In The Weeds With Plant People is a fast-paced interview style series in which plant parents welcome us into their homes and give us a firsthand look at how they live with and care for their many many houseplants.
Imagine walking into an apartment filled with 350 plants. Yes, 350. And "The Plant Guy" Nakia Maples (@phillyplantguy) who lives in South Philadelphia is the proud owner of this collection. Head into his home and you’ll feel like you’re walking through a jungle and you’ll instantly be transported to somewhere tropical and lush. Nakia first got into plants when he was little. His friend’s parents had an apartment that was a plant house, “as soon as you walked through the door there were just plants everywhere and I remember the very first time I saw that house. I knew that that’s how I wanted to live.”
Inside This 350+ Philadelphia Plant Collection
In This Episode
You may be wondering, how on earth does someone water all of those plants? Well, Nakia says it takes him about half a week to water all of his. His collection is about 10 years old, and he first began his plant family with carnivorous plants before moving onto house plants. Nakia's most unique plant is his Golden Rat Tail Cactus which is a stunning trailing cactus. Strikingly beautiful, it’s covered in tons of tiny needles which some of his guests find intimidating.
With that many plants some wacky things can start happening. His pothos plant has mutated and now grows several leaves out of one node (which is not common at all). It leaves a pretty cool plant to be admired (sorry for the awful pun, we couldn’t help ourselves). Nakia has also had a few casualties along the way. He recently tried to nurse a Kalanchoe back to life but says that, “unfortunately he is passing.” Nakia has a great attitude when it comes to plant losses. “Through experience I’ll learn how to take care of more like it.”
When you live with 350 plants you might start talking to them and Nakia says he does all of the time. He chats them up when he’s walking by, when he’s watering them, and even asks them questions to see how they’re doing. One plant he likes to check up on is his favorite, a Philodendron X Evansii. And he’s got a thing for Philodendrons saying that he looks like the Philodendron Burle Marx, a plant that grows tall and slender and just looks, well, cheerful.
If you’re going to take a tour of Nakia’s apartment, you can’t miss out on his exotic room. He’s got the humidity cranked way up in here so he can keep his tropical plants happy. His most expensive plant, the Variegated Florida Ghost, which cost him $900, is one of the plants that calls this room home. Another plant that lives in that room is his Anthurium Radican which he actually misplaced for about three weeks. It’s a smaller plant so he just couldn’t see it among his other ones!
Speak to any plant parent and they’ll tell you about “the one,” the plant that you just fall in love with at first sight. For Nakia it was his Alocasia Serendipity. It really thrives in his home and he believes that that’s because when you’re happy your plants are happy. So, get ready to be filled with happiness while you take a peek into Nakia’s indoor jungle.