Wander into Vionna Wai’s Brooklyn apartment—filled with more than 100 plants—and you’ll be transported to a jungle somewhere far, far away.
In This Episode
This week's episode of In the Weeds With Plant People brings you through a beautiful apartment filled to the brim with plants. The tour begins with a brief glimpse of the rulers of her jungle, cats Ding and Mi, followed by the first part of her plant decoration, the “wall of distraction,” a collection of shelves overflowing with beautiful plants in terracotta pots. Why the name? Well, Vionna’s boyfriend called it that after she would go to look in on one plant and end up checking them all out.
Vionna (@felinejungle) first fell in love with plants during an architecture class in which she had to build a prototype of a green wall design featuring a real plant. She went with the ZZ plant because of its air purifying qualities, and it inspired her to start her own collection of houseplants.
Inside This Artist's 100+ Brooklyn Plant Collection
And her favorite of those houseplants is her philodendron Florida ghost which is known for its wacky shaped leaves and pretty pop of red on its stem. Her most unique is the Anthurium clarinervium which has the most velvety leaves ever. They can even grow berries, which are like seeds, but that’s really rare. Vionna said that if the one that they have ever flowers, they call everyone they know who has one to see if they have a flower too so they can pollinate it.
One of the great things about Vionna’s collection is that she doesn’t give up on her plants, even if they’re not in the best shape when she gets them. This year she ordered a Philodendron sword. It got lost in the mail and was looking rather sickly when it finally arrived, she cleverly named the plant Covid, and nursed it back to health.
You may be wondering how someone gets over 100 plants. You may also be wondering if that’s expensive. Well, it certainly can be, but Vionna has gotten creative when expanding her collection. She trades plants with friends which is how she got her Moonshine snake plant. She’s also split the cost of a super expensive plant, the King Anthurium, with her friends. Once the juvenile plant is strong enough, she’ll propagate it and split it up so everyone has a piece. It’s a pretty smart system for rare plants that can end up costing you a fortune.
Moving along into her dining room you’ll come across some beautiful hanging plants that are basking in the sun in a south facing window. Her Fiddle-leaf fig tree stands tall and proud nearby. It actually started growing a pepper plant once. Little did she know her boyfriend had been tossing different seeds into the pot to see if anything would grow!
Vionna leaves us with some great advice for new plant parents: “When you pick a plant make sure you know the plant care that the plant needs.” She suggests getting to know the plant and yourself before you invest in something. Making sure you find a plant that’s right for you and your lifestyle is key.