooted red Maranta Leuconeura, a Monstera Adansonii cutting, and a String of Hearts cutting. She had taken a small fern from her parents' house, and although I insisted she keep it, she brought it with her and made sure I took it home," Lucy said. "I have a very soft spot for that fern!”
Out of Lucy's 80 or so plants about 10% of them have come from plant swaps. Her favorite swap is a Variegated Stuttgart Canna. “I am a sucker for variegated plants and I was so happy to receive this,” she said.
It's a Great Way to Get Wishlist Plants
I also recently got my two wishlist plants—a Monstera Peru which I swapped some of my Red Agloenema for—and a Cebu Blue which someone in the plant community just gave to me because she saw how badly I wanted one.
If you haven't tried plant swapping yet, it’s an amazing way to connect with other plant lovers and to spread the love. Plus nothing compares to the satisfaction you get from watching a plant grow from a teeny tiny cutting into a flourishing plant.