Last year, I not only fell in love with plants, but my mom did too. She lives in Florida, and I'm in London, which can sometimes make keeping in touch difficult. Luckily, we talk a lot. And we talk a lot about plants. As my love for plants started growing, my mom took a vested interest in some of the plants that she had had for years. She started asking me for advice, I started giving her plants as gifts, and we were able to share a love for something, even with an ocean between us. I’ll often get a text with a photo showing me new growth on one of her plants. She’ll ask me questions over FaceTime and we’ll end up chatting about our plants for an hour before we even realize it.
Plants bring people together, especially moms and children. Whether it’s a mom teaching her children about plants or a child teaching their mother, it’s a special moment. There are so many plant people who started their collections because of their mothers or grandmothers, and there is always a lovely story to share, just like the ones here.
Grandmother, Mom, and Daughter
Phoebe Cheong of @WelcomeToTheJungleHome shares her love of plants with her mom and grandmother.
"Growing up in Malaysia, being surrounded by greenery has always been a huge part of my life and culture...I always have memories of my grandma, gardening together, as she is the main reason for growing my love and knowledge for plants," Phoebe shared. "She’s shown me patience, care, and to never give up on the ones who are struggling—which reflects why my plant collection started from small pups and rescues.”
"As Phoebe grew her passion for plants, she started getting advice from me when she faced challenges with her plants," her grandmother told us. "She also taught me how to share photos with her, which is how we stay in touch oceans apart. Today, watching her grow her collection, being able to name plants more than me, and seeing her passion for the plant community in the USA has brought me a sense of achievement and makes me extremely proud to be her grandma.”
Her mom shares that love, too. “As we grow together, I’ve enjoyed learning from Phoebe as she has taught and given me a different perspective on how to take care of plants, and how they return the love back.”
From Grandma To Kids
Marie Kyreakakos from @crazy.plantmama first fell in love with plants because of her grandparents. “For as long as I can remember, my paternal grandmother had the loveliest outdoor flower beds. She enjoyed choosing her annual flowers every year and used to plan her garden colours months in advance.
"My grandfather used to drive her to the nursery of her choice to meticulously pick her summer flowers," Marie added. Now, she teaches her own kids about plants. “My children are learning a lot by observing me tending to my plants and will assist with repotting or any plant chores I need assistance with.”
Their home is filled with lots of houseplants. “We’ve always had some tropicals in the house, yucca trees, umbrella tree, snake plant, a good old golden pothos and spider plant.” Her daughter Julia says, “I enjoy learning about plants with mommy because she is the best.” Her sons, Nicholas and Raphael said they like playing in the dirt and that they wanted plants of their own.
Raised Around Gardens, Flowers, and an Entrepreneur
“I grew up in the country in Southern Illinois….We spent almost all our time outside. Mom was always gardening—planting, watering or adding on," Molly said. "So, from a young age I was out there in the middle of it. When I got older mom decided that she wanted to start a cut flower farm—so I got to see her create a business from scratch, and it all had to do with gardening and flowers and getting your hands in the dirt.
"I didn’t really take to gardening until I was well into my 20s, but it’s something mom and I have really bonded over. I live in New England now, but we’re always calling each other and sending each other pictures of our gardens and our houseplants. For us, it bridged the gap between being a parent and a child and being best friends. I know for my mom, gardening is a way that she connects to her ancestry. Both of her grandmothers were avid gardeners and plant people. We’re just continuing the tradition.”
From Mother Plant to Child
Caitlyn from @OhOkayCaitlyn said she still has fond memories of her mother and plants from growing up. “When I was really young, I remember my mom having tons of plants on shelves in our basement. I vaguely remember her being pretty protective of them (in retrospect, she was probably being protective of me!), and because of that I never interacted with them much.
"Until one day, I must have been around 5 or 6... so definitely that age where I was discovering new things and being mischievous....All I remember is that she’d cut her dieffenbachia and left it there to callous over (the sap is toxic). I guess I was curious what was on the inside of the stem, so I touched it. It made my hand SO itchy. I remember thinking I was going to be in trouble for messing with her plants but I had no idea how to fix it...But instead of being upset, she taught me that’s why I wasn’t allowed to touch it—not because I would hurt the plant, but because maybe it could hurt me. I definitely learned.” She continued on, “When I started getting interested in houseplants around 2019, she instantly enabled me and offered to chop the dieffenbachia—which still lived in our house 20-something years later. Of course I said yes!”
Pei, Diana N. "Dieffenbachia and Philodendron: Two Popular but Poisonous Houseplants." Poison Control, National Capital Poison Center.